July 16, 2018
The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a popular buzz phrase and the explanation shows the gravity of just how reliant the human race has become on internet technology. The IoT refers to the network, where “things” are connected. Anything which has access to the internet falls into this category, including devices, vehicles and machines. It has been predicted that by 2020 there will be more than 20 billion devices connected, and this is one evolution which is not going to slow down. But, what does this mean for the future of logistics? The internet has shaken up the way we do business, and with demands for faster processes and more streamlined services, this is one industry which continues to embrace these technological changes.
Prior to the internet, communication for the logistics industry had its own set of complications. Consider maintaining a business relationship with interstate and international partners with varying time differences and language barriers. These days, delays caused by communication are no longer an expectation but a rarity, as everything is uploaded to one location and available in real time. Communication is instant, and documents and information can be accessed day or night simply by logging in.
Getting packages from one location to another has been made easier with the help of the internet. Traffic issues can now be monitored as they happen, and shipments redirected as required. Drivers and admin can communicate instantly via applications, significantly increasing productivity. This software can find the fastest route, and allocate the right mode of transport for the job. Vehicles are becoming more efficient, and new models of transport come with internet capability. This can be used to predict potential failures of equipment and send alerts directly to management.
The days of intermittently scanning packages at specified intervals are numbered, because real time tracking is the way of the future. Demand from importers and exporters has meant it is now the expectation that packages can be tracked and redirected to an alternate location, with very little notice. One method of tracking is done by placing tags on individual packages, and these can then be located by accessing the network.
Security is a concern for all importers and exporters, but technology is constantly changing which comes with advancements in safety. Security monitoring is essential, and can be done with the use of alarms, sensors and CCTV (Closed Circuit Television). Instead of having to rewind old video tapes, this type of monitoring can be done from an external location, via an application accessible from any device. The same type of application has the ability to automatically lock doors, and send alerts of suspicious activity.
With the IoT, processes are becoming more automated. Information we did not have access to in the past has now become available at our fingertips. Train tracks can be equipped with sensors to monitor their performance and inventory can be managed and moved by someone remotely clicking a button. Even the temperature of a warehouse can be maintained via the internet, and sensors connected to street lights can monitor traffic flows. No longer just a novelty for a select few, technology has become something we rely on every day. As the future of logistics keeps changing, any innovations for the logistics industry are always highly anticipated.