How IoT is Transforming Transportation and Logistics Sector

May 12, 2021 10:43:36 AM

IoT in transportation and logistics

Modern technology adoption is at its peak nowadays. Businesses are investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), Public Cloud services like never before. These technologies are a great help to overcome the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, smoothen the existing processes, and build a roadmap to digital transformation. 

This article talks about the Internet of Things (IoT) and its adoption in the transportation & logistics industry. We will be discussing how it is enabling businesses to improve safety & security, conserve resources, optimize assets, reduce expenses, and enhance services. 

Let’s start with the IoT adoption in the market and how it is penetrating into the transportation and logistics industry. Statistics suggest that the total installed base of IoT-connected devices worldwide is projected to amount to 30.9 billion units by 2025, a sharp jump from the 13.8 billion units that are expected in 2021 (According to Statista). In 2020, total IoT spending in the Travel & Transportation industry was 40 billion US dollars. These numbers are going to rise in 2021 and the time beyond it. 

How is IoT utilized in the transportation and logistics sector? What are the best ways to optimally use IoT in this industry? Let’s figure out the segment ahead. 

Internet of Things: Best Use Cases in Transportation & Logistics

Thanks to the availability of wireless networks and small-sized computer chips, it has become possible to keep thousands of products connected. RFID, beacons, sensors, drones, etc. are all examples of IoT devices that enable people to scan, store, share, and retrieve data using the internet. Here are a few ways in which IoT can help the transportation and logistics sector improve efficiency. 

1. IoT for Warehouse Management 

There are a number of ways IoT can help in managing warehouse operations. For example, 

a) It can help inventory and assets management. Smart Shelves in warehouses (that use RFID tags and weight sensors) can help in broadcasting inventory information and keep the managers informed about low stock, unsuitable temperature, displaced products, thefts, etc.  

b) IoT wearables can help warehouse managers in monitoring their workers’ health. Wearable devices can track an employee’s health, location, and performance inside the facility. For example, DHL’s Advanced Regional Center in Singapore uses wearable wireless sensors that can assess an employee’s fatigue level, prompting rest breaks, when needed. Also, these wearables send alerts when people are in proximity to moving equipment. 

c) GPS and telematics devices help drivers to follow the optimal route and constantly update the ETA. IoT sensors that are tagged with the goods provide item-level visibility. With such granular information, operation managers can proactively manage any condition of goods breaching. 

Smart warehouses help to generate actionable insights out of the data generated by IoT devices. Alibaba, Amazon, DHL are examples of some of the companies that rely on IoT technology for warehouse management. 

2. IoT for Supply Chain Management 

With the Internet of Things, it is easier to track the location of goods, where they are stored, and when they will reach their destination. IoT can help in supply chain management in a number of ways including: 

a) IoT devices can help in tracking the movement of goods. For example, IoT devices can transmit the location of goods, which is then picked by GPS to track the movement of goods. 

b) There are goods (like food items or chemicals) that need ideal storage conditions. IoT devices can be used to monitor areas with different factors such as temperature, light intensity, humidity, etc., and trigger an alarm wherever these thresholds are breached. This helps in maintaining the quality of goods through the supply chain and even reduces spoilage. 

c) Route planning and tracking can help in identifying the reason behind any delays in transit. This favors contingency planning with alternative routes to speed up the supply chain. 

The Internet of Things enables the optimization of processes in a supply chain. Volvo, Nissan, Decathlon, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Amazon are some of the names that are using IoT for the supply chain management. 

3. IoT for Fleet Management 

It takes up a lot of time, money, and resources to manage fleets. Fleet operators when combine IoT with their operations can expect improved performance with safety standards. Here are some ways IoT can be incorporated into fleet management. 

a) Vehicles when equipped with IoT sensors can send automated signals and early alerts, informing fleet managers about foreseen failure. Apart from this, these sensors can pass alerts for coolant temperature, engine maintenance, low battery, etc. so that preventive measures are taken to run vehicles safely in long run.  

b) With IoT, it is possible to manage vehicles with actionable data. Through sensors, fleet managers can have access to a lot of data that can help them to adhere to laws, keep a track of driving patterns, check vehicle speeding and idling, etc. Since driving style and behavior affect fuel efficacy, these insights can be immensely helpful in improving fuel efficacy. 

c) Automation is one of the significant benefits of IoT in Fleet management. Imagine a vehicle breaks down in the middle of a trip, an automatic notification is sent to tow the truck to the nearest service center. Wouldn’t it be a help to the drivers and fleet managers? Similarly, automatic weather warnings sent to the drivers so that they can reroute to reach the destination on time. 

IoT in Transportation and Logistics Business: Here is How to Get Started

The benefits of IoT technology mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg. Before you think of integrating this technology into your business, it is important to understand its use cases (with respect to the business) and have a roadmap for the success of this initiative. 

Here is a quick, 5-step guide to get started with IoT for your transportation and logistics business: 

Step 1: Identify business goals

What do you want to achieve with IoT integration into your business? Identify business goals, i.e. what change does the technology bring into the system.

Step 2: Develop IoT use cases 

How IoT technology can be integrated into the system? Does your business need IoT for automation, supply chain management, for creating a  smart warehouse? What’s the best use case of IoT for your business. 

Step 3: Create IoT vision and roadmap

How will you proceed towards your goal? Who will lead this project, what would be the cost of it, how much time would you need to achieve the goal, etc. Define the roadmap.

Step 4: Launch IoT Pilot or PoC

Launch your project at a small level and then scale it. One thing works out like the way you expected them to, proceed towards bigger goals. 

Step 5: Implement initiative

Have the best technical guide to implement the initiative. Have an experienced technology partner by your side who will guide you through the lows and highs of the project. 

Daffodil Software is enabling businesses to make the most of modern technologies in the best way possible. To know how we can be a help to you, check out our Transportation and Logistics services. 

Let us know if you need us. This free consultation form is the way to reach our experts and get their guidance.

Archna Oberoi

Written by Archna Oberoi

Content strategist by profession and blogger by passion, Archna is avid about updating herself with the freshest dose of technology and sharing them with the readers. Stay tuned here as she brings some trending stories from the tech-territory of mobile and web.