Why trust IoT as your best option when looking for a way to cut expenses and still keep the same quality level—and, perhaps even improve it?
What are the benefits Internet of Things (IoT) brings freight forwarding to implement connected devices and automatically arrange information exchange—with no human mediation.
What makes IoT so special for logistics management?
IoT stands head and shoulders above all the other popular options to expand a range of services with little effort, thus increasing a transportation (Supply Chain, Logistics) company’s capacity.
IoT gives immediate information about every container and the items each contains—in real time. Accessing information anytime, anywhere is crucial for international shipping companies operating in different time zones.
How to implement IoT?
IoT can function via wireless sensor networks or RFID. In brief, following Wikipedia:
a. Wireless sensor networks are spatially distributed autonomous sensors to monitor physical or environmental conditions, such as temperature, sound, pressure, etc. and to cooperatively pass their data through the network to a main location. The network coverage can make from several meters/feet to several kilometers/miles. This technology is used to solve practical issues related to monitoring, managing, route planning, order picking and other significant pieces that form fully functioning supply chain system.
b. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically stored information. Passive tags collect energy from a nearby RFID reader’s interrogating radio waves. Active tags have a local power source such as a battery and may operate at hundreds of meters from the RFID reader. RFID suits the best to track movements of some objects to get remote information from them.
What does IoT for international logistics management imply?
It implies that transportation companies can offer freight forwarding of any type and by any vehicle.
For example, IoT can improve the transportation of a shipment of medical supplies. Such sensitive items always require special handling conditions and their transportation is often fraught with many difficulties like the necessity of assistance by accompanying personnel, specific requirements to move and store, etc.
IoT opens possibilities for ongoing monitoring and information exchange throughout the entire supply chain. When chips and sensors are placed inside medical products, it is possible to take records remotely, as well as track information about the environment nearby, and send automated alerts when incompatible materials are put too close. Moreover, such a system is able to alert accompanying personnel and/or dispatchers when any transportation condition is inappropriate (high temperature, humidity, etc.).
Another example where IoT can help business is in the delivery of products with a short-life cycle, for example, vegetables or fruits. With temperature sensors onboard, distributors can get real-time alerts on the condition of garden produce along the entire route and, when needed, change the itinerary and send the products to the nearest store.
Both the two above-mentioned cases and other broad IoT opportunities lead us to believe in IoT’s huge potential in the field of transportation.
Even at the current stage of the IoT evolution, we already have some experience working with this technology. Already under our belt are prototypes based on open platforms, Arduino and Raspberry Pi. We have studied the functionality of seebo.com and can write drivers for various devices and protocols for their connection to other network devices, smartphones and tablets via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and ZigBee interfaces.
We are convinced that IoT will help freights “talk” and exchange messages without human operators.
Logistic management software will be much easier, while data collection will be several times faster and more accurate. Real-time information about any item or operation can be retrieved anytime: this is actually the dream of any transportation company that is close to reality thanks to IoT.