While it is often heard that “cutting costs” is a perpetual goal with establishments everywhere, not much goes into why that is. The volatility of a variety of things like fuel costs, regulatory environments, and changes in labor rates and traffic seem to provide the spoils for managements fighting against visibility on the side. More is needed to be achieved with less, and with the advent of mobile technology and the accompanying Internet of Things, enterprises can finally say that their mainstay of a goal may actually finally have a concrete path leading right up to it.
The path we speak of sounds something like this: the connectivity of all devices across a centralised cloud network, the capturing and sharing of mission-critical data, and essentially setting up real-time visibility of one’s operations.
A couple of years ago, Huffington Post reported that thousands of shipping containers out of a postulated five to six million wound up on seabeds because of travesties that occurred at sea. These natural losses resulted in staggering numbers which added up to $18 million in merely one quarter (Q4, 2014). We can only imagine how much was lost in an entire year, assuming losses remained consistent or not.
The drop in the cost of sensor technology is of huge relief to tracking and shipping companies all over, more so because the technologies we speak of keep getting more accurate and more affordable by the quarter. While natural disasters can’t be prevented, analysis can still be carried out post-mortem style and the various risk factors can be unearthed in time for future voyages at sea.
App-centric maintenance is one of the key ways smart maintenance is being automated in terms of fleet management and all-round maintenance. While consumer vehicles benefit from cool and real-time features like stability control and tire-pressure monitoring systems, commercial markets find that they can increasingly rely on technology to avoid costly breakdowns that happen at critical junctures of a business’s operations. Human lives can be saved too!
By encompassing the physical with digital, logistical enterprises can capture and share their mission-critical data across the cloud, which leads to the eventuality that they have the right products in the right place, and at the right time. Let us not forget that machines can also uncover data on the humans operating them, which is of great use of course, to fleet managers who also bear the responsibility of making sure the human operators are safe and able to work.
While maintenance of existing systems is vital, another perpetual goal of any enterprise is making continual improvements to promote faster transportation of goods and services. Cities everywhere (mostly Europe) have been taking on ‘Smart City’ strategies to pave the way for better communication between traffic lights, parking garages, and other key elements of infrastructure that need to be set in place. While infrastructures are not easy to overhaul, smart technology will help in zero-ing in on the areas that can be focused on to tweak and eventually contribute to the bigger picture.
Having said that,
we only have very vague ideas of how IoT will pan out for logistics and everything else in say 50 years, but we can say for sure that informing every single use case or initiative now will contribute in ways that will come to fruition eventually.