IoT Will Bring a Transformation in Global Logistics

Cisco Consulting Services and DHL have combined to publish a report that states the Internet of Things (IoT) is about to bring a complete transformation in global supply chains and logistics, specifically in last mile deliveries.

It is anticipated that the number of connected devices will increase from today’s number of 15 billion all the way up to 50 billion by 2020. Sensor technologies will be ubiquitous throughout all industries, and companies will gain unprecedented levels of visibility into their operations, enabling them to find more value.

The increase in visibility will bring a transformation in how logistics companies make operational decisions, including considerations about the storage, monitoring, routing, servicing and delivery of goods, and they will also be able to improve their health and safety practices.

In warehousing, inventory management will be boosted by individual items and pallets being connected, and in transportation, the tracing and tracking of loads and items will be more accurate, faster and reliable. The advanced tracking of fleet vehicles will allow for greater insight into potential asset failures and maintenance will be scheduled automatically, meaning downtime can be managed much more efficiently.

IoT will also give intelligence to objects and items which have never previously contributed or been tracked by the computerized network. These are known as “dark assets” in today’s vernacular, but once lit up, they will provide huge amounts of data that was never previously available. Take the example of a streetlight, once it’s connected via IoT to the network, it will be able to detect the presence of cars and perhaps relay information about traffic density.

Cisco is claiming that IoT will be worth $8 trillion in extra value over the next decade, gained from increased efficiency. They have broken it down into five key areas that are responsible for approximately a fifth of the extra value:
• Revenue and Innovation
• Enhanced utilization of assets
• The supply chain
• Employee efficiency
• Customer service and experience gains

Cisco and DHL are currently working on an innovation project together, which is intended to improve intelligence in warehousing by utilizing IoT, and more specifically, real-time data analysis based on a WiFi network of devices relaying location data. It is a follow up to Cisco’s Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) project.

Learn more about how IoT is transforming global logistics.