If you look around the world, two things can be noticed immediately. First, we move things around a lot! Take the device you are reading this on for example, chances are it was assembled somewhere halfway across the globe with components brought in from several different countries. Second, we as humans live in a highly connected world. From social media and instant messages to more classic options of calls and email, we have created an array of technologies that enable us to stay connected all day, every day.
But here is the problem- while things move more than humans do, the larger chunk of our technology is dedicated to connecting people. So as much as we love and benefit the way internet has transformed our lives, Internet-of-Things (IoT) with its much higher population of around 50 Billion devices that it would reach by 2020, holds much greater potential and is set to bring sweeping changes across industries.
IoT application development agencies have been anticipating this change and have been quietly gearing themselves up with related technologies and skill to offer their services when the time came, and the time has come. Here are a few ways in which you can manage and empower your logistic fleet through IoT applications:
This is one of the foremost changes brought about by IOT that has already started to show its benefits. Unlike Columbus who had the liberty to spend months on his voyage, transporters today have to run on strict time schedules, balancing their act between customer satisfaction and cost. From cargo to public transport, even cabs and personal vehicles, most of them are today equipped with GPS that constantly relay location information to both service providers and users alike.
This information which on one hand provides assurance to the users, on the other it helps businesses better manage the operations by helping them foresee and bypass any bottlenecks before they occur.
Before the advent of IoT, the time between a trucker leaving the source and reaching the destination was completely blacked out. There was essentially no way to know how many stoppages they took, how rashly they drove, how long the engine kept running, and so forth. Now with cameras and multiple sensors installed in vehicles the businesses can know exactly the driving habits, transit routes, and hence can take actions to increase efficiency and even preempt accidents before they pose a risk to their employees and disturb supply chains.
Along with logistics, public transport systems around the world too are leveraging these technologies to streamline their operations while improving safety and reliability.
Vehicle breakdown or simply hardware malfunction is one of the most challenging aspects of logistics which not only hampers customers satisfaction due to delays, but also piles on additional costs. While there is no way for the businesses to predict such instances with 100% accuracy, businesses around the globe today employ OBD (on-board diagnostics) that sends real-time data on the health of vehicles with which they can analyze and schedule maintenance accordingly. More often than not, this has enabled businesses to predict which trucks are most likely to suffer technical failures during transit and has helped them improve productivity while saving valuable dollars.
IoT devices, and technology as a whole, opens an all new gateway of automation with minimal reliance on manual interference and thus makes the entire operations swift and fast. For instance, RFID (Radio-frequency identification) enabled vehicles can swiftly pass through expressway tolls without even having to stop, thus saving time to boost productivity. Similarly, when all the devices connected across the fleet work as a single component, each vehicle can automatically leverage the information from another. If a truck gets stuck in traffic or blocked road, it can automatically reroute to some other path that another truck is taking. From maintenance to parking assist, there are an array of services that they can avail automatically without bringing humans on-board.
5. Cost optimization
When all the IoT devices, drivers and vehicles are connected though a common IoT application, managers can easily process data like vehicle utilization, miles logged, fuel consumption, speed tracking, toll spending, and so forth. This data when analyzed can help them easily bring down operational costs by eliminating inefficiencies and preventing resource leakages. And since logistics is today one of the most competitive markets, optimizing cost is probably the single biggest step you can take to ensure the survival of your business.
6. Leveraging the power of Data
Believe it or not, data is the new commodity and whoever has the maximum relevant data, leads the market. And as mentioned, all the devices and sensors used in IoT produce enormous amounts of data that when combined and analyzed, can offer a complete blueprint of not just your operations, but the market. So, while IoT is beneficial in propelling and streamlining the current business operations, it also paves the way for future sustenance and growth.
So where are we headed?
Today it is not uncommon for a person to buy a pair of jeans that would take hundreds, if not thousands, of miles of shipping to reach him and that is truly a testimony to the fact that IoT in fleet management isn’t anymore the future, but it’s already here. And for businesses who still believe that such vast networks can be managed manually or through legacy systems are in a state of illusion and will have to resort to IoT app development sooner or later. But the thing is, every operational day they complete without these technologies, is a lost battle to their competitors. And there are only so many losses that any business can sustain before going bust.
So, whether you are just starting out or are looking to guard your turf, IoT and IoT app development is something you can’t afford to ignore for long. And the sooner you get on-board, the more chances you will have of not just survival, but leading the market.