Internet of Things : An Untapped Disruptive Technology
Consider you are to attend a meeting across town on Monday morning via a ferry. Imagine if a system of interconnected devices could tell you the precise time when your alarm clock should buzz, which suggests you which route & ferry you should take in real time citing traffic & weather conditions & give you real time alerts that the ferry has been delayed. This can be thought of as just one scenario that can arise as a consequence of the interconnection of devices or IoT. The Internet of things or IoT can simply be thought of as a huge inter-connection of physical objects like sensors, devices, appliances, etc., communicating with each other without any human to human or human to computer interaction. This interconnection helps “things” to talk with each other exchanging data as seen in the above scenario.
Internet of Things & Data Analytics
It has been estimated that 90% of the world’s data has been generated in the last two years alone from just 3 billion devices. With a trillion devices estimated to be connected via IoT, the volumes of data that will be generated are going to be huge. This is where the tech worlds two favorite tech trend comes in — Data Analytics & the Cloud. The Cloud will provide storage for such huge amounts of data & Big Data converting that data into information, knowledge and wisdom. Thus, the use of Cloud and Big Data stacks are at the core for the success of IoT.
Logistics Management & Internet of Things
When we talk about Logistics, we are talking about moving goods from one place to another, whether that maybe by road, rail, air or sea. The movement of goods maybe from one hub to another, from one hub to the customer’s house or from one point to another as seen in the emerging “Uber for X” trend. Across all these spheres of logistics, the problems which operations managers face constantly is a lack of visibility of goods and how to make these goods move efficiently.’
When we bring connected devices like smart trackers or barcodes (which constantly ping their locations) into the mix of logistics, there is greater visibility for operational managers helping them track of their goods. The data from such devices can be analysed using big data technologies to identify supply chain bottlenecks, delays in delivery, hub performance, etc. thus providing the necessary information to managers to take corrective action. IOT devices can also be applied in last mile deliveries.
A use case could be optimizing delivery routes for an e-commerce company which does 10,000 deliveries in a month using the simplest of IoT sensors i.e., smartphones which the delivery boys can carry. Using these smartphones, routes for delivery can be optimized taking the load which they carry into account. Also, these smartphones can enable delivery boys to capture Proof of deliveries using their camera or take an e-signature.
The Value at stake or the net new profits to be created from the logistics sector by the use of connected devices is estimated to be $8 trillion. This represents a huge opportunity for both startups and large enterprises to add value to customers with better products & services.