The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a system of devices and machines that can “talk” to each other via massive networks, such as how your smart home system can turn on your television for you or turn a room’s lights on and off without you physically pressing the switches.
Besides consumer applications, IoT also has significant potential for industrial use – such as in the logistics industry. With smart sensors transmitting information back to IoT-powered platforms, they can provide more accurate cargo tracking within the supply chain process and enable more efficiency and visibility in goods transportation.
This transformative power of IoT is made possible and amplified by the cloud. Cloud services such as cloud storage, cloud data services and cloud backup are integral to the use of IoT in logistics systems.
The integration of IoT and the cloud in logistics
IoT simultaneously generates massive amounts of data that must be stored and quickly processed. When IoT is integrated with the cloud, unique pathways are created for seamless, high-speed data uploads and downloads to the cloud.
Expansive cloud storage provides significant capacity to host the huge amounts of data collected, while powerful cloud computing features analyse and process the constant stream of data in milliseconds and send automated alerts or adjustments without manual involvement.
In a logistics context, the synergy between cloud and IoT creates more visibility in the supply chain process, enables more accurate predictive analysis and gives users more control over mitigation and response. Companies can automate prompts to warn them of potential interruptions and configure more accurate estimated arrival times (ETAs) of goods.
Additionally, the natural business continuity features of the cloud, such as cloud backup and data protection services, ensure that critical logistics data is housed in a safe repository that is not vulnerable to physical disruptions and access. This is essential to secure sensitive information such as transport routes and schedules, particularly for high-value cargo.
Using cloud-based IoT to adapt to a logistics crisis
Inefficiencies in the supply chain have a major impact for all industries. Missing or late cargo incurs delays as well as monetary and opportunity costs – as the Suez Canal incident proved. Each day that the Ever Given blocked the canal held up an estimated US$9.6 billion of trade and impacted thousands of businesses due to late or stranded shipments, with some spending up to three times more to replace or reroute their goods.
Closer to home, one of our clients was a large logistics company in the Asia-Pacific region that was struggling with inefficient process chain management due to a lack of visibility over drivers, vehicles and routes, as well as increased costs in inventory management.
To solve their issues, we implemented an IoT-based Track and Trace solution, which used our proprietary IoT platform and economical sensors to provide real-time updates on goods in transit, as well as the progress of the vehicles on the chosen routes.
By using this technology solution to connect vehicle and fleet management, our client was able to increase their efficiency and optimise their costs. Thus, IoT and the cloud clearly perform a critical function in providing the visibility and transparency in the logistics sector that stakeholders need to make informed decisions.
IoT and the cloud as part of the logistics future
The myriad benefits of IoT and cloud services ultimately drive greater efficiency, better transparency, improved agility and enhanced security in the logistics industry. Companies no longer have to worry about blind spots in their supply chain and can proactively identify and respond to possible interruptions.
With IoT and the cloud, logistics companies can now make data-driven decisions to refine their processes and enhance their services, leading to a better future for the sector and all stakeholders involved.
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