One of the major drivers accelerating innovation in the transportation sector is the Internet of Things. In fact, just like tech innovations that are driven by Moore’s and Metcalfe’s laws, we will soon find the transportation sector coming up with tech that has computing power better than today’s smart devices. Internet of Things will offer real-time visualization of the entire transport fleet and operations along with actionable insights and analysis, converting the whole critical decision process much seamless.
What to expect?
Over the last ten years, companies have been struggling to lower resource wastage in transportation and logistics and also become efficient. With IoT, companies expect an end-to-end cloud network that would be smart and capable of communicating across devices, reducing labor, infrastructure costs and time. With this technology, logistics companies will be able to obtain stock, package, label, send and deliver without much human intervention making it error-free. Even if asset management and tracking are one of the most underrated possibilities of IoT, this will ensure products to move around in a timely fashion.
You can take the example of Amazon or Alibaba, two ecommerce giants who have adopted IoT to develop smart warehousing solutions. These are places where people and technology come together to operate in a more efficient, cost-effective and functional manner in an environment that is safe and secure.
Most of the systems existing today are RFID or barcode based that already provide end-to-end supply chain automation systems. These come with the capability to perform multiple tasks like identification, access control, verification, analysis, and maintenance. This ensures product identity and complete traceability during transition or delivery. However, these also came with limitations giving birth to ambiguity in security and requiring improvisations of the process. This meant that each point of the shipping process requires to be installed with smart sensors that not only track and send updates but can predict and improvise when needed. In addition to that, since freight leakage is one of the major concerns for any transportation company, these sensors came with the capability to cut down revenue loss, provide real-time updates and thereby save time and effort.
In the transportation sector, where safety and trust fuels success, these advanced sensors are a welcome trend. Leveraging IoT, the trucking companies can bring their entire fleet ecosystem under advanced technology platforms. This, in fact, opens a whole new set of opportunities that brings all the different facets like service, tracking, insurance, resale, ERP and CRM for all small and medium sized operators under one platform.
Smart connected cars
While the transportation sector is yet to completely integrate this technology, the automobile sector was an early adopter. In fact, in less than three years, Gartner has predicted that there will be more than a quarter of a billion connected cars on the road. These cars are going to become the next data hubs, producing millions of actionable data each second during a commute. The data can be used to improve driving experiences, a must for most automobile companies. These cars will not only improve the driving time but enhance safety and provide a wider range of entertainment options. To cite an instance, in 2015, traffic fatalities in the US increased by 7.2% year on year, mainly because of distracted driving. IoT is promising to change all this and make driving a more safe and enjoyable experience.
The Green Revolution is here
Even if it is not a new trend, government agencies have already started to push out mandates that would strive to attain a balance that minimizes environmental damage by the industry at least by 2018. IoT will help attain efficient routing systems, platooning services and automated driving based carriers which would reduce the overall emission from the trip making it integral to Green Revolution. However, we are yet to see widespread acceptance of these systems.
Smart data hubs
Irrespective whether the business belongs to the transportation, automotive or logistics industry, one of the major concerns for the companies is security. IoT’s predictive analytics and diagnostic alerts are going to help make the whole process safer especially by minimizing casual factors like distracted drivers. The sensors are also capable to feed in information from the inaccessible parts of the carrier, preventing sudden breakdowns. All these would help in optimizing fleet usage and increase efficiency manifold.
Smart road systems
With road management evolving to leverage the IoT tech, city planning will also integrate systems that would provide critical data to urban planners helping them make smarter infrastructure investments. These tech systems would create a virtuous cycle of efficient improvements across cities that benefit commuters and businesses alike.
An autonomous future
The modern transportation sector is in the rat race to enter the new era of information-centric transportation, fueled by today’s increasing data rich world. Nothing would change overnight but the early movers will be at a significant advantage. In fact, a report by Research and Markets showed that the smart transportation sector will be valued at USD 138.76 billion by 2020 and will be ready to up to 10% more of their annual turnover in upgrading their technologies, one of them being IoT.