IoT & data analytics: for smart logistics
IoT & data analytics: for smart logistics

IoT & data analytics: for smart logistics

Yogesh Mehta, Joint Vice President (Commercial) & Head, Logistics at Shree Cement,
was invited by Intercem, Dubai to speak on IOT- Data Analytics and the future.
When someone mentions Internet of Things (IoT), most people think of electronics or wearables - the types of technologies that are driving adoption of a highly personalised "smart" consumer lifestyle. But there's much more to the IoT story, and more specifically, its impact on the supply chain.
With the advent of IoT, Internet connections now extend to physical objects that are not computers in the classic sense. A connect pallet for example, can tell its owner the whereabouts and condition of their shipment. A connected truck can intelligently predict its own maintenance needs. A connected street light can sense the presence of cars and send surrounding intelligence to drivers. These are just some of many intriguing possibilities for IoT in logistics. The positive results the IoT and data analytics will give to industry and bring a complete transformation in way in which transport and logistics companies operate.
It's always been essential for shipping companies to keep track of where everything is, and IoT applications have made that easier. But the IoT is also expanding the ways in which transport and logistics firm function- enhancing customer experience, cutting costs, increasing efficiency, and creating new revenue possibilities.
The emergence of IoT in logistics is not an entirely radical transformation, but rather an extended use of technologies that have been around for years: greater deployment of sensor-enabled applications. For e.g: more utilisation of microprocessors, machine-to-machine communications (automation) and wireless technology. Putting all of these applications together and using them consistently will have an enormous impact on every aspect of logistics.
IoT is going to change how T&L process operates. Below, is outline of the impact of IoT on Transport & Logistics (T&L), and how IoT management will transform inventory, logistics, manufacturing, and more.
Asset tracking
One of the biggest trends poised to upend supply chain management is asset tracking, which gives companies a way to totally overhaul their supply chain and logistics operations by giving them the tools to make better decisions and save time and money. DHL and tech giant Cisco estimated in 2015 that IoT technologies such as asset tracking solutions could have an impact of more than $1.9 trillion in the supply chain and logistics sector.
And this transformation is already underway. A recent survey by GT Nexus and Capgemini found that 70 per cent of retail and manufacturing companies have already started a digital transformation project in their supply chain and logistics operations.
Asset tracking is not new by any means. Freight and shipping companies have used bar code scanners to track and manage their inventory. But new developments are making these scanners obsolete, as they can only collect data on broad types of items, rather than the location or condition of specific items. Newer asset tracking solutions offer much more vital and usable data, especially when paired with other IoT technologies.
Uberisation and last mile delivery
With the final part of the delivery journey (the so-called "last mile") being highly dependent on labour, and as consumer demands become more sophisticated and delivery points continue to multiply, logistics providers face new challenges. They need to find creative new solutions for this important stage in the supply chain - cost-effective solutions that provide value for the end customer and operational efficiency for the logistics provider. IoT in the last mile can connect the logistics provider with the end recipient in exciting ways as it drives dynamic new business models.
Through IoT, logistics providers can connect with people or businesses on their delivery route, who would like to send things but don't have the time or means to go to a post office or properly prepare and pack an item for pick-up. These items could be collected with dynamic pricing models and bring more value to the return trip and to the consumer. It can help maximising fleet efficiencies by reducing deadhead miles.
Parking management and greener environment
Present day's car parking has become a major issue in urban areas with lack of parking facilities and increased amount of vehicles, due to this drivers who are searching for parking space they roam around the city in peak hours. This causes traffic, wastage of time and of money.
In USA, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency says that 30 percent of the city's traffic congestion is caused by drivers looking for a place to park. And the Texas Transportation Institute estimates the annual cost of traffic congestion in the US alone adds up to $8.72 billion in wasted fuel and lost productivity.
Therefore, smart cities are emerging. Optimised parking space management with real-time identification of free spaces has become a reality, and smart lighting varies according to daylight intensity and movement. Traffic management can now be facilitated by a precise view of traffic flows in real time. Every big city is moving in this direction, from Barcelona (recognised as the best smart city in the world by Juniper Networks in 2015) to Nice, Amsterdam, and New York.
Smart and adaptive traffic management
With affordability and higher purchasing power, it has become very easy for a common person to own a vehicle. Though this has led to a comfortable lifestyle, it also creates a problem in terms of road congestion and traffic pile up around our cities. So how can we use data and information easy and smooth?
Current trends
Connecting Traffic Management System (Traffic signals and Traffic Command Centres) with a GPS-enabled digital roadmap of the city and using the power of analytics is a key to smooth traffic management. Using real-time analytics of data from these sources and linking them to some trends, we can manage traffic flow much better.
Imagine a car driver getting an SMS when he is driving towards the City Centre, guiding him to roads which are less congested and helping to identify a parking slot.
Data analytics tools get data from the Traffic Management System, align this in real time with GPS mapping and parking management data provide information to the driver, thus help reducing traffic pile up. Also, information from these systems are being projected in real time on digital screens installed at City Centre entrances, guiding drivers to available parking slots and streets. This not only helps reduce congestion but also saves lot on time and fuel, thus making environment cleaner and better to live.
Traffic snarls on highways, delays at toll plazas, accidents and political blockades annually cost the economy nearly $1.5 billion in lost truck-operating hours. That is nearly 1 per cent of total logistic spend in India. If the same is made good with the help of IoT, then it will make India more competitive in World Economy.
Road accidents prevention
India loses $20 billion due to road accidents annually, which the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates is enough to feed 50 per cent of the nation's malnourished children. Officially, at least 1.34 lakh people died on Indian roads in 2010, while experts claim the figure could be about 1.5 lakh considering the under reporting of such cases.
Driver drowsiness detection is a car safety technology, which helps prevent accidents caused by the driver getting drowsy. It reads the drivers behaviour and turns data into useful information and sends it to fleet owner (like FitBit). Various studies suggested that around 20 per cent of all road accidents are fatigue-related, up to 50 per cent on certain roads.
IoT and fleet managers of tomorrow
Technology is driving the rapid development of our industry. Fleet management, more than any other transportation sector, will benefit from harnessing the connectivity and data derived from IoT. The fleet manager of tomorrow is the central hub of data and decision making. With connectivity embedded in everything and everywhere, fleet managers and their data are becoming crucial inputs in the global supply chain ecosystem. The fleet manager of tomorrow will have visibility to manage not only the delivery of a customer's goods, but also the personal health, reliability and safety of
its driver.
Yogesh Mehta, Joint Vice President (Commercial) & Head, Logistics at Shree Cement.
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