Amazon Prime devotees may not pay much attention to the by-the-minute, step-by-step updates to shipping statuses they can access about their purchases, but this is proof of the triumph of IoT writ large in everyday life. IoT has changed how goods are brought to market, and it has the potential to change the future of mobility even further.
A central component to economic growth is the movement of goods and people. As demographic shifts change where people live and work and the world’s population become more urban, strong transportation networks will be key to continued growth and prosperity for all nations and will have a blunting effect on inequality. IoT can help bolster the resilience of these transportation systems by offering real-time monitoring, adjustments to optimize the flow of goods and people, automation of some services and predictive analytics that can anticipate future needs. These efficiency gains will be all the more important because simply building more infrastructure will not solve the problems posed by rapid urbanization, lack of hierarchical roadway systems, increased motorization, poorly maintained or inadequately built infrastructure and a lack of overall resources. The future of mobility must include IoT capabilities that allow for the monitoring, regulation and logistical support to make a transportation network truly resilient.
Recent research by my colleague, Mariyam Hasham, shows some of the best uses of IoT can already be seen in transportation and logistics companies, where IoT applications are used to track and trace, for network efficiency and to reduce idle time. Real-time monitoring allows for better asset maintenance, and the use of predictive analytics can speed up turnover in supply and demand chains. For transport and logistics companies that have supermarkets and other retailers with a high turnover of goods, the benefits of just-in-time deliveries made possible by IoT reduces overheads and ensures optimum freshness of products. For customers who order a product online, 88% expect to have the ability to track their order from time of purchase throughout the shipping chain until final delivery.
Organizations that manage a fleet can take advantage of IoT capabilities such as intelligent dispatching, real-time incident response and asset monitoring. The logistical complexity of managing vast fleets across multiple countries and supply chains can be simplified by combining IoT applications that provide wide real-time monitoring. This leads to fluidly interconnected business systems, but that allow for customization to meet specific fleet and customer needs. For example, transportation and logistics companies that transport perishable or fragile goods can use IoT technologies to continuously monitor and adjust temperatures without human intervention. This reduces costs through spoilage or contractual failure.
By implementing IoT technologies, transport and logistics companies make their supply chains more resilient, improve their customer interactions, reduce costs and improve their efficacies. Additionally, these initial IoT systems will create the groundwork for city-wide systems that enable driverless cars, improved public transportation systems and a coming revolution in mobility services.
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