A new trend report compiled by Cisco Consulting Services and DHL claims that the “Internet of Things” – that’s to say the oft-predicted scenario in which date from objects imbedded with unique identifiers are transferred over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction – will completely transform global supply chain structures and logistics practices – especially when it comes to “last mile” delivery practices.
“The IoT presents a unique technology transition that is impacting all our lives and will have huge implications for the business of logistics,” noted Markus Kückelhaus, VP-innovation & trend research for DHL, in the report. As reported by Fleet Owner, Kückelhaus said that by moving from 15 billion connected devices today to some 50 billion by 2020, companies with sensor technology and analytics will “enjoy unprecedented visibility into operations, enabling new sources of value.”
This level of visibility, “will transform how logistics providers make decisions, including about how goods are stored, monitored, routed, serviced, and delivered to customers, as well as operational health and safety practices,” he pointed out. Added Chris Dedicoat of Cisco: “In warehousing, connected pallets and items will be a driver for smarter inventory management … (while) in freight transportation, tracking and tracing of goods becomes faster, more accurate, predictive and secure while analytics of a connected fleet can help to predict asset failure and to schedule maintenance checks automatically.”
With the advent of IoT, Internet connections now extend to physical objects that are not computers in the classic sense, such as forklifts and streetlights.
Cisco’s Dedicoat also believes that connecting delivery personnel with surrounding vehicles and people via the IoT could become a better way of “monetizing and optimizing” return trips to improve efficiency and service in last mile deliveries.