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Applications of IoT in Logistics and Transportation

Uday Parida

Internet of Things (IoT) has already transformed various industries by enabling physical machines to interact with each other over wireless networks. Unlike other industries, logistics and transportation have an ecosystem consisting of a wide variety of devices. The impact of IoT on the logistics and transportation industry can be assessed based on the consistent growth of the global Internet of Things in the logistics market.

According to a market research report released by P&S Intelligence,

“The global internet of things (IoT) in logistics market size was $34,504.8 million in 2019, and it is projected to grow with a CAGR of 13.2% between 2020–2030 (forecast period). The industry growth is significantly driven by the expanding e-commerce industry around the world, coupled with the increase in the demand for more-efficient logistics operations.

Many logistics and transportation companies already leverage IoT to unify their warehouse management and transportation solutions. The sensors embedded in various vehicles and devices enable enterprises to track vehicles in real-time, along with digitizing important aspects of warehouse and inventory management. We can assess the impact based on some of the innovative applications of the Internet of Things in logistics and transportation.

9 Innovative Applications of IoT in Transportation and Logistics Industry

Building Smarter Location Management Systems

Most logistic companies leverage IoT to build next-generation location management systems. The location management system enables managers to track vehicle location, employee activities, and delivery status proactively based on real-time data collected through sensors and microchips. The system will send notifications to the manager based on preset schedules. Also, the managers can receive real-time notifications each time there is a delay or deviation. The real-time notifications help managers to streamline supply chain management by taking the right action immediately.

Improving Employee Monitoring and Safety

In addition to enhancing the safety of vehicles and cargo, the logistics companies also need to focus on monitoring employees and keep them safe. IoT enables logistics and transportation businesses to monitor real-time locations of employees based on the wearable devices worn by them. The real-time data will help managers to protect the employees by sharing information about harsh driving conditions and toxic substances. Also, managers can make employees adhere to safety practices to avoid accidents and other mishaps.

Facilitating Drone Delivery

Many logistics and ecommerce businesses these days use drones or unmanned aerial vehicles to reduce delivery time and cost. But the businesses cannot boost customer experience without ensuring that the drones function flawlessly. They implement IoT to monitor the functioning and performance of drones based on real-time data. The drones can send information about deliveries continuously through sensors. Also, with drones becoming an integral part of the new-age delivery systems, IoT has become the technology driving the drone-based delivery systems.

Ensuring Freight Safety

In emerging markets, logistics and transportation companies have to invest extra resources to ensure freight safely. IoT helps businesses to improve freight safety and prevent freight theft by monitoring the vehicles in real-time. Also, the sensors embedded in smart delivery vehicles share important information that helps managers to take the action required to keep the vehicle functional and enhance freight security proactively. Many logistic companies leverage IoT to monitor the freight continuously throughout the transit period.

Adding Agility to Supply Chain

One of the most important applications of IoT in transportation and logistics is making the entire supply chain agile. The sensors and microchips embedded in various devices help businesses to track and manage the shipment of a large number of products based on real-time data. The real-time data collected from machines help businesses to streamline supply chain management by knowing the location of shipment and identifying the delays in shipment. Also, IoT helps businesses to scale up both productions and sales by keeping the supply chain process agile.

Maintaining Machines Proactively

The logistics ecosystem cannot function seamlessly without maintaining and repairing vehicles and machines proactively. The real-time information sent by various machines and vehicles help businesses to implement predictive maintenance. The businesses can leverage machine learning to predict the maintenance required by a machine and the errors that might occur by analyzing real-time data sent by the machine. Also, IoT will boost machine learning maintenance to help logistic businesses to keep vehicles and devices functional.

Enabling Customers to Reorder Automatically

The businesses can easily boost customer experience and promote customer loyalty by allowing customers to track products purchased by them in transit. IoT enables businesses to facilitate real-time tracking by embedding sensors. The businesses can share real-time information with customers on demand to share real-time information about the shipment. Also, the sensors embedded in the products will enable customers to reorder the product automatically based on the current inventory status.

Generating Bill of Lading Digitally

A bill of lading (BOL) is one of the most important documents in the logistics and transportation ecosystem. The document is accessed by shipper, carriers, and customers from the time the product is shipped to the time the product is received by the customer. Also, the logistic companies can integrate IoT and Blockchain technologies to create BOL digitally. The digital BOL can be accessed by the carriers and customers. But the parties accessing the BOL will lack the option to alter the digital file. The digital BOL will make transactions secure and the supply chain system transparent.

Leveraging Autonomous Vehicles

According to,

The logistics industry has been deploying self-driving vehicles for several years, and is adopting advances in self-driving technology more rapidly than many other industries.

But the logistics companies have to address a variety of challenges to leverage the autonomous vehicles fully. They cannot ensure on-time delivery without optimizing the security of both vehicles and cargo.

IoT makes it easier for logistics and transport businesses to set up a connected infrastructure for the driverless vehicles by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning. The real-time data shared by autonomous vehicles can be analyzed and processed to enhance vehicle safety and reduce delivery time.

5G technology will create opportunities for new applications of IoT in Logistics and Transportation by delivering ultra-fast speed and ultra-low latency. The logistics and transportation businesses will soon leverage 5G networks to create new use cases of IoT. However, businesses need to keep a tab on the IoT security challenges that may arise because of wide-spread usage. Also, machine-type communication (MTP) facilitated by 5G will accelerate the growth of the global internet of things (IoT) in the logistics and transportation market.

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