While commercial and industrial sectors are struggling to understand the impact and uses of IoT technologies on their supply chains and manufacturing capabilities, companies in the transport and logistics sectors are leading the way. By their very nature, transport and logistics companies rely on vast quantities of information minutely calibrated in real time across widely distributed networks. The advantages offered by sensors and connected technologies are immediately obvious in managing the data flows and adjustments needed to move goods by air, land, sea and rail networks.
The efficiency, speed, accuracy and cost savings that transport and logistics (T&L) companies can provide along their supply chains is a primacy driver for value creation. T&L companies have mainly used IoT applications for track and trace, network efficiency and to reduce idle time. Real time monitoring, asset maintenance and predictive analytics can speed up turnover in both supply and demand chains, leading to greater user satisfaction. Supermarkets, retailers with a high turnover of goods, and pharmacists all benefit from just in time delivery made possible by the IoT. For consumers, tracking of goods from point of purchase until final delivery is now commonly expected as part of the customer experience with online retailers.
The range and complexity of transport logistical operations can be modelled and mastered using the IoT. Schipol Airport is using a mesh network of low power, local nodes that continuously route information between the nodes in the network to trace and maintain ground support equipment. This cost saving exercise has additional benefits in reduced lost luggage, reduced traveller complaints, and reduced liability payments.
Fleet management can be enhanced with 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 for trace and track with systems wide real time monitoring. This leads to fluidly interconnected business solutions, built from a central coherence with elements of customisation to suit specific fleet and customer needs. The supply chain for temperature sensitive goods, for example, can be monitored and adjusted as necessary without human intervention. This capability reduces supplier risk and potential costs through spoilage or contractual failure. For agricultural companies, produce being transported across locations must remain at a steady temperature to retain its freshness and quality for end users. Green peppers, for example, are vulnerable to disease if transported at inconsistent temperatures. A percentage of the crop must be lost enroute, representing financial loss of supplier and vendor. Honeybees become distressed and weakened if temperatures become to too high while being transported.
Singapore is leading efforts to unlock the potential of the vast quantities of data from IoT transport applications. Intelligent mobility as a publicly provided service is the cornerstone of future sustainable transport systems. Singapore is a test bed for many of the components of intelligent mobility, from truck platoons of driverless vehicles to electric mobility for decarbonisation of urban transport to analytics systems to model commuter flows and improve street and road planning.