Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

IoT set to bring new levels of intelligence to logistics, says Lux

Steve Rogerson
May 17, 2016
 
The rapid emergence of advanced analytics, along with modes of transport such as autonomous vehicles, will bring internet-like speeds and efficiencies to transportation and logistics, saving time and trillions of dollars, according to Lux Research.
 
Transportation and logistics, among the slowest-changing industries, are inefficient in time, energy, labour and capital, as well as dirty and grotesquely underutilised in terms of capacity, says the report. However, new modes of transport, from drones to self-driving cars, are preparing to enter the mix, while advanced analytics bring intelligence, capturing and analysing vast amounts of data that today's systems ignore.
 
"The internet of things is at the stage of a dial-up modem in the evolution of the net but, as it evolves, intermodal and intelligent technologies will create a hypermodal system that moves not just goods, but supply, demand and means of production," said Mark Bünger, Lux Research vice president and lead author of the report.
 
Analysts studied the potential impact of emerging transportation and logistics technologies. With door sensors, GPS and RFID transponders, smart containers are being developed by firms such as GE and Maersk and start-ups such as Israel's Loginno and France's Traxen. They can detect vibration, temperature and chemicals, incorporate refrigeration and are connected to the cloud to provide timely alerts.
 
Giants such as Google and Amazon, and start-ups such as Matternet, Flirtey and Starship Technologies have begun using drones for same-day delivery of small packages, establishing benchmarks in last-kilometre efficiency. The first commercial delivery by drone occurred in the USA in early 2016, while Singapore and Switzerland are among countries experimenting with drone mail delivery.
 
Production and logistics are closely linked, so distributed manufacturing goes hand-in-hand with hypermodal transportation. Small, local factories using flexible machinery such as 3D printers and CNC machines, flexible components, and multi-skilled labour, achieve economies of scope, rather than scale.