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How the Internet of Things Supports Efficient Logistics and Transportation

by | IntelliTrans | May 5, 2022 | Blog News

New report from Ericsson highlights how IoT is taking truck/trailer monitoring and driver assistance to new levels.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been around for several years now, and is generally defined as the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment. Put simply, IoT is about taking all the things in the world and connecting them to the Internet. 

Once the idea of IoT was established, it caught on pretty quickly. According to Ericsson, of the roughly 29 billion connected devices in place in 2022, about 18 billion will be related to IoT. Many of those devices will be used in the transportation and logistics space, according to a new report from Information and Communication Technology (ICT) service provider. 

In its Connected Truck Transport report, Ericsson describes the value that IoT brings to transportation and logistics, with a focus on fleet telematics, real-time data sharing and other innovations enabled by IoT. More specifically, the report looks at truck/trailer monitoring and driver assistance. 

Truck and trailer monitoring can gather data on each vehicle’s fuel consumption, tire pressure, time since last maintenance and many other key indicators related to truck assets and performance. “Trucking companies get data on individual vehicles as well as aggregated information that provides insights into the state of the entire fleet,” Ericsson points out. 

Armed with this information, companies can reduce unplanned maintenance, vehicle downtime and theft. These “wins” help organizations reduce their overall costs and improve their on-time delivery rates. And, with driver assistance that leverages cellular IoT to provide critical, real-time information to drivers and their employers, companies can give drivers information about their driving that helps instill preventative, forward-looking driving behavior over time.

Measuring the Benefits

The number of IoT connections used in transportation is expected to grow from 100 million in 2020 to 292 million in 2030, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11%. Ericsson said connected devices are also sending more data, amplifying growth beyond just the number of devices. With 80% of commercial vehicles predicted to be connected by 2030, the cellular provider adds that during the last few decades, global trucking has experienced major transformations driven by new customer demands, new technologies and the rapid growth of e-commerce. 

Ericsson says the benefits of IoT-enabled driver assistance are plentiful. “Encouraging eco-driving can significantly lower fuel consumption, and safe driving habits—backed up by data— that can provide strong evidence to obtain better insurance rates for the transport companies,” it points out in the report. “Automated tachograph reporting reduces manual labor and increases the accuracy of tracking working hours to meet regulatory requirements.”

Ericsson’s report also highlights two use cases using ZF’s Fleet Management Solutions to identify the benefits of IoT solutions. A mid-size European trucking company was used as an example application. “According to the groups’ calculations, use of IoT solutions in this size truck company could see more than 6% in potential cost savings,” IoT World Today reports. One- of the cost savings came from driver assistance, with the other two-thirds associated with truck and trailer monitoring. 

“Implementation of fleet telematics enabled by cellular IoT connectivity allows enterprises to deploy, manage and scale their IoT businesses in ways never previously possible, from acquisition through disposal,” Ericsson’s Kyle Okamoto told the publication. “These industries will see an immediate impact as their businesses transform and economize substantially through IoT connectivity.”

There’s Much More to Come

According to IEEE, the transportation industry is just in the beginning stages of IoT-based transformation. The group sees safety as one area where IoT may be able to have a profound impact. With the ability to communicate in real-time using data from various sources, for instance, self-driving vehicles increase the security of not only the people in the vehicle but also pedestrians. 

“Through smart sensors, transportation vehicles can communicate any incoming accidents and traffic delays on current routes,” IEEE explains. “They can also help drivers should they become incapacitated or have a medical emergency.” 

In a bid to make their trucks smarter, carriers are also using geo-fencing, an IoT tool that creates virtual fences or perimeters around a certain point of interest. This could inform logistics managers of any deviations while packages or large shipments are in transit to their location, IEEE predicts. 

“Using geo-fencing, the regional manager of a supplier could manage massive supply chains of driverless fleets from one device. An IoT system allowing a handful of employees to track each shipment,” the group states. “Geo-fencing can possibly help prevent overcrowding that could cause slowdowns. Vehicles would be alerted of the oncoming traffic and rerouted to other paths to avoid pedestrians, quiet areas, and school zones.”

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The Ultimate Global Supply Chain Control Tower

As more IoT technology makes its way into the logistics and transportation space, IntelliTrans’ Global Control Tower provides high levels of supply chain transparency; aggregates, completes, and enhances data from a variety of sources; offers visibility into and execution of different aspects of the supply chain; and generates data-driven alerts and analytics that ask deeper questions and deliver meaningful insights. 

By leveraging tracking information, the Global Control Tower provides analytics that measures key performance indicators (KPIs) like fleet cycle time, origin/destination dwell time, lane and hauler performance, back orders, freight spend, load optimization, and more. With their rate, equipment, lease, tracking, and invoice data in a central repository that’s accessible 24/7, companies can position themselves for success in any market conditions.