Logisticians, to meet your customers' demands, adopt IoT
According to the Talan Consulting study of July 2017, 77% of major B2B players have launched experiments on the Internet of Things. By allowing the analysis of large amounts of data, the massive deployment of this technology offers many opportunities. The Internet of Things (IoT) or Internet of Objects (IoO) can be defined quite simply: to connect all goods worldwide to the Internet.
IoT is a new technology, and as such can be complicated to address. The purpose of this article is to help you understand the specifics of IoT. You will then be able to seize the opportunities that exist to connect your business and to respond to the increasing demands for transparency from your customers. In addition to the contributions of technologies such as RFID/QR Code, IoT, GSM on your Supply Chain, it is essential to keep in mind that the processing of the collected data is all the more important than the data itself.
The IoT: buzzword or asset for your clients?
In 1984, the Gartner firm estimated that only 1,000 objects were connected, compared to 17 billion in 2012. Logistics has its place in this massive phenomenon, and like many sectors, it puts customer satisfaction at the heart of its concerns. Increasingly demanding, customers are demanding greater visibility and fluidity in exchanges.
The good news is that communication technologies such as IoT are beginning to respond to these demands. All connected sensors and objects deliver a large amount of data in real time, such as identity, location, movements, handling activities or temperature. The IoT makes logistics extremely transparent: decision-makers have a large amount of data at their disposal at all times.
The data collected at all times via the IoT ensures that you can make easier decisions on a daily basis. The installation of sensors makes predictive maintenance possible. You can then reduce your maintenance costs and improve the quality of your service. By knowing your stocks at all times, their management is greatly simplified. The tracking of your goods and products gives you a global view of your supply chain. Finally, by tracking the use of your equipment as closely as possible, you can control their rate of use (productivity, reduced rental time, etc.), regardless of their location.
How to choose the right technology for your needs
To carry out this tracking, there are today 3 major technology groups. Each of these technologies is likely to meet your needs: RFID, GSM, and IoT. Understanding how they work and how they are used will enable you to choose the one that is adapted to your business and, above all, to your needs. These technologies are to be considered as complementary and not competing.
RFID: a passive technology more suited to logistics warehouses
Operating passively thanks to radio frequency, RFID technology is suitable for monitoring indoor production processes, but not for monitoring non-motorized mobile assets. It therefore offers no security in case of theft or loss of the asset. RFID also does not allow for the automation of data collection. Because human intervention is required at every stage of the process, the reliability of the information cannot be guaranteed.
GSM: a proven but expensive technology
GSM technology (Orange, Bouygues, SFR telecom networks, etc.) is active and allows the sending of a large amount of data. But its connection cost is high (4 times more than IoT). It is also very energy consuming (10 times more than the IoT). This technology therefore requires a power source on the traced assets. The problem? Most mobile industrial assets are not powered.
IoT: an ideal technology for industrial applications
Between these two technologies, the IoT is a good medium for industrial applications. It is an active technology. It therefore leaves no room for human error. Its connection cost and energy consumption are low. The sensor thus has a large autonomy (from 3 to 5 years), essential for monitoring non-motorized assets.
The IoT becomes immediately relevant to the real-time monitoring of different types of goods such as wagons, construction site tippers, etc. with a high degree of autonomy and low cost. This technology provides you with quality information that meets your quality and customer satisfaction requirements.
Exploiting this data to satisfy the end customer nevertheless requires high-performance, business-oriented analysis tools. The challenge of the coming years will be to exploit this data to prove the adage "Rich in data but poor in information".