Does anyone remember a time before the Internet? Most of us have seen it, but it’s hard to recreate it in our mind. It only exists in long tales which we tell the young, tales of yesteryears where life wasn’t occupied by technology. But we love technology. And the next evolution of the Internet would make the current time become another yesteryear tale. What is this next Internet evolution? It’s the Internet of Things.
We know that Internet is where we access relevant and non-relevant information; connect with friends, peers, companies, and customers; and utilize to conduct our daily business and activities. So, what is the Internet of Things or IoT? IoT is when the devices which we use to connect and interact with Internet talk to each other. ‘Talk’ is exchange data among the devices with a view to facilitating better solutions and faster processes. Now, your smartphone can connect to your television and laptop even when they aren’t in the same room. You can sync all your systems so that any change done at one place would reflect everywhere else.
“Where to?” Self-driving cars around the corner!
The true essence of IoT comes out when it is coupled with machine learning. Fast forward into a world of automation where self-driven cars aren’t fiction. The system in your car operates the engine, the sensors around the vehicle, the breaking, and everything else. It connects to the cloud, observing the traffic and weather patterns along the route you are about to take. It auto adjusts to the passing vehicles, all the while ensuring the safety of its passengers.
There have been some issues with this as a couple of crashes being reported. This tech can’t be forced live due to market pressures as the cost of mistakes is too high. Once autonomous cars do hit the roads, they would have to be perfect. But this isn’t more than a couple of years away. For now, let’s look at something that is already running and showing great results.
‘How do we get there?” Perfect route optimization is here!
We are used to having the best products and fastest services. To make this happen, people and goods must be constant on the move somewhere or the other. Be it from the manufacturers to warehouses or distributors, distributors to retailers, or directly to the customer’s door, there are a lot of assets constantly moving.
How is this logistics movement managed, tracked, and directed? Technology, like that of LogiNext, tracks vehicles through GPS right from the time they are loaded to the point they finish their replenishment duties. Delivery personnel and field agents such as technicians, supervisors, sales folks, etc. are tracked using their smartphones. The agents use our app to streamline their daily activities and sync live information gathered on-ground with their company’s central system.
This tech is not just the need of the hour; it’s what keeping the ever-expanding need for cost-friendly logistics management in check. Spiraling logistics costs arising from increased volume movement with a growing driver storage. Even the trend of same day/next day deliveries means that some vehicles are left underutilized.
Sensors and trackers, backed by a base machine learning based system, can now help managers optimize the capacities of their vehicles, assign the right load to the right driver/delivery associate, and eventually set the best route devoid of traffic and other bottlenecks to ensure on-time deliveries.
Delivery route planning and optimization, hence, is not just cutting down costs, but also incentivizing market evolution. Companies like Amazon and Walmart can ensure better customer service with timely deliveries and end-to-end order tracking. This helps create value for the customer, the company, and the economy.
“What’s in the box?” Automated warehousing streamlines it!
With the development of machine learning backed logistics optimization, companies are investing in large distribution centers or warehouses. Some high-value companies have already part automated the operations in these centers. As mentioned earlier, the sheer increase in the volume of goods moved nowadays means that the lead time even at warehouses must be shortened to the minimum.
If the order must reach a customer in a day, it can’t really spend about half of that at the center itself. The entire sorting and allocation system is automated. Some companies have even robotized some mundane functions within the warehouses.
“Do as I Say” Voice Controlled Logistics Movement
We are well aware of the latest in virtual assistants such as Alexa, Siri, Google Home, etc. It’s a handy way to automate activities around yourself. You can just ask Alexa to book a cab while playing your favorite songs. Google recently demonstrated proper AI capable bots which could even have impromptu conversations and book appointments. The obvious extension of this came with voice-controlled logistics management. Using the same ease of household directions, managers can automate the planning of delivery routes, dispatch shipments, tracking vehicles, etc. using just their voice. They can talk to the system and do all of these things.
The idea is simple. IoT is going deeper and deeper into our lives, not just how we handle our phones, but also how we handle our businesses. Above all, we must remember that it’s only a tool. It’s how we use it that would define our future.
About the Author
Dhruvil Sanghvi, CEO and Co-founder of LogiNext, youngest tech business head in Forbes India 30 under 30 (2017), started his journey post Carnegie Mellon University and effectively led LogiNext, the fastest growing logistics and field workforce optimization SaaS enterprise, to the glory.