The Internet of Things has become commonplace to even the least tech savvy neophyte wandering in the modern world. In fact, research firm Gartner put the figure of connected things in use at 8.4 billion in 2017, up 31% from the year before. That will reach 20.4 billion devices by 2020, Gartner predicted.
Consumer applications represented 63% of total IoT applications in 2017. That points to the reality that business applications represent a huge part of the opportunity, as much as 37% last year.
Businesses are on pace to employ 3.1 billion connected things in 2017, the analyst said. "Aside from automotive systems, the applications that will be most in use by consumers will be smart TVs and digital set-top boxes, while smart electric meters and commercial security cameras will be most in use by businesses," said Peter Middleton, research director at Gartner.
The positive impact on supply chain related processes is likely to be immense. Businesses are flocking to try to leverage IoT technology in a variety of areas, including:
- Asset tracking: Tracking technologies determine real-time location of shipments, equipment, and assets.
- Fleet management: Tracking technologies connect all fleets and collect real-time mileage data.
- Inventory and warehouse management: Determining warehouse activity levels by monitoring data from long-range networks.
- Vendor management: Using data gathered from asset tracking tools to measure vendor performance.
- Predictive maintenance: Equipping assets with sensors to predict breakage and allow proactive response.
“In my opinion, one of the most exciting areas of impact—albeit far less sexy than drones and self-driving cars—is the global supply chain,” said Daniel Newman, principal analyst of Futurum Research and CEO of Broadsuite Media Group in an article in Forbes.
For example, Grand View Research predicted that the global internet of things (IoT) fleet management market size will reach $16.86 billion by 2025, which represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.8% during the forecast period. “Introduction of vehicular internet connectivity has triggered the rate of adoption for IoT fleet management,” the report said. “IoT fleet management includes various solutions such as vehicle tracking & monitoring, fleet analytics, fuel management, predictive maintenance, remote diagnostics, and driver performance tracking & monitoring. These solutions enable fleet operators to not only increase their operational efficiency but also assist them in reducing expenses.”
The infographic from Alba Logistics below outlines some of the most promising areas.
— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN