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The Internet of Things: Transportation

April 28, 2017

The Internet of Things (IoT) is impacting businesses across industries in major ways. Given its weight, we’re introducing a blog series about the IoT and challenges it’s imposing on infrastructure and logistics. Topics covered will include warehousing, labor, transportation and technology.

In our first post on the Internet of Things (IoT), we discussed concerns over warehouse capacity restraints. The second post addressed the impact to labor management and safety within warehouses. In part three, we’re taking a look at the impact of IoT developments across all modes of transportation.

Around the world, people have already started to see and feel the impact of connective technology (driverless vehicles, car to car communication, etc.) on personal and public transportation, but how will this type of innovation impact the movement of freight — from first mile to final mile? Since transportation is the highest cost within the supply chain, understanding potential optimizations in this area could uncover huge cost-saving opportunities. Read on for more details on IoT’s potential impact on freight forwarding, trucking and small parcel.


Freight Forwarding

Freight Forwarding is a technology laggard when it comes to innovation. While there’s still much to be desired, small advancements have provided added visibility into ocean freight, allowing ships to be tracked using the Automatic Identification System (AIS) (which transmits data between ships, satellites and AIS stations around the world). Beyond cargo, many ports (for example, Port of Hamburg) are becoming SmartPorts, giving them the ability to track milestones and eliminate wait times, ultimately improving productivity.



When Electronic Logging Device (ELD) legislation was passed in the U.S., it provided connectivity to trucks around the country (the legislation was implemented to monitor driving time and promote safer driving conditions). Along with ELDs, Fleet Management Systems (FMS) can monitor a truck’s idle time, downtime, speed and other events, saving time and money for trucking companies.


Small Parcel

USPS coined a new term, “Internet of Postal Things (IoPT),” referencing an initiative that relies on sensors to collect data that can be used to determine areas of operational improvement, streamline processes and reduce waste.

FedEx launched a product called SenseAware, which monitors just about every aspect of a shipment you could imagine. From temperature to light exposure, SenseAware aggregates information through a 2G network to ensure a shipment isn’t compromised.

With all these advancements and developments in connective technology coming to market, the potential impact of IoT on transportation is big. How big? That will depend on how data is used to streamline processes from first to final mile.

Katie Fredericks

Katie Fredericks is a senior product marketing manager at Ingram Micro Commerce & Fulfillment focusing on global ecommerce fulfillment, B2B fulfillment and small parcel. She is a self-proclaimed logistics nerd. Prior to Ingram Micro Commerce & Fulfillment, Katie spent a number of years working in logistics and healthcare industries.