Companies in the transportation and logistics industry have traditionally relied on manual processes as their method of tracking cargo through the supply chain. Unfortunately, doing manual checks only at certain stages in the journey can be problematic because of the lack of visibility between touchpoints. These blind spots leave companies vulnerable to cargo theft or spoilage, underutilized fleets and assets, and high operational and maintenance costs.
While the Internet of Things (IoT) is already starting to make an impact on the transportation and logistics industry, helping to replace manual checks with automated processes, in the coming years it is expected to become a critical part of this sector. In particular, IoT sensor technology is expected to address the issue of blind spots in the supply chains by enabling companies to have real-time visibility inside trailers and containers so cargo can be monitored from pick up to delivery.
Many IoT solutions are wireless and use cellular Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology for connectivity, making it possible to maintain a connection almost anywhere in the world. As the technology evolves, IoT devices are also becoming smaller than ever so they are easy to deploy anywhere inside a trailer. One type of cargo sensor that measures available linear footage can be installed along the ceiling of a trailer to capture and report on the percentage of available floor space at any given time. Companies can use this information to make better, real-time decisions about routing, so trailer usage is optimized, and empty drive miles are reduced.
The real-time data delivered by IoT sensors will also help companies be more transparent and accountable for their products. One market that will likely see an increased demand for cargo sensors is agricultural goods including perishable products. Companies in the agricultural market are responsible for providing quality products but a lack of visibility throughout the supply chain increases the risk of problems such as cargo spoilage. With IoT continuing to improve and evolve, it is now becoming possible for agricultural companies to track their products from farm to store. In this scenario, the data that can be gained using IoT cargo sensors includes soil bacteria, soil temperature, trailer temperature and trailer humidity. This level of real-time data enables companies to get ahead of any issues, such as incorrect trailer temperatures, to protect their products and their customers.
As the demand for transparency and efficiency increases, IoT sensor technology will become essential to the supply chain. With full visibility, companies will be able to move cargo in a more safe and efficient way, increase fleet utilization and cut operation costs. With IoT sensors, the future of the transportation & logistics industry will become more transparent and efficient.