05 April 2019
Technology Trends: The
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that can be difficult
to define, perhaps because the technology sounds too futuristic, or its
applications too hypothetical.
But the reality is that IoT is here now, and it has been for
many years. In fact, most people and business use the IoT on a daily basis - even
if they are unaware of it at the time. In bulk logistics, IoT is a real gamer-changer.
technology and ‘smart’ devices have improved several areas of the supply chain,
but IoT joins them together and gathers the data that can help businesses to
make better decisions and improve operations. From better inventory tracking and management to location
updates and predictive analytics, the IoT can facilitate smoother operations
for many businesses, no matter the size. But how should we define the IoT?
To simplify the IoT it can be easier to imagine a network of
smart objects, from smartphones to Alexa assistants to smart fridges, that can
all connect to each other and share data – often without any human interaction. Of course, almost any device can be made ‘smart’ with today’s
technology. Often all that is required is an internet connection. Televisions,
heating systems and lights have all become ‘smart’ devices in the home, while
connected cars, wearables and health devices help us in our daily lives. All
come under the banner of IoT.
Some of these applications may seem familiar, others not so
much. But they are all able to use a connection to the internet to improve the processes
they need to complete, whether that’s turning the heating on before you get
home or making sure you burn enough calories during the day. Supply chains have been getting ‘smarter’ for many years now
thanks to investment in the devices used by staff and the back-office technology
that manages and improves processes. Solutions for tracking deliveries or
exchanging inventory data are just a couple of areas that have dramatically
improved under IoT.
Why do I need IoT?
Simply put, IoT technology has the potential to revolutionise
the connectivity of the supply chain and increase efficiency in ways that were
simply not possible before. Even relatively straight forward processes such as tracking
tasks, managing inventory and monitoring deliveries can be made more effective
and efficient through the IoT. It also removes the need for paper-based systems
as digital data is easily shared between staff and back-office systems, further
reducing time lost to unnecessary processes
This new technology has rapidly improved managers’ ability
to account for inventory from the beginning to the end of the supply chain. What’s
more, managers are now able to forecast demand, calculate shrinkage, and more
accurately plan ahead.
Whether you have already invested in IoT devices or not, the
good news is that the technology is continuing to improve at an incredible rate
and there has never been a better time to implement more IoT processes into a
supply chain. The roll-out of 5G networks over the next few years will
mean that IoT devices will become even more valuable to business as real-time
tracking will become possible on a large scale. IoT devices will boost
efficiency between warehouses and distributors, giving customers a clearer
visibility of their deliveries.
IoT devices will also benefit from 5G’s deeper
coverage in traditionally low-connectivity areas. This is vital in bulk logistics, where items are often
perishable or need to be kept under strict conditions. The IoT will enable
better monitoring and improve the visibility of decision-makers.
Going forward, IoT will create smart location management
systems that will enable companies to easily track driver activities, vehicle
location, delivery status and more. This type of solution will become an
irreplaceable assistant in delivery planning, where all changes are instantly
detected and reflected in real time.
As well as improving location management and streamlining
business processes, IoT sensors can allow companies to easily track inventory
items, monitor their status and position and create a smart warehouse system. This means IoT technology can help prevent losses, ensure
safe storage of goods and enable efficient locating of items by removing human
The data gathered by IoT will help in the future too, as
predictive analytics can be employed to help businesses develop new strategies
as they grow, improve the decision-making process and reduce risk.
IoT and predictive analytics solutions can also be applied
for route and delivery planning and identification of defects before something
goes wrong. Vehicle and equipment maintenance can also be handled proactively
to ensure that deliveries are not affected by unexpected issues.
Why choose TouchStar?
TouchStar is recognised as market leader in technology
solutions for the bulk delivery market. With more than 30 years of experience,
TouchStar has a portfolio of solutions to assist in bulk delivery, including navigation,
job allocation and driver communication.
The product suite offered by TouchStar creates a robust
interface between hardware and back office business systems. As well as
optimising processes and boosting efficiency, this flow of real-time data gives
businesses the visibility and data they need to continue making smart decisions
and improve their strategy.
Furthermore, TouchStar ensures a fully scalable and
futureproof solution that meets both operational and strategic objectives.
08 May 2019
Next generation wireless technology is just around the corner, with major 5G network deployments expected to be rolled out by 2020 promising faster and more reliable connections. 5G technology will dramatically enhance connectivity across networks, and also have a significant impact on the subject of one of our earlier Technology Trends: The Internet of Things (IoT) Read More >>
05 April 2019
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that can be difficult to define, perhaps because the technology sounds too futuristic, or its applications too hypothetical. Bu the reality is that IoT is here now, and it has been for many years. In fact, most people and business use the IoT on a daily basis - even if they are unaware of it at the time. In bulk logistics, IoT is a real gamer-changer. Read More >>
22 February 2019
According to respected market analysts Gartner, Global IT spending is set to increase despite Brexit, recession and tariff rumours. Gartner predicts global IT spending will reach $3.8 trillion in 2019, an increase of 3.2% from 2018. If the ‘gloom and doom’ predictions prove correct and Brexit helps to trigger another recessionary period, notably for the UK, why on earth would business organisations contemplate spending increases? This article explains why IT spending in a recessionary period can be critical to survival. Read More >>