In only a short period of time, the Internet of Things (IoT) has become integrated into our daily lives. With just a few taps, you can order an Uber to come and collect you within minutes, and track its location and estimated time of arrival all on your phone. From thermostats to light fixtures, phones, tablets, watches and home security systems, the IoT is playing more of a central role in operations across all industries and in the public’s lives. But one of the most revolutionary impacts of the IoT is happening right now within the transportation and logistics industry and their economies. The IoT has the potential to help manage traffic, offer vehicle maintenance updates, boost the productivity of public transportation and so much more. This evolution has only just begun. We’re going to look at some of the future potential, solutions, and impact that the IoT will have on transportation and logistics, as well as the work and services we provide at Invatechs that continues to pioneer IoT potential.
IOT BASICS AND ITS ROLE IN TRANSPORTATION AND LOGISTICS
IoT refers to the devices that transmit and share large quantities of data, information and experience across platforms and to other devices. Chips and sensors are embedded into devices, which can securely communicate data and information across the internet with an IoT platform. From there, the platform will integrate the data and provide analytics and useful, relevant information to applications, third-parties, or businesses. The IoT provides technologies that can share experience and information across cities, miles and oceans – transportation and logistics industries are beginning to harness this power now more than ever.
Let’s look at a basic example of the IoT in action:
You notice a light appear on the dashboard of your car whilst you’re driving, requiring you to check something; this could be the tyre pressure, fuel, your engine, etc. The sensor that triggered this light is connected to a number of sensors across the car that communicate with one another and monitor its performance. That data is gathered and passed to a gateway in the car that can sort the most relevant diagnostic information and communicate analytics and updates back to the driver as well as the car manufacturer. When an issue does occur, (like a problem with your tyre) the solutions can be streamlined and delivered quickly and effectively: if your phone is connected to your car, it can book appointments with a mechanic to fix the issue, provide directions to that mechanic and find discounts. More than that, the manufacturer has access to information from thousands of cars that have IoT schematics; they can monitor their performances, see what parts they need to send to factories and garages, use engineering applications to find ways to improve the cars’ designs, and even determine if a certain occurring problem in a number of vehicles can be pinned to a specific fault in a production line. Technologies have come a long way from GPS and sat-navs, and the US Department of Transportation is looking to develop this technology further.
IOT – IMPACT AND DEVELOPMENT
The IoT will provide innovation for consumers and industries on a practical and infrastructure level, and the IoT can be integrated into cars, aircraft, roadways, traffic lights, trucks and more. Some of the key areas of development include safety, performance, traffic management and functionality.
Safety – one of the most celebrated features of the IoT is its ability to monitor and forecast potential safety threats and breaches. Sensors and cameras built into vehicles can alert drivers when they’re close to hitting an object, but the depth and breadth of what these sensors can achieve goes beyond just that. The IoT can monitor roadway temperatures, train speeds and the maintenance and performance of vehicles’ parts. More vehicle-to-infrastructure (otherwise known as V2I) communication technologies are being installed into vehicles, with cameras, networks and radars that can detect other vehicles on the road and prevent potential collisions. With more vehicles connected to IoT platforms, cities and authorities can monitor areas that become congested and disrupt the flow of traffic; from this data, they can begin to create safer transit system operations. As we’ll see shortly, the potential for IoT safety doesn’t stop there, as it can forecast difficult weather conditions, report emergencies and road collisions.
Performance – as IoT devices communicate billions of pieces of data and information across cities, bus stops and roadways, they work to provide crucial insights that improve performance for vehicles and users. Personalised travel information can update public transportation drivers on upcoming weather issues and emergencies, whilst providing new routes, and estimated time of arrival bulletins and cancellations to the commuters at the station or on their phone. With more IoT installed across public transport networks, waiting at a bus stop with no indication of when or if a bus is coming can become a thing of the past.
Traffic Management – the IoT goes one step further to improve traffic management and resources for drivers and traffic authorities alike. Smart parking can give drivers real-time information on vacant parking spots; road-side lights use environmental sensors to increase and decrease illumination depending on light conditions; traffic light systems can utilise IoT data to improve traffic signals and react according to high traffic volumes and junctions. IoT sensors and CCTVs on roads can also relay information and locations to emergency teams with smart assistance when a collision or accident occurs.
Functionality – fleet tracking, routing, dispatching and on-board information were all a part of existing vehicle tracking systems, but IoT-based tracking systems have developed their scope and potential even more. Sensors can monitor vehicle load, driver’s performance (such as speeding, harsh braking or accelerations) and provide alerts to the driver and their insurer if they’re not driving safely. Furthermore, these sensors could play a pivotal role in the quality and maintenance of stock. IoT sensors used in refrigerated trucks can track the temperatures cargos are kept at. If the temperature falls below or goes above its limit, the driver and company can be alerted in real-time. When these sensors are combined with blockchain technology, they can provide a verified record of temperature maintenance which assures the consistency and quality of goods such as food and pharmaceuticals. This kind of technology could be invaluable to freight-forwarding companies overseeing their fleets and the transportation of goods and products, both to monitor their fleets’ locations and stock as well as their drivers’ safety and due-diligence on roads.
Overall, we can see some of the impacts this technology could have on transportation and logistics; from better traffic flows in cities to better customer service offers and enhanced functionality for large fleet operations. As the technology grows, we have to be ready and prepared for what the future holds; whether that’s exciting new innovations or teething problems that could halt progress.
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
The future of the IoT could bring new technologies and potential we’ve never seen before, including new driverless trucks and cars with sensors that communicate to one another and traffic lights, which could prevent collisions and improve traffic flow in busy urban centres; when that future will arrive however is up for debate. More than that, the potential for IoT efficiency, speed and data loads will be augmented even more with the advent of 5G data, that operates 10 to x100 faster than 4G, with capabilities to support 1 million devices up to 2 KM and deliver more cost-effective solutions. With 5G and the IoT, these transformative powers could be game-changing across all of our industries.
Security, data protection and privacy are at the forefront of people’s concerns when it comes to the IoT. If this is data is compromised and susceptible to cyberattacks, important private information could go into dangerous hands; The Global Risks Report actually highlighted this in their 2018 analysis. Pew Research also suggested a growing trend in the public’s unease with their data being shared and aggregated to third-parties they have no control over. Security policies and legislation will have to work in tandem with these new technologies, and IoT devices and services will need to meet these policies; whether that’s using enforced encryption, user access control or device authentication options.
As the technology builds and becomes bigger and better, the economies of scale will need to accommodate larger data volumes, more complex IT infrastructures and large quantities of IP addresses too. As data is spread further and wider across the globes through the IoT, we could expect to see more nations working to protect people’s data with internet walls which could prevent corporations from accessing the data they need. The IoT puts a great deal of power in consumers and corporations’ hands, and how we grapple with that responsibility will come to fruition in the coming years.
INVATECHS AND THE IOT
We continue to broaden our potential and horizons with developing technologies and a commitment to expertise and knowledge. We’re well aware of the demands the transportation and logistics industry have when it comes to the IoT, which is why we build custom-made transport ecosystems for our clients which connects their devices and assets. We work with startups and corporate clients from the initial strategy through to the prototyping, development, integration and maintenance support. Our collaborative process produces some of the highest standards in Fintechs and technological capabilities; for example, we were tasked with creating a satellite monitoring system that allows you to track vehicles from your phone and optimise vehicle tracking systems, which we achieved with great success.
We lead with a commitment to maintaining security, energy consumption efficiency and we work to improve our systems and technologies daily. At Invatechs, our work is dedicated to finding reliable tech solutions to your challenges and issues. We can’t wait to collaborate with clients ready to unlock the potential of the IoT too. If you have a project, query or want to learn more about our work into the IoT, transportation and logistics industry, don’t hesitate to contact us today.