The number of global Internet of Things (IoT) connections increased by 8% in 2021 to 12.2 billion active endpoints, highlighting the increasing importance of IoT technology in various industries across the globe. IoT is a network of physical objects embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies that enable them to collect and exchange data. In ocean shipping, IoT technology is being used to track and monitor the movement and condition of shipments, optimize supply chains, and improve decision making capabilities, by providing a more effective way to receive real-time supply chain visibility data.
How is IoT Different from Older Technology for Receiving Data?
Data received from endpoints on the IoT differs from data received from devices that are not connected to the IoT in a couple of ways. Endpoints can transmit data in real-time and handle the collection and transmission of data automatically, whereas other devices may only transmit data at set intervals or when prompted by a user manually. Endpoints can also collect a large amount of data from various sources like sensors and GPS and share the data automatically with other systems in the network, while devices not on the IoT may only provide a limited amount of data and are not equipped to operate on an autonomous level.
Benefits of IoT for Supply Chains
IoT provides shippers with a detailed understanding of each container by collecting and transmitting real-time data from sensors in each container. These sensors can monitor a range of parameters such as temperature, humidity, and location, giving shippers more holistic information about their shipments. This data can be used to optimize supply chains by identifying bottlenecks, forecasting demand, and improving the efficiency of operations. It can also ensure that their cargo maintains the correct temperature throughout its journey. With the ability to track and monitor each container in real-time, shippers can quickly respond to any issues or delays, reducing the impacts. The use of IoT technology in shipping also allows companies to provide quality customer service with accurate ETAs.
Challenges of the Internet of Things
One of the biggest challenges of IoT is the process of turning data into actionable insight. IoT devices collect a large amount of data, and this raw data is only as useful as the platform through which it is accessed. The data needs to be analyzed to be understood and then turned into an action plan, which would be costly and labor intensive for a company to handle in-house. This is why many companies rely on technological solutions to process, analyze, and visualize data accumulated from IoT devices.
Another difficulty is sharing information with logistics partners. The global ocean logistics industry depends on interconnected partners. However, the large amounts of complex data available from IoT solutions can be unwieldy and difficult to share across different channels. The best way to approach these challenges is to leverage API technology. API provides the benefits of easy integration for more streamlined data exchanges happening in real-time. It transforms raw data into visibility that can easily be shared with a shipper’s supply chain partners.
Example Use Cases of the Internet of Things in Logistics
When applying IoT technology to logistics, there is a diverse range of possible use cases. Here are three examples of ways shippers are using IoT.
Temperature-Sensitive Shipment Monitoring
Through devices and sensors on the IoT, shippers can get invaluable information on the condition of their sensitive shipments, such as temperature, humidity, and speed. This detailed, real-time data allows shippers to focus their efforts on addressing and preventing issues to reduce the risk of damages to their goods.
Multimodal Shipment Tracking
IoT data can provide real-time updates on location and status, which can be especially valuable when a container is transferred to another mode of transport through drayage and transloading to ensure a seamless shipment process.
Ocean Shipping Insights
Shippers can get data on market trends that impact their ocean shipments and freight costs. When disruptions occur, whether global or at the port of entry, shippers can detect issues sooner and manage their risk by making adjustments to their supply chain.
Get IoT-Provided Container Visibility with VIZION API
IoT has created opportunities for an unprecedented level of visibility within supply chains and transportation. However, without the streamlining that an API provides, shippers encounter obstacles making this data accessible and usable toward an action plan. VIZION API provides real-time container visibility from IoT technology along with powerful analytics, enabling shippers to maintain a ground-level understanding of their container operations and turn their data into actionable insights. VIZION partners with other solutions like Overhaul, a data-agnostic supply chain visibility and security solution, to reach more applications for shippers relying on container visibility. To learn more about VIZION API, reach out and book a demo with us today!