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The IoT Revolution: Coming Sooner Than You Think

The not-too-distant future will be full of Internet-connected smart devices. Now's the time to wise up on what this could mean to your supply chain.

The not-too-distant future will be full of Internet-connected smart devices. Now's the time to wise up on what this could mean to your supply chain.

You may have a deep knowledge of the Internet of Things. Or you just think it’s Twitter for robots. Maybe you believe the two thoughts aren’t mutually exclusive. Whatever your knowledge base or beliefs may be, the near-future projections for the smart device/ cloud-computing mash-up are inconceivable.

A recent report from Cisco and DHL predicts in five years, 50 billion devices could be connected to the Internet, more than tripling today’s figures. In fifteen years, the Industrial Internet of Things could be worth $10 trillion to the global economy, predicts the tech consulting firm Accenture.

“Exponential improvements in the miniaturization and cost of sensors, microprocessors, memory and communications, has driven rapid adoption of increasingly intelligent connected devices,” writes Don Hsieh of Tyco Integrated Security in the MH&L article, “The Future of Logistics Rests on the Shoulders of the IoT.”

So smart devices are being used to builder smarter devices every year. And the IoT’s abilities, broken down into four areas by Michael porter and James Hepplemann of Harvard Business Review, amplify as they get more complex: Monitoring, Control, Optimization and Autonomy.

It starts with sensors and devices that monitor product health and external environment. That leads to software that can control a device. Algorithms optimize the product by enhancing performance and predicting maintenance and repair. With those three areas working together, autonomy is achieved, and the product can now self-coordinate with other systems.

Without relatively slow-thinking humans in the mix, response time and efficiency improve. Businesses that embrace the IoT are so logistically agile and efficient alerts and threats can be handled in real time, “to protect their employees, products, consumers and ultimately their company reputation,” Hsieh writes.

“In order to remain competitive in an era of evolving global consumer security expectations, logistics organizations will need to introduce integrated intelligence into products and processes,” Hsieh concludes.

Even though we may not truly comprehend how this the logistical revolution will change the industrial landscape, as no one knew the Internet or cell phones would change things before it, it’s safe to say it will change things. So it’s best to try and learn as much as possible while we still have time.

 


Read the full article, "The Future of Logistics Rests on the Shoulders of the IoT" on Material Handling & Logistics.

 

MH&L is an NED companion site within Penton's Manufacturing & Supply Chain Group.

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