Logistics companies are deploying, smart solutions in various areas, including supply chain management, delivery and storage with the aim of streamlining operations and deriving business benefits. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), internet of things (IoT) and big data analytics have also started marking their presence in the logistics sector, with a number of applications emerging around these technologies. Going forward, blockchain is expected to impact the sector in a big way by driving transparency and efficiency in supply chain management and enhancing the customer experience. Senior executives of enterprises operating in this space talk about the emerging IT trends in logistics, the status of technology adoption and the future outlook…
What role is ICT playing in the logistics and transportation sector?
The logistics sector is still at a nascent stage when it comes to ICT adoption. Companies are gradually expanding from typical IT set-ups to ICT set-ups. The emphasis of ICT is on the integration of IT and telecommunication. The logistics sector, as of now, uses ICT mainly in the area of asset management, for example, for tracking of containers, trucks/trailers, etc., and the key tools used are radio frequency identification readers, GPS devices, computers, smartphones and smart TVs.
What are some of the key ICT solutions deployed by your organisation? How is it benefiting your operations?
We are using ICT solutions in the area of container yard management, wherein ICT enables us to locate a specific container inside the yard as well as for planning the overall inward and outward container inventory at the yard. Effective yard planning has improved operational efficiency, reduced in-yard traffic management overheads and reduced unnecessary container shifting costs, thereby proving ICT-based projects to be good returns on investment. Also, immediate real-time container location identification leads to customer satisfaction.
What is the scope of new technologies like IoT, big data analytics and AI in the sector? How are you leveraging these technologies?
Cloud, IoT, big data analytics and AI are now the need of the hour in the logistics sector. With more and more IT and communication devices talking to each other, the cloud provides an excellent platform to access, process and store data from any device across the globe. IoT makes interconnected devices smart. It imparts a level of processing and storage ability to interconnected devices. It enables devices to analyse information, report and respond. Logistics being an infrastructure-intensive sector, the adoption of IoT can significantly help in areas of operational control. Big data analytics provides an avenue to generate meaningful information for performance improvement. AI can be used along with big data analytics to generate predictive models for business forecasting.
We plan to leverage these technologies in smart gate automation with the help of robotics and advanced image processing. IoT-enabled cameras can also be used in areas like container maintenance and repair, cargo/container weighment, CCTV surveillance and visitor management.
What are the key challenges faced in the adoption of ICT solutions? How can these be addressed?
A key challenge is to develop an integration architecture that delivers good performance while focusing on information security. Since tools of different makes and models/configurations are used, integrating them while ensuring optimum performance is a challenge. This can become a bottleneck in ensuring an enriched user experience. Also, while protocols exist for secure transmission of data in transit, there could be data at rest that is stored in various devices and having end-point security at the individual device level (for example, IoT-based digital cameras), which is a challenge
What are the upcoming technology trends that will shape the logistics industry over the next few years?
Three key emerging ICT trends for the logistics sector are ML, man-machine interface and corporate education.
“Three key emerging ICT trends for the logistics sector are machine learning, manmachine interface and corporate education.”Amol Jumde