The Internet of things and interconnectivity
After being discussed ad nauseum for that last decade in Silicon Valley, the “internet of things” (IoT) may seem like a dated – and awkwardly termed – concept. However, it is still gaining enough traction in the logistics field that we may begin to see some widespread implementation this year, using well-established technology such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) and GPS tracking systems.
Because airfreight involves the movement of so many tangible items – from ULDs to trucks to 777s – it is uniquely well-suited to IoT technology. For instance, Lufthansa Technik AG subsidiary Lufthansa Technik Logistik Services (LTLS) is launching an IoT program to digitalize its warehousing operations with a digital warehouse pilot destined for Munich Airport (MUC).
In other applications, DHL Supply Chain has launched a “narrowband internet of things” program at a DHL automotive site in Liuzhou, China, in partnership with Chinese technology conglomerate Huawei Technologies. French tech firm OCEASOFT has begun testing its mobile temperature data logger Cobalt ML3, which uses IoT track temperatures of pharma products in real time long-range wireless data transfer. IoT technology is even being used to help curb theft of delivered packages from consumers’ porches. There appears to be no limit on the utility of this type of old-but-still-new technology.