• IoT supply chain was to develop technologies to track “vehicles.”


    IoT began its journey on the factory shop floor with technologies like RFID helping to advance the manufacturing process. Then came consumer IoT applications, where homes started seeing a huge level of automation with lights or air conditioners operating remotely. After shop floors and homes, IoT was examined to help improve processes in the enterprise supply chain.

    Initially, supply chain professionals and IoT technologists believed that by connecting goods-carrying fleet around the world, they could obtain real-time visibility of their shipments. Therefore, the first move in IoT supply chain was to develop technologies to track “vehicles.”

    GPS vehicle tracking became the preferred method to gain shipment visibility, causing thousands of companies to launch with new technologies in this space. Wired to the vehicles’ batteries, GPS trackers provide data analytics about the fleets’ locations and movements.

    To achieve effective supply chain visibility beyond intel on vehicles’ whereabouts, let’s spotlight the “things” in IoT. By monitoring the things or parcels themselves, and not just tracking the fleet that are moving the goods, your supply chain can receive real-time data enabling you to make better decisions, reduce risk and increase business efficiencies.

    Portable wireless monitoring device hotspots and BLE beacons working on hybrid IoT technology (a combination of GPS/GSM/BLE/Wi-Fi) when attached to packages, boxes, pallets, containers or loads track and monitor the condition of the individual packages in transit and at the warehouse.


    By using such a hybrid IoT technology and portable devices, the location as well as the health of the shipment can be monitored in real time. You can implement visibility across your enterprise without relying on the fleet owners or the logistics service provider, making the model scalable and providing you with the power of integrated data across all your shipments. The collected data can be used to analyze trends such as past shipping patterns. With insights into past shipments, real-time information about the location and the condition of the shipment, predictions are more reliable and actionable.

    For example, if the temperature of your consignment is rising in the summer months and it hasn’t moved for more than an hour from a location where it shouldn’t have stopped in the first place, it could indicate an issue. If real-time temperature data was not known (as in the case of fleet tracking systems), you would be unaware that your goods were in jeopardy.

    The only challenge with portable device deployment to monitor things is about managing their reverse logistics. Most portable shipment monitoring devices may not be economical to dispose after use on a single trip. Therefore, before using a portable device, it’s important to ascertain if a tight reverse logistics system is in place for the retrieval of your IoT devices.

    The best route is to work with an IoT provider who handles the reverse .

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