'Internet of Things' will give supply chains trillion dollar boost

29 April 2015

The Internet of Things will give supply chains a $1.9 trillion (£1.3 trillion) boost, according to a report.

DHL and Cisco’s study said the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) – the connection of physical objects to the web via sensor technology - has huge potential to help deliver more efficient and transparent supply chains.

The Internet of Things in Logistics estimated there will be 50 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020 compared to 15 billion today, and looked at the impact of this expansion on business.

It claimed for any organisation with a supply chain or logistics operations, IoT will have “game-changing consequences”, from creating more “last mile” delivery options for customers, to more efficient warehousing operations and freight transportation.

According to Cisco’s economic analysis, IoT will generate $8 trillion (£5.3 trillion) worldwide in value over the next decade, with $1.9 trillion (£1.3 trillion) coming from supply chain and logistics due to higher levels of operational efficiency as the IoT connects in real time millions of shipments.

In warehousing, connected pallets and items will improve inventory management, the report said. In freight transportation, tracking and tracing of goods will become faster, more accurate, predictive and secure.

Connecting delivery personnel with surrounding vehicles and people can help optimise the return trip to improve efficiency and service in last mile delivery.

Ken Allen, chief executive of DHL Express and board sponsor for technology, said the overall level of global connectedness remained surprisingly limited.

“There is huge potential for countries to further increase their connectedness and prosper through trade, integration and technology,” he said. “We believe the internet of things will be a primary enabler of this global transformation.”

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