With the number of active cargo tracking units expected to exceed 4.1 million, 2018 looks to be a big year for the Internet of Things (IoT) and the supply and cargo transport industries.
Since 2013, trailer and intermodal container tracking technologies have grown more than 20% annually, and early adopters have already seen substantial competitive advantages such as increased supply chain visibility and transport security. As IoT technologies continue to advance, increasingly smaller logistic tracking units have become more common, allowing pallets and even individual boxes to be tracked at a reasonable cost. Organizations today have more intelligible data than ever.
So what does this mean for cargo and asset tracking in 2018? More opportunities to increase productivity and ROI across all logistic operations. Here’s what you’ll want to look out for!
1. Cargo Tracking Becomes More Affordable
It was only a decade ago that 1,000 asset tracking tags could run an organization upwards of $100,000. There were a few reasons for this. First, because the technology was so new, adoption and demand weren’t high enough to drive prices down. In addition, the processes, resources, and technology involved in integrating the cargo tracking devices with an organization’s back end — including building and maintaining a database to handle the data — was prohibitively costly.
So much has changed in 10 years for cargo and asset tracking management. A combination of market forces and technological innovation made cargo tracking not only more affordable to adopt, but also the fiscally smart decision for any business with valuable cargo they don’t want to lose. In addition to losing less inventory to slippage, more supply chain businesses realize that automating route optimization through current asset tracking technology provides significant time and budget efficiencies.
What will change in 2018: Expect this trend to continue into 2018, as market demand continues to drive prices down and technology becomes more sophisticated, scalable, and sustainable — including the rise of solar-powered asset management technology.
2. Cargo Tracking Sensor Capabilities Expand
Current asset tracking sensors can record everything from temperature to acceleration, motion, moisture levels, open doors, tire pressure, even quantities of certain chemicals and gases — and then alert fleet managers in real-time when anomalies occur. As sensor technology and the IoT continue to grow more sophisticated, we’ll begin to see more capabilities from these solutions.
What will change in 2018: In 2018, expect to see cargo tracking sensors tackle more of the problems facing shipping and logistics businesses: inclement weather conditions, more types of chemical and gas leaks, and more granular monitoring of refrigerated container temperatures. Sensors will become more sensitive, detecting even minor changes in acceleration, tire pressure, and drift. As real-time alerts signal these changes, driver and vehicle safety will continue to improve.
3. Demand Grows for More Frequent Updates and Reporting
In almost every sector of business — not just fleet management — the demand for more and better data is exploding. In the shipping and logistics sector specifically, it isn’t hard to see why. As competition increases and margins shrink, locking down every variable that could lead to lost investment becomes critical to sustainable business growth, and frequent, granular data reporting helps get you there.
The IoT and asset tracking technology now make this type of data collection and reporting possible, and early adopters enjoy a significant competitive advantage. Asset management data analytics allow fleets to optimize their routes, track cargo based on a variety of categories, and gain deep visibility into where their cargo is at a given point in time. This reporting helps businesses improve their margins, run more efficiently, and maximize productivity.
What will change in 2018: In 2018, expect more investors, board members, and business partners to demand more frequent and detailed data reporting as proof of your commitment to profitability.
4. Better Integration Between Cargo Tracking and Back-Office Processes
The IoT picks up where the cloud left off with improving the efficiency, usability, and speed of back-end data integration with front-end cargo tracking devices. You can now monitor and manage en-route assets from your mobile device, remotely correcting course when fleet vehicles encounter shipping and safety issues.
What will change in 2018: With IoT technologies and Big Data continuing to pick up steam across nearly every business vertical, expect data integration to become more time and budget efficient in 2018, with less hands-on IT work connecting devices to datacenters. This effect will only snowball as sensors themselves become more sensitive, accruing larger volumes of granular data and communicating it from one endpoint to another with greater speed. Meanwhile, dashboards and alerts will grow more powerful, easy-to-use, and customizable. The end result is a more centrally manageable, safe, and profitable fleet.
Gain Total Asset Visibility in 2018
If you haven’t started investing in the IoT, now is the time — modern cargo tracking methods are imperative for success in the supply chain and distribution industries. As advancements in these technologies continue to progress, expect to see more opportunities for reducing overhead, improving your bottom line, and gaining an edge on your competition.
What changes do you foresee for asset tracking in 2018? Tweet us your predictions @SkyBitz, then learn how SkyBitz is helping shape the future of cargo tracking!