First of all, it’s an absolute pleasure to join the Aptude blog team! It’s really exciting to cover some of the amazing things in tech and transportation.

I’ve had the chance to work with a variety of technologies and industries and definitely find logistics and transportation to be absolutely fascinating. Specifically, there is a lot of time and energy being spent around innovating the transportation space. In fact, we’ve already seen some major disruptions… think Uber, Tesla, and autonomous driving.

But, before we get too far ahead, let’s back up just a bit and talk about IoT and the connected device. In the latest AFCOM State of the Data Center Industry study, a report I helped co-author, we found that 81% of respondents indicated that they’re deploying new solutions, like edge computing, specifically to support and enable IoT.

If you take a look at the market in general IDC points out that the IoT market is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down, with an expected size of $1.4 trillion in 2021.

Why does this matter to the transportation industry?

And, at the latest Interop ITX conference, my session outlined the core components of IoT and very specific use-cases around deployment and fascinating new solutions. Specifically, I took some time to focus on the transportation field to showcase how connected devices create agility, intelligence, and competitive advantages.

Let me give you some very specific examples. At UPS, IoT sensors help protect the environment by monitoring delivery truck mileage, speed and overall engine health. Coupled with big data solutions, UPS is also able to effectively monitor packages and optimize entire routes.

And, fairly recently, Microsoft and Rolls-Royce collaborated on advanced operational intelligence to airlines.

Not to be outdone, GE is also doing some really interesting things with their jet engines. GE Ventures is backing an organization call Upskill that makes augmented reality (AR) software for wearables like smart glasses. Together, they’ve started working with Glass (formerly Google Glass) and GE Aviation to build an AR solution that connects a smart torque to perfect all of the steps in building a jet engine that require tightening nuts. “This has tremendous potential to minimize errors, cut down on costs and improve product quality,” says Ted Robertson, engineering manager at GE Aviation. “We’ve also seen an increase in productivity and efficiency improvements.”

IoT, Data, and Transportation

As the transportation industry becomes an even greater digital entity, we have to make sure that we’re not just connecting a whole bunch of devices without properly creating an infrastructure to support it all. Specifically, I’m referring to the utilization of data. A recent Cisco report estimates that nearly 850 ZB will be generated by all people, machines, and things by 2021, up from 220 ZB generated in 2016. And, driven by the Internet of Things, the total amount of data created (and not necessarily stored) by any device will reach 847 ZB per year by 2021, up from 218 ZB per year in 2016. Data created is two orders of magnitude higher than data stored.

So, if you’re reading this and thinking about how to better connect your own transportation use-cases or logistics requirements, consider the following tips:

  1. Treat data as an asset. This means that it needs to be protected and most certainly used properly. Remember, the idea isn’t to store everything. Rather, you need to work with solutions that help you visualize and properly leverage the data that your devices are created. When you work with data properly, it can have some really powerful impacts on your company. Forrester recently stated that 66% of enterprises will deploy data insight centers of excellence as a remedy for organizational misalignments.
  2. Make sure you align business and IT. In reality, there should be no more silos between these two teams. Quick basically, IT is now a function of business. This means that your organization needs to be mature enough to handle both connected devices and the data they generate. If you’re not quite there yet, don’t be afraid to conduct IoT pilot programs to ensure you truly understand the impacts on your business and IT infrastructure.
  3. Understand the value of data. I mean this from both a security and business perspective. The data you generate is not benign and is very valuable. For your organization, it’s very important to work with good technology solutions and partners who can help you build engines to correlate and quantify the data you generate. As with all things, the more you have of something, the harder it is to manage. This is absolutely the case with data.
  4. Leverage good partners to build connected technology use-cases. You don’t have to go on this journey alone. In working with a variety of logistics and transportation organizations, not a lot of them have data scientists or big data professionals. So, if you’re going down the connected transportation road, have a good technology partner in your back pocket to help map and navigate the journey.

Transportation organizations are working to bring an analog industry into the digital forefront. In doing so, these companies are finding ways to be more agile, deliver new types of services, find areas to optimize their business, and create competitive advantages. I have no doubt that pretty much ever transportation business will become a digital entity in one way or another. Through it all, we’ll see connected devices and data all impacting the way transportation and logistics services are delivered. Take the time to truly understand your own business model, see where connected devices can make an impact, and leverage that data to make better business and IT decisions.

Looking for a Transportation Management Solution Partner?

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Capabilities include:

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