IoT for Logistics in India – One of the Largest Upcoming Domains

by September 2, 2016 1 comment

Contributed by Sauvik Banerjjee, CTA, SAP Global


India’s IOT scenario

The country today is a significant contributor and perhaps has the highest potential to optimally utilize IoT in order to benefit citizens, organisations and government bodies alike. The relatively lower development of technology and low penetration of smart technology offers the scope of addressing some of the regular challenges and some key safety challenges as well.

IoT in logistics is the next big requirement in India. But why is the big question. Let’s look at some facts and figures:

On an average the Indian employee across different sectors range from 0.5 in 1000 to 4-5 in 1000. Most of these hazards to human life can be avoided by simply deploying IoT in machines. Just the fatal accident rate on India’s national Highways has an incidence of 32.6% – quite a bit of which belong to the logistics sector (organised and unorganized combined) alone. In the garment industry itself, a study by Indian Journal of Community Medicine reported that there are 2.49 cases of accidents out of every 1000 workers. The numbers in actual hazardous industries would tend to be higher. The same rule of thumb holds true across categories, though the percentage may vary industry to industry. This can now change. The Internet of Things now gives us in India the opportunity to make work-life much safer for our people.

The Question is How?

For instance, a connected fork lift can actually pre-emptively inform the warehouse manager of an impending mechanical problem or safety risk. A connected signal can actually inform the police department of genuine signal jumps or over speeding, alerting on ground patrol men of impending potential accidents. A connected valve can potentially save a patients’ life by sending out problem signals in advance. To understand IoT application in Logistics better, it is important to understand the current challenges that ail the modern world of Logistics.

Logistics can be broken into a few key segments. These include logistics requirements for individuals, and logistics requirements for organisations. The former while prima-facie relatively simpler, poses challenges of real time tracking and loss in transit. The latter on the other hand poses greater challenges on time. In an era of consumer being the king, timely delivery of pre-paid products is one of the biggest challenges. Some of the other challenges are safely transporting perishables like high-end drugs for medical emergencies, food and other related items.

Another big challenge is posed by the vast diversity of the Indian Landscape and high transit time – congestion costs account for the third big challenge in the industry that need to be addressed. There are pockets of routes which are as yet unmapped or unsupported by basic infrastructure like breakdown support.

These without delving into details of the many other challenges that needs to be addressed within the country.

What can IoT do to address current Local challenges – more so for India?

At the first level, the biggest contribution that IoT has is to monitor assets and focus on avoiding predictable delays. For instance a connected truck will throw up the information on the diminishing engine oil or an over exerted clutch in advance – averting either an accident or an unprecedented delay – thus enabling greater transit predictability. This connected asset will also enable organisations to achieve greater asset utilization. Fleet management can also extend to public services management tracking peak and lean times, to and fro destinations, optimizing the number of vehicles available basis the traffic flow, optimizing the available routes to minimize on road time, minimize fuel consumption, thus impacting better bottom lines. Essentially what it means for organisations is cost-efficiency without necessarily impacting the manpower allocation or safety.

What can IoT do for the Government?

A major number of transport policies whether public or large organization fleet are governed by policies that are implemented keeping on-ground challenges inn mind. IoT has the potential to cast light on some of these dark spots, thus enabling the creation of better policies that benefit the organisations, employees, end consumers as well as public transportation policies and impact fuel efficiencies reducing cost overheads for government managed systems as well.

A few of the benefits that the government can expect:

  1. Better cost management
  2. Optimized fuel management
  3. Reduced fuel spends
  4. Ability to monitor and control damages to the environment
  5. Ability to understand potential dark spots that need development and better planning of focused development needs
  6. Policies that optimally manage city or non-city transportation
  7. Policies that address public and private employee safety needs and hazards
  8. Supervision of the implemented policies

IoT in Logistics – Summarising

At the onset, IoT in Logistics offers the following benefits:

  • Optimal asset utilization
  • Predictive maintenance
  • Location and condition monitoring
  • Health and safety of connected workforce and connected citizens
  • Smart Energy management
  • Predictive asset life cycle management
  • Fleet and asset management
  • Supply chain risk-management
  • Anticipatory shipping

On deep diving, one can find many more benefits that address currently existing challenges. Millions of logistics needs get created everyday, and millions get addressed. Most of these logistics needs can be pre-empted through IoT applications across industries. The few that cannot be pre-empted can be better managed with predictable transit durations. While logistics has been the first few industries to adopt IoT, the applications are yet at a nascent stage from what they potentially could be. Applications of IoT in logistics can potentially be the backbone of smart cities, enable Tier II and III cities with Metro city like advantages despite retaining the small town flavour. All this while ensuring that human resources dedicated to this industry can go about their tasks without a worry of safety or health issues.


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  1. Sachin
    #1 Sachin 8 September, 2016, 09:48

    Dear Sauvik, Thanks for sharing the insight. We are a group of people works on location analytics. Looking forward to many more! Thanks

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