The Friday Report: April 13th, 2018

Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry

The Next E-Commerce Platform:  The Connected Car

Did you know that today’s car has the computing power of 20 personal computers?  Unbelievably enough, it processes up to 25 gigabytes of data in an hour and includes approximately 100 million lines of programming.  The drive towards connectivity with the outside world is considered important to the customer experience and epitomizes today’s Connected Car.  

What is a connected car?  The term “connected car” refers to a vehicle that has the capability of optimizing its own operation and maintenance and can also enhance the convenience and comfort of its passengers by utilizing Internet connectivity and onboard sensors. To provide this new technologically-driven customer experience, software and telecommunications companies have partnered with others in the automotive market.  This is all part of adapting to fulfill the changing needs and expectations of consumers.  Despite some consumers’ apprehension about cybersecurity risks involving the connected car, consumers are lining up to pay a bit more money for the convenience, comforts and connectivity.

The connected car is too tempting a target for retailers.  By engaging drivers and passengers before they reach brick and mortar stores, retailers can deliver an entirely new range of retail experiences as a service.  From busy working family parents to long distance travelers, the future seems bright for the connected car replacing or at least supplementing phones.  It is simply one more element of the omnichannel retail experience.

GM is hedging their bets on the connected car becoming the next big e-commerce platform.  It announced in late 2017 that it will place in-dash e-commerce technology in newer vehicles.

 The IBM-partnered project will enable travelers to order food, locate fuel, reserve accommodations and more without relying on Smartphones while driving.

Blockchain-Verified Digital “Smart Addresses” Aid Last Mile Logistics

According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), up to 80% of addresses in developing countries and 20% in developed countries remain unverified due to errors.  This leads to major challenges for visitors to these addresses as well as to transportation and logistics providers who handle last mile delivery.  One company, Naviaddress, a Russian start-up venture claims to be the first company to use blockchain as a method of verifying and storing digital addresses.

Naviaddress encodes a plethora of useful information including photos, geographical coordinates, route instructions and other relevant details about the physical location as well as traditional physical address details into a brief sequence of digits that operates as a “smart address”.  This provides a single digital identifier for any place and object in real and virtual worlds.

Naviaddress has created 1.5 million smart addresses thus far and is currently being used by ExpressRMS, a Russian delivery company as well as Amazon, and DPD.

IoT Increases Supply Chain Transparency and Streamlines Last Mile Delivery

Because of the acceleration in technological advancements involving sensors and the value realized from the data that is collected, companies are expanding their use of IoT.  Because data is continually streaming in, companies have access to vital real time information that can be monitored, collected and analyzed to enhance operations, forecast and adapt to current challenges.

How will the Internet of Things help transform the supply chain?  Because of the wide array of Internet-connected devices that are gaining widespread adoption across supply chain businesses, there is an increased free flow of information.  This data can include traceability, information on the contents in shipments, shipment dates, temperature and a volume of other information.

Using IoT provides a high degree of reliable transparency and can help companies to be more flexible and adaptable in their supply chain operations. This results in more accurate, timely information that is available for use by supply chain operations in real time.

One of the most time-sensitive operations is that of shipping and last mile logistics.  

Using IoT sensors, data can be transmitted from goods in transit, providing real time two-party visibility.  This facilitates greater accountability.  Sensors can also measure the vibration and impact of goods as well as temperature en route.  Last mile delivery is the costliest and most essential portion of shipping.  Using IoT sensors can increase the degree of certainty for the ETA (estimated time of arrival) of the last mile delivery process.  Transportation and logistics companies can position delivery vehicles according to traffic and road conditions to avoid back-ups in loading areas and maximize resources including hourly labor and fuel.  The result is happier customers, reduced burden on manual resources and a clear ROI-a win for consumers, businesses and T&L providers.

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