The Benefits of IoT Supply Chain Technology Becoming Clearer

Like with any new tech revolution, there tends to be a number of different phases that generally range from early stage marketing hype to a state of mature solutions, in place at thousands of companies.  Gartner’s Hype Cycle and Forrester’s Wave are examples of how research analysts try to lay out where things sit in the maturity lifecycles across different technology segments.

Blockchain would be an example of technology that’s still early, while software categories like ERP and TMS are mature software categories that are nearly commoditized and under cost pressure from new low cost alternatives.

Internet of Things (IoT) probably falls somewhere in the middle – some aspects of IoT are mature, while others are still very early. But one thing is clear. As more and more devices become Internet enabled, the notion of billions of devices communicating with each other becomes more real and mature each day.

In supply chain, smart machines have been on factory floors and warehouses for years.  Now, we are seeing smart, low cost sensors make their way into vehicles which is beginning to transform logistics.

A recent article in Forbes, showcased a few examples where IoT is making a difference. There’s a lot of “supply chain” in the story and the value that’s being demonstrated is significant.  Proven, documented ROI cases are what drive technology from hype to maturity and we’re getting close with IoT and supply chain.

Supply chain visibility is still very high on the tech wish list at most companies, yet most still struggle to get accurate, real time information in a reliable fashion.  Low cost sensors that monitor and report on location, condition and temperature of truck trailers can provide a layer of sight that previously would have been cost prohibitive for most shippers.  Today a $10 off the shelf sensor and a mobile app can provide a level of information granularity that was cost prohibitive to most shippers just a few years ago.

As the barriers to entry keep dropping, the masses will jump into the IoT arena and we will begin to see the market mature very quickly. Low cost, easy to deploy solutions will pressure the market to adapt and buyers will be the ultimate winners.  We saw the same thing happen with cloud computing vs. license and install software a decade ago. It’s not a matter of if, but rather when?