August 22, 2016


Tracking Internet of Transportation Things (Part 1)

“IoT.” “Hmm what’s the deal?”

The world is spewing data as we speak, and at times we might even wonder whether most of it makes any sense. Mobility, Analytics & Cloud sure help make businesses efficient, but many observers perceive Internet of Things (IoT) technology as yet another way of collecting more information on customers, and leverage it to sell even more offerings to them. Eminent publications like The Economist have already raised their reservations to an interconnected future, while many others question the security and utility aspects of it.

While some of the apprehensions are fairly backed, and yes, the businesses are yet to completely figure out the phenomenon and its applications relevant to them, there is an emerging set of industries which is better placed to be transformed by IoT more than others (see chart), and will deliver higher quality of service at lower costs as they evolve further around IoT. One of the reasons for their promising transformation is less to do with IoT’s power and more to do with overdue innovation & transformation over the years of their existence. However, there is a mild exception to that observation as well. ‘Transportation’ as an industry saw early adoption of data generating sensors and devices, long before tech world went gaga over ‘Internet of Things’ as a 21st century revolution and yet the industry again seems to be at a cusp of sweeping transformation.

The only difference this time around is convergence of Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT), and how as a result people, processes and systems are enabling one another in an interlink mash-up supported by better capabilities in analyzing large data sets, predictions and efficient cloud operations. There is also an industry-agnostic cultural shift for obsessive focus on end customer driving innovative applications of IoT. For Transportation & Logistics as an industry, the scope of migration from siloed applications’ focus of yesterday to powering multiplayer ecosystems of tomorrow is so promising that it has led to many industry gurus to coin the term ‘Internet of Transportation Things (IoTT)’.

However, before we dwell on the scope of IoT in Transportation, or IoTT as it is sometimes referred to, let’s also define what IoT really consists of. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. A thing, in the Internet of Things, can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, an automobile that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low -- or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP address and provided with the ability to transfer data over a network1.

In Part 2 the author discusses how IOT solutions can be used applied in the transportation and Logistics Industry