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Supply chain provides fertile ground for IoT applications

As IoT continues to grow, the supply chain has great potential for applications. Here are some things you need to consider when integrating IoT.

As Internet of Things technology continues to grow exponentially, the supply chain presents some of the most fertile ground for developing IoT applications. However, organizations have a lot to consider before incorporating IoT technology into their supply chains. When should you integrate IoT into your supply chain? What platform should you use to develop IoT applications? What benefits do you want to derive?

The fact is that IoT is already a reality and companies should start determining their IoT supply chain strategies now. The rapidly emerging, trillion-node Web of connected devices requires businesses to rethink how they plan and run their supply chains. To get full advantage of IoT, you need to get partners and customers involved, reimagine supply chain processes, and overhaul IT infrastructure and supply chain systems. Creating a digitally enabled supply chain is the key to staying competitive in this new sensor-driven world, so you need to think boldly, plan well, and get there first.

Developers of IoT applications also need to plan well and think long-term when choosing their IoT platform. The main users of IoT platforms are developers of IoT applications and IoT-enabled products and services from physical product manufacturers, service providers and software developers. IoT platforms can help accelerate and reduce the cost of developing these IoT-enabled products, services and applications. Finding a platform is a complex process, but it pays for companies to choose wisely because the relationship between the IoT application developer and the IoT platform provider is a long-term one.

Many organizations are incorporating emerging IoT technologies right now to improve their supply chains in the areas of logistics, transportation management and retail. Applications include sensors that monitor the temperature of food being delivered, a smart port that tracks the location of trucks and loading bays to ensure that goods are moved efficiently, and a retailer that uses sensor tags to improve inventory efficiency. The varieties of IoT applications are as limitless as the number of nodes in the Web, but for the supply chain, the goal is simple: the ability to understand where goods are, where they are going, that the right product arrives and quality is not compromised. IoT is playing an increasingly large role in this.

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This was last published in February 2016

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