The ‘Internet of Things’ or commonly known as IoT is becoming more deeply embedded in our day-to-day lives at work and beyond. Especially in the logistics industry the term has become a household word, as logistics constantly face new challenges due to globalization and the increasing competitive pressure.
The term IoT or ‘Internet of Things’ consists of two components, i.e. ‘Internet’ and ‘Things’. The ‘Internet’ as the first component is used almost every day and represents a multi-faceted network of interlinked computers. According to DUDEN dictionary, the second component ‘Thing’ refers to an unspecified object and therefore any object can be a thing.
Considering both components as a whole, IoT consequently enables not only the communication of linked objects with one another, but also the external communication. These objects (‘Smart objects’) are interlinked and can transmit data via a network without the need for human-to-human interaction or human-computer interaction.
This means that the ‘Internet of Things’ links objects of the real world with the Internet.
Objects are equipped with barcodes, RFID systems or wireless sensor networks, which facilitate the communication with other linked objects via the Internet. By means of these technologies, objects become smart.
Every smart object can be identified by a uniquely assigned URL and can thus be reached by people via the Internet. People are in charge of controlling smart objects, even though their influence is limited. Due to the connection with the Internet, objects are capable of independently acting and reacting to certain scenarios.
In today’s information age of industry 4.0, especially the logistics industry is undergoing major changes. The comprehensive networking of individual objects and the IT along the chain of goods create a large potential for increasing efficiency. An example is the monitoring of the entire supply chain almost in real time. This involves not only the monitoring of the locations of vehicle and trailer fleets, but also the movements of individual containers or goods packages as well as their states.
Due to the 5G revolution, which focuses on the networking of digital terminals, a higher speed and a lower latency can be expected. Autonomous driving as a typical example, requires low latency and high connection security. Also, in this setting, 5G has proven successful. The challenge of the future is to specifically apply the concepts of IoT and the various technologies to logistics.
The ‘Internet of Things’ connects the physical with the digital world
Melanie Neumueller holds a master’s degree in Business and Engineering with a major in technical management, where complex issues in production and logistics processes are covered. Since 2018 she has been team leader of the SAP Quality Assurance department at SSI SCHAEFER. Quality assurance covers all organizational and technical measures, which help prepare, support, and verify the creation and maintenance of a defined quality of a customer solution or product.