Transforming transportation with real-time analytics
In today’s digital economy, technology trends are motivating businesses in every industry to transform their supply chain. From planning and order fulfillment to warehouse management, supply chain companies that utilize big data and analytics are seeing a profound impact on their growth and long-term success.
The transportation industry has long incorporated digital technologies into their supply chain and logistics; but today, technology innovations are making it possible to think beyond functional silos. By utilizing a high degree of automation and operational data, transportation companies become more reliable, efficient and predictable. As the industry continues to digitalize, new innovative technologies can not only improve process efficiencies but also improve the quality of life for employees. Let’s explore some of the different real-time analytic and big data technologies that are available to the transportation industry today, and how they allow companies to work better, smarter, and safer.
Adapting to the Amazon way
In the age of Amazon, customers expect a consistent and timely sales experience each time they shop. That same sentiment can be said for supply chain managers and manufacturers, who demand immediate action whenever downtimes or delays occur.
To meet these growing demands, transportation companies need access to real-time data and analytics that provide a live view of their machinery, vehicles and operators. With this, they can quickly analyze and respond to time-sensitive data and make adjustments for greater efficiency, revenue generation, and business value.
In particular, transportation companies embracing big data are utilizing hyperconnectivity, process optimization and IoT sensors to measure performance, avoid delays and predictively maintain vehicles. Sensors allow operators to have a constant connection to their vehicle to monitor, compare, and benchmark operational data to optimize a vehicle’s lifecycle. As a result, operators are able to anticipate maintenance to reduce errors and deliver goods on-time everytime, while offering great value.
Big data analytics and enterprise mobility are also improving fleet operations by leveraging hyperconnectivity to consolidate data. One major benefit here is the ability to keep traffic and trade flowing smoothly. With a live view of delays from multiple fleets, terminal operators can manage schedules in real time, leading to more efficient and effective cargo handling across the entire supply chain. This leads to reduced wait times and the movement of more goods for more customers. In the age of the 'right now' customer experience, Big data is allowing transportation companies to respond quickly to ensure efficiency and stability across their entire supply chain.
Ensuring a safer drive
While efficiency is important to manufacturers, keeping drivers safe and happy remains at the top of their priority list. Each year there are approximately 411,000 truck accidents, leading to injuries, fatalities, lengthy traffic jams and expensive insurance claims. To keep drivers safe, transportation companies are leveraging the power of IoT, specifically IoT sensors, to gain access to powerful, insightful data about how their drivers are performing. For example, there are sensors available today that measure temperature and vibrations in the fabric of a driver unit to monitor for inflection points or changes in behavior. Using biomedical signals, managers can react in real time to coach drivers or notify them that it’s time to take a break. For drivers that are on the road for long periods of time, or have tight deadlines, this real-time data ensures they stay safe and alert on the road.
Inflection points like these can also monitor how an operator is driving. With access to Big data, managers can monitor for near accidents or frequent stops, and train their drivers to better maneuver their vehicle. Changes in behavior also provides managers with a snapshot into potential turnover. A usually routine driving pattern that turns into frequent stops or requests for time off could indicate that a driver is looking for a new job. To save manufactures and transportation service providers the cost of replacing and training a new driver, managers can act upon insights delivered by predictive analytics and take measure to retain drivers.
The future of transportation
While big data and analytics have greatly improved how manufacturers stay efficient and safe, there is still room to grow. With an increasing shortage of truck drivers throughout the US, autonomous vehicles have the potential to fill the gap. Instead of losing time due to turnover or schedule changes, autonomous vehicles are a quick and easy substitute.
Using traffic-intelligence, an autonomous vehicle can automatically reroute itself to a route with the least congestion, adjust its speed based on traffic signals, and easily find a parking space based on its surroundings. Knowing time is money in transportation, an autonomous vehicle’s access to Big data provides alternative ways to save on travel time and gas.
There is also potential to eliminate some transportation costs through 3D printing. Equipment manufacturers, for example, often must distribute spare parts around the world. Maintaining inventory close to the point of requirement is not always easy. Especially, if equipment, such as oil-field assets is moved periodically or hard to reach. With on-demand supply chain services, such as 3D printing, manufactures can supply some part faster and at a lower cost.
Transportation companies are constantly looking for ways to reduce costs, stay efficient and stay reliable all while maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction. To stay on course and compete in today’s digital market, transportation companies must continue to look ahead, adapt their business models or adopt new ones, and ultimately embrace the transformative capabilities of Big data for the industry.
By Sachin Bapat, Industry Value Engineering Principal, SAP North America
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Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.