Significant changes are being expected because of the growth of Internet of Things (IoT). However, the most important thing for the logistics industry is connectivity. In order to connect mobile devices through traditional means like LTE network and GPS satellites, the logistics industry has to face the challenges of cost, reliability and coverage issues.
Location data is one of the critical elements of logistics. While many organizations have access to information like shipment arrival, product delivery or where the item is situated, a number of issues still emerge. For example, when a consumer orders an item through Amazon, the element of tracking is available through RFID scanners that work whenever the product reaches certain locations. This allows consumers to keep track of an individual item on a map.
However, the cost of attaching an individual piece to a kit besides that of a very large shipment is not financially viable. Choosing one network is just the start. Once the supply chain crosses borders, high roaming charges can be an issue as well as making contacts with multiple network providers. It is not also safe to assume that all the network providers can provide sufficient levels of coverage.
Serious connectivity issues persist whether the movement of goods is tracked through 3G, SMS or GPS/satellite. It is common to experience lack of phone signals in areas where there is no connectivity. In areas, where connectivity exists, consumers also experience dropped calls or lack of internet connection. Satellite tracking is more reliable but things can also go wrong when atmospheric conditions are poor.
A potential solution that is being considered for the logistics industry is the technology called Unstructured Supplementary Service Data or USSD. This technology is a feature in cellular networks that can operate even without internet connectivity. Since the internet will not be used, it reduces the complexity and costs of manufacturing devices.
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