The Internet of Things (IoT): Supply Chain Leaders Operating in a Digital World
An idea that once seemed more plausible in a Steven Spielberg movie may now be the future of interconnectivity. The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to offer advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services that go beyond machine-to-machine communications and usher in automation in nearly all fields.
The continued development of IoT may offer seemingly endless applications for industry and consumers alike.
According to a recent report from BI Intelligence, IoT will be the largest device market in the world. It estimates that by 2019 it will be more than double the size of the smart phone, PC, tablet, connected care, and the wearable market combined. It is also estimated that by the year 2020, 50 to 100 billion devices will be electronically connected in the global emerging IoT.
One such area that will directly benefit from the emergence of IoT is Supply Chain Management. In a recent article Michael Burkett, the Managing Vice President of Gartner stated that, “It’s important to put IoT maturity into perspective, because of the fast pace at which it is emerging, so supply chain strategists need to be looking at its potential now.”
Potential applications of IoT on supply chain management could include enabling a piece of shop equipment to detect a potentially dangerous malfunction, shut down other equipment that might heighten the risk of incident, and direct maintenance staff to the precise location of the issue. In some cases, it might initiate a fix such as uploading new firmware that solves the problem.
However, in order to make these scenarios a reality for manufacturers Burkett believes that “Supply chain leaders must design their processes to operate in this digital business world. This includes fulfilling the new expectations of customers and the volatile demands that digital marketing will create. A future supply chain will meet those expectations by converging people, business and things in a digital value network, and incorporating fast-emerging capabilities such as IoT and smart machines into this design strategy.”