The logistics and transportation industries are undergoing a revolution. The introduction of 5G technology will enormously impact logistics and transportation in the coming years. It improves visibility to logistics drivers, minimizes supply chain risks, and brings augmented reality applications to the forefront of logistics operations.
5G networks and 5G capable devices will be such a significant change that they can potentially change how we design and use information services. One considerable improvement with 5G technology is the low latency of data requests, meaning that information will be monitored quickly and will not take time to come. 5G networks are also able to support a large number of devices simultaneously. In comparison, 4G networks can only support around 4,000 per square/km, while 5G networks can support up to 1 million on the same surface size.
5G, the fifth generation of cellular technology, has been heralded as the holy grail of connectivity. With promises of lightning-fast data download and upload speeds, broader coverage, and more stable connections ― among other benefits ― 5G is an exciting innovation that will (eventually) transform mobile connectivity as we know it.
When 5G hits the market, it will revolutionize supply chains worldwide because of many different benefits. As more companies use data more heavily in their decision-making, the need for organizations to collect and analyze large sets of data will increase. Some of the benefits to these increased efficiencies are enhanced visibility, minimizing supply chain risks, and augmented reality applications – all with real-time capabilities.
Exponentially faster data transmission speeds and lower latency will refashion the logistics industry, transforming it into something more responsive to what’s happening on both ends of the supply chain.
This article will detail these benefits while also discussing where logistics is heading concerning 5G technology.
The Implications of 5G Networks on Logistics and Transportation
The logistics and transportation industries are currently experiencing a period of transformation as they shift from being “just” logistics providers to becoming service providers.
Logistics companies have been able to use data analytics, robots, IoT devices, predictive maintenance tools for vehicles – just to name a few technologies that will help with the logistics process. When it comes to logistics and transportation, the logistics providers have benefited from these new technologies by being more efficient.
Advanced data and information systems are critical to supply chain operations because they enable more accurate, timely decisions that maximize efficiency and improve customer satisfaction.
The Internet of Things (IoT) and Logistics
The IoT is one of the critical drivers for logistics companies to change their approach and think about logistics more holistically. The data generated by these devices can be used to identify anomalies to prevent costly supply chain disruptions or delays, improve efficiency through predictive analytics, and enhance customer satisfaction with real-time information on delivery status.
When supply chains are populated with many internet-of-things devices, they can provide a running report on the operational landscape. This will result in many of them becoming more responsive and adaptable. Inventory locations in freight transportation facilities, for example, could notify themselves when inventory levels run low to maintain a smooth flow of goods.
Future equipment could also self-notify when they have problems or automatically schedule themselves for maintenance or regular services. This will not only save time and money but ensure future performance is optimal too.
Enhanced Reality (AR/VR) and Transportation
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have become integral to logistics companies’ workflows. For example, logistics providers can use AR to help customers visualize their products in a specific environment before purchase. VR is also used for logistics because it can be combined with real-time data from IoT devices to create a shared experience that is more immersive.
This will allow logistics providers to show their customers how the logistics process works from start to finish and all its steps, eliminating any confusion about what they are purchasing or where it came from. VR can also be used for training purposes so logistics professionals can get familiar with new equipment before using them in real-time logistics operations.
Using a mobile phone or augmented reality glasses, you would be able to pinpoint the location of your item by either its image changing color or bouncing up and down.5G networks deliver high bandwidth connectivity to ensure that augmented reality features work and smoothly animate in real-time.
The Benefits of 5G Networks in Logistics and Transportation
The benefits that logistics companies will reap with these innovations are not just limited to efficiency. They also include enhanced visibility in supply chains, minimizing risks of disruptions or delays due to closures in specific routes (due to natural disasters), augmented reality applications, and more.
One of the most apparent benefits of 5G connectivity on logistics and transportation is visibility over the entirety of the supply chain. With real-time visibility of logistics, it’s easier to identify potential issues that may be looming ahead. In a situation where logistics providers have access to continuous and fully accurate information about the needs for logistics and their current state on any given day, they’re better able to anticipate what will come next so that adjustments can be made in advance.
A logistics company’s ability to anticipate what will happen is often the difference between success and disaster. Timely information can help logistics providers identify opportunities for optimization of their logistics network, thereby minimizing the risk that any disruptions or delays in delivery may cause. With visibility into where goods are currently located on a particular route – as well as when they’re expected to arrive at their destination – logistics providers can plan for capacity and allocate resources in advance.
This continuous visibility will also help logistics providers keep track of the logistics they provide to customers and optimize their investments in future technology.
Enhanced Fleet Management
With the logistics industry becoming more and more complex, logistics providers need to have the ability to manage their fleets while also optimizing resources. With this in mind, logistics providers can take advantage of the enhanced visibility offered by new innovations like next-generation networks to better plan for their fleet management activities.
Commercial vehicles have many sensors to monitor the vehicle’s condition and performance to maintain availability and avoid unexpected breakdowns. As 5G networks are strengthened and expanded to reach commercial vehicles in rural areas, the increasing number of mobile devices with access to these networks will improve the visibility for transport vehicle fleets.
Transport Management Systems (TMS) will be able to transmit in real-time to how these assets are directed for the benefit of the supply and demand chain as a whole.
Information will be in abundance within a 5G network. Rather than having more information sources, decision support systems should play an even more prominent role and produce higher precision in the available options. A logistics company could use a decision support system to suggest the best routes for delivering goods, optimizing fuel consumption, and reducing environmental impact.
One significant advantage of having more information at our fingertips is that we will make better decisions with less uncertainty. With so much data available, it becomes easier to identify patterns in past events – which can then be used for predictive decision-making.
The logistics and transportation industries will be able to use this technology in many ways, including optimizing routing efficiency, better forecasting logistics needs, improving supply chain transparency with updated information on the state of goods along the way (including where they are exactly).
Minimizing Supply Chain Risks
It would be pretty challenging to operate logistics and transportation companies without logistics management software, but there are also some problems with this. One problem is that a lot of data in logistics can get outdated quickly because it needs to be constantly updated from various sources such as tracking systems and driver logs. However, when combined with a system like logistics management software, logistics companies can stay one step ahead of any potential problem.
You may be able to track your order’s progress while you’re in town, but the same level of visibility isn’t available for international goods due to the sheer size and scope of this mission. A lack of supply chain visibility is one of the biggest industry challenges. But IoT is here to transform this. Portable Internet-connected trackers that monitor the location and condition of goods in real-time can eliminate such information “black holes.”
These smart devices include battery-operated tracking devices that can be securely attached to containers, trucks, boxes, or on the goods themselves, monitoring the location, temperature, humidity, light, and other vital metrics. They can also be used to deter theft or other such incidents. As such, high-value shipments will be less susceptible to being tampered with during transport, afforded by improved real-time monitoring.
Streamlining Port Operations
One of the logistics industry’s biggest challenges is a more streamlined and efficient way to move goods. These logistics processes are very complicated, which leads to long lines at ports that can lead to delays in shipping and customer complaints about delayed deliveries. For logistics companies to be successful, they need customized approaches tailored to their product mix, supply chain structure, location-specific needs, warehousing activity levels, and shipment volumes.
The use of drones has also been explored by logistics providers such as UPS with plans like using them for final delivery or package sorting at distribution centers. This helps reduce traffic congestion on roads from trucks delivering packages, but there remains much room for improvement reducing what some refer to as “last mile delivery,” which represents the final leg of a logistics supply chain.
To summarize: logistics and transportation will be significantly impacted by the introduction of new technology such as mobile application development, logistics, and transportation management, etc.
For example, introducing new technology will help logistics managers enhance visibility on their mobile assets through augmented reality applications that leverage camera views for a better understanding of the logistics world around them. It will also minimize supply chain risks by leveraging connectivity in rural areas while improving logistics.
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