When was the last time you considered a trucking company innovative? Or, better yet, when was the last time you upgraded your transportation company’s technology?
If it’s been even a few years, you may already be behind. New technology isn’t just affecting startups in Silicon Valley. The IoT is already inside foward-thinking transportation and rail companies. It’s making operations more efficient, cost-effective, and data-driven. Early adopters are already reaping the benefits and gaining a growing competitive advantage.
But where are these companies incorporating IoT and how are they using it? Here are four ways the IoT is changing operations in transportation and railroad companies.
1. Optimize Hub Operations with Asset Management
Transportation hubs are some of the best candidates for IoT technology. Companies are installing IoT sensors and applications in their hubs and fleets to improve asset monitoring and optimize hub operations. Their IoT assets provide:
- Real-time tracking
- Environmental monitoring
- Data visualization
Information from IoT sensors is processed and analyzed by machine learning algorithms that package the data into reports and insights. Staff uses the results to optimize cargo, inventories, people, and deliveries. Machine learning also automates assignments for workforce volume optimization.
The results? Lower operating costs, more effective staff schedules, and efficient delivery plans.
2. Improve Fleet Management with Asset Logistics
IoT is equally influential outside of transportation hubs, when assets are in motion. For logistical use, transportation companies are install tablets and other IoT devices in their fleet vehicles to improve data capture. The tablets monitor onboard assets, tools, and parts so management always knows where assets are and who is responsible for them.
Data is sent back to a central IoT application in real-time to ensure everyone is up to date. The information helps generate reports on asset location and status, as well as identify areas where logistics can be improved.
3. Increase Asset Lifespan
For a more in-depth look at asset performance and status, transportation companies are installing IoT sensors that focus not just on hubs and logistics, but on the assets themselves. A type of asset management, such technology uses the IoT to get deeper insights into how assets are performing and if they need maintenance.
Most applications in this field use advanced artificial intelligence algorithms, including machine learning, to process the data. With artificial intelligence, asset management systems can produce actionable analytics that:
- Predict the risk of asset failure
- Make predictive maintenance recommendations
- Visualize asset lifespan
- Simulate the impact of capital spending strategies, including spending on asset maintenance and new asset acquisition
As the system calculates the likelihood of asset failure, teams can service assets before problems occur. The result is predictive maintenance that solves problems before they happen, but only when needed. Compared to estimated pre-scheduled maintenance plans, predictive maintenance is less labor intensive, reducing workload and improving asset lifespan.
4. Reduce the Impact of Water Events
Water events like flooding can cause significant problems for railroad companies. They delay trains, damage infrastructure, and wreak havoc on delivery schedules, all of which negatively affect business results.
To alleviate the problem, larger IoT companies are developing specialized applications to help railroads respond to water events. Each application starts by gathering data on:
- Past water events
- Weather forecasts
- Ground elevation
AI algorithms review the information and send alerts so railroad companies can pinpoint water event risk down to the milepost, with up to 72 hours advance notice. The warning helps railroads adjust schedules, plan alternative routes, and get maintenance out to damaged infrastructure faster so the business is more likely to meet its targets.
IoT Technology is Giving Transportation and Rail Companies a Competitive Advantage
Railroads and transportation companies are modernizing their fleets, hubs, and analytics with the same technology that’s moving major tech companies forward – and the results are significantly impacting businesses. IoT devices and the data they collect can greatly improve operations, resulting in reduced costs, more efficient management, and increased profits.
If your transportation company is still using older technology, it’s likely time for an upgrade. By keeping up with the competition and using next-gen IoT applications, you can improve your business and gain a competitive advantage.