M2M: The Next Big Wave in Transport & Logistics

by Vineet Malhotra on 2012-12-04

Mr. Vineet MalhotraDemystifying M2M
M2M communications have three dimensions to it, Machine-to-Man, Machine-to-Machine and Machine-to-Mobility apps. This also sums –up the evolution of M2M communications since 19th century. The question is how these aspects influence the world of business / business communication? Which are the industries most affected/ benefitted by these technologies? What is the future likely trend? Finally, where does all the money flow in this scenario?

There is no single answer to these questions as the possibilities of M2M communications are countless. The market for mobility solutions is shifting from consumer/ retail/ wholesale to Enterprises/ SMEs / Manufacturers and is valued to reach at $65 bn by FY2015.

As per an industry analysis of M2M service providers across countries, the following conclusions have been drawn:

 - Transportation & Logistics followed by Utilities & Automotive segments will see highest adoption of M2M services
 - M2M service success depends more on margin rather than on machines.
 - Value is shifting from M2M data delivery to data intelligence.
 - Power is accumulating among enablers of end-to-end M2M service visibility.
 
The question is, if ‘Transportation & Logistics’ segment holds the largest pie for M2M services, what does the complete picture look like?



Current Scenario for Emerging Economies:
Industry experts predict the emergence of new trade corridors between & within Asia, Africa and South America to re-chart global supply chains. It is expected that trade volumes will shift towards emerging markets and least developed countries will take their first steps into the global marketplace. Increasing movement of goods will take place between the trade corridors connecting the emerging world with the developed western nations. And Logistics will play a central role in orchestrating this movement.

However this movement of goods across global trade network will be smooth, timely and at affordable costs only if adequately supported by communication tools. That’s where the M2M communications will plug the current supply chain loop holes existing in the globalized trade lanes.

Future: Machine - to- Machine Collaboration
After globalisation, we are now entering an era of ‘Technology Convergence’.  IT providers need to work closely with the industry players. That’s when they can move from serving plain vanilla IT systems to providing web-based & cloud-based solutions to collaborative IT platforms.

Currently the logistics industry is utilising technology in bits & pieces. For example, Forwarders, Airlines, Airports, Customs are using operational systems which merely automate the processes and are disparate in nature. CFSs/ ICDs and Warehouses are using some operational systems combined with technologies like bar-code scanner, RFID/ GPS solutions. However, more-advanced stakeholders from cargo community are now relying on EDI- based cargo community systems that can connect multi-modal supply chains.

A sophisticated collaborative platform is a scalable & user friendly web portal. There is an increasing demand for better collaborative business processes with greater execution capabilities which is beyond the disparate IT systems currently in use. The next step for IT in Logistics is to bridge the gap between software & mobile apps for the Logistics community.

In coming years, Logistics & Supply Chain businesses need to move to the next level of Machine-2-Machine Communications/ wireless communications. This has the possibility to get efficiency, security, tracking, monitoring, information, connectivity & collaboration for the Transportation industry players. It can also help monitor logistics and minimise economic losses.

Mr. Vineet Malhotra
Senior Vice President
Kale Logistics Solutions Pvt. Ltd.