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Transport Industry Laps up IoT, Treads the Transformational Path

A survey conducted by market researcher PAC and sponsored by NIIT Technologies reveals how the Transport Industry across Europe is in the midst of a transformational journey triggered by IoT solutions.

If Your Data doesn't have a Purpose, You are Merely Spinning the Wheels.

Today, the principal issue affecting the transportation industry is no longer development and growth, but rather, managing overgrowth and journey experience.

In Europe, the sector is highly competitive and fragmented where customers are being offered a wide range of affordable commuting options.

For the service providers, however, the competition precipitated the problems of growing operational costs and complex resource management. They had to seek better ways to manage the business and to improve their revenues, while also delighting their customers.

With their willingness to invest in the Internet of Things (IoT)-based solutions, the players in the transportation industry began exploring an IT landscape that could bring in new efficiencies to boost the bottom line of their operations. A growing number of deals were inked on the back of IoT platforms and technologies. The idea was to collect information on the move for actionable insights that would help to improve capacity and asset utilization, energy efficiency, and economic viability of transport systems while improving customer experience.

According to our survey involving 200 C-level executives from transport companies across Europe, 77% believe that IoT will play a pivotal role in driving their business strategy and growth over the coming years. Over 30% of the companies are already transforming their businesses with IoT and 58% have crossed the planning stage and entered IoT implementations.

Transport companies have large fleets of vehicles and a significant portion of their costs go into maintenance that is typically reactive in nature – corrective actions are taken when a fault occurs. This results in unplanned downtime, high callout charges, and customer disappointment.

Once IoT comes into play, it can dramatically leverage the power of data from sensors on interconnected devices to not only detect embryonic asset failures but to eliminate them with a timely action.

The crucial elements that help to foresee faults and impending failures are usually hidden in structured data, such as the year of manufacturing, make- model, and warranty information. Valuable attributes are also found in unstructured data, comprising data from millions of logbook entries, odometer readings, power and torque specs of vehicle engines, and error notifications. Using advanced data analytics, the information revealed by such sources can be converted into significant insights for proactive maintenance of assets in the transportation industry.

A case in the point could be Airbus that builds around 6000 sensors into each A350 aircraft generating 2.5 TB of data, and the newer models expected in service by 2020 will churn out more than thrice that amount. This enables increased maintenance efficiency and better experiences for passengers.

Another example has been set by Hertz that has connected its European vehicles to facilitate hourly rental solutions and offer customers a direct access to the service center, as also the ability to rent a car through a mobile app.

For years, truckers in Europe have been using On-board Diagnostics to track driver hours and real-time location of the vehicles. Railroad companies leverage their IoT data primarily for predictive maintenance of rolling stock.

Maritime companies also employ IoT, with a good example in Maersk. The Denmark-based company connected its refrigerated containers through an IoT solution to gather data comprising temperature, power supply level, and location. This gets analyzed in the cloud and brings results ranging from reduced costs of inspection and more operational efficiency to reduced carbon emissions.

Major Drivers of IoT Initiatives in the Transport Industry

While the examples mentioned above throw light on the ubiquity of IoT and data capture for all major segments of the transportation industry, the factors that drive them to invest in the technology vary. Our study disclosed the following result:

Transport Industry

The most significant factor for a majority of service providers is in achieving a better operational efficiency. This was also identified as one of the major challenges for the transport industry. A similar percentage of respondents in the survey chose to achieve better service levels and to be able to decrease unplanned downtime as the major driver of IoT adoption. This is natural because most companies have narrow margins and typically operate expensive fleets to transport passengers or cargo. They are willing to invest in techniques that help them to service their vehicles efficiently and meet compliance regulations.

What about the Security Factor?

“If you want peace, prepare for war.”

While its growth offers a lot of opportunities and new possibilities such as self-driven cars, the IoT is not yet considered mature or secure. As millions of sensors, hardware endpoints, codes, and supportive infrastructure get added to transportation systems, there will be a significant increase in challenges unmatched by anything we have seen in the past.

There is a continual need for more elaborate processors which will come in bigger packaging and generate more heat. To trim down the weight of processors and batteries, device manufacturers will have to use more exotic materials and superior manufacturing techniques. All of this translates into higher R&D spends, extended time-to-market, and a bigger bill of materials.

At NIIT Technologies, we are aware of these challenges and are already putting together the solutions to make IoT safer and more economical for the transportation industry. Our concepts for the domain are backed by:

  • Focus on security from nascent stage of IoT implementation
  • Lifelong, future-ready updates
  • Measures for device validation and access control
  • Constant vigil against security breaches

Whether it is commuting from home to work or a journey across continents, IoT is transforming the way we travel. As long as we nourish its roots correctly, we can move toward a more customer-centric transportation system where safety and efficiency will also be coupled with profitability for the service providers. Read more about how IoT is in the driving seat of Digital Transformation in Transport. Click here to read the report.

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