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5G & logistics: simplifying an increasingly complex industry

The impact of 5G technology in logistics

Transport and logistics have become increasingly complex over the last years, pushed by the growth of ecommerce and forcing supply chains to completely transform to meet new challenges. Eventhough, the digital management of logistics was already growing significantly with 4G, the advent of 5G opens up a whole new set of opportunities.  Additionally, in an attempt to predict future performance and optimize operational efficiencies, more companies are shifting toward a data-driven mindset in their decision making which requires the collection and analysis of a large swath of data, some in real-time. In this sense, 5G, with all its improved features in data transmission, is going to revolutionize the process of how goods get from factory to customer through next-gen fleet management, asset tracking and last-mile delivery.  Let’s make a brief review on how 5G is going to impact this industry.

Fleet Management

Traditionally, companies have been using physical devices plugged into each vehicle together with telematics tools to plot and track driving times and routes.  With 5G solutions, much more functionality can be enabled like providing services, dynamic rerouting of vehicles based on real-time shipment data and weather conditions or get insights into driver behavior, route efficiency and fuel efficiency. 

Asset Tracking

Consumers are getting familiar with having the ability to track everything in real time, from their takeout order to important, personal documents.  Supply chain visibility has always been a challenge for the logistics industry. In this sense, 5G and IoT are capable of revolutionizing the sector with connected trackers that monitor real-time location and the condition of shipments, pallets and individual goods throughout the entire supply chain. As a consequence, theft risks can be minimized resulting in better efficiencies and avoiding economic losses.

Autonomous trucks on public roads

We have been seeing the development of the autonomous car aimed at private individuals, but this is also being applied to trucks.  The use of autonomous trucks will revolutionize logistics in shifting from labor-intensive processes to a lean and efficient operation. 5G, with its extremely low latency, is a key enabler for autonomous trucks on public roads where every millisecond: The less time it takes for an autonomous truck to make a decision, the safer the roads, and the more reliable the deliveries.

Faster and safer port operations

Pilots have begun in some ports to test a 5G-based digital platform. Sensors, cameras and devices are connected to a network to form an integrated communications system and create an intelligent transportation system, where smart unmanned ground vehicles are able to automatically load and unload as well as broadcast their cargo inventory information so that they can gain access into controlled areas. The backbone of the system rests on a fast, reliable and high-bandwidth connection that is possible only with 5G’s speed and performance.

Last-Mile Delivery

Last-mile delivery has always been one of the greatest challenges in logistics.  Efficiency is one of them and some applications of the 5G technology will be the use of 5G-enabled drones for local deliveries.  Additionally, with the rise of ecommerce tracking and delivering goods to end customers has become more granular providing yet another opportunity for 5G to step in and make the process more efficient.

Better Customer Service

Using 5G in combination with artificial intelligence will allow increased levels of automation across all stages of a cloud-based supply network through the aggregation and analysis of data from production, logistics and sales channels.  This information could provide predictive planning data in order to reduce lead times. Looking at the bigger picture, a transformed supply chain using smart product tags could also use 5G to help ensure security, quality control, customer follow-up and after-sales service—and perhaps also facilitate environmentally friendly disposal at the very end of the product’s journey. So the breakthrough 5G technology can bring to the logistics industry is enormous. The improvements in efficiency and accuracy of information in real time will lead to a totally renewed industry.  Alaian wants to be part of this breakthrough, that’s why it’s supporting the development of disruptive technologies that will shape the future of logistics.
5G & logistics: simplifying an increasingly complex industry

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