Bad connections threaten communications revolution says satellite firm
28 / 11 / 2017
Lack of high-speed connections to monitor assets in remote areas could lead to logistics businesses missing out on the benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT) according to a survey by global mobile satellite company, Inmarsat.
While the technology has the potential to revolutionise the logistics industry, with intelligent sensors gathering data on the behaviour of vehicles and cargo or monitoring temperature and vibration, traditional terrestrial communication networks may not be up to scratch.
Logistics businesses must work with strategic partners to ensure they have reliable, continuous connectivity that enables them to track their assets around the world.
The research suggests that while almost all transportation and logistics organisations believe that IoT needs reliable, ubiquitous connectivity, many are still struggling to achieve it.
Some 40% identified connectivity issues as one of the biggest challenges, with only IoT skills (54%) and the integration of IoT technology (43%) seen as more problematic. Worryingly, says Inmarsat, 28% stated that connectivity issues threatened to derail their IoT deployments before they had even begun.
Director of transport at Inmarsat Enterprise, Mike Holdsworth, commented: “Increasing complexity brings with it new risks and uncertainties, and creates a pressing need for logistics businesses to increase their visibility over the supply chain and make efficiencies, which is where IoT can help.
"If you can monitor cargo from its point of production to its point of delivery, you can cut down on wastage, understand and adapt levels of supply and ensure security. With a combination of IoT sensor technologies, such as radio frequency identification tags, Bluetooth low energy and low power wide area networks the movement of goods and things can become more efficient.”
However, the remote location of transport routes clearly poses a challenge for logistics businesses. Terrestrial communication networks may be reliable enough on parts of any given route, meaning that cargo may enter communications blackspots when they are at most risk – in remote and potentially hazardous environments.
Holdsworth added: “Working with our partners, Inmarsat L-band services provide global satellite connectivity with up to 99.9% uptime for efficient, global solutions for fleet and cargo management. With our global connectivity solutions, we are enabling IoT projects to thrive, even in the most remote and hostile environments."