Cargo to open doors to change by 2020

IoT and voice AI-en­abled smart de­vices and sys­tems, ware­house drones and strate­gic al­liances be­tween air­lines and dis­trib­u­tors will be key to the air freight in­dus­try cap­i­tal­is­ing on the e-com­merce mar­ket, says Venkatesh Pazhya­nur, Se­nior In­dus­try Directo

Cargo Talk - - Report - Se­nior In­dus­try Di­rec­tor of Freight So­lu­tions, Unisys Venkatesh Pazhya­nur CT BUREAU

The cargo in­dus­try needs to em­brace dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies from the con­sumer world, in­clud­ing In­ter­net of Things (IoT), dig­i­tal as­sis­tants and drones, to in­crease ef­fi­ciency and meet cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tion for greater trans­parency through­out the sup­ply chain. The Asia Pa­cific air cargo in­dus­try is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing growth and trans­for­ma­tion driven by rapidly in­creas­ing ca­pac­ity sup­ply on pas­sen­ger flights, and the shift to busi­nessto-con­sumer small par­cel ship­ments as a re­sult of e-com­merce. Grow­ing pas­sen­ger de­mand will in­crease the num­ber of pas­sen­ger flights and add to cargo ca­pac­ity sup­ply.

The In­ter­na­tional Air Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion (IATA) ex­pects the num­ber of air pas­sen­gers glob­ally will al­most dou­ble be­tween 2016 and 2035, with the great­est growth in Asia Pa­cific – par­tic­u­larly in China and In­dia. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, the pop­u­lar­ity of e-com­merce is chang­ing the na­ture of cargo ship­ments, in­cre­men­tally in­creas­ing the num­ber of small parcels – which is pre­dicted to grow five per cent an­nu­ally in ma­ture mar­kets and 17 per cent an­nu­ally in China. Po­ten­tial in in­no­va­tion

At Unisys we pre­dict these mar­ket pres­sures will bring in­no­va­tion in three ar­eas in the cargo sup­ply chain: smart ware­houses will be­come even smarter, drones will fi­nally take off in the cargo sup­ply chain – but inside the ware­house, and new al­liances be­tween air­lines and global dis­trib­u­tors will en­able longer term ca­pac­ity man­age­ment. Much of the un­der­ly­ing tech­nolo­gies are al­ready be­ing used in other sec­tors – in­clud­ing the con­sumer world.

But now, more than ever, cargo op­er­a­tors will be forced to em­brace such in­no­va­tion to be more ef­fi­cient, nim­ble and proac­tive in an in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive and price con­scious mar­ket. As per Unisys cargo ex­perts, the fol­low­ing pre­dic­tions will be­come re­al­ity within the next five years or less:

Smart ware­houses, a re­al­ity

To meet the grow­ing de­mand for small par­cel de­liv­er­ies, ware­houses will trans­form from a stor­age lo­ca­tion, to a dy­namic fa­cil­ity us­ing IoT and voice ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence (voice AI) en­abling faster pro­cess­ing of more ship­ments to gen­er­ate a higher re­turn on the realestate in­vest­ment. Just as con­nected wear­able de­vices such as smart­watches are be­com­ing main­stream in the con­sumer world, IoT-based tech­nol­ogy will cre­ate the ‘smart ware­house’ of the fu­ture. Re­cent in­no­va­tions such as smart glasses used to dis­play in­for­ma­tion trig­gered by a bar­code or QR code on a con­tainer3 will be taken to a new level by in­cor­po­rat­ing scan­ners to au­to­mat­i­cally cap­ture and in­put in­for­ma­tion into the ware­house sys­tem, and in­te­grat­ing voice AI to ini­ti­ate ac­tions. Sim­i­lar tech­nol­ogy is al­ready used in dig­i­tal as­sis­tants such as Siri, Cor­tana or Ama­zon Echo. Unisys ex­pects cargo op­er­a­tors to in­vest in con­vert­ing ma­chine com­mands to voice within the next three years.

Drones will be used inside the ware­house

Unisys pre­dicts the more im­me­di­ate ap­pli­ca­tion of drones in the cargo sup­ply chain will be within the con­fined space of ware­houses to con­duct in­ven­tory checks more of­ten and more ac­cu­rately, re­plac­ing the largely man­ual process. Be­yond lo­cat­ing lost or mis­placed items, the drones will use sensors to mon­i­tor en­vi­ron­men­tal in­for­ma­tion such as light or tem­per­a­ture for per­ish­able food, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals or live­stock, and raise alerts to un­usual noise or move­ment that may in­di­cate an­i­mals are in dis­tress. Unisys pre­dicts this within the next 12 months.

To meet the grow­ing de­mand for small par­cel de­liv­er­ies, ware­houses will trans­form from a stor­age lo­ca­tion, to a dy­namic fa­cil­ity

New al­liances

Unisys pre­dicts a fun­da­men­tal move to longer-term rev­enue op­ti­mi­sa­tion based on strate­gic al­liances be­tween air­lines and or­gan­i­sa­tions with large on­go­ing de­liv­ery re­quire­ments such as postal au­thor­i­ties, ma­jor on­line re­tail­ers, global dis­trib­u­tors and sup­ply chain man­age­ment com­pa­nies. This will re­quire air­lines to pro­vide their al­liance part­ners with trans­par­ent real-time ac­cess to avail­able ca­pac­ity and pre­dic­tive an­a­lyt­ics to de­ter­mine best routes based on speed, re­li­a­bil­ity and cost. This ex­pec­ta­tion for vis­i­bil­ity will also ex­tend to the ‘last mile’ of the busi­ness-to-con­sumer cargo sup­ply chain, lead­ing to the de­vel­op­ment of mo­bile apps to al­low the fi­nal re­cip­i­ent to be able to track the ap­proach of their de­liv­ery – sim­i­lar to how con­sumers cur­rently track an ap­proach­ing taxi or Uber.

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