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Global transport sector faces IoT challenge

September 8, 2017

A global study from Inmarsat has found that while transport businesses expect Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to revolutionise the industry, many lack the skills and processes required to extract maximum value from the data they generate.

Market research company Vanson Bourne interviewed respondents from 100 large transport companies around the world for Inmarsat’s The Future of IoT in Enterprise – 2017 report, which found that organisations from the sector have high hopes for IoT data. Around half will use it to monitor environmental changes (54 per cent) and speed up their time to market (48 per cent), 44 per cent will use it to better manage their assets, and 28 per cent will use it to monitor and improve health and safety.

However, the report also identified a number of challenges that transportation businesses must overcome to unlock the full value of IoT-generated data. Forty per cent stated that they would need additional analytical/data science skills to successfully deliver IoT and in over half (55 per cent) of cases data gathered through IoT solutions was not currently shared throughout the organisation, being restricted to departments directly related to IoT development and deployment.

Data windfall

Commenting on the findings, Mike Holdsworth, Director of Transport at Inmarsat Enterprise, said: “The transport sector stands to be one of the primary beneficiaries from the windfall of data coming its way from IoT. Digital exhaust, the data generated by people’s online actions, can be an important source of intelligence for transport companies, and as rollout of Wi-Fi on planes, trains and other public places continues, ever more data sets will become available.

“Furthermore, data generated by sensors placed on cargo, vehicles, employees and places has the potential to fuel a revolution in the sector. But while the industry has long leveraged passenger data to dynamically manage routing and calculate fuel requirements, many of our transport respondents haven’t yet mastered their approach to the data generated by connected things.

“Experimentation and innovation with IoT can only ignite when the right people can see the data generated by sensors and apply it to their specific challenges. However, in half of cases in the transport sector, access to IoT data is restricted to departments directly related to the deployment. This is a missed opportunity and suggests that many transport companies may be limiting the scope of their transformations.”

Competitive advantage

Mike concluded: “IoT is the driving force behind digital transformation in the sector and the technology will play an increasingly important role in helping transportation and logistics companies achieve a competitive advantage.

“Working with partners, Inmarsat is delivering effective solutions for fleet management across road and rail platforms globally. Positioning and telemetry comes naturally to us. By combining our heritage in critical connectivity with LoRaWAN technology and data analytics platforms that allow for the free-flow of data across organisations, we are helping to ensure transportation companies get ahead of the competition.”

IoT is changing the way that businesses operate, but it is dependent upon reliable connectivity. Many of the locations that would benefit most from IoT technologies are remote and are situated where terrestrial networks do not reach, or do not work well all of the time. Inmarsat provides global satellite connectivity with up to 99.99% uptime, allowing IoT projects to thrive even in the most remote and hostile environments.

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