Norbert Riepl


Ones and zeros: Data conquers logistics

Everyone is talking about the Internet of Things (IoT). Everybody wants to get in somehow. But how does it work? What advantages does IoT offer companies? And why does a digital data marketplace change logistics?

The Picture shows different variations of the logistic industry

Data are the gold nuggets of he Internet of Things. © DTAG

The deeper the Internet of Things is implemented in business processes, the greater the benefits. Data plays a key role here. As companies gain access to more data about their own products and internal systems, they can better identify critical points and make changes or corrections. The logistics industry, in particular, is benefiting from this development.

Where does this data come from?

Sensors are the secret kings of the IoT. They record all possible states of a production line and its products in delivery: Are there enough materials available or do they have to be resupplied? Is the delivery currently being moved? Where is it located? For sensitive goods: Were there any shocks? Has the cold chain been interrupted? For a pallet or a supply chain, perhaps around 100 data records will be generated. That doesn't sound much. But the European Pallet Association (EPAL) alone moves around 500 million pallets in Europe. This gives you an idea of the amount of data that is generated worldwide. These data volumes require a central platform such as Deutsche Telekom's Data Intelligence Hub. It manages the data sovereignly, distributes it in a targeted manner and even monetizes it.

External influences impair the supply chain

The aim of the logistics industry is to deliver goods in perfect condition at the agreed time. The example of container liner shipping shows how complex this can be. Shanghai - Hamburg is the busiest container route in the world. But the actual travel time is still difficult to predict. According to an analysis by Sea Intel, only 74.5 percent of all container transports arrive on time. Arrival times are often a guessing game. Weather, long handling times in ports or traffic jams in canals can delay arrival by up to twenty days. And this with a standard journey time of around thirty days. Regarding the supply chain, the subsequent transport by rail or truck is therefore difficult to plan. With the travel times of past years, current weather and traffic data, for example from the Suez Canal, analysis tools can calculate arrival times almost exactly to the day. The mass of data to be considered from all channels is the necessary feed for these AI solutions or algorithms. The Data Intelligence Hub collects and provides such data.

Own data at the competitor: a disaster?

Every company has its own IT-solution, so many companies have many IT-solutions. However, comprehensive access to the data is not always possible and for the most part not desired. In addition, the perceived as well as the actual security of the data suppliers plays an important role. Companies want to remain in control of their own data. They want to determine who accesses it, when and for what purpose. A data trustee is needed to enable data exchange. At best, this should not be a competitor in the industry. Deutsche Telekom is neutral and not a competitor. It offers high security standards and a German legal framework.

What can the Data Intelligence Hub help us do?

The purpose of a data platform - as can be seen from the example of the city of Bonn - is not limited to logistics. The objective must be to create an ecosystem. Participants from different industries and needs benefit from data fusion and controlled exchange. Trust in the platform operator is a key factor in persuading participants to share data and to implement such plans on a large scale.

Image Transport an Logistics

Transport and Logistics

The transport and logistics sector benefits from digitization and gives it impetus.