Logistics

A wide variety of opportunities for IoT

by Nikita VLASOV

Asset tracking and fleet management markets are still fragmented, and populated by a great may players. Telecom operators occupy a strong position on the value chain, thanks to their control over connectivity. But they are likely to face sizeable competition from platform suppliers and automakers.

Growing demand for tracking solutions

The asset tracking market relies on a range of connectivity technologies, depending on the applications. The means of transport (lorry, plane, ship) and the connected objects in use (pallets, containers) are the main IoT use cases for logistics today.

As it stands, however, only vehicles are truly connected. Objects employ the vehicle’s connectivity and often use barcodes, RFID and short-range technologies like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Asia-Pacific currently represents the largest IoT logistics market, followed by Europe and North America. Their lead over other regions is expected to continue to widen in the coming years.

The logistics market’s main customers are the manufacturing and automotive industries, each of which represents around 20% of the market.

Asset tracking market enjoying strong growth, especially in Asia-Pacific

Progression of the number of smart objects in use for logistics, by region

Source : IDATE DigiWorld in "World IoT markets

A fragmented market open to competition

Logistics is a fragmented market, employing several business models and different levels of commodification, depending on the end customer’s desire to outsource management of their logistics.

The market’s top players are logistics pure players, device and platform suppliers for tracking assets, telcos and vehicle manufacturers. Each has a different set of opportunities:

  • Pure players are focusing on several vertical applications and real value proposition, i.e. asset management.
  • Telecom operators are already well positioned in this market, and reach a large clientele as they have cornered the market on connectivity products.
  • Vehicle manufacturers can improve their solutions with integrated modules, and create offers that include fleet management by default.

A fragmented market open to competition

Logistics sector value chain

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Source : IDATE DigiWorld in "Asset tracking and fleet management"

Traceability: a vital part of the supply chan

OCEASOFT's LoRaWAN cold chain solution

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Source : OCEASOFT

Tracking non-connected assets as an alternative

Although the development of asset tracking is good news for the connected objects market, some alternative technological solutions could limit the scale and pace of IoT tracking solutions’ adoption.

Marine vessel tracking is also seen as a key use case for satellite coverage. But other solutions can be considered, using other types of connectivity. AIS technology, which was originally designed to prevent collisions between ships, is being used more and more for other services, particularly for tracking maritime vessels and their merchandise.

Asset tracking can also be performed without a connected object, using a simple mobile application that is employed by hauliers, with not direct link with the vehicle or the goods to be tracked. A prime example is the Shippeo application, which can operate with or without tracking gear, and enables real time monitoring of deliveries.

Alternative monitoring solutions without connecting each object

AIS system services and potential customers

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Source : IDATE DigiWorld from exactEarth

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