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Kathleen Martin

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is already transforming supply chains, from asset tracking to inventory management to warehouse and fleet operations. There are more than 10 billion IoT devices operating today, and in the next decade, experts project an additional 15 billion devices will come online. IoT devices have the potential to tell supply chain managers where assets are, keep employees safer onsite and yield valuable data that can be used to eliminate logistics bottlenecks and ensure product quality.
But to date, the limitations of wired and conventional/ disposable battery-powered solutions have made the deployment of IoT challenging. It has been dramatically slow in adoption of intermodal tracking. When products leave the manufacturing site, there’s often no visibility into location until products are received inside a distribution center. Technologies such as wireless power will transform the supply chain by closing that gap, and giving supply chain managers more insight into the conditions the product encounters along the way that may affect quality or safety.
Wired power and conventional batteries won’t allow IoT to reach full potential
Currently, most IoT devices in the supply chain are powered by electricity delivered via wire or batteries that have to be changed or charged up using traditional cords, disposable batteries or charging pads. Delivering electricity to sensors through conventional wiring tethers devices, which limits where and how they can be deployed, making their use impractical for supply chain applications that involve moving products.
Disposable batteries don’t tether devices, but they are expensive to deploy at scale, and their manufacture has many negative environmental impacts, plus they can leak toxins and corrosive materials if not properly recycled. It’s also expensive and inefficient for workers to replace batteries at points along the supply chain. Labor costs are an issue with rechargeable batteries too; employees have to place them on wired charging pads, which is impractical when products are in transit.
Even with these power-related limitations, IoT has changed how supply chain managers keep track of goods. Supply chain managers currently use sensors to monitor products in the cold chain and keep track of assets in warehouses. But, real wireless power is poised to have an even more transformative effect, making intermodal asset tracking a reality.  
Innovations in truck trailer tracking point to wirelessly powered future
There’s one recent innovation that illustrates how real wireless power can be a gamechanger. Tracking truck trailers at giant distribution centers has long been a significant challenge. Distribution centers that serve huge retailers or logistics companies can occupy several square miles and receive hundreds of trucks per day, making it hard to precisely track dropped trailers in rows of nearly identical containers.
Continue reading: https://www.sdcexec.com/software-technology/supply-chain-visibility/article/21603100/ossia-how-real-wireless-power-will-transform-the-supply-chain
 

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