Every ProMat show has its buzzwords. This year, one of the top phrases being bandied about the show floor has to be the "Internet of Things" (IoT).
In a move that will likely only bolster that buzz, Zebra Technologies and Forrester Consulting released a study Tuesday that showed that 96 percent of the transportation and logistics companies surveyed agree that the IoT is the most strategic technological initiative their organization will undertake this decade. The survey also found that 90 percent of the companies either have deployed IoT solutions or plan to deploy them within a year. The findings were based on a survey of IT and business decision makers from nearly 600 global companies.
The Internet of Things can be defined as a network of physical objects embedded with smart technology that can communicate with other physical objects and the Internet. "IoT solutions provide operational and actionable data on the location and condition of tracked objects," says Jim Hilton, senior director, global manufacturing principal, for Zebra. Examples of how the Internet of Things can be used in the warehouse include tracking the location and condition of assets such as forklift trucks and making sure that when you're building a load in a staging area, all of the shipments for the load remain together even if the load is moved elsewhere in the staging area.
The level of consensus that the survey found among actual end users surprised even Mark Wheeler, director of supply chain solutions for Zebra, who has been involved in the mobile and smart device market for many years. Zebra creates real-time locating systems, a key technology for IoT implementations. At its ProMat booth this week, Zebra is highlighting these solutions, including the new ZQ500 mobile printer series, which can be used to print proof-of-delivery documents.
To see an infographic detailing some of the key findings of the study, click here.