IoT, or Internet of Things, is a term used to describe a network of things―devices, appliances, and vehicles, connected using wireless networks that can be utilized and monitored using the internet. You may not think that there’s a network of things that connect us everywhere but every day we’re more connected than the day before. “Virtual assistants” like Alexa have become hugely popular in the last few years, as has home monitoring and security systems and health monitors like FitBits. You can buy trackers to track everything from your child or pet to an elderly person who has Alzheimer’s. You can even buy a fridge with a camera that points inside so you can connect with it while you’re at the grocery store to see if you need milk.
IoT can be used to benefit or improve many industries, including the trucking industry. Shippers, carriers, and drivers alike have been implementing IoT as a way to improve productivity, safety, and logistics.
Electronic Logging Devices
ELDs are a requirement for all trucks. They monitor a driver’s hours ensuring they’re aware and following the mandated Hours of Service and remaining in compliance with the law. ELDs were made a requirement as a way to combat drowsy driving for the safety of drivers and anyone else sharing the road. At first, drivers weren’t happy with “Big Brother” watching their every move but reality is that ELDs save drivers the time of filling out paper logbooks. ELDs that track speed and location can help dispatchers keep drivers on the most efficient, money-saving route.
Geo-fencing is a “virtual fence” that triggers an automatic response when a device enters or exits a specific location. It’s an elaborate form of GPS that gives alerts if the freight is off course which could result in lost time and efficiency.
Smart tags are sensors that can be added to the freight itself that tracks the package in their simplest form or can provide more specific data like whether the package has been opened or tampered with as well as product temperature. This is particularly important in the food industry for perishables and the biopharmaceutical industry where medicines and other biological materials have to be kept at specific temperatures at all times. IoT allows constant monitoring of freight so that drivers and management can be alerted to any changes in temperature that might compromise the cargo.
There are many different sensors that can be used on trucks. Engine and tire data can be used to detect a small maintenance problem before it becomes a big, expensive one. Tire pressure being too low or too high or engine issues can trigger an alert that can avoid a blowout or breakdown. Accelerometers, fuel sensors, tracking, and other sensors can provide vital information to allow the truck to deliver its goods safely and on time. Sensors can provide real-time alerts to hazards or delays and can improve fuel consumption which not only saves the company money on fuel costs but it can also help reduce CO2 emissions which is good for the environment. Better communication between shippers, carriers, and drivers allows everyone to be on the same page and with new technologies ever on the horizon, current IoT solutions are just the beginning.
Another technology used to streamline the shipping process is load boards that allow drivers to search for available loads or for shippers to search for carriers or drivers. Direct Freight Services is a web-based load board that has many helpful features like full credit reports, load filtering, payment expectations, and broker authority information. Whether accessed online or now through our easy-to-use Direct Freight Driver app, Direct Freight helps you find the right loads. Go to DirectFreight.com and start searching for those high-quality loads today!