From a biochip transponder planted in an animal to track its vitals, to devices with IP addresses that transmit commands machine to machine (M2M). The future is coming in a wave. And that wave is the Internet of Things (IoT). Maybe you’ve read about food delivered to your front door, without ever placing an order. Or a car with sensors that can self diagnose and fix problems. Over here at Barton, it’s a whole new world to consider about how this technology will impact our industry.

First, let’s talk about dispatching and driver updates. Right now, this is a manual process. We call the drivers, the shippers and get status updates the same way we have for over 50 years. But already the IoT technologies being installed in smart phones are enabling real time, continual status of driver location. In essence, we’ll be able to get status updates all day long, whenever we choose to click and view. This is an exciting prospect for Barton Logistics because it means we can cover more loads, be more proactive and more responsive while keeping overhead down.

Next, IoT technology is making our world a lot safer. Trucks log a lot of hours on the road and the only time, really, anyone knows of maintenance issues is when the truck goes in for services. Then, it gets hooked up to a diagnostic system that shows what’s working and what’s not. But now companies are equipping trucks with computers and sensors that track and monitor engine performance and maintenance issues continually. This is a boon for the industry because not only does it make trucks safer, it identifies small problems before they become big ones. That saves money and time in the long run.

IoT in early tests with some companies is enhancing fuel efficiency too. Even single digit savings when extrapolated over a whole fleet can save; i.e., make a company millions. When this continually monitored engine efficiency is sent back to the corporate office engineers, they can make minor engine adjustments on the fly to save fuel.

Platooning trucks also requires IoT technology to make sure communication happens between 1) the driver sitting in his or her cab to the platoon of trucks on the road. And 2) truck-to-truck within the group. While its hard to envision small time operators sitting in their living rooms in control a platoon of trucks (due to Internet availability issues and a lack of redundancies within residential internet ISPs), companies with fast Internet connections will be able to haul more loads with fewer people, increasing profits.

This technology is here and it is happening fast. According to the Wall Street Journal, about 50 billion devices will be Internet enabled by 2020. Today there are just 15 billion. And the Internet of Things is projected to generate tremendous value in the $1.9 trillion trucking and logistics sector.

This is big a business looking at big change. But at Barton Logistics, we embrace change. We are always looking to the future asking the question: What can we do to make sure Life is better with Barton? We believe IoT technology is one answer. And for that reason, we’re on board.

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