“The IoT is removing mundane repetitive tasks or creating things that just weren’t possible before, enabling more people to do more rewarding tasks and leaving the machines to do the repetitive jobs.” —
Grant Notman, Head of Sales and Marketing, Wood & Douglas
The rise of Internet based E-Commerce – a term that pre 2000’s wasn’t especially widely used - has caused a huge surge in European companies buying up properties for logistics purposes. We order our greetings cards online, our groceries, our clothing, our holidays and our electronics. It is clear to see how post-modern individualistic consumption has caused not only a huge growth in E-Commerce but in technology and the interconnectivity of it.
Investors (in Europe) pumped €19.8bn into properties such as warehousing and distribution hubs in 2014, a seven-year high and a 34 per cent jump year on year as companies scramble to adapt to evolving supply chains and developers position themselves to profit from the thriving sector.
Joel Lewin FT.com
The online software containing advanced bidding mechanisms to markets and listings that have facilitated these changes are no new phenomena, rather the scale of use and how we use them that has been embraced from Europe to Asia. The ubiquity of the personal handheld computer, the smart phone has led to a change in behaviours and heralds a new spontaneous, outsourced and vertically integrated digital system.
Smart Mobile Phone
How compelling - and worthy of contextualisation - is the notion that technologies and digital platforms affect changes in our society, and in the material world. The internet of things details a unique interconnectivity between IP registered devices that presents not only a revolutionary technology but a wholly innovative approach to the application of this technology in the real world, effecting processes in our ever-day lives.
The Internet of Things
“If you think that the internet has changed your life, think again. The IoT is about to change it all over again!”
Brendan O’Brien, Chief Architect & Co-Founder, Aria Systems
The acquisitions these vast sites are solely for the purposes of supply. It reflects a gradual yet scalable, monumental change in the process of goods being produced and delivered to the end consumer. However the statement I have just made is mis-leading as this represents more traditional, well-rehearsed ways we think about using the internet to ease our purchasing and this will always be so.
However the internet of things (iot) heralds a wholly new era in the way we use apps, smart phones and the internet to connect. Think of a smart fridge that is programmed to inform you on which food groups you are running low on. That is then received through your mobile phone and then, pending your approval, it will order new stocks that are delivered to your home. Whether the delivery process will be made automated by drone technology is another question entirely, however to be close minded in our speculation of this technology must be considered ignorant to the rate and complexity of change worldwide.
In the context of the logistics industry the Internet and e-commerce technology has seen some firms implement warehouse automation. Yes, robotic warehouse automation is a reality, even if, admittedly it is only for companies that can afford such huge expenditure, and for the scale of these companies operation – a very economical, future proof decision indeed.
Also we have seen the prevalence of interconnected fork-lift trucks increase. Connected to systems they will inform the operator - who is not necessarily in the fork-lift truck cab – of the exact status of the good and in which allotted, pre-programmed slot the good is. For the consumer they know live details as soon as it has been picked of the shelf, its status and nature etc.
The prospect of full automation across a European warehouse and logistics infrastructure is as futuristic as it - in practice - must be seemingly eerie. Kiva Systems are pioneering and have implemented exactly that.
What if every item in your warehouse could walk and talk on its own?
This is the vision that drives the Kiva Mobile-robotic Warehouse Automation System - a complete order fulfilment solution that encompasses inventory control, forward replenishment, picking, packing, shipping sortation, finishing, and quality control to simultaneously improve productivity, speed, accuracy and flexibility.
Innovations in the way we use technology will only gain momentum as we move into the second half of this decade. From fork-lift trucks to fridges Hitec enjoys keeping up with innovations, past and present and in particular in relation to the logistics sector.
The year 2015 has been depicted in media artefacts of film and TV of our childhoods, and living in what - to directors then - was a far-flung age situates us in a post-time. And in the most innovative parts of the world people are re-modelling technological applications to our lives and significating the use of this technology.
By Joseph Harvey