@DXWorldExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Mobile IoT, Linux Containers, @CloudExpo, @DXWorldExpo

@ThingsExpo: Article

Internet of Things Doing Some Heavy Lifting (IoT)

The supply chain is the primary driver of the explosive expansion of M2M applications

In the last decade, the "Internet of Things" has expanded from a small set of assets with first-generation radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to a proliferation of devices using a variety of wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies. By some estimates, there are as many as 10 billion M2M devices deployed worldwide today, expected to grow to a ubiquitous 30 billion by the end of this decade.[1]

The power of M2M lies in its ability to capture, transmit and analyze asset data automatically - without human intervention - and inform business decisions that increase operational efficiencies, improve service capabilities and save money.

The supply chain is the primary driver of the explosive expansion of M2M applications, accounting for as much as 40% of revenue growth in the M2M market.[2] It's no wonder: manufacturers, distributors and retailers - especially those with large-scale enterprises - have long regarded supply chain optimization as a critical competitive differentiator.

One example of an M2M technology undergoing a surge of adoption across global supply chains is a wireless Vehicle Management System (VMS) for industrial trucks, such as forklifts.

Demand Drivers for VMS
Powered industrial trucks are the heart of material handling operations in the supply chain, and the cost of owning and operating an industrial truck - including fully burdened operator labor - can exceed $250,000 per vehicle per year in a three-shift operation. For an enterprise with 500 vehicles and a typical two-shift operation, the annual budget to run the fleet can exceed $80 million.

In addition to operator labor, the major costs associated with industrial trucks include acquisition (purchase or lease); damage (to facilities and products, as well as the vehicles themselves); maintenance; energy to power the vehicles; and a variety of direct and indirect costs related to injuries caused by vehicle accidents.

Industrial trucks are also the object of extensive governmental safety regulations, detailed in Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standard number 1910.178.

What Does a VMS Do?
A Vehicle Management System is fundamentally about controlling the use of equipment and linking all vehicle activity to the operator. With that foundation, a VMS establishes accountability for equipment use, enforces powered vehicle safety regulations, and generates asset utilization metrics that can be used as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for material handling.

More specifically, a VMS can improve productivity by ensuring that equipment is available to work in the proper place at the right time, tracking fleet utilization (e.g., peak vehicle usage over time), measuring operator productivity (e.g., time logged into vehicles vs. time paid, and time actively working vs. time logged in), and benchmarking best-practice KPIs for equipment usage.

A VMS also helps enforce workplace safety policies by restricting vehicle access only to trained, authorized personnel, and by requiring operators to complete an electronic safety inspection checklist prior to using equipment. In addition, a VMS typically incorporates an impact sensing system that enables management to automate responses to vehicle accidents.

VMS systems typically deliver a return on investment by: (1) reducing damage to vehicles, facilities, and goods; (2) reducing or avoiding vehicle acquisition costs by justifying decreases in fleet size; (3) optimizing fleet maintenance controls to reduce maintenance costs; (4) eliminating costs traditionally associated with monitoring and enforcing safety policies; and (5) increasing productivity and justifying a reduction or reallocation of labor.

25 Years Ago, WMS...Today, VMS
A quarter-century ago, Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) emerged in the global supply chain to help manage inventory, order processing, and shipping. Within a decade, WMS had been deployed by many forward-looking organizations. Today, if a Fortune 1000 company with material handling operations has not deployed a WMS, it is almost certainly lagging behind its competitors.

VMS for industrial trucks is in an evolutionary stage similar to where WMS was a decade ago. Many progressive and respected supply chains have deployed VMS - users include some of the world's largest auto makers, consumer packaged goods companies, food producers, government organizations, industrial manufacturers, and retailers. Looking at the pace of WMS adoption is a precedent, VMS technology can be expected to proliferate rapidly, and any organization with sizable material handling operations will be at a competitive disadvantage if it does not use VMS.


  1. "More Than 30 Billion Devices Will Wirelessly Connect to the Internet of Everything in 2020," ABI Research, May, 2013.
  2. "Assessing Mobile Network Operator Capabilities and Opportunities in M2M," Matthew Hatton, M2M Summit, September, 2012

More Stories By Greg Smith

Greg Smith is Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications at I.D. Systems, a leading provider of wireless M2M asset management solutions. He has more than 25 years of experience in technology product development, and has published dozens of articles on technology solutions in both national media and trade publications. Greg has been involved in IoT technology deployments — specifically wireless vehicle management systems (VMS) for industrial trucks — with companies such as Ford Motor Company, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Target, Toyota, and Wal-Mart, among others. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@BigDataExpo Stories
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term.
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
With privacy often voiced as the primary concern when using cloud based services, SyncriBox was designed to ensure that the software remains completely under the customer's control. Having both the source and destination files remain under the user?s control, there are no privacy or security issues. Since files are synchronized using Syncrify Server, no third party ever sees these files.
"We are an integrator of carrier ethernet and bandwidth to get people to connect to the cloud, to the SaaS providers, and the IaaS providers all on ethernet," explained Paul Mako, CEO & CTO of Massive Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
I believe that this may finally be the year that the CIO role ‘crosses the Rubicon,' leaving behind its traditional, IT-focused orientation. But I don't believe that either of the previous predictions of this outcome — fading into oblivion or rising to a business executive level — is correct. Instead, I think this is the year that we will see the role of the CIO transformed into something altogether different.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, is an accomplished digital business executive with extensive global expertise as a strategist, technologist, innovator, marketer, and communicator. For over 30 years across five continents, he has built success with Fortune 500 corporations, vendors, governments, and as a leading research analyst and consultant.
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, shared examples from a wide range of industries – including en...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Rodrigo Coutinho is part of OutSystems' founders' team and currently the Head of Product Design. He provides a cross-functional role where he supports Product Management in defining the positioning and direction of the Agile Platform, while at the same time promoting model-based development and new techniques to deliver applications in the cloud.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
delaPlex is a global technology and software development solutions and consulting provider, deeply committed to helping companies drive growth, revenue and marketplace value. Since 2008, delaPlex's objective has been to be a trusted advisor to its clients. By redefining the outsourcing industry's business model, the innovative delaPlex Agile Business Framework brings an unmatched alliance of industry experts, across industries and functional skillsets, to clients anywhere around the world.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.