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

@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.

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudbric, a leading website security provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudbric is an elite full service website protection solution specifically designed for IT novices, entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses. First launched in 2015, Cloudbric is based on the enterprise level Web Application Firewall by Penta Security Sys...
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Rapid innovation, changing business landscapes, and new IT demands force businesses to make changes quickly. In the eyes of many, containers are at the brink of becoming a pervasive technology in enterprise IT to accelerate application delivery. In this presentation, you'll learn about the: The transformation of IT to a DevOps, microservices, and container-based architecture What are containers and how DevOps practices can operate in a container-based environment A demonstration of how Docke...
Enterprises have been using both Big Data and virtualization for years. Until recently, however, most enterprises have not combined the two. Big Data's demands for higher levels of performance, the ability to control quality-of-service (QoS), and the ability to adhere to SLAs have kept it on bare metal, apart from the modern data center cloud. With recent technology innovations, we've seen the advantages of bare metal erode to such a degree that the enhanced flexibility and reduced costs that ...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Governments around the world are adopting Safe Harbor privacy provisions to protect customer data from leaving sovereign territories. Increasingly, global companies are required to create new instances of their server clusters in multiple countries to keep abreast of these new Safe Harbor laws. Is it worth it? In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Adam Rogers, Managing Director of Anexia, Inc., will discuss how to keep your data legal and still stay in business.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
In the 21st century, security on the Internet has become one of the most important issues. We hear more and more about cyber-attacks on the websites of large corporations, banks and even small businesses. When online we’re concerned not only for our own safety but also our privacy. We have to know that hackers usually start their preparation by investigating the private information of admins – the habits, interests, visited websites and so on. On the other hand, our own security is in danger bec...
Successful transition from traditional IT to cloud computing requires three key ingredients: an IT architecture that allows companies to extend their internal best practices to the cloud, a cost point that allows economies of scale, and automated processes that manage risk exposure and maintain regulatory compliance with industry regulations (FFIEC, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, FISMA). The unique combination of VMware, the IBM Cloud, and Cloud Raxak, a 2016 Gartner Cool Vendor in IT Automation, provides a co...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Embotics, the cloud automation company, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Embotics is the cloud automation company for IT organizations and service providers that need to improve provisioning or enable self-service capabilities. With a relentless focus on delivering a premier user experience and unmatched customer support, Embotics is the fas...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Niagara Networks will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Niagara Networks offers the highest port-density systems, and the most complete Next-Generation Network Visibility systems including Network Packet Brokers, Bypass Switches, and Network TAPs.
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.