Can the IoT transform loading operations?

Very interesting case study on using Zebra Technologies’ SmartPack Trailer. this helps loading operations in transportation industry. SmartPack Trailer is designed to use the internet of things (IoT) to give public and private freight and parcel carriers real-time operational visibility into the efficiency of loading trailers, load quality, staff training and safety.

Transporting freight operates at a massive scale in the U.S., most of it hauled by trucks that are the lifeblood of the American economy. But the trailers those trucks are hauling typically have a load efficiency of 70 to 75 percent, says Tom Bianculli, CTO of Zebra Technologies. The remaining 25 to 30 percent is air.

But smart environments powered by the internet of things (IoT) can change that, Bianculli says. Zebra’s new SmartPack Trailer offering, announced at ProMat 2017 in Chicago today, uses sensors on the dock doors of distribution facilities, which peer into each trailer using a combination of 3D depth-sensing technology and a conventional megapixel camera.

The sensors wirelessly feed their data into servers integrated with backend ERP systems, where analytics combine it with other data (e.g., the weight and dimensions of parcels) to optimize loading and to measure load density, trailer fullness, images of loads in progress and number of packages scanned and loaded per hour. The data is fed back to workers on the floor via dashboards on mobile devices.

“We’re able to calculate the volumetric load efficiency, or what the industry calls a ‘cube score,’ in real time,” Bianculli says. “Think of it as a 3 percent to 4 percent improvement on load efficiency as a result of being able to collect this data.”

Article on SmarPack Trailer

For the past several years, it has been helping the National Football League (NFL) turn stadiums into smart environments, providing broadcasters and teams with new and better data. Essentially, Bianculli says, the stadium is the smart environment and the items being tracked are the players on the field.

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