A prominent example is Industry 4.0, which originated in Germany and has now achieved global resonance. The term refers to the fourth industrial revolution, which has the potential to transform value chains and significantly impact the business models of key industries. It is a platform that enables the sharing of information amongst all parties in the value chain, resulting in a system in which processes are fully integrated and information can be exchanged in real-time.
A potential realisation of this development is a "smart" factory: a flexible production facility with the potential to fulfill custom, single-unit orders at a unit cost comparable to mass production. This requires an integration of not only the plants and equipment themselves but also the materials they process andparts they produce. Such a system would manage its own systems and processes intuitively, in which people merely monitor and intervene where necessary.
At IoT Asia 2015, Dr Balakrishnan spoke of how the falling unit price of each IoT node will fuel the explosion in the number of smart objects with hyper connectivity. He also warned that those nations who do not prepare now will face major disruptions and be left behind. Singapore is technologically advanced enough to lead the world in many niche segments. One of its major strengths is the integration of microtechnologies into products, such as with photonics.
Customs of the future
Even though digitisation is moving forward at a breakneck pace, one of the things that threatens to slow down its momentum, if left unchecked, is the lack of defined or established standards. This is how important data standardisation is, as without standards, devices cannot communicate with one another.
According to "The Internet of Things in Logistics," a 2015 report by DHL and Cisco, the operational efficiency of logistics processes could be greatly enhanced in the next ten years if the Internet of Things is used to integrate millions of shipped, tracked, and stored goods in real time. It also sees a potential of US$1.9 trillion in revenue growth and cost savings for the supply chain and logistics industry in the coming ten years.
With warehousing, the integration of pallets and goods offers the potential for smarter inventory management. In goods transport, the IoT provides faster, more reliable shipment tracking with greater transparency. Applying analytics to an integrated fleet could make it possible to automatically control maintenance intervals and eliminate unplanned vehicle breakdowns.
As the logistics industry continues to unlock and achieve higher levels of operational efficiency with the further development of the IoT, we can begin to imagine the ease and efficiency of customs clearance in the future. Every article and package could be embedded with the relevant foreign trade data and then automatically, autonomously communicate this information to the appropriate authorities at every station along the supply chain.
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