Submitted by Katie Nunez on August 8, 2014 - 5:36pm


The many definitions of the Internet of Things (IoT) is a hot topic and we aren't likely to see a consensus just yet but we can probably all agree on one thing: IoT frequently conjures images of thermostats, webcams, smartphones and fancy wearable bracelets. And for consumers, these images make sense. But when it comes to enterprise users, what should be associated with the IoT? Well, how you define the IoT relies heavily on your application and the enterprise user has just as many needs as a consumer.

Today we'll consider the supply chain. Comprised of numerous processes and components, the logistics are often challenging. The supply chain is littered with many hands and they're often in the same proverbial cookie jar. The more parts that move, the higher the chance of error along the way, which translates to higher business costs for enterprises. The chance of error decreases drastically when enterprises engage the IoT, with GPS and RFID or sensor technologies capable of providing location and condition information.

But how does all of this technology work? Well, imagine a truck carrying temperature-sensitive cargo cross-country. The cargo is equipped with temperature sensors and RFID tags capable of monitoring health and location and stored inside refrigerated trailers that must maintain a consistent temperature. Now, imagine the truck stalls along its route and is no longer cooling its cargo. Wouldn’t it be great to know the real-time location of the truck and the temperature of its cargo? Enterprises could spare themselves the undue financial burden of losing the entire load if only they had this visibility and could dispatch help before too much time has passed.

Thanks to cloud-based systems and remote device management tools like Zatar, enterprises can rest assured that they will have this real-time visibility into the activity streams of every component within the supply chain. They'll be able to monitor things like temperature and location of cargo and take action based on these statuses. And should an error occur, enterprises will have a real-time means to correct the situation and spare themselves undue costs on the backend.

This is just one simple use case in the ecosystem that is the IoT but it has the potential to address a number of challenges frequently placed on the enterprise user. And while the IoT is more than just smart wearables, maybe cargo equipped with sensors and tags is similar to consumers equipped with IoT wearables (think: fitbit and Pebble) but on a much larger scale.

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