How IoT Is Improving Communication In The Transportation Industry

Konstanze Werle

Fleets aren’t yet comprised of autonomous vehicles, but they are headed in that direction. In the meantime, technology has advanced greatly in the transportation industry, enabling us to communicate useful information with fleets.

Digital technologies can create major advances in fleet management. What can digital technologies tell you about your company’s fleet?

Gaining information from digital technologies

Digital technologies like sensors, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT) let know exactly where every truck in your fleet is and when it will arrive. You can track freight and remain updated on its condition throughout the journey, learn when trucks will require maintenance, and keep appraised of drivers’ physical condition and performance level.

Real-time predictive and geo-spatial analysis and machine learning algorithms help you understand the full supply chain better than ever before. This type of analysis can also predict the effects of transportation delays on different parts of the supply chain. This helps your company manage problems more effectively.

Applying information

Insight about your fleet provides many additional important benefits to business operations. For example, it helps support on-time delivery and offers alternate options during disruptions. It helps create safer conditions and prevents accidents, cargo losses, and other problems. These benefits translate into cost savings, improved customer satisfaction, and smoother business operations. Let’s look at how insights on fleet connectivity can be used within different business applications.

If you know that your shipment is running late, you can pass that information on to your customer so they can plan accordingly. The customer will have concrete information to help them come up with an educated plan of action. The customer can also receive an updated ETA to help the planning process.

For certain industries fleet insights can be particularly critical. In the medical field, for example, trucks carry biologic and biopharmaceutical medicine that must be kept at specific temperatures during a journey. An IDC white paper, The IoT Imperative for Consumer Industries, explains that time and temperature sensors on trucks can send temperature information throughout the trip to ensure that medicine is safe. Sensors can also confirm that drugs have not been contaminated and help prevent losses by tracking the entire journey.

In another example, trucks can send the carrier information when tire wear needs to be checked and other maintenance needs to be performed. Sensors on the truck and driver can also provide data on acceleration speeds, the driver’s heart rate, and other information. The carrier can use this information to schedule maintenance and gain insight on the truck and driver performance.

From, Craig Guillot explains how a more connected supply chain helps businesses work better. Gaining information from trucks, cargo, and drivers provides a major piece that was previously missing. This link helps to better connect information between every part of the supply chain. Guillot says, “Such connectivity will enable trucking companies to enhance existing infrastructure to streamline operations, drive efficiencies and better schedule maintenance.”

In an article for SAP, Robin Meyerhoff provides the case study of Japanese company NTT, which worked to create safer driving conditions for its buses through digital technology. With the combination of sensor-embedded vests and IoT technology, the company was able to gain information about drivers’ heart rate, nervous system responses, and other markers during travel. Through a cloud platform, the company can look at driver information together with vehicle condition, weather conditions, and traffic to improve safety.


Gaining fleet insights from digital technologies can help create improved safety, better performance, and superior communication and service to customers. Also, fleet information and analysis can minimize the impact of transportation delays on your company’s and your customer’s bottom line. Information during the shipping process provides much more control over the supply chain and improves customer service.

Learn how to innovate at scale by incorporating individual innovations back to the core business to drive tangible business value: Accelerating Digital Transformation in Transportation.

Konstanze Werle

About Konstanze Werle

Konstanze Werle is a Director of Industries Marketing at SAP. She is a content marketing specialist with a particular focus on the travel and transportation, engineering and construction and real estate industries worldwide. Her goal is to help companies in these industries to simplify their business by sharing latest trends and innovation in their industry.