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Internet of Things Adds Intelligence to Supply Chain: Page 2

By Drew Robb     Feedback
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IoT Security

As IoT is fairly new, best practices have yet to emerge. But one area looms front and center for most companies contemplating this new field: security. As a result, some early best practices are emerging around data security.

"Security concerns can be addressed by leveraging existing standards and best practices for connecting the asset to IoT," said Wheeler. "A key challenge is securely managing the complexity of the implementation and enabling the power and dynamism of cloud computing to analyze the data provided and deliver value to the enterprise user."

IoT and RFID

Beyond that, RFID is emerging as a standard practice in many IoT projects.

"IoT within the supply chain allows for awareness of where items are -- from manufacturing through distribution," said Steve Hudson, president of View Technologies, the maker of the inView IoT platform. "Especially if items include RFID tags, you can know where items are made and shipped and when they reach the point of sale. All of this data creates a greater foundation of information and visibility that can help improve the growth of a company and operational efficiencies."

Instant, automated data capture opens the door to continuous visibility of inventory and avoidance of manual cycle counts and inevitable human error. This allows you to go from 60 percent visibility in your typical shop floor to 95 percent or more, he said. That, in turn, leads to streamlining of processes, better decision-making around stocking and fulfillment needs, and increased velocity of product shipping.

IoT and the Little Guy

While companies like GM and Whirlpool are already heavily invested in IoT, other large companies will take a more conservative approach. This opens the door to increased competition from small companies and startups eager to embrace IoT.

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Take the trucking example mentioned earlier. If huge trucking concerns are slow to adopt IoT, they could find themselves losing ground to smaller independents who use IoT to get the job done faster, cheaper and better.

"The Internet of Things gives managers, especially manufacturers and distributors in the supply chain, the visibility and data to outthink, outsmart and outperform their competition," said Tonra. "When IoT is brought to scale by small- and mid-sized business, they can become competitive with the behemoths in their industry."

Drew Robb is a freelance writer specializing in technology and engineering. Currently living in Florida, he is originally from Scotland, where he received a degree in geology and geography from the University of Strathclyde. He is the author of Server Disk Management in a Windows Environment (CRC Press).

This article was originally published on December 8, 2015
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