I have always been fascinated by IoT (Internet of Things) and how we are all connected digitally. Many aspects of IoT are invisible but exist in great abundance around you. Like your refrigerator sending you a text because it knows you are out of eggs and milk. Or when you pass your favorite pizza joint (that you are a rewards member of) and suddenly you received a coupon for a BOGO deal if you come in within the next 30 minutes. IoT allows for sophisticated marketing and is eerily creeping on us every minute of the day.
What about more considerable IoT complexities? Pacemakers being monitored by cell phones. RFID technology in every shipping package for real-time tracking. Space stations, satellites, and rockets. IoT is everywhere and amazes me daily.
So, what about our supply chain? What about the planes, trains, and ships that transport goods and products from one country to another, visiting port of calls all over the world. The article, “COVID-19 Turning the Tides on the Maritime Shipping Industry,” discusses the idea of IoT and automation in commercial shipping.
Victor Restis, a Greek shipping mogul, says that new technologies in communications have helped better equip vessels along with other networking technologies have led to reduced loading/unloading times, greater monitoring of fuel to reduce carbon footprints and real-time data being transmitted from mechanical vessel systems to on or off-site engineers. This allows maintenance crews to monitor the integrity of a machine and schedule required maintenance before it breaks down. That is pretty amazing when you think about it. Running real-time diagnostics on each major mechanical component on large container shipping vessels is something I would love to see up close and personal.
Other improvements being made – that I am on board with – is reducing the carbon footprint left behind by commercial shipping vessels. In another article, I read that the commercial shipping industry is under the gun to minimize the amount of carbon emissions by 50% in the next 30 years. That is aggressive, and I do hope they succeed. There have been some links between this pandemic and global warming, and I am not sure yet of the correlation, but I am intrigued. I am for any aspect that maintains or strengthens our economy while reducing harm to our planet.
Despite new technologies and IoT, the article says the shipping world is not quite yet ready for fully automated vessels to traverse our oceans and seas. So, hold off for now, Elon Musk, but keep your phone nearby.