Bluetooth technologies seem to predate the use of the Internet of things (IoT) in society. We can all remember when the first flip phones could send short media files to friends for use as ringtones. However, Bluetooth technologies are creating a subset of the IoT, expanding its benefits and use among shipping and logistics providers. Before deciding to forgo the use Bluetooth-enabled technologies, logistics providers need to think about the driving forces behind them and how they will further benefit the industry.
Driving Forces Behind the Increased Use of Bluetooth Technologies
In reality, there are millions of reasons to use Bluetooth-enabled technologies within the shipping and logistics industry. However, most of these reasons can be broken down into the following categories:
- Data Cost– Accessing the Internet has become incredibly cheap, but it is not free. Each byte of data cost real money, and logistics providers must incorporate these costs into their annual or quarterly budget proposals. However, Bluetooth technologies can completely eliminate the need to use Internet data to communicate information about shipments to other parts of a given facility. As a result, logistics providers can identify areas where of repetitive data may be occurring and clean it before processing by an internet-connected hub.
- Energy Conservation – Bluetooth technologies require less energy to operate than internet-powered devices to communicate. Ultimately, every organization wants to trim fat and reduced costs as much as possible.
- Demand for Faster Communications – Regardless of the current state of a network, all logistics providers face the possibility of downtime within the network due to natural disasters or other unforeseen issues. Bluetooth-enabled technologies operate on a device-to-device basis, which makes connectivity concerns obsolete.
- Connection to the IoT – Bluetooth technologies may also be combined with Internet-enabled devices to allow for the rapid dissemination, analysis and use of data. Therefore, more shipping providers will turn to Bluetooth technologies to ensure a source of data is available that can integrate seamlessly within a company’s existing applications.
- Decreased Cost of Beacon-based Systems – Technology is subject to the law of supply and demand. The cost of manufacturing Bluetooth devices and beacons have decreased dramatically. As seen on MAZINE.WS blog. To shipping and logistics providers, lower cost of devices that require less energy and other resources to function properly is at the cornerstone of business success. Beacon-based systems are simply becoming more affordable, which expands their use to small businesses as well.
Benefits of Using Bluetooth Technologies
Bluetooth technologies benefit the logistics industry in four categorical ways, which include the following:
- Elimination of Manual Scanning – Bluetooth-enabled technologies eliminate the manual step of scanning packages. Even in applications of the IoT, Bluetooth technologies could automatically be detected within a warehouse, shipment or container, triggering the automatic updating of information within the respective transportation management system. This process is further shown in the video below. This allows a logistics provider to reduce errors in scanning, ensure all packages are accounted for during picking, packaging and loading, and reduce the physical workload on its employees.
- Secured Data-exchange for Short Distances – Privacy and security are two of the top concerns among today’s logistics providers. Bluetooth-enabled technologies are not connected to the Internet by nature, and a logistics provider must connect this information to their existing transportation management system in order to do so. Depending on the current needs and wants of the respective organization, Bluetooth enabled technologies can provide a secure environment to communicate proprietary information about products and shipments at any time. As it relates to process management, this benefit will primarily affect logistics providers that need to determine specific activities without necessarily transferring this information into the governing system.
- Decreased Carbon Footprint – According to the interview conducted by James West of Midas Letter, the key benefit of Bluetooth technologies revolves around their low energy consumption. Not only does this reduce the operating costs for a given shipping provider, such as electricity costs, data costs, and material costs, it results in a decrease carbon footprint. With more organizations increasing their focus on environmentally-friendly processes and operations, Bluetooth-enabled devices will improve public perception of the company and could result in favorable tax breaks or other green initiatives that have been created by federal, state or local governments.
- Alignment With Mobile-based Management Systems – The push toward real-time inventory management and data-driven decisions becomes another critical part of the increasing use of Bluetooth technologies. According to Logistics Online, logistics providers can take an instant inventory from a mobile device of all items within 200 feet of a selected area. This further increases visibility and accountability throughout the supply chain.
Bluetooth technologies are not a technology of the past. These technologies will continue to transform and improve the shipping and logistics industry. If you have not previously considered the use of Bluetooth technologies to benefit your organization, think about why the use is increasing and how much capital it could save.