Among the many use cases we have come across this year in our close collaboration with customers on IoT Analytics is Cold Chain Management. Maintaining unbroken temperature control over food and pharmaceuticals is mission-critical in the food service and life sciences industries. IoT Analytics can monitor and manage these cold chains to ensure problems are avoided or mitigated. For example, a restaurant chain can get alerted to real problems like a food shipment sitting on a loading dock in the heat. Pharmaceutical companies can ensure that drugs are maintained at the proper temperature at every step during the process as they are shipped from the factory to medical offices. There are many more specific use cases that are quite familiar to supply chain professionals in these industries.
With the need for greater control over the cold chain, end-to-end visibility of perishable products has become ever more critical. This is where the Internet of Things (IoT) comes in.
Using shipping containers with GPS capabilities or adding RFID sensors to products, pallets or crates can measure the temperature, humidity, shock, vibrations and other parameters of cargo during the shipping process.
IoT-enabled solutions can transmit this data in real-time, sending alerts or notifications should conditions become compromised. Then, armed with predictive and descriptive analytics, companies can make any necessary corrections to maintain the integrity of food and drugs throughout the shipping process. Already companies are achieving the competitive benefits that come with integrating IoT with cold chain logistics. However, there remains much potential for further improving visibility and control of perishable products once they leave the lab or farmstead. To reach this potential Hitachi will require an intelligent platform that can collect, manage and transmit data in real time across many devices, sensors, and systems.
As part of the co-creation efforts within Hitachi we are looking for a solution which will provide a solution which could provide a data collection and analytics platform either on-premise or cloud.
The solution could be either a hardware (or software only) configuration and installation, data integration, analytics and solution deployment. The solution will utilize sensors, which are installed to track real-time fleet tracking, environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, location and acceleration. In terms of tracking location at every point in the chain, indoor location technologies needs to be cost-effective to deploy for high accuracy (for example inventory on a particular shelf). Video analytics and human (visual) or robot-driven scans must be used for inventorying purposes.
Could Blockchain be integrated with this solution?