Companies large and small to benefit from transportation-as-a-service, says Antony Savvas
Almost 20 years ago the application service provider (ASP) model never really caught on, mainly because there were not the broadband networks around to support the provision of on-demand applications. Basically, ASPs either went to the wall or quietly morphed into other types of companies over time, such as Salesforce.com.
The companies that survived benefited from the eventual widespread appearance of DSL networks, WiFi, 3G, and then the cloud and 4G. Now, the likes of Salesforce, Amazon, Google and Microsoft are central to what became the on-demand economy. Salesforce is in prime position with its software-as-as-service (SaaS) offerings, which the original ASPs were trying to turn us towards.
The other giants mentioned of course have land-grabbed the on-demand business opportunities created by the cloud by tapping into the thirst around platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). So, with all this in mind isn’t it about time we started to prepare more for IoT-as-a-service, to coin a term.
After all, if all these IoT networks are being built by telecom providers, mobile operators and organisations subsidised by regional and national governments, it should be expected that firms large and small should be able to benefit from metered and on-demand IoT services. And this includes those in the business transport sector.
In 2018 and beyond, step forward transportation-as-a-service (TaaS) for logistics and fleet management.
TaaS means that logistics, route planning, fleet management and more, can be delivered as-a-service, so that fleet managers can buy what they need, when they need it. This will be made possible by leveraging IoT data made available in real time.
Capturing data like weather conditions or the weight of a truck will be a crucial element to TaaS. This type of data will deliver a new and more efficient way of matching shippers with carriers – when a lorry needs to be in a certain location, the shipper and carrier can guarantee it will arrive on time, and that it will be loaded correctly and will follow an optimal route.
Sensor data will inform what and how much to load onto a lorry, the route it should take and the amount of petrol needed. All this can be optimised to increase efficiencies and eliminate avoidable waste. The result will ultimately greatly improve transportation and fleet management.
The fact that Cisco IoT is banking on TaaS as a major driving force for the transport IoT industry should be significant for the industry as a whole. Theresa Bui Revon, director of strategy at Cisco IoT, says 2018 will be the year that TaaS “goes mainstream”.
For those businesses that are ready for it, she says, TaaS will “revolutionise” how they manage their vehicle fleets. On-demand trucking will start to replace inefficient manual systems that include making multiple phone calls and completing cumbersome administrative processes – the sort of tasks that result in under-utilised lorries.
In 2018, Cisco IoT predicts that those manufacturers that are already leveraging IoT will start to benefit from the reduced transport costs delivered by TaaS. Further ahead, it says, independent lorry drivers and smaller operators will benefit as TaaS helps them keep their trucks full more consistently than ever before.
And here’s to that, if “as-a-service” in IoT transport builds on those aforementioned on-demand models, that have already widely benefited companies and consumers alike!
The author is freelance IT writer Antony Savvas
Antony Savvas has been a business journalist for almost 30 years, covering various industries and has written for many of the leading international technology magazines and websites, on telecoms and computing convergence, the rise of mobile and wireless networks and the evolution around business digital transformation. He is also an editorial consultant for major technology companies.