Click here to close now.


Linux Containers Authors: Victoria Livschitz, VictorOps Blog, SmartBear Blog, Craig Lowell, AppDynamics Blog

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Mobile IoT, Linux Containers, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

@ThingsExpo: Article

Internet of Things Doing Some Heavy Lifting (IoT)

The supply chain is the primary driver of the explosive expansion of M2M applications

In the last decade, the "Internet of Things" has expanded from a small set of assets with first-generation radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to a proliferation of devices using a variety of wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies. By some estimates, there are as many as 10 billion M2M devices deployed worldwide today, expected to grow to a ubiquitous 30 billion by the end of this decade.[1]

The power of M2M lies in its ability to capture, transmit and analyze asset data automatically - without human intervention - and inform business decisions that increase operational efficiencies, improve service capabilities and save money.

The supply chain is the primary driver of the explosive expansion of M2M applications, accounting for as much as 40% of revenue growth in the M2M market.[2] It's no wonder: manufacturers, distributors and retailers - especially those with large-scale enterprises - have long regarded supply chain optimization as a critical competitive differentiator.

One example of an M2M technology undergoing a surge of adoption across global supply chains is a wireless Vehicle Management System (VMS) for industrial trucks, such as forklifts.

Demand Drivers for VMS
Powered industrial trucks are the heart of material handling operations in the supply chain, and the cost of owning and operating an industrial truck - including fully burdened operator labor - can exceed $250,000 per vehicle per year in a three-shift operation. For an enterprise with 500 vehicles and a typical two-shift operation, the annual budget to run the fleet can exceed $80 million.

In addition to operator labor, the major costs associated with industrial trucks include acquisition (purchase or lease); damage (to facilities and products, as well as the vehicles themselves); maintenance; energy to power the vehicles; and a variety of direct and indirect costs related to injuries caused by vehicle accidents.

Industrial trucks are also the object of extensive governmental safety regulations, detailed in Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standard number 1910.178.

What Does a VMS Do?
A Vehicle Management System is fundamentally about controlling the use of equipment and linking all vehicle activity to the operator. With that foundation, a VMS establishes accountability for equipment use, enforces powered vehicle safety regulations, and generates asset utilization metrics that can be used as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for material handling.

More specifically, a VMS can improve productivity by ensuring that equipment is available to work in the proper place at the right time, tracking fleet utilization (e.g., peak vehicle usage over time), measuring operator productivity (e.g., time logged into vehicles vs. time paid, and time actively working vs. time logged in), and benchmarking best-practice KPIs for equipment usage.

A VMS also helps enforce workplace safety policies by restricting vehicle access only to trained, authorized personnel, and by requiring operators to complete an electronic safety inspection checklist prior to using equipment. In addition, a VMS typically incorporates an impact sensing system that enables management to automate responses to vehicle accidents.

VMS systems typically deliver a return on investment by: (1) reducing damage to vehicles, facilities, and goods; (2) reducing or avoiding vehicle acquisition costs by justifying decreases in fleet size; (3) optimizing fleet maintenance controls to reduce maintenance costs; (4) eliminating costs traditionally associated with monitoring and enforcing safety policies; and (5) increasing productivity and justifying a reduction or reallocation of labor.

25 Years Ago, WMS...Today, VMS
A quarter-century ago, Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) emerged in the global supply chain to help manage inventory, order processing, and shipping. Within a decade, WMS had been deployed by many forward-looking organizations. Today, if a Fortune 1000 company with material handling operations has not deployed a WMS, it is almost certainly lagging behind its competitors.

VMS for industrial trucks is in an evolutionary stage similar to where WMS was a decade ago. Many progressive and respected supply chains have deployed VMS - users include some of the world's largest auto makers, consumer packaged goods companies, food producers, government organizations, industrial manufacturers, and retailers. Looking at the pace of WMS adoption is a precedent, VMS technology can be expected to proliferate rapidly, and any organization with sizable material handling operations will be at a competitive disadvantage if it does not use VMS.


  1. "More Than 30 Billion Devices Will Wirelessly Connect to the Internet of Everything in 2020," ABI Research, May, 2013.
  2. "Assessing Mobile Network Operator Capabilities and Opportunities in M2M," Matthew Hatton, M2M Summit, September, 2012

More Stories By Greg Smith

Greg Smith is Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications at I.D. Systems, a leading provider of wireless M2M asset management solutions. He has more than 25 years of experience in technology product development, and has published dozens of articles on technology solutions in both national media and trade publications. Greg has been involved in IoT technology deployments — specifically wireless vehicle management systems (VMS) for industrial trucks — with companies such as Ford Motor Company, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Target, Toyota, and Wal-Mart, among others. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will keynote at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context w...
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
There will be 20 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet soon. What if we could control these devices with our voice, mind, or gestures? What if we could teach these devices how to talk to each other? What if these devices could learn how to interact with us (and each other) to make our lives better? What if Jarvis was real? How can I gain these super powers? In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, will show you!
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new data-driven world, marketplaces reign supreme while interoperability, APIs and applications deliver un...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software upd...
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll share tips on how to speed up business initiatives, harness Big Data and remain one step ahead by apply...
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...