May 17, 2020

Sigfox exclusive: Maximising on the $15trn potential with IoT in the driver’s seat

Data Analytics
Laurent Soubielle
5 min
Sigfox exclusive: Maximising on the $15trn potential with IoT in the driver’s seat
The global supply chain and logistics market is set to exceed $15trn by 2024, yet despite the industry growing rapidly, there has been little innovation...

The global supply chain and logistics market is set to exceed $15trn by 2024, yet despite the industry growing rapidly, there has been little innovation breaking ground in this space and businesses continue to face significant challenges and inefficiencies.

One of the key challenges facing organisations is a lack of end-to-end visibility on the entire supply chain, largely due to substantial silos between people, processes and technology. When we consider the fact that one single shipment includes over 200 interactions and more than 25 different people, there’s a clear need for the industry to embrace a data-driven approach to supply chain to really capitalise on the market’s full potential.

In fact, today the term ‘supply chain’ is losing suitability. It is no longer a linear process, but rather a demand-driven network. Fuelling this network with data and insights from connected objects is instrumental in driving competition and quality assurance. The Internet of Things (IoT) has the unique ability to capture vast amounts of extremely valuable data, helping businesses better understand the behaviour of people, environments and assets to give a real-time holistic view of the entire supply network.


Shipments begin their journey out of the warehouse but even before they are on the move, they’re at risk of being stolen. Today, crafty thieves use GSM jammers to overwhelm anti-theft devices and alarm systems leading to substantial monetary losses in stolen goods. However, by implementing a solution that relies on radio signals that can’t be jammed, warehouse theft risk is reduced giving organisations peace of mind that their alarm systems won’t fail. Moreover, in the event cars, motorcycles, lorries or utility vehicles are stolen they continue to seamlessly transmit GPS coordinates when equipped with this type of technology, enabling quicker and easier vehicle recovery for the authorities and insurers.

Once a shipment leaves the warehouse and begins its journey, the integrity of goods is paramount. From perishables such as food, through to life saving pharmaceuticals, ensuring the optimal environmental conditions of goods is key, particularly with so much at stake including considerable monetary loss, food waste, as well as risk to public health and regulatory compliance. By installing a simple IoT enabled device in to storage-units organisations can receive real-time notifications of a shipments condition, including temperature changes, palette movement and more to trigger swift remedial action.

Often in the supply chain, organisations operate on a basis whereby they know when the shipment left the last check point, for example the sea port, but do not have visibility of its exact location until the next checkpoint, which is often the next port. By implementing connected devices across the supply chain, businesses are empowered with a wealth of data at their fingertips to get a full overview of routes travelled, warehouse delays and network gaps in order to reduce delays and provide accurate arrival times to customers. This connected network also creates an audit trail to enable businesses to address inefficiencies and ultimately optimise their supply chain altogether.

We’re seeing our customers really reap the benefits of transforming their operations in this way with IoT and Sigfox connectivity. For example, real-time alerts about delays and transport conditions has allowed Michelin to reduce transit stock by 10%, increase Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) by 40% and reduce Out Of Stock (OOS) situations due to exceptional circumstances (such as bad weather) by a quarter. Cost reductions and an increase in customer satisfaction are but a few of the end benefits Michelin has been able to achieve.

But often, organisations don’t pay enough attention to how they transport goods in their operations. Ensuring the best performance of the fleet of vehicles is essential not only limiting downtime and repairs, but also for ensuing the safety of every driver in the workforce. IoT captures a myriad of different types of data proving insights from driver behaviour to vehicle behaviour to help businesses better understand when vehicles need servicing and how to reduce breakdowns.

Let’s take another concrete example of what IoT can bring to the fleet industry for trucks: one third of every breakdown of a vehicles is tied to tyres, and of those third of breakdowns that are on tyres 90% of that is due to bad pressure control. Michelin is harnessing the power of IoT to get real-time information as a vehicle is driving down the road and helps its clients better understand and control their tyre pressures to reduce breakdowns, keep their shipments running smoothly and on time, while prioritising the safety of their drivers.

IoT has the potential to revolutionise the world of mobility, with more data and more insightful decision making the entire supply network can completely transform. In order to compete on a global scale, organisations in the industry must be equipped with a holistic and real time view of their operations - without this they’ll fail to maximise the potential of the soon to be $15 trn industry.

By Laurent Soubielle, IoT technical Leader, Sigfox. Sigfox is the world’s leading provider of connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT). The company has built a global network to connect billions of devices to the Internet while consuming as little energy as possible, as simply as possible.

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Jun 23, 2021

Japan Seeks to Revive Stalled Semiconductor Industry

Elise Leise
3 min
As international supply chains falter, the Japanese government intends to incentivise foreign chipmakers to build localised foundries

Post-pandemic, Japan has seen the consequences of relying solely on foreign imports for its semiconductors. Over 64.2% of its chips are usually imported from South Korea and Taiwan, leaving the country dependent on its neighbours. Industries from auto manufacturers to consumer electronics firms wait for chips, to no avail. But now, the Japanese government looks likely to put real funding behind its semiconductor industry, with top officials emphasising their support.


Domestic supply chains have never been more important. Rather than remain tied to international shipping routes during shortages and delays, governments are doing everything in their power to develop local lines of supply. But the question remains: can Japan pull it off? 


How Will Japan Pay For It? 

Herein lies our first issue. Japan’s debt has rapidly increased over the past few years, and the semiconductor industry will need roughly a trillion yen—US$9bn—in this fiscal year alone. This cost, however, pales in comparison to what Japan could lose if it fails to keep up with Europe and the US. Both nations have launched aggressive funding measures to revive their local semiconductor industries. And if Japan refuses to invest due to its debt, it could slow down progress in fields ranging from artificial intelligence to autonomous driving. 


According to Tetsuro Higashi, the former president of Tokyo Electron and Japan’s top government advisor in semiconductor strategy, ‘If we miss this opportunity now, there may not be another one’. Yet one advanced wafer fabrication factory can cost more than US$10bn, and any money poured into the industry will go fast. That’s why Japan, rather than invest trillions and trillions in failing domestic firms, is considering a second option. 


What Do They Plan To Do? 

Japan now intends to look abroad and convince overseas chip foundries to come to its shores. Its past failures mostly centred on trying to merge domestic firms that were already going through tough times. ‘This sort of made-in-Japan self-reliance approach hasn’t worked out well’, said Kazumi Nishikawa, a director at the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry’s IT division. ‘This time the goal is to offer a strong incentive for an overseas logic foundry to come to Japan’. 


As follows, Japan will now reach out to industry partners and leaders in other countries, including the industry heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), to build Japanese bases. According to the South China Morning Post, the heart of Japan’s mission is a US$337.2mn research and development project in Tsukuba that will involve TSMC and more than 20 Japanese firms. ‘I think we need to cooperate with our overseas counterparts’, said Akira Amari, a senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. ‘[And] TSMC is the world’s top logic chipmaker’. 

Indeed, if that’s Japan’s strategy, the future looks bright. TSMC recently set up a venture near Tokyo to research energy-efficient 3D chips with several Japanese partners. And in the future, the multinational chipmaker may consider expanding its Japanese operations—that is, if government incentives pave the path forward.

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