Airfreight industry to soar with IoT and AI
Global information technology firm Unisys predicts that the future growth of the airfreight industry and its ability to capitalise of the e-commerce market will be heavily impacted by the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and voice-enabled artificial intelligence (AI) smart devices and systems, warehouse drones and strategic alliances between airlines and distributors.
“As the air cargo industry undergoes growth and transformation, driven by rapidly increasing capacity supply on passenger flights, and the shift to business-to-consumer small parcel shipments as a result of e-commerce, cargo operators will be forced to embrace such innovation to be more efficient, nimble and proactive in an increasingly competitive and price conscious market,” the company said in a statement.
Venkatesh Pazhyanur, Senior Industry Director of Freight Solutions at Unisys, noted that the freight industry as a whole must make an effort to keep up with evolving technologies.
“The cargo industry needs to embrace disruptive technologies from the consumer world, including Internet of Things, digital assistants and drones, to increase efficiency and meet customer expectation for greater transparency throughout the supply chain,” said Pazhyanur.
The company added that the Asia-Pacific air cargo industry is experiencing growth and transformation driven by rapidly increasing capacity supply on passenger flights, and the shift to business-to-consumer small parcel shipments as a result of e-commerce. This growing passenger demand will increase the number of passenger flights and add to cargo capacity supply, it added.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the number of people travelling by air globally will almost double between 2016 and 2035, with the greatest growth in Asia Pacific. At the same time, the rising popularity of e-commerce is changing the nature of cargo shipments, incrementally increasing the number of small parcels – predicted by management consultancy McKinsey & Company to grow five per cent annually in mature markets and 17 per cent annually in China.
“At Unisys we predict these market pressures will bring innovation in three areas in the cargo supply chain: smart warehouses will become even smarter, drones will finally take off in the cargo supply chain – but inside the warehouse, and new alliances between airlines and global distributors will enable longer term capacity management,” added Pazhyanur. “Much of the underlying technologies are already being used in other sectors – including the consumer world. But now, more than ever, cargo operators will be forced to embrace such innovation to be more efficient, nimble and proactive in an increasingly competitive and price conscious market.”