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DHL: Logistics will be transformed by IoT-enabled “digital twins”


A new method of modelling which uses IoT sensors to monitor supply chains in real time could transform logistics, according to a new report by DHL.
The logistics giant predicted that the use of “digital twins”, in which a virtual representation of physical asset is created and continually updated in real time as the asset itself changes, would be integral to future supply chains.

DHL said that operators would be able to use the technology to better manage global supply chains. Potential applications could include placing sensors on containers to track location and monitor for damage or contamination.

However, the report noted that cost would be a potential obstacle. It also pointed out the difficulty in achieving a perfect representation of a physical asset through the digital counterpart as well as potential issues with data quality.

It also highlighted a potential lack of staff expertise and interoperability between systems as well as potential issues around IP protection and cyber security.

DHL said the market for digital twins is expected to grow more than 38 percent each year, passing the $26 billion mark by 2025.”

Matthias Heutger, SVP, global head of innovation and commercial at DHL, said: “Digital twins offer unparalleled capabilities to track, monitor, and diagnose assets. They will change traditional supply chains, with a range of options to facilitate data-driven decision making and collaboration, streamlined business processes, and new business models. We are keen to work with our customers and partners to jointly explore applications in our industry.”

Markus Kückelhaus, VP, innovation and trend research, DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation, adds: “Powered by IoT, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and advanced visualisation tools, digital twins are becoming a more attractive and accessible option for companies. However, bringing these and other relevant technologies together into a full digital twin implementation is a complex and challenging task.

“Close collaboration between all partners along the value chain is therefore essential to fully capture the potential.”

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