Top Tech Trends in Logistics and How AWS Facilitates Them
The logistics industry is undergoing a digital revolution. In 2022, the global digital transformation market in logistics reached $15.93 billion, projected to hit $31.03 billion by 2027. Cloud computing is the driving force behind this transformation, with 40% of logistics firms considering it the most impactful technology for their digital journey. Following closely are IoT connectivity technology and AI/ML.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has served as a critical enabler for the emerging trends in the industry, providing the infrastructure and services logistics companies need to adopt these emerging tech trends. By leveraging AWS, firms can rapidly scale while cutting costs and keep pace with increasing customer demands.
In this post, we’ll explore the top technology trends transforming logistics and how AWS is powering this innovation.
Top tech trends in logistics and how AWS facilitates them
1. Internet of Things (IoT) for enhanced visibility
IoT enables real-time visibility and data-driven decision-making across supply chains. With real-time tracking powered by IoT sensors and connectivity, logistics companies monitor the location and condition of shipments in transit.
Moreover, IoT also facilitates predictive maintenance for vehicles and equipment. Companies can schedule maintenance optimally by continuously monitoring assets, reducing downtime, and lowering maintenance costs.
AWS services for IoT in logistics
- AWS IoT Core
AWS IoT Core facilitates secure communication between IoT devices, such as sensors, GPS trackers, RFID tags, and the cloud. This enables real-time data collection, using which logistics companies can monitor and manage assets, track shipments, and make data-driven decisions.
- AWS IoT Greengrass
AWS IoT Greengrass allows IoT devices like sensors and controllers to perform compute, messaging, and management locally without having to rely on cloud connectivity.
For logistics companies, Greengrass enables intelligent actions on trucks, in warehouses, etc., based on real-time data. Devices can respond quickly without the delay of constant cloud communication. This improves efficiency, visibility, and automation across supply chain operations.
2. Blockchain for fostering trust and accountability
Blockchain provides an immutable ledger that records every supply chain transaction. This helps with the traceability of goods and the verification of product authenticity.
Additionally, smart contracts on blockchain networks automate payments and agreements between parties. They also build trust by maintaining a tamper-proof history of transactions.
AWS services for blockchain in logistics
- Amazon Managed Blockchain
Amazon Managed Blockchain is a fully managed service that makes it easy to set up and run blockchain networks using open-source frameworks like Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum.
For logistics companies, AWS Managed Blockchain could help establish a consortium blockchain network between supply chain partners to track shipments and exchange documents. Partners can run blockchain nodes, build decentralized applications, and execute smart contracts to automate processes like shipment tracking and payments.
- Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB)
Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB) is a fully managed ledger database that provides an immutable, cryptographically verifiable history of all changes to your data. In logistics, QLDB ensures data integrity and provides a complete, tamper-proof history of all logistics-related activities, reducing disputes and enhancing accountability.
3. AI and machine learning for intelligent automation
AI and machine learning can optimize logistics operations by analyzing historical and real-time data. For example:
- ML algorithms can optimize delivery routes and fleet dispatch based on traffic, weather, and changing requirements. This reduces fuel costs and delivery delays.
- Automated warehouse operations and smart sensors enhance inventory tracking and reduce errors.
- AI chatbots streamline customer service and communication.
AWS services for AI and ML in logistics
- AWS RoboMaker
AWS RoboMaker provides a comprehensive development environment for developing, testing, and deploying robotic applications. For warehouse management, RoboMaker can create robotics systems for automating inventory management, product picking, and material handling.
The best feature of this service is the simulation environment, which allows you to fine-tune robot behaviors without physical prototypes.
- Amazon Lex
Amazon Lex helps build conversational interfaces like voice assistants. Logistic companies can use Lex to build voice bots that workers interact with to request inventory checks, schedule shipments, or direct robots.
- Amazon Textract
Amazon Textract uses AI to automatically extract text and data from documents like shipping manifests and delivery paperwork. This eliminates manual data entry for tracking numbers, addresses, etc. Additionally, the extracted information can trigger warehouse workflows and robots without human data entry.
4. AR/VR for training and maintenance
AR overlays digital information onto real-world views. In warehouses, AR headsets can provide pickers with guiding overlays on items and bins to increase order accuracy and speed. VR, on the other hand, can help with employee training and remote maintenance. It allows workers to simulate complex warehouse tasks, such as forklift operations or equipment repairs, improving safety and efficiency.
AWS services for AR and VR in logistics
- Amazon Sumerian
Amazon Sumerian provides a set of tools and resources for creating 3D VR/AR apps without extensive coding. Using Sumerian, you can create lifelike 3D models of your warehouses to enhance training, product visualization, and remote assistance in your logistics operations.
- Amazon Rekognition
Amazon Rekognition is a computer vision service that provides accurate image and video analysis. In AR headsets, Rekognition can instantly identify objects and text, which can then be used to overlay useful information for pickers and drivers.
Moreover, you can use the facial recognition feature of Amazon Rekognition to authenticate personnel and grant access to restricted areas.
5. Big data analytics for insights into operations
Big data analytics in logistics uses vast datasets from IoT sensors, weather data, traffic patterns, etc. to optimize decisions. Analyzing these large data streams reveals trends, anticipates demand changes, and improves inventory planning.
AWS services for big data analytics in logistics
- Amazon Redshift
Amazon Redshift is a fully managed data warehousing service designed to help you analyze vast datasets quickly.
For logistics, Redshift can analyze historical shipment data to optimize routes and inventory planning. It can also track sensor data from trucks to predict maintenance needs. Redshift integrates with various AWS data and analytics services like Lambda, EMR, and Quicksight so you can build end-to-end big data pipelines for your logistics operations.
- Amazon Personalize
Amazon Personalize allows training customized machine learning models based on logistics data like past shipment orders, customer preferences, and browsing history. The models then generate real-time predictions to recommend optimal inventory levels, predict upcoming orders, and suggest add-on services tailored to customers.
- Amazon Forecast
Amazon Forecast is a machine learning service that uses historical data to predict future trends accurately. It can thus provide logistics companies with useful insights into demand forecasting. This, in turn, helps optimize inventory management, route planning, and resource allocation.
6. 3D printing for localized manufacturing
You can use 3D printing to manufacture spare parts near the final point of consumption. This eliminates the need for extensive warehousing and extended shipping times. Localized 3D printing also reduces waste by producing only what’s needed, contributing to sustainability goals.
3D printing can help you address logistics challenges related to inventory management, rapid prototyping, and remote production.
AWS services for 3D printing in logistics
- AWS CodePipeline
AWS CodePipeline is a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) service that automates application building, testing, and deployment. In logistics, it can help optimize 3D printing workflows by managing steps from design to production through automated pipelines.
- Amazon SageMaker
Amazon SageMaker is a fully managed service that enables building, training, and deploying machine learning models quickly and easily. The service makes it easy to prepare 3D model data, choose algorithms, and train models to learn design patterns and material behaviors.
7. Self-driving cars and drones for automated delivery
Self-driving vehicles have made deliveries faster and more efficient. Self-driving trucks and vans automate hauling freight and parcels between facilities. This provides efficiency gains through continuous automated driving and route optimization.
Additionally, drones enable fast, short-range air delivery, ideal for last-mile needs. Together, these technologies enable faster, more responsive, and sustainable movement of goods.
AWS services for self-driving cars and drones in logistics
- AWS Step Functions
AWS Step Functions lets you build visual workflows to coordinate tasks like route planning, obstacle avoidance, and data syncing across services for self-driving vehicles. This seamlessly coordinates and automates end-to-end operations.
- Amazon Kinesis Video Stream
Amazon Kinesis Video Streams is a service that enables securely ingesting and processing live video streams from connected devices like cameras, sensors, and vehicles. You can use it to stream, store, and analyze video feeds from self-driving vehicles. Analyzing these feeds helps improve safety, tracking, and quickly detecting events like accidents.
8. Transportation management systems (TMS) for managing transportation workflows
A TMS is a software solution that automates the planning, execution, tracking, and analysis of transportation operations. Key features include load planning, routing, carrier selection, freight audit and payment, order visibility, and performance analysis. By centralizing transportation management, a TMS improves efficiency, reduces costs, and enhances customer service.
AWS services for TMS in logistics
- Amazon SNS
Amazon SNS (Simple Notification Service) facilitates immediate notifications on critical logistics events like order status changes, delivery delays, or route updates. Integrating Amazon SNS ensures your TMS stays informed and responsive to changing conditions.
- AWS Glue
AWS Glue is a data integration service that automates data ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes. You can use it to prepare and transform vast transportation data automatically. As a result, it enhances TMS analytics and reporting capabilities, helping you gain actionable insights into trends, cost optimization, and performance analysis.
9. Digital twins for virtual modeling
A digital twin is a real-time virtual replica of physical assets and processes. Logistics companies can build digital twin models of vehicles and routes leveraging IoT data. These provide visibility into asset health, driving patterns, and delivery efficiency.
Digital twins allow logistics firms to identify problems earlier and test solutions virtually before deploying changes. Ultimately, they enable exploring innovations with less risk.
AWS services for digital twins in logistics
- Amazon QuickSight
Amazon QuickSight allows you to create interactive, real-time dashboards and reports. By connecting to data from sensors, devices, and business applications, QuickSight provides real-time visibility into digital twin simulations and models.
- Amazon Kinesis Data Streams
Amazon Kinesis Data Streams is a managed service that enables real-time data collection and analysis from thousands of sources. It can efficiently collect, process, and analyze terabytes of data per hour from digital twin systems, allowing you to make near-instantaneous decisions and adjustments in response to changing conditions.
For example, Kinesis could detect equipment failures from sensor data and trigger the re-routing of shipments in real time during digital twin simulations.
In addition to the cloud services we mentioned in this section, AWS offers a lot more services and tools for optimizing logistics operations. In the next section, we will see the power of AWS in action through some practical examples.
How top logistics companies have innovated on AWS
Let’s look at real-world case studies to get a more comprehensive understanding of how AWS fuels innovation in logistics.
1. Yamato Logistics streamlined its data on AWS for increased business visibility
Yamato Logistics is a leading logistics provider experiencing rapid growth in data volume. To efficiently manage its data for enhanced analytics and insights, Yamato Logistics migrated to AWS.
Yamato Logistics’ on-premises infrastructure limited its ability to handle growing data needs. Extracting and processing data was manual and slow.
- Migrated business apps to Amazon EC2 for scalability
- Redesigned and rebuilt applications with serverless technology
- Built data pipeline using S3 data lake, AWS Glue, Athena, and Amazon QuickSight
- Automated data processing, saving 3 working days per month
- Daily updated data instead of monthly
- Interactive self-serve dashboards generated in minutes
- Improved business visibility for better forecasting and resource planning
- Accelerated innovation through predictive analytics
2. Delivery Hero reduced fraud by 99% using Amazon Rekognition
Delivery Hero, a delivery service operating globally, faced a compliance deadline to automate rider identity verification. To accelerate its facial verification solution, Delivery Hero leveraged Amazon Rekognition.
Delivery Hero had just 6 weeks to implement an automated facial verification system to reduce rider fraud and meet regulations. Its previous manual process was inefficient and inaccurate, with high failed verification rates.
- Built a facial verification solution using Amazon Rekognition
- Riders submit a selfie that is compared to stored data in 0.7 seconds
- Automated notifications if photos don’t match, enabling account suspensions
- Integrated with compliance service for streamlined fraud remediation
Optimize your supply chain and streamline logistics with an AWS Advanced Partner
AWS provides the services and infrastructure to enable logistics companies to rapidly adopt emerging technologies. This drives efficiency, visibility, and automation in supply chains.
However, maximizing the value of AWS requires specialized expertise in cloud architecture, data analytics, machine learning, and more. Most companies lack the required skills in-house.
This is where Simform, an AWS Advanced Tier Partner, can help.
With over a decade of experience implementing mission-critical solutions on AWS, Simform provides end-to-end capabilities in:
- Cloud advisory and migration planning
- Architecture design and optimization
- App development, modernization, and maintenance
- Data engineering and advanced analytics
- Machine learning model development and deployment
Our team of 200+ AWS-certified experts brings proven methodologies, solution accelerators, and robust delivery processes for on-time, on-budget outcomes. Reach out to get started on an initial consultation.