Intermodal freight transport is industry lingo for a means of transporting goods in a single container. Typically that container is rectangular and easy to move from a large ship to a railroad car or a semi-trailer truck. Because the contents remain in one big metal box for the duration of a voyage, there's less product damage and fewer thefts.
Thanks to the IoT, containers are visible to the network from start to finish. But someone has to design and maintain that tracking system. Intermodal transport designers imagine and manage the systems that move containers in the most logical and efficient fashions.
Managers aren't just following containers. They can track truck fuel consumption to make sure drivers are using optimal speeds for every road surface. Managers can even see temperatures inside containers relative to outdoor conditions to ensure that products won't deteriorate.
With tracking software, they log and analyze how long shipping takes and how to improve those processes. They may find, for example, that the company can save 15 percent in costs by shipping via rail instead of truck. Their efforts literally pay off – the cheaper it is to transport your new washing machine, the less you pay for it at the store. They can even optimize routes in real-time. If there's a shortage of tomatoes in one city, they can reroute a shipment to fill the need.
No longer are products stuck in static transportation. The IoT makes freight shipping more dynamic and responsive to the market at every step of the way.