How is Technology Redefining the Customer & Business Experiences in Logistics? Drones will expand the entire customer base of e-commerce – enabling delivery to the remotest of the towns in a reasonable TAT

By Vaibhav Khandelwal

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With every passing day, we observe new advancements in technology. Technologies like Artificial Intelligence, IoT and Blockchain are revolutionizing the way our businesses are run and the way we interact with our customers. Logistics as a domain sits at a beautiful juncture where each of these technologies can be applied for the benefit of the ecosystem.

The Modern Technology

Unlike a decade back, when a 1.44 MB floppy disk was enough for the use cases, logistics companies now generate TBs of location data every day. Coupling this data with graph algorithms deliver real-time tracking, accurate arrival times and smarter routing. Consumers now don't have to call up a call centre to figure out where their order is, now they get real-time updates whenever the package is near their vicinity. Such visibility has massively increased the trust and confidence in E-commerce websites, especially in a country like India. By observing the location familiarity, businesses can now create intelligent routes that prefer a particular locality for a delivery executive. For repeat customer use cases this creates a consistent experience and enables an optimized route.

Location data is just one part of the entire gamut of sensory data available these days. Temperature and Humidity sensors are being increasingly deployed to ensure perishable grocery items are delivered fresh. As any business scales in grocery vertical, this will be a major experience to crack. IoT along with Big Data has opened the doors to crack this kind of problems.

Logistics Today

Logistics traditionally is a model of multiple handshakes. A single e-commerce packet passes through at least 20 handshakes in its journey to reach the end customer. The chances of pilferage are, by default, on the higher side. By implementingBlockchain, businesses can have a trustable ledger which can ensure that each of these transactions is cryptographically recorded and are made immutable. This will not only reduce the losses in the entire pipeline, it'll enable an undisputed visibility to all the stakeholders. This undisputed visibility will pave the path for a Smart Contract which in-turn will help in solving the working capital problem.

We excited about the possibilities that Drone delivery will enable in logistics. Customer delight of receiving the product within 30 minutes of order placement will be a reality. Not only this, drones will expand the entire customer base of e-commerce – enabling delivery to the remotest of the towns in a reasonable TAT. Our Indian Government also seems cognizant of this capability and hence this has been one of the major markers in their recently released Drone Policy.

Wonders Of AI

While drones are still a few years away, we already are seeing the benefits of artificial intelligence-enabled autonomous robots. These robots are efficiently managing large warehouses with minimal human intervention – saving massively on the operational cost and ramping up the pace of growth for businesses. These robots can function 24x7 and make use of efficient packing algorithms to maximize the storage capacity of the warehouses.

AI has enabled businesses to offer a personalized experience to each of their customers. Voice-enabled chat-bots will be the tool to enable even a non-techie to consume all the data points to have a hassle-free last-mile experience. In a country like India, where the location tagging infrastructure is broken, location data with AI will help in building a digital layer on top of it.

These technologies will not only work independently but will work in tandem with each other as well and as more of these are convoluted together, the impact & value addition for customers will be increasing exponentially. Imagine a world where you order a packet of popcorn via a voice command while Netflix suggests you what to watch, and before the movie even begins significantly, a drone delivers it to you at your couch. Or imagine your grocer automatically predicts what vegetables would be getting over and sends it to you via the same delivery partner every week without the slightest need for a reminder.

Wavy Line
Vaibhav Khandelwal

CTO and Co-Founder Shadowfax

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