High-accuracy indoor tracking technology on the way

Mapping and location services company HERE Technologies and fabless semiconductor company specialising in precise location and connectivity applications Decawave have announced a planned strategic partnership to accelerate the deployment of high-accuracy indoor location services.
The two companies intend to combine their respective capabilities — chipset, software, analytics and indoor mapping services — into a powerful out-of-the-box real-time and energy-efficient tracking system. Based on Ultra-wideband (UWB) positioning technology, it supports the 3D positioning of objects and people down to 10 centimeters in indoor environments, even if there are obstructions in the way. This makes it significantly more useful and reliable for certain applications than other indoor positioning technologies such as WiFi, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).
The companies see a broad array of potential uses for their technology. These include the tracking of parts on a factory floor or medical equipment in a hospital, precision guidance for autonomous drones delivering packages, and automated valet parking for driverless vehicles.
“Being able to know where your stuff is at this level of precision at any time will bring enormous benefits to enterprises everywhere, not least greater efficiencies, security and safety,” said head of tracking at HERE Technologies Erminio Di Paola. “By working with Decawave’s robust UWB chipset technology, we are significantly increasing the breadth of applications we can support with our tracking service.”
“Decawave’s technology has disrupted the indoor location market, opening the door to new products and services, increasing safety and security and driving efficiencies,” said chief strategy and business development officer at Decawave Luc Darmon. “Partnering with HERE, with its significant knowledge and reputation, will enable the mass adoption of new indoor location services across industries for the benefit of the whole value chain.”
According to ABI Research forecasts*, the worldwide market for indoor asset tracking infrastructure will reach USD 4.5 billion by 2022, with a CAGR of 32%.
*Source: ABI Research, AN-2498: Next-Generation Asset Tracking and RTLS: Opportunities, Applications, and Revenue, December 2017.
 
 
 

Robotics to be biggest supply chain disruptor

Robotics will cause the most disruption in the supply chain in the next five years, according to a study carried out by the University of Tennessee’s Knoxville’s Global Supply Chain Institute, as first reported by Modern Materials Handling.
The study looked at the anticipated impact of five technologies on the supply chain on the next five years: 3D printing, driverless vehicles, drones, robotics and wearable technology, assessing the current and potential use of these technologies as well as the benefits and barriers to using them.
“Robotics have been around for more than 50 years, but they have become dramatically more dynamic in the last five,” said Paul Dittmann, Executive Director of the Global Supply Chain Institute and the paper’s author. “They are no longer stationary, blind, expensive and unintelligent but can work alongside people and learn as jobs change.”
3D printing was deemed to be the least viable technology in the short term, though the study acknowledged that it has the potential to eliminate the supply chain completely if costs can be reduced and usable materials expanded.
“We are at a turning point in the industry where disruptive innovation is required to meet the exponentially growing customer expectations,” said Danny Halim, Vice President – Distribution and 3PL Strategies at JDA Software, one of the sponsors of the white paper.

Seeing logistics in 3D

From hearing aids to jet engines, 3D printing is revolutionising the world of manufacturing.
Of all the ways 3D printing will change the world, the democratisation of manufacturing is perhaps the most important. Think of it as the Uberisation of manufacturing, where supply can be accessed anywhere in the world to produce goods at the click of button.
This is a once-in-a-generation logistics opportunity, as so-called additive manufacturing will optimise the time and cost of making and delivering goods. Mass customisation will be the new normal. So what does this mean for the future of logistics?
Modern delivery and manufacturing
We’ll see more direct-to-person manufacturing as well as delivery. Physical stores will be reserved for generic goods, not items customised to the individual. Hybrid customisation has enormous potential for logisticians.
Imagine thousands of products from cell phones to blenders, each made with a common core but customisable covering. Third-party logistics providers are uniquely suited to move these items.
Logistics companies like UPS would simply store the common core in their warehouse, print the custom piece and finish final assembly near the point of consumption.
This would also disrupt service parts logistics. Right now, companies make and store hundreds of thousands of critical parts around the world at tremendous expense just on the off-chance that they’ll be needed for an emergency repair.
In the future, these slow-moving parts will be stored virtually and printed on demand. As a result, import and export costs – especially important to small businesses – will plummet dramatically.
As companies begin to take advantage of designing parts for 3D printing, the manufacturing industry will re-invent itself. Machines designed to construct a specific product will give way to 3D printers capable of making many different items.
This will be the sparkplug for efficiency across supply chains. It will revolutionise how we get items to your doorstep. And it will forever alter how you search for and purchase goods every day.
Even though 3D printing is a 30-year-old technology, we’re just scratching the surface of where additive manufacturing will take us. These printers are no longer reserved solely for prototyping and product design.
We’ve moved beyond trinkets and souvenirs to items like hearing aids and aircraft parts, proving this is no fad.The global 3D printing market will exceed $21 billion by 2020, according to Wohlers Associates.
3D printing demands
In addition, the demand for 3D printers, materials and services will surpass $10 billion by 2018, the consulting firm found. Such promise is why UPS recently partnered with software company SAP to expedite the manufacturing and delivery of 3D-printed parts.
Customers can go online and place an order through the Fast Radius website and these items will be printed either at a UPS Store location or printing facility connected to our air hub in Louisville, Kentucky – in as little as a day.
This effectively creates end-to-end industrial manufacturing. And we expect these efforts to go global in the near future.
Moving beyond logistics, however, 3D printing will change the way we think. It will change how future generations learn and see the world.
This technology can now keep pace with anything we imagine. We’re no longer forced to innovate in a world shackled to existing infrastructure. If you can think it, you can do it.
Reprinted with permission of Longitudes, the UPS blog devoted to the trends shaping the global economy.

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