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Global Logistics Focus Sept.19, 2016

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2016 GLOBAL LOGISTICS FOCUS SPECIAL REPORT THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE 16A THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE SEPTEMBER 19.2016 "putting some sort of headwear on people's heads to track their fatigue, by tracking their brain waves and see - ing if they are nodding their heads and nodding off. But those are more at an experimental stage now." Although the same fundamental concepts of technology apply in the con- sumer and industrial markets, wearable devices must be made more rugged in order to survive in warehousing and logistics environments, Gonzalez said. "There are some things that make it difficult to immediately take the consumer product and move it into an industrial environment, van den Boss- che added. "Things like battery life, for example. You have to be able to cover at least a full shift and ideally more than that. Some of these applications con- sume quite a bit of battery life." Consumer products also typically "come with a lot of bells and whistles and features that are overkill for the indus- trial environment, and just make them more expensive, and make them more difficult to use sometimes," he said. Converting technology developed for, say, the Apple Watch, into technol- og y usable in the warehouse would involve enormous risk. Consider, for example, if something goes wrong with the warehouse product and it winds up killing someone who was counting on the device to provide an alert when he was walking into a cage with a robot, but that alert didn't work. "In an indus- trial environment, such a project needs to hold up to a higher level of scrutiny," van den Bossche said. "And it comes with serious liabilities if it doesn't do that." One of the most exciting — but poten- tially dangerous aspects — of supply chain wearables is the data quality they provide. "There is a tremendous amount of data generated by these wearables in terms of where the operators are moving through the plant," van den Bossche explained. "If you analyze that data, you can probably figure out how to more efficiently allow your workforce to move around, and how and where to use the tools." Until recently, managers would videotape movements of the workforce, and then try to figure out where the best place to store product was. "Now, you just look at their physical footprint on the computer and map that out," he said. "That way, you know exactly where they are taking five or 10 steps too many. The good part: Once you figure out how to analyze that data, you can really get more efficiencies out of this. The bad part: Anybody who taps into that data knows exactly how to operate that plant." Thus, van den Bossche concluded, "Security is a big challenge, as it is with anything involved in the Internet of Things. Companies are a little hesitant about using Internet and wi-fi with respect to IoT." What could go wrong with a data breach? In "a more benign version of a data breach," competitors could use a company's data to increase their com- petitiveness. But in a worst case scenario, "they could start sending false and damag- ing instructions" to your network, "which is not unheard of in the realm of industrial espionage," van den Bossche said. Despite such dangers, he remains optimistic about the benefits of leverag- ing the data from wearable devices to gain operational efficiencies and competitive advantages. "There is a potential" for data breaches, he said, "but it should not over- shadow all the opportunities." JOC Contact Alan M. Field at "Security is a big challenge, as it is with anything involved in the Internet of Things."

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