By its very nature, the military supply chain is extremely complex and risky. It involves an unstable and unpredictable demand, moving end supply points, and ensuring equipment readiness for war. The DoD is also challenged with fragmentation across its extensive network infrastructures, along with disparate sensor technologies that track the whereabouts and status of its assets.
The U.S. military has made steady progress achieving its TAV goals with advances in automatic information technology, including implementing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) for asset tracking. However, it continues to face interoperability challenges due to “stovepiped” networks and IT systems that were developed independently with differing requirements and data formats. The challenge is providing a unified infrastructure that can effectively capture massive amounts of data – and turning that “Big Data” into actionable insights.
This is what the Internet of Things (IoT) is all about. The IoT is changing lives in the commercial sector, connecting everything from smartphones, smart appliances, smart home thermostats, wearables and much more. The application of the IoT in the manufacturing industry – dubbed the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) or Industry 4.0 – leverages intelligent, connected devices to greatly improve operational efficiency, productivity, and profitability across manufacturing plants and supply chains.
With the rapidly evolving IoT market, the DoD is looking to capitalize on civilian successes and lessons-learned to help manage the sheer volume of data produced for both tactical and logistics operations. DoD representatives actively engage with industry leaders and participate in conferences such as RFID Journal Live to keep abreast of the latest advances in RFID and related IoT solutions, including Enterprise Sensor Integration (ESI) technology.