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Empowering supply chain management with faceless computing

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Do you remember the first time you shopped online? How about the first time you introduced someone to online shopping? For many of us, what came to mind in that moment was a mix of bewilderment and amazement at how our world was changing.

The idea of not having to step outside our homes to buy the most basic items seemed revolutionary at the time. However, time, much like technology, has moved in a swift and unapologetic manner, catalyzed by our own curiosity, and need to hit the next big thing. In this case, the next big thing we are talking about are modern digital assistants – the face of faceless computing.

Alexa, Siri, and, even the less creatively named, Google Assistant, are near-household names that are literally changing the world. Think about this for a second. A few decades ago, when you wanted to buy something, you would go to the store, browse, contemplate, and then make a purchase. A few years ago, you would pop open your laptop, browse for a few minutes, read reviews, order, and have whatever you wanted delivered to your house. Today, you can wake up from bed and ask a device, smaller than a desk lamp, to get it for you. Let that sink in for second – how’s that for evolution?

However, what is far more encouraging is that the functionality and applicability of this tech has evolved from being just a consumer utility into an asset for suppliers too. A recent announcement by Hermes, a UK-based consumer delivery specialist, highlighted how the company had fully integrated and had begun utilizing Amazon’s Alexa in their end-to-end shipment tracking solution. By doing so, the company has empowered its customers and users with the ability to simply ask an Amazon Echo device specific details about a shipped packaged. In a matter of seconds, the customer would be made aware of where his/her package is, when it is expected to arrive, and any potential delays that should be expected.

This technology has not just made customer experience smoother, it has completely slashed entire processes and provided consumers with an unprecedented level of convenience and ease. While much of the noted applicability of this technology is still only revolves around consumers and consumer delivery specialists, like Hermes, current trends point to a wide scale implementation of this tech – including into the supply chains of commodities businesses.

The tools and systems are in place and rife with opportunity, given that powerful supply chain optimization solutions like ShipX Trax are already equipped with widely sought-after track-and-trace functionality. Digital assistants can be incorporated into these applications with functionality that could inform shippers where a shipment is, what kind of goods are being transported, rates associated with the shipment, and much more. In a setting where collaboration and communication between shippers and carriers is of prime importance, the effect that faceless computing would have, particularly in terms of convenience, cannot be overstated.

With the dawn of the digital age, the shipper market has seen an exponential influx of innovative technology. Key players from all corners of the supply chain spectrum are looking for ways to expedite and simplify the movement of goods and, if there is anything to take away from modern digital assistants, it is that they were built to enhance convenience. What started off as a “cool” fad, has now evolved into a tool with limitless capabilities and applications. In a few years, don’t be surprised if the role of digital assistants and faceless computing is as significant and as common as a handheld device, like your iPhone or iPad is today.

As the line between the physical and digital worlds continues to fade, identifying, implementing, and enhancing game-changing technologies like this will completely change the way we do business. With more developments and enhancements expected, it is still too soon to scope out how much this technology can be incorporated. A word of caution, though, – it would be a safe bet not to underestimate the tech’s potential impact.  

Stay tuned to this space for more in, and on, the future!



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