How the Internet of Things (IoT) can improve your logging business

The Internet of Things (IoT), or the interconnectivity of the world, has become a hot topic of conversation in recent years. The concept of a network of inter-connected devices that spans the length and breadth of the globe is the Holy Grail of many companies worldwide, as firms scale up their operations to achieve global reach. IoT is part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is ongoing now. But how can IoT be of benefit to your logging business. This blogpost aims to answer that very question. IoT as the foundation for a more solid logging operation The commonly accepted definition of the IoT is that of a system of interconnected or interrelated devices that can transmit data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer intervention. IoT can do it all by itself. These devices can be computers, tablets, smartphones, sensors, or just about anything that contains a microchip. Logging, and some of its associated industries (milling, etc.), have traditionally been oblivious to any technology advances. Men wearing hard hats and wielding chainsaws go out there to the forest and set to work on thick logs, without so much as a smartphone in sight. The reason is perhaps reluctance to use technological solutions by workers who may not have seen the need or use for it.

The reality of it is that the logging and forestry industries, traditional and hard working as they may be, can benefit a lot from technological aids and solutions, and IoT is certainly a springboard to success. One of the main areas of concern around forestry is that of ecological monitoring. In other words, ensuring that the balance of the ecosystem is not upset due to excessive logging. In the current contexts, ecological monitoring is an ongoing process drawn out in time that determines the future impact on the ecosystem if current logging levels continue. The IoT can provide the digital means to make those future projections work at the click of a mouse, thus eliminating the need for months or even years of careful observation. Future projection models on the ecosystem can be accurately worked out, and the work be staged on that basis. Another area of interest for the logging industry is log sorting. Currently, the task of sorting logs is completely manual. Staff use spray paint to segregate the logs from each other, based on thickness, quality, type, etc. Once graded, the logs need to be sorted, and this is where the IoT can come into play.

Grading data can be gathered by sensors and fed into a database, where it can be analyzed and processed to facilitate sorting, transporting, setting price points, etc. Currently, loggers go out there in all weather conditions. Storms or other adverse meteorological phenomena may make the logger’s job very difficult, ever increasing the inherent danger that the job carries with it. Heavy rainfall can cause mudslides, for example, and hamper visibility. Weather conditions can change quite rapidly in some areas of the world, too, so work crews may be caught in the open. IoT may provide uplinks to weather satellites, for example, so that cutting crews can obtain up to the minute weather reports, and have at least a chance to avoid potentially dangerous situations. In reality, every part of the logging operation can be integrated into the IoT concept. From determining which trees to cut down -and where-, to sorting them, transporting them to their final destinations, etc., logging can become part of a connected world. The industry will always retain a manual aspect to it. At the end of the day, men will still have to go and cut the trees more or less by hand.

Robots may be able to perform such hard job in the future, but for now, it does remain very much a human task. An IOT solution can turn a dreary, monotonous and largely manual operation into a revitalized enterprise that can make intelligent decisions based on analyzed data, support various business functions within the industry through insights, and project itself on a global capacity.

The digital life of your forests starts here. We have prepared an eBook to show you how.

Read From traditional to revolutionary: roots of success with increased operational efficiency and learn how digital transformation can make all the difference:

From traditional to revolutionary: roots of success with increased operational efficiency