Alibaba Cloud and Cainiao Network: Digital and Intelligent Upgrade of the Entire Logistics Chain
“The future logistics must change from digitalization to digital
The digital intelligence world will be an era we are together.”
— Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group and the chairman of Cainiao Network
On May 28, the 2019 Global Smart Logistics Summit with the theme of “Digital Acceleration” was held in Hangzhou. At the summit, Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group, proposed that the logistics industry is currently entering a comprehensive digital age, and digitalization is the initial and cornerstone of smart logistics. He believes that to maximize the efficiency of goods circulation, logistics must be highly integrated with supply chain management, which is an inevitable trend in the future. He said, “Only by achieving the comprehensive linkage between different enterprises in the entire industry chain and the data interconnection, can the overall end-to-end circulation efficiency become higher.”
The Transformation and Upgrade of the Logistics Industry Is Unstoppable
As a composite service industry integrating transportation, warehousing, freight forwarding, and information, the logistics industry is one of the fundamental and strategic industries supporting the development of the national economy. In recent years, with the upgrade of logistics technology, technologies, such as big data, cloud computing, IoT, blockchains, robots, and unmanned vehicles, have been applied in the logistics industry on a large scale. However, traditional logistics warehousing and distribution methods are still widely used. According to statistics, the volume of express delivery reached 50.5 billion pieces in 2018, and is expected to reach 60 billion pieces in 2019, up 20% year-on-year. Under the background of dramatic growth in the market scale, the transformation and upgrading of the logistics industry is unstoppable.
At the summit, Xuemei Gu, CTO of Cainiao Network, released the logistics IoT open platform and minimalist PDA, which can help achieve digital and intelligent upgrade of the entire logistics chain, such as warehousing, transportation, distribution, and station collection.
The logistics IoT open platform is jointly established by Cainiao, Alibaba Cloud, and the partners based on Digital Twin, AI, and IoT technologies. After the platform is connected, any logistics scenario can become a digital twin that can be intelligently scheduled, and logistics tasks are automatically planned by algorithms according to orders.
Minimalist PDA uses the AliOS Things for IoT operating system developed by Alibaba Cloud, which can be used for transportation management and product tracking real-time management to achieve real-time synchronization between digital twins and entities. Minimalist PDA has only six buttons. It is small and lightweight, easy to operate, and programmable. The price is only one tenth of that of similar products, and there are less usage restrictions.
The logistics IoT open platform will be fully open to the logistics industry. All logistics scenarios and devices are welcomed to access the platform. This opening-up measure is intended to clear away the financial and technical barriers for the logistics industry to move towards the IoT era, and create “an IoT that every company can afford”, which will effectively promote the digitization and intellectualization of the logistics industry.
In the future, Cainiao will work with Alibaba Cloud and other partners to jointly promote the construction of the open platform. Xuemei Gu said, “Only by building this open platform can the IoT be expanded at low cost and on a large scale, improving the level of digitization and intellectualization, so that practitioners can have a better experience and consumers can enjoy better service.”
Logistics Cloud Has Become the Infrastructure of the Industry
Some insiders said that in the future, the logistics industry would go out of the form of competition relying solely on scale and price, and technology competition would become the key. The logistics cloud has become the infrastructure of the industry. Cainiao has established a logistics cloud since December 2015 to provide a stable and powerful public cloud platform for logistics ecosystem.
As an industry cloud, the basic architecture components of the logistics cloud are built on Alibaba Cloud. At the same time, most Alibaba Cloud product components are introduced through the logistics cloud portal, enabling partners to support their business development and drive data flow in a more secure and reliable industry.
- Complete product system: it includes elastic computing, databases, big data analysis and processing, storage, application services to security and management, effectively supporting the development of information technology in the logistics industry.
- Complete value-added logistics services: the logistics cloud will provide a wide range of value-added logistics components, data service products, and the integrated logistics ecosystem, thus jointly developing with logistics providers.
- Nearly unlimited scaling capacity: Currently, six nodes, which are Hangzhou, Qingdao, Beijing, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and Silicon Valley, are available, with cross-zone links between nodes, effectively avoiding information congestion.
- In-depth defense security system: An in-depth security protection system covering the network layer, application layer, and data layer is built. The system provides a complete set of security services, including common network attack defense, Web application protection, Web vulnerability detection, and database protection.
From intelligent logistics to new retail, digital government, agriculture, environment, and finance, cloud computing is accelerating digital transformation of all industries. At present, Alibaba Cloud service has served more than half of China’s A-share listed companies, 40% of China’s top 500 companies, and 80% of China’s new technology companies.
Previously, at the 2019 Alibaba Cloud Summit in Beijing, Jianfeng Zhang, the president of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, elaborated on the “4-level rocket” of Alibaba Cloud strategic acceleration for the first time: DAMO Enhanced Cloud, Cloud for Data Intelligence, Cloud of Best Practices, and Cloud for Eco Partners. As the technical base of Alibaba economy, Alibaba Cloud is providing various industries with the core business capabilities and technical support needed in the digital age.