JD.com unveils 5G smart logistics site

Located in Beijing, the Chinese e-commerce giant says its 5G-powered logistics park will enhance site operations such as real-time monitoring of routes for forklifts and sending out alerts when there is an anomaly.

JD.com has launched a logistics park powered by 5G networks that it says will enhance site operations and drive its Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) strategy. Located in Beijing, the warehousing facility features a new monitoring system that can detect and assess problems that occur on-site, in real-time. 

The Chinese e-commerce giant said 5G provided the bandwidth to increase the efficiency of its IIoT capabilities "on a large scale" and facilitate "instantaneous communication" between its staff and machines. With its real-time monitoring system, it would be able to track the location and routes of forklifts and pallets as well as receive preemptive alerts if there was an anomaly. 

For instance, to ensure efficiency and safety, the system could detect forklifts that had been parked in the wrong locations or taken abnormal driving route. Automated mass pallet monitoring also significantly improved efficiencies compared to manual monitoring, said JD.com's logistics arm.

JD Logistics said: "The 5G system will also greatly improve the efficiency of operations within the facility through smart parking that guides incoming vehicles to the most appropriate parking space or docking bay, and digital docking bay that can [facilitate] real-time monitoring the truck loading and uploading goods.

These, it added, were amongst the company's plans to tap 5G technologies, with 5G-powered IIoT fuelling further applications for JD.com's logistics operations and improving efficiency across its supply chain. It said these technologies would be used throughout its network of logistics parks to enable "reliable and dependable" robot-to-robot communications, hence, reducing the need for human intervention.

JD Logistics' chief architect of logistics R&D and head of the logistics park, Zhe Wenming, said: "The low latency, high speed, and ability to support a broad spectrum of simultaneous connections provided by 5G networks creates an unprecedented level of real-time connectivity, significantly improving the efficiency of JD's fulfilment operations, which is key to providing the best customer service in the business."

JD.com last October launched a parcel delivery service in China, which it said enabled consumers in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou to send packages inter-city and across mainland China via its mobile app. It planned to expand service options to include various delivery timing, including same-day or two-day delivery, and high-value items such as luxury products and high-end consumer electronics. 

According to JD.com, the new parcel delivery service would operate on the company's existing logistics network and supply chain management technology, which pledged to deliver more than 90% of orders either within the day or the following day.

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