Alibaba Singles’ Day Sales – What it means for technology in logistics

On November 11, Alibaba posted a record $14.3 billion in sales on Singles’ day passing every record that any company have ever posted. And this is just the beginning of what it means for future of logistics.

According to the Bloomberg post, Alibaba quoted

“Alibaba estimated that 1.7 million deliverymen, 400,000 vehicles and 200 airplanes would be deployed to handle packages holding everything from iPhones to underwear. Mobile devices accounted for 69 percent of Wednesday’s transactions.”

This is significant in many ways. The technology needed for building such kind of reliable logistics has to provide intelligence at another level. Imagine a constant stream of geo-location data from half a million trucks.

How will you place such large number of trucks every day? What will be the placement algorithm that will be used?

How will the technology churn data at this large scale on a low latency system? How will you design technology for such low latency?

logistic technology

What about the memory and server farms that will be setup? What about the failure points in the system? The system cannot go down under any circumstances because there is no way to find something missing manually – a needle in haystack!

How will you monitor performance? Nobody can watch the normal performance of 400,000 trucks. Just imagine if looking at a truck takes 1 minute, you need 400,000 minutes or around 6,666 hours or cool 277 days to monitor these trucks. What kind of user interactivity that needs to be provided with the use of technology that will make 277 days job to a less than few minutes job.

There is a disruption in the logistic industry that requires another level of technology and it is inevitable!

Image courtesy – altronshpg

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