SECAUCUS, NJ. — In the future delivery drones could fill the air above the “most expensive mile.”
“No one is going to be surprised to see a drone carrying a pizza box somewhere —just another day in the neighborhood,” said Loren Israelsen, president of the United Natural Products Alliance, a trade association of dietary supplement companies.
The most expensive mile refers to the last mile to reach a product’s destination, he explained during an April 19 presentation during SupplySide East at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus. Buying fuel for the delivery truck and paying the driver make it expensive.
“It’s to get it to your door,” Mr. Israelsen said. “Drones are going to be in many respects the solution to the last-mile problem.”
Drones could replace Amazon and UPS trucks as well as pizza delivery drivers.
Mr. Israelsen gave several other examples of emerging technologies.
He showed a photo of a 3D-printed bridge in Amsterdam and said the technology could impact the pill industry, such as by customizing smaller pills for older consumers who have trouble swallowing.
Blockchain technology provides a level of security and transparency in financial transactions in that no one is able to change the data in a sinister way.
“How it works is pretty complicated,” Mr. Israelsen said. “I don’t understand it, but I do know it is essential to global commerce and the supply chain.”
Blockchain will need more bandwidth, and 5G may supply such bandwidth to many industries.
“These are called convergent technologies,” Mr. Israelsen said. “The one enables the other. The king of all of them is AI, artificial intelligence. It essentially is going to run everything else, for good or bad. I have some very profound concerns about it, but the direction it’s going is that it will become increasingly embedded in our lives more than it is now.”
Industry also will move to biological synthesis from chemical synthesis. Vanillin is one example. Proponents of biological synthesis will point to its ability to shrink the supply chain and offer sustainability benefits, Mr. Israelsen said.