Exploring the development of an Internet of Things (IoT) environment for value generation in third-party logistics operations

Adrian Coronado Mondragon, Christian E Coronado, Etienne S Coronado

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Purpose of this paper:
Advances in sensor technology and ubiquitous broadband communication have set the foundation for Internet of Things (IoT). In the IoT paradigm, many of the things that surround us will be on the network in one form or another (Gubbi et al., 2013). Xu et al. (2014) state that the integration of sensors/actuators, RFID tags, and communication technologies serves as the foundation of IoT and explains how a variety of physical objects and devices around us can be associated to the Internet and allow these objects and devices to cooperate and communicate with one another to reach common goals.

In IoT, unstructured data generated by users’ mobile devices and sensors can be used to generate value through new business models and efficient operations. For example in IoT, smart meter data exchange for residential, office, industrial and electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles can be used for better data analytics for the smart grid and management of supply chains. The aim of this work is to investigate the feasibility of developing a value generating environment by using wireless sensors to support IoT and related initiatives such as the smart grid and electrification of vehicles involving a third-party logistics provider (3PL).

This paper has considered the use of an industry case comprising a 3PL which provides catering services to the airline industry. The 3PL assembles food and drink trolleys which are sent to a nearby airport using trucks. In this scenario there is the potential for increasing the numbers of sensors, smart meters and use of electric plug-in vehicles. Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) theory can simulate the use of smart meters and sensors. These can transmit meter readings to a cloud-based big data platform as the information exchanged is non-structured. The low-energy adaptive clustering hierarchy (LEACH) algorithm is suitable to test the use of WSN for the common network platform requirements of IoT. A Matlab implementation of the LEACH algorithm was used in this work. The model considered an area of 2500 m X 2500 m, which represents the area between the preparation warehouse and the airport terminal.

WSN offers several advantages such as low network clustering which allows bandwidth reuse, better resource allocation and better energy management/power control. According to the values obtained for 135 iterations, the number of packets sent by 8 nodes to the base station reached 6, for 16 nodes the number of packets sent reached 18 for 40 nodes the number of packets sent to the base station reached 25. For 20 nodes the number of packets sent to the cluster head is equal to 6. For 16 nodes the number of packets sent is equal to 16 and for 40 nodes the number of packets reaches 52. For 8 nodes the initial energy supplied is equal to 10 J, for 16 nodes is 30 J and for 40 the amount is 50 J. In the scenario presented here, the number of packets sent can be related to data traffic associated to metered readings required in the delivery of goods to an airport terminal. The adequate management of energy in the network means nodes will have enough energy left to complete the iterations associated to the task of going to the airport to deliver the trolleys.

The scenario presented in this paper involving a 3PL preparing food and drink trolleys delivered to an airport terminal show the scale of the potential impact of WSNs in logistics and transportation in general. Within the paradigm of IoT, we can see WSNs being adopted for other applications including sensor deployment in urban downtown areas or in the highway network. These scenarios may benefit extensively from the existence of a convergence platform capable of serving the needs of various types of users. Finally, research in IoT involving logistics and supply chain has great potential but at the same time IoT poses new challenges for privacy and security which they need to be addressed.

Research limitations/implications (if applicable):
IoT represents a major paradigm which is influencing several sectors and transport/logistics is one of them. WSNs represents one technology among a myriad of different technologies that can be used in IoT. What is important to highlight is that WSNs need to be integrated to other technologies to support IoT ubiquitous access to information. WSNs can be part of convergence network platforms, grouping different technologies for IoT. This work demonstrated that WSNs can be considered as an essential components of the sensor layer comprising the IoT paradigm and support the network and application layers.

Practical implications (if applicable):
IoT is closely related to other major initiatives such as smart grid and intelligent transport systems. Hence, future research work needs to investigate the associated economic impact of adopting a convergence network platform to support the integration of IoT with other paradigms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAbstracts of papers presented at the 21st International Symposium on Logistics
EditorsK S Pawar, K M Tsai
Place of PublicationTaiwan
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2016
Event21st International Symposium on Logistics (ISL 2016) - Taiwan, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: 3 Oct 20166 Oct 2016


Conference21st International Symposium on Logistics (ISL 2016)
Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Province of China

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