Cold Chain and Internet of Things

March 31, 2019
Cold Chain and Internet of Things

The rise of perishable and refrigerated deliveries to a customer’s doorstep has increased the need to monitor packaging and the resultant temperatures surrounding the food.

The supply chain for food products that must remain refrigerated is called the “cold chain”, and it must be monitored very closely due to food poisoning issues that may arise from food thawing.   The internet of things (IoT) coupled with RFID technology can be vital in allowing more direct shipments of food from distribution center to the customer’s front door.

Video Spotlight: The importance of cold chain distribution

This post is based on the All Things Supply Chain article, Cold Chain Demand Soars Thanks to This Sweet Treat by Guest Blogger, March 4, 2019, and the YouTube video, The importance of cold chain distribution, by Moneyweb, November 6, 2017. Image source: © Serenethos / Alamy

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the risks associated with IoT and the cold chain?

Guidance: Students may first need a basic briefing on IoT and RFID.  Then, ask students to describe the risks of the technology for the cold chain.  One example students may identify is hacking risk to the network.  Consider how speeding up customer requests creates risk (i.e., Amazon food delivery or ice cream products).  Discussion may focus on the larger implications of speeding up the cold chain, such as insufficient transport capacity or inventory on demand, and ideas to mitigate those risks of faster delivery.

2. Ask the students to perform a quick internet search on the current state of RFID and IoT technologies.

Guidance: Ask the class to provide examples of these technologies in current use.  What are the advantages and disadvantages that surprised them about these technologies?  How would they apply the IoT to their current driving experience?  The goal is to promote a better understanding of these technologies.


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