Internet of Things Essay

More studies regarding the impact of the internet of things (IoT) continue to be done. Although the concept remains fairly unexplored, the importance of IoT in today’s business environments cannot be understated. The internet of things can be defined as a platform that enables the connection of smart devices through the internet using any network (Atzori, et al., 2010). In addition, these devices are able to connect real-time and from anywhere around the globe (Borgia, 2014).

The internet of things is considered advancement on earlier technologies such as computers and phones. Traditionally, only information and communication technology (ICT) devices were used to connect to the internet. However, research has enabled the invention of IoT where the scope of connection has been expanded. Today, animals, human beings, objects, and even mechanical machinery can be connected through the platform.

The internet of things has consequently been integrated into the global supply network. The global supply chain entails the processes involved when purchasing and transporting goods from overseas (Gray, et al., 2013). It involves human resource personnel, information, processes, and the various inputs involved in the production, transportation, and distribution of goods and services before they reach the final user. IoT can, therefore, be widely used in this process in order to create efficiency and improve the overall outcomes of the process.

In today’s diverse economy, Supply Chain Performance has replaced individual company performance as an important enabler of efficiency and accuracy. Supply Chain Performance can be defined as extended activities in supply chains when looking to fulfill the goals of the end customer (Gimenez, et al., 2012). Such goals are the timely availability of products, efficiencies in time, and the presence of the relevant capacity required to deliver goods and services to the customers who need them. Supply Chain Performance also involves the channels involved in the distribution of the required products. In order for companies to remain relevant and to offer considerable competition to their rivals, it is important for them to invest in the improvement of their supply chains through improved performance.

In view of the importance associated with the constant improvement of the supply chain process in companies, the internet of things can, hence, be used to enhance the process. This is mainly because traditional ICT was inefficient in the sensing and capturing extra data, which has led to increased research regarding how platforms such as the internet of things can be used to integrate the physical and digital worlds (Constantinides, et al., 2017). In addition, the safety associated with IoT makes it an ideal platform in the improvement of business processes.

The retail industry has since responded to challenges in the supply chain by embracing the use of IoT. Essentially, retail businesses are involved in the sale of goods and services with the aim of making a profit. Through the supply chain, retail companies are able to fill the demand by customers for specific goods and services. Majeed and Rupasinghe (2017), however, state that the main challenge facing the retail industry is the dynamics involved in changing consumer expectations. Retail companies find it hard to keep track of shifting expectations, and this factor has made the retail industry to embrace the internet of things (Balaji & Roy, 2017). This led De Vass, et al. (2018) to carry out a study aimed at investigating how the internet of things impacts on Supply Chain Performance through a qualitative study that focused on Australian retailers. This paper will cover a critical review of the article, a section on the various gaps in the literature, and a review of five literature sources involved in the study.

Critical Review
Through their study, De Vass, et al. (2018) wanted to investigate how the internet of things is used to enhance the integration of suppliers and customers. In addition, the authors wanted to examine how IoT impacts on the internal activities of the supply chain in the retail industry. The study was in relation to the organizational capability theory. The main problem they were addressing was the lack of sufficient exploratory studies regarding how IoT improves the supply chain performance. Nevertheless, De Vass, et al. (2018) acknowledged that various empirical studies had been carried out. They used one-on-one semi-structured interviews and Nvivo in the collection and analysis of data. The authors interviewed managers in Australian retail. The results showed that the internet of things improved supply chain visibility, auto-capture, and information sharing for during the supply chain processes. The results indicated that IoT is an important facilitator of supply chain improvement.

The main strengths of the study are that De Vass, et al. (2018) provided definitions of key terms, outlined the gaps in the literature, had relevant objectives and that they used the appropriate methodology in their study. The authors were able to define key terms such as supply chain performance and the internet of things, which makes it easier for readers to understand the main concepts. In addition, the researchers stated that there was a general lack of sufficient studies that focused on the exploratory study of how the internet of things influenced supply chain performance. Thus, this fact led to the formulation of objectives added important information that can be used by retailers in today’s economy. Their use of one-on-one semi-structured interviews facilitated the capture of first-hand information from individuals who were actively involved in the implementation of IoT in the retail industry.

The following comments can be made regarding the current study:
The research addressed the challenges in the retail industry, that is, the insufficiencies of traditional ICT platforms.

The study also added to the literature by providing results from their exploratory study. Their findings can be used by managers looking to integrate IoT in the retail industry.

Literature Gaps
The main gap in literature was the fact that the authors only focused on the retail industry. The retail industry is considered to be at the forefront of IoT usage (Balaji & Roy, 2017), there are other numerous industries that can incorporate IoT in their processes such as the transport and the manufacturing industries. Forbes Insights (2018) notes that IoT is mostly applied in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, retail and communication. In view of this fact, the following research question arises: What is the impact of the Internet of Things on the Healthcare industry?

In conclusion, research on the internet of things continues to offer interesting insights on its impact. Although empirical studies have shown that IoT is an important contributor to improved supply chain performance, more exploratory research needs to be carried out. , De Vass, et al. (2018) focused their study on investigating how IoT impacts supply chain performance. The results showed that the internet of things improved supply chain visibility, auto-capture, and information sharing for during the supply chain processes. The main strengths of the study are that the authors provided definitions of key terms, outlined the gaps in the literature, had relevant objectives and that they used the appropriate methodology in their study. However, the main gap in the literature was that the authors only focused on the retail industry. In the future, it is recommended that additional exploratory studies be carried out regarding how IoT impacts other industries.

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