temperature@lert blog

Go Back
  • Batteries, AC or PoE: So Many (Power) Choices, So Little Time

    Choosing the right WTM electrical power source for each organization often requires testing.


    The previous piece in this series takes a look at Wireless Temperature Monitoring (WTM) device configuration options as a prelude to helping understand and select the optimal power source option for each site. Because Temperature Monitoring systems can be both wired and wireless, it is important to understand both options exist.

    NYC Hospital Queens installed a WTM system to monitor medications and blood in hospital refrigerators, an effort that is featured on the website Pharmacy Purchasing & Products. (Link to PPP Article) To be fair the WTM system deployed was not 100% wireless. According to the author, the system uses wireless temperature sensors that communicate through a gateway to the hospital’s network. The wireless receivers used require 110 VAC electrical connections (household plugs). The 120 VAC powered receivers which can also be described as gateways would normally be plugged in, collect data wirelessly from the sensors and send the accumulated readings wirelessly to the hospital’s IT network.

    In the case of NYC Hospital Queens most receivers were installed above the ceiling tiles where there were no electrical outlets. In such cases the site would normally need to install electrical outlets which can add considerable expense to the project; this was the case for NYC Hospital Queens. In this case however, the receivers or gateways chosen had a second power option, PoE or Power Over Ethernet. In the PoE configuration the gateways are connected directly to the hospital’s IT network via LAN (Ethernet) cables. Not all devices can take advantage of this mode of operation and not all LAN installations are designed to provide PoE, but in this case the PoE option was the easiest and least costly to implement.



    Examples of network cameras showing non-PoE and two PoE configurations. (Link to Source)

    Among the electrical power options for WTM devices, AC power and PoE are generally considered the most reliable and available unless the site has a history of blackouts or brownouts. And sites like hospitals often have emergency generators that keep critical systems operating during power outages, so even utility outages may not pose a problem. Additionally, AC powered WTM devices can be connected to inexpensive Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPSs) that allow the device to continue to operate when AC power is interrupted. In the UPS powered case, however, if the site’s IT network is down the WTM device may not be able to transmit its data. The UPS powered device is likely able to continue to monitor temperatures so that when communication is reestablished there will be a full data set for hospital policy and regulatory purposes.

    The alternative to AC or PoE is battery power, which needs to be assessed carefully to meet the site’s expectations and specifications. Cell phone technology has made many if not most readers of this piece aware how significant an issue battery life can be as related to wireless devices. Battery powered sensors will need recharging or battery replacement. The frequency of recharging or replacement will be determined by two factors: (1) wireless transmitter power (largely related to range or overcoming interference from walls, furnshings, equipment, etc.); (2) temperature sampling/data transmission rate (largely related to site policies or regulatory requirements). Needless to say, no organization would willingly take on a device that requires frequent battery changes, say each month or each calendar quarter) to maintain quality records.


    Battery life vs. data transmission demonstrates that higher sensor data sampling and transmission rates will result in lower battery life. (Link to Source)

    When selecting battery operated sensors for WTM systems a thorough understanding of the temperature sampling requirements is needed to determine sampling rate and transmission frequency to meet regulatory or hospital policy needs. In general five (5) minute sampling is sufficient to help insure temperature sensitive medications and materials are not exposed to temperature that can degrade product safety or efficacy. When refrigerator doors are left open for a few minutes medication vials, for example, do not become overly warm. Only after ten to fifteen minutes or longer in the case of larger quantities of material will the materials in the vials begin to be exposed to harmful temperatures. With five (5) minute sampling an alert will be sent at the next five minute interval, letting hospital staff know temperature excursions have been seen and the refrigerator unit needs to be checked.

    Whether or not AC, PoE, battery or a combination of these electrical power sources meets site’s needs, specifications and expectations will take time and effort to determine. An evaluation of any WTM device to determine if it provides sufficient transmission range, sampling and reporting rate, temperature alert level(s), and response times to meet specifications and expectations is strongly recommended before committing to any particular supplier.

    Temperature@ert’s WiFi, Cellular and ZPoint product offerings linked to the company’s Sensor Cloud platform provides a cost effective solution for organizations of all sizes. The products and services can help bring a laboratory or medical practice into compliance with minimum training or effort. For information about Temperature@lert visit our website at http://www.temperaturealert.com/ or call us at +1-866-524-3540.



    Written By:

    Dave Ruede, Well-Versed Wordsmith

    Dave Ruede, a dyed in the wool Connecticut Yankee, has been involved with high tech companies for the past three decades. His background in chemistry and experience in a multitude of industries such as industrial chemicals and systems, pulp and paper, semiconductor fabrication, data centers, and test and assembly facilities informs his work daily. Well-versed in sales, marketing, management, and business development, Dave brings real world experience to Temperature@lert. When not crafting new Temperature@lert projects, Dave enjoys spending time with his young granddaughter, who keeps him grounded to the simple joys in life. Such joys for this wordsmith include reading prize winning fiction and non-fiction. Although a Connecticut Yankee, living for a decade in coastal California’s not too hot, not too cold climate epitomizes Dave’s favorite temperature, 75°F.

    Temperature@lert Dave Ruede

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Electrical Power Options for Wireless Temperature Monitoring Devices

    Understanding WTM device configuration options is a beginning.


    Unless one uses a thermometer to monitor temperature, electrical power is needed to power today’s temperature monitoring devices. And there are several choices for electrical power options as will be described below. One factor in determining what electrical power source is best for any particular site is the Wireless Temperature Monitoring system configuration, and there are several to consider each with its own costs and benefits.

    This seventh piece in our series series is prompted by an article on the Pharmacy Purchasing & Products website describing the use of Wireless Temperature Monitoring (WTM) systems to monitor medication temperatures in hospital refrigerators. (Link to PPP Article) The Pharmacy Purchasing and Products posting titled NYC Hospital Examines WTM (Wireless Temperature Monitoring) Options notes there are several factors to consider in understanding which device will work best to help protect the safety and efficacy of temperature sensitive medicines and products such as vaccines and blood.

    Although the supplier of the WTM system selected by NYC Hospital Queens was not identified, the author did provide some insight into the system design and configuration. “Initially, we opted to use wireless sensors with powered (120 volts) receivers. However, it quickly became clear that maintaining access to a power supply would be a challenge because most receivers are located above the ceiling where access to a 120 volt power supply is limited and requires the additional services and expense of an electrician. Our engineering department estimated that there would be a significant cost associated with transferring data from the sensor to the receiver. Thus, the powered receivers were swapped for receivers that worked with our Ethernet network, which resulted in significant cost savings.”

    In NYC Hospital Queens the issue of power became a significant consideration to help determine the types of devices installed. But what are the choices. Taking a step back, temperature monitoring systems can be designed in several ways. Here are some common wired and wireless examples.

         1. USB device (Wired) - plugs directly into computer or server USB port, powered by USB port

         2. LAN (Ethernet, Category 5, Cat 5, Cat 5e) device (Wired) - requires Ethernet cable to connect to the site’s IT network,        powered by AC or PoE (Power over Ethernet)

         3. WiFi Standalone device - wirelessly connected to the site’s existing WiFi network, AC or Battery powered

         4. LAN Gateway** device (AC or PoE) with wired or wireless* satellite sensors (AC or Battery)

         5. WiFi Gateway** device (AC or Battery) with wired or wireless* satellite sensors (AC or Battery)

         6. Proprietary Wireless Gateway** device (AC or Battery) with wired or wireless* satellite sensors (AC or Battery)

         7. GSM, CDMA, or LTE Cellular Standalone device (AC or Battery) with wired sensors

         8. GSM, CDMA, or LTE Cellular Gateway** device (AC or Battery) with wired or wireless satellite sensors (AC or Battery)

    *Wireless satellite sensors can employ WiFi, ZigBee, Bluetooth, RFID, Proprietary or other wireless communication technologies. The two previous pieces in this series discuss these options as they relate to monitoring hospital medical refrigerators.

    **Gateway describes the wireless sensor interface to the site IT network.

    Graphic showing possible components of WTM devices.

    Graphic showing possible components of WTM devices.

    Selection of the type of sensor, interface and data collection device will have a significant impact on the type of electrical power required to operate the system without continuous maintenance. Other configurations may exist but these configurations are representative of those found in today’s market.

    For example, below are four Temperature@lert temperature monitoring devices for consideration. From left to right, the Z-Point wireless sensor operates on AA Li-Ion batteries for up to five (5) years with five (5) minute monitoring intervals; the Cellular Edition normally operates on AC power (110/220 VAC) and has backup battery power for times when electrical power is interrupted’ The USB device is powered through the USB port of a computer or server, and the WiFi device requires 110/120 VAC electrical power or Power-Over-Ethernet through the device's LAN connector to operate.

    Temperature@lert Z-Point Wireless sensor, Cellular Edition Gateway, USB Edition, and WiFi Edition temperature monitoring devices.


    Left-to-Right: Temperature@lert Z-Point Wireless sensor, Cellular Edition Gateway, USB Edition, and WiFi Edition temperature monitoring devices.


    Facility operations, conditions and requirements will help determine whether or if AC or battery power meets the site’s specifications and needs. In the case of NYC Hospital Queens, AC power was not available for the sensor gateways but Ethernet (LAN) connections were available. Ethernet (LAN) connectors can be configured to deliver power to devices connected to them; the technology is called Power Over Ethernet (PoE), and this was a more cost-effective choice for the hospital's installation. What is the impact of the choice on operation of the WTM system. The next piece in this series will examine the pluses and minuses of different electrical power options and provide some insight into best practices.

    Temperature@ert’s WiFi, Cellular and ZPoint product offerings linked to the company’s Sensor Cloud platform provides a cost effective solution for organizations of all sizes. The products and services can help bring a laboratory or medical practice into compliance with minimum training or effort. For information about Temperature@lert visit our website at http://www.temperaturealert.com/ or call us at +1-866-524-3540.



    Written By:

    Dave Ruede, Well-Versed Wordsmith

    Dave Ruede, a dyed in the wool Connecticut Yankee, has been involved with high tech companies for the past three decades. His background in chemistry and experience in a multitude of industries such as industrial chemicals and systems, pulp and paper, semiconductor fabrication, data centers, and test and assembly facilities informs his work daily. Well-versed in sales, marketing, management, and business development, Dave brings real world experience to Temperature@lert. When not crafting new Temperature@lert projects, Dave enjoys spending time with his young granddaughter, who keeps him grounded to the simple joys in life. Such joys for this wordsmith include reading prize winning fiction and non-fiction. Although a Connecticut Yankee, living for a decade in coastal California’s not too hot, not too cold climate epitomizes Dave’s favorite temperature, 75°F.

    Temperature@lert Dave Ruede

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Free Download: iPhone iOS7 App Update for Temperature@lert Sensor Cloud

    Temperature@lert, the leading provider of real-time, cloud-based environmental monitoring solutions for every industry from food transportation to vaccine storage, releases the latest update of its free iPhone® app for their Sensor Cloud service. Their most recent iPhone app revision boasts an iOS7-inspired design allowing for greater clarity and viewing options with improved graphing functionality.­

    Temperature@lert iPhone iOS7 App

    The Temperature@lert Sensor Cloud iPhone app was originally released in 2009, which provided iPhone users access to their account via app instead of their mobile browser. Sensor Cloud is a service that can place Temperature@lert USB, WIFI, and CELL devices all under one interface providing remote access to its users. The user can view readings on desktop, mobile, or tablet platforms. By logging into Sensor Cloud’s secure web site (www.myalertlist.com), the user can see current conditions, manage telephone, text/SMS and email alerts, create and export reports and logs for compliance, and much, much more.

    Exactly like its predecessor, the latest iPhone app revision is free for all Sensor Cloud users. The app does not include any advertisements or other marketing features. The updated Temperature@lert Sensor Cloud app is now available in the Apple iPhone App Store (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/temperature-lert-sensor-cloud/id432953216). Interested users can try a free demo of Sensor Cloud by visiting: http://www.temperaturealert.com/Remote-Temperature/Sensor-Cloud-Demo.aspx.

    “Having had an iPhone app for our Sensor Cloud users since 2009, iOS7 enabled us to refresh our app in a new and innovative manner,” stated Harry Schechter, Temperature@lert CEO/Founder. “While rolling out several new advanced features within the desktop version of Sensor Cloud, such as audit trails and incidents acknowledgments, we received a great deal of feedback from our current users on how to improve the mobile app. It is great to have a new version of the app that helps to meet more customer needs and we hope to continue improve in future revisions across all platforms!”

    For more information about Temperature@lert, please call 866-524-3540 or visit www.TemperatureAlert.com.


    free Temperature@lert eBook


    Written By:

    Diane Deng, Advertising Acrobat

    Born and raised a Bostonian, Diane graduated with a BS from Boston University in Communications with a specialty in Advertising. Aerodynamic Diane spends her spare time flying in the air through her practice of aerial yoga while pursuing her ALM in Information Technology, Digital Media at Harvard. Not only is she a flying machine but a marketing machine as well. She recently launched her first national cross-promotional marketing campaign. When Diane is not gliding on yoga swings, she swiftly manages Temperature@lert's new media accounts while building client and affiliate relationships. For this airborne gal, she likes her temperature like she likes her aerial yoga, a warm 78 degrees.

    Temperature@lert Diane Deng

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Food Companies: Not All Press is Good Press

    One of the most recent and highly profiled U.S. dairy incidents occurred during the fall of 2013 and involved a New York-based Greek yogurt company. Hundreds of consumers fell sick after they had purchased and eaten yogurt tainted by mold. While no one became seriously ill, and the mold discovered was not of a foodborne pathogen variety (salmonella, E. coli etc.), reports of gastrointestinal ailments among consumers prompted the company to remove and destroy all questionable inventory. Besides costing money, the mishap took a toll on the firm’s previously admired and trusted brand and manufacturing processes, respectively, as many consumers took to Twitter and Facebook to express their concern and disapproval.

    The mold that tainted this company’s products is one commonly found around foods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy, Mocur circinelloids, and can be a culprit in spoilage when not immediately identified and removed. Some folks questioned whether or not it was actually Mocur circinelloids that caused people to fall ill, but the subsequently filled FDA report stated that no other bacterial culprit was found inside the Idaho facility.

    Regardless of whether or not another organism was at the core of the contamination, the entire ordeal stands as another reminder of how fiercely rapid a gap in a company’s manufacturing process can lead to public fury and governmental scrutiny, especially in today’s world of digitally instantaneous, consumer blowback. But this latest example is perhaps even more disconcerting than most because it involved the molding of yogurt, a product that is inherently, well, moldy.

    Crudely speaking, yogurt is created by adding bacteria to heated milk, and the entire process, whether undertaken within a factory or household kitchen, requires precision both in terms of combining the ingredients and monitoring the mixture’s temperature during heating and cooling stages. The FDA, consistent in its dedication to oversee the application of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), provides 21 CFR Part 131 as a blueprint for producing all types of milk, cream, and yogurt. The document, which contains guidelines on general pasteurization procedures and the production and labeling of specific varieties of aforementioned dairy products, begins its section on non-fat, low-fat, and regular yogurt by defining core expectations for the base product:

    Yogurt, before the addition of bulky flavors, contains not less than 3.25 percent milkfat and not less than 8.25 percent milk solids not fat, and has a titratable acidity of not less than 0.9 percent, expressed as lactic acid. The food may be homogenized and shall be pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized prior to the addition of the bacterial culture. Flavoring ingredients may be added after pasteurization or ultra-pasteurization. To extend the shelf life of the food, yogurt may be heat treated after culturing is completed, to destroy viable microorganisms.

    Beyond listing the required milkfat parameters and acidity level for regular yogurt, this excerpt mentions two activities predicated on proper environmental monitoring. Temperature plays a critical role in heating and cooling, and any increase in humidity can act as a bellwether for deteriorating ambient conditions and possible bacterial growth. Monitoring these variables can prevent production failures, and customizable, cloud-based monitoring systems like Temperature@lert’s Cellular Edition with Sensor Cloud are more than just technical instruments; they’re autonomous, comprehensive solutions to problems that once seemed unavoidable.

    free Temperature@lert eBook

    Even without being presumptuous about a yogurt company’s past oversight, one can deduce that dangerous windows of exposure exist during dairy manufacturing processes, and deploying preventative safeguards to ensure a product’s quality and condition isn’t just operationally and financially prudent, it’s also organizationally principled.




    Written by:

    Chris Monaco, Covert Content Creator

    As a man of many achievements, Chris Monaco is Temperature@lert’s newest Covert Content Creator. Hailing from Beverly, MA, Chris is armed with a trifecta of degrees, from a BFA (Maine at Farmington), to an MFA (Lesley University), all the way up to his most recent achievement; the coveted MBA from Suffolk University. Outside of his academic travels, Chris has added many international stamps to his passport, including: Seoul, Korea and Prague, Czech Republic, wherein Chris taught English as a Second Language to dozens of international students. His hobbies include writing, skiing, traveling, reading, and the world of politics. His personal claims to fame include two cross-country car trips through the U.S. and a summer’s worth of courageously guiding whitewater rafting trips. Chris’ ideal temperature is 112°F, the optimal temperature for a crisp shave.

    Chris Monaco Temperature@lert

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • 2014 FDA Food Safety Predictions and the Role of Temperature Monitoring

    Steps to automate temperature recording and reporting help meet key food safety concerns.


    A recent blog on the Food Safety Tech website featured predictions by former Chief Medical Officer at the US FDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Dr. David Acheson. The piece presents five prediction for 2014 Food Safety.  Link to Blog With his insight into the workings of the FDA, Dr, Acheson offers a first look at likely FDA actions in 2014.  These include:

         1. FSMA Final & Proposed Rules will be pushed for completion

         2. Poultry Modernization Act Pressure to reduce high levels of bacteria on raw chicken

         3. More Recalls

         4. More calls for GMO & Nano labeling

         5 Other - expanded focus on front of package labeling and more stringent requirements on heavy metals (lead, cadmium), especially in imported foods.


    Due to the publicity that food safety problems garner, many of the issues above are key in the minds of consumers, and therefore need to be considered seriously.  For example, an October 2013 Los Angeles Times editorial titled Keeping Salmonella out of Chicken made headlines when the piece pointed out that Sweden has virtually eliminated salmonella in store bought chicken and that a 2010 Consumers Union study found no salmonella in the organic store-brands chicken tested (Link to Editorial). The editorial's note that one particular outbreak was from antibiotic resistant strains and led to a call for tighter regulation and reduced antibiotic use.   The industry’s response that thorough cooking will kill the bacteria does little to stem the adverse publicity and potential liability from such outbreaks.  Dr. Acheson ties such events to his prediction for more recalls in 2014.


    December 2013 CDC Salmonella Heidelberg Contaminated Chicken Case Count (CDC Link)


    Certainly producers of chicken as well as other meat, fish, dairy and produce can improve their operations to reduce such outbreaks.  The question is whether or not they will take the initiative to show proactive approaches to reducing bacterial contamination or weather another storm of headlines accompanied by a drop in consumer purchases of suspect problems and the resultant lawsuits that always follow.  The FDA is looking at this issue closely and proactive measures can help in arriving at practices and regulations that meet both consumer and producer needs.

    One such proactive approach for the poultry industry is to monitor breeding area temperatures to insure the animals are kept at temperatures that promote health and reduce bacterial growth.  Temperature@lert’s WiFi and Cellular Edition devices have been deployed in numerous breeding houses with good results.  While temperature controls take care of cooling and heating needs they are not infallible; these systems can and do fail.  And if temperatures climb too high on hot, humid days, all the fans in the world will not be enough to keep the poultry safe.  Temperature@lert’s devices alert growers to the dangers before they cause serious harm by sending email, text and voice messages to managers when problems arise.

     


    Chicken Farm (Link to National Geographic); Processing Plant (Link to Pine Manor Farms)


    Quick responses can be the difference between sick or injured birds and healthy ones at medium and  large commercial chicken grower sites.  Keeping temperatures from reaching extremes can help prevent rapid bacterial growth.  Likewise, processing plants are at risk of contamination when temperatures rise promoting the growth of bacteria.  This is why major chicken growers have deployed Temperature@lert’s Cellular Edition alerting devices coupled with secure cloud based data collection, storage and alert reporting offers a fault tolerant solution for times when site power or HVAC systems are malfunctioning.  Temperature@lert’s proprietary Sensor Cloud can send text, voice and phone alerts to insure responsible personnel are aware of problems when they occur, day or night, holidays or weekends, and growers can get a good nights sleep because they know their chickens are safe.


    Temperature@lert ZPoint Cellular DeviceTemperature@lert ZPoint Wireless Sensor

    Cellular Edition (Left) and optional ZPoint Wireless Network Sensor Module (Right)


    Temperature@ert’s WiFi, Cellular and ZPoint product offerings linked to the company’s Sensor Cloud platform provides a cost effective solution for organizations of all sizes. The products and services can help bring a laboratory or medical practice into compliance with minimum training or effort. For information about Temperature@lert’s Cellular and SensorCloud offerings, visit our website at http://www.temperaturealert.com/ or call us at +1-866-524-3540.


    Free Temperature@lert eBook




    Dave Ruede, Well-Versed Wordsmith

    Dave Ruede, a dyed in the wool Connecticut Yankee, has been involved with high tech companies for the past three decades. His background in chemistry and experience in a multitude of industries such as industrial chemicals and systems, pulp and paper, semiconductor fabrication, data centers, and test and assembly facilities informs his work daily. Well-versed in sales, marketing, management, and business development, Dave brings real world experience to Temperature@lert. When not crafting new Temperature@lert projects, Dave enjoys spending time with his young granddaughter, who keeps him grounded to the simple joys in life. Such joys for this wordsmith include reading prize winning fiction and non-fiction. Although a Connecticut Yankee, living for a decade in coastal California’s not too hot, not too cold climate epitomizes Dave’s favorite temperature, 75°F.

    Temperature@lert Dave Ruede

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Evolving and Expanding Capabilities: Pressure Sensing


    From time to time, Temperature@lert will field customer requests that involve solutions and/or products that are outside of our product line.  All of these requests are individually reviewed by Temperature@lert’s specialty solutions team, and each team member is aided by their devotion for solving challenges and formulating creative solutions for customized and complex projects. Many projects involve extensive technical consultation and support, and each project may even lead to a new innovation. The primary objective is to meet the needs of the customer, but the ability to evolve and adapt is the main ingredient of Temperature@lert’s secret sauce. To quote the old adage, there truly is “always a way” with Temperature@lert.

    One of the more recent solution success stories comes from a proactive and enthusiastic pharmaceutical customer. This customer is well-tapped into FDA regulations and requirements, specifically surrounding the recommended pressure differential in clean rooms (as well as ante rooms and biological safety cabinets or BSC’s).

    Temperature@lert: Clean Room Pressure Monitoring

    In the most basic sense, the goal of pressure differential is to prevent unfiltered air from reaching the BSC. BSC’s are typically housed within clean rooms, which are attached to what an ante room. Beyond the ante room are the hallways/corridors of the pharmaceutical facility.

    Bacteria and airborne contaminants are often present in hallways, and thus the use of pressure differential drives airflow outward (towards the hallway), as opposed to inward (towards the clean room and BSC.) The air created within the clean room (and the BSC) is filtered and rendered safe for precious medicine preparation, and must be remain filtered to ensure safe handling and compounding.  By preventing contaminated air from reaching the BSC, the strategy of adjusting pressure differential is an ideal strategy for ensuring safe handling and compounding.

    This customer had reiterated that the use of pressure differential sensors are a relatively new FDA requirement, and that this requirement will soon be adopted by all clean rooms, specifically within pharmaceutical compounding facilities. Although pressure sensors (and pressure differential indicators) had not been part of the Temperature@lert product offering, Temperature@lert worked directly with the customer over a 2-week period to conceptualize a solution. After a bit of outside-the-box thinking, Temperature@lert designed and developed a customized adapter board to be outfitted with an off-the-shelf differential pressure indicator. This particular solution stood at odds with other pressure differential systems, of which can cost upwards of $4,000 per room.

    Free Temperature@lert E-Book

    The customer was highly appreciative of Temperature@lert’s efforts to go beyond the standard product offerings and into a realm of early-adoption implementation. With the customer’s desire to stay ahead of the curve, Temperature@lert recognized to the need to be at the forefront of new FDA requirements for other users. Please contact us at info@temperaturealert.com if you have any questions. 

    Temperature@lert continues to encourage early adoption of new (and safer) regulations and requirements, and with each new calendar year comes a new challenge.

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Happy Thanksgiving from the Temperature@lert Team!

    Temperature@lert December Deals on Temperature Monitoring

    In true holiday spirit, Temperature@lert will be offering a number of promotions throughout the month of December. Keep a close watch on the following social media accounts for discounts on Temperature@lert devices and accessories:


    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/temperature-lert

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TemperatureAlert

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/TempAlertHarry


    Use the coupon codes from these social accounts and apply them at checkout to your order.

    These promotions may only be used with MSRP pricing. Excludes resellers and other strategic partners. Shipping discounts not valid for International Shipments.

    As always, feel free to give us a call at 866-524-3540 with any questions.


    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    ~The Temperature@lert Team



    Temperature@lert Temperature Monitoring December Deals

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Advice Corner: Temperature@lert Sensors and High-Voltage Wiring

    Temperature@lert recently encountered a situation with one of their best customers, a well-known and respected entertainment company. This particular company is the largest provider of family entertainment in the world with more than 3000 employees, and hosts a variety of productions for more than 30 million people annually. The specific circumstances and resulting solution can benefit other customers in similar predicaments.

     Temperature@lert Cellular Device

    The Setup:


    The customer has several Temperature@lert Cellular Edition devices deployed around the world for their operations, and each device hosts approximately 3-4 wired temperature sensors. These sensors range from 6’ to 150’ in length.  Many of the longer sensors were mounted alongside a conduit that housed electrical wiring for a motor. The sensors were attached to the side of the conduit housing with zipties.

    Temperature@lert Cellular Device + Sensor Cloud Service: How it works graphic


    The Problem:


    The customer uses the PRO Sensor Cloud Plan, which allows constant temperature readings for every five minutes. They noticed that the Temperature@lert sensors (alongside the conduit) were only recording readings 3-5 times per day. This error was not related to the Temperature@lert Cellular Edition.


    The Cause and Solution


    After trying several creative strategies to rectify the situation, Temperature@lert Technical Support was able to identify the cause of the reading disruption. The conduit housing contained several wires that transmitted high voltage electricity to the stated motor, some as high as 220 volts. Ultimately, the electromagnetic field (EMF) of these wires was causing interference and thereby preventing the temperature sensors from transmitting readings to the Cellular Edition. With this in mind, Temperature@lert advised the customer to situate the sensors away from the high voltage conduit. Once this was completed, the customer reported that the sensors were effectively transmitting readings every five minutes as originally intended, and thus indicating that the problem had been resolved.

    Free EBook on Temperature Monitoring

    Temperature@lert would like to open this discovery to all customers and potential prospects as a statement of best installation practices. Whenever possible, ensure that Temperature@lert sensors are not placed alongside (or near) high voltage electrical wiring as stated in the above example. For more information on installation best practices and troubleshooting your device, please contact Temperature@lert technical support for assistance.

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • 3 Questions To Ask Your Monitoring Provider

    Making an enterprise-level purchase can be an arduous and painful task. You might find yourself demoing a product for a few months, waiting weeks for approval, and even with testing, a temporary failure or problem can nix the entire cycle. Don't be fooled though, this sorrow-filled quest to make larger sales can be successful. These preliminary negotiations typically touch on the psychological pulls of a client's needs, concerns, and fears.

     

    Price is almost always the first need to address, as any given solution must also be cost effective for the client. The main initial concern is capability, or whether the product can fully perform the duties to which it will be assigned. And finally, the biggest fear (and a large reason for the extended cycle) is service and consistency, or put another way: will the product maintain the stated abilities for months at a time, and if not, will the vendor respond with a timely and no-hassle solution to the problem?

     

    While 'price', 'capability', and 'service' are the initial touch points of a larger sale, monitoring devices and providers have more bases to cover. Keep these questions in mind before choosing your next monitoring provider, and don't let the initial touch points distract you from these other important considerations for purchasing.

     

    1. How does your warranty work?

    This is somewhat along the lines of the service 'fear' that we discussed above. Check out our blog post on warranties for temperature sensors to read more about this issue (specific to a known vendor). Sensors and hardware may not fall under the same warranty agreement, and warranties on sensors can often be painfully short (90 days in some cases). Before committing to a purchase, be sure to ask your monitoring provider about the odds, ends, and details about your warranty. When possible, purchase extended warranties to insure the products (especially in a larger deployment).

     

    2. Is Telephone Support included?

    Be careful. A vendor is likely to provide hands-on support and service in the testing phases of a sale, but the ongoing lifecycle of the product is a more pertinent support concern. How will the product be supported over time (even with a warranty)? How are small-scale technical issues addressed, and how seamless is the return process? Don't forget, low-quality service and support can make the most well-insured product into an RMA hassle, so make an honest assessment of their support capabilities. One of the most common mistakes is to utilize a vendor with little (or no) phone support, leaving you stuck with discussion forums and (un)helpful support articles. These will be general, they will not be specific, and it truly takes the touch of a phone specialist to troubleshoot software, firmware, and other technical hiccups. Remember the red phone in each Apple Store that had a direct line to an Apple super-specialist from headquarters? That type of support is priceless. Make sure to press your monitoring provider on support agreements, and ensure that capable support personnel can be reached by phone at all times.

     

    3. How often do you update your hardware/software, and will our deployment be obsolete in the near future?


    We know that honesty is the best policy, but sometimes, monitoring vendors may not be interested in that practice. Don't always assume that the online product is the finished masterpiece, and remember that revs and product evolution happen fairly frequently. You wouldn't want to purchase dozens (or hundreds) of first generation monitoring hardware if they were soon to be replaced by the second generation. The same applies for software; how will you be made aware of changes and updates? Do these updates affect your deployment, or are they meaningless add-ons that look to sap more cash out of your budget? Are there important compliance features that you're required to follow? Is the device legally certified to meet the requirement?

     

    All of these questions are often passed by the wayside in the onset of the sale. We're often distracted by budget projections, out-of-the-box capabilities, and the preliminary installation processes. Don't forget these underlying questions when you chat with your potential provider, and make sure to cover all of your monitoring bases without failure!


    Temperature@lert EBook


    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Who exactly is ushering in ASHRAE’s Temperature Guidelines?



    Temperature@lert Dave Ruede Dave Ruede, VP of Marketing at Temperature@lert, says:

    "Is raising data center temperature like a game of “you blinked first”, only with your job on the line?"

    While no global standard exists for data center temperature recommendations, many refer to the white paper ASHRAE Technical Committee (TC 9.9) for Mission Critical Facilities, Technology Spaces, and Electronic Equipment.  As many know, the committee published a 2011 update titled 2011 Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments – Expanded Data Center Classes and Usage Guidance.  (Link to Whitepaper)  With this document, ASHRAE’s TC 9.9 raised the recommended high end temperature from 25°C (77°F) to 27°C (80.6°F) for Class 1 data centers (the most tightly controlled class).  More importantly, the allowed high end was set a warm 32°C (89.6°F), perfect for growing succulents like cacti.

    And yet, recent posts on IT professional social media sites have produced questions like, “What gloves are recommended for data centers to help protect from cold temperatures?”  So it appears not everyone is following ASHRAE’s guidelines.  Yet the other fact is that many IT professional media discussions are about energy savings. And if I remember living through the history of the 1973 OPEC oil embargo correctly, raising home air conditioning temperatures during the summer and lowering home heating temperatures during the winter saves energy and money.  The U.S. Department of Energy’s website estimates a 1% energy saving for each degree the AC temperature is raised.  Some sites claim 2%, 3% and even 4% savings, but even 1% for a data center’s energy budget is very significant.

    What are data center’s really doing?  In a July 15, 2013 piece posted on the Computerworld UK website titled It’s getting warmer in some data centers, author Patrick Thibodeau notes that, “The U.S. General Services Administration, as part of data center consolidation and efficiency efforts, has recommended raising data center temperatures from 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22.2°C) to as high as 80 degrees (26.7°C) . Based on industry best practices, the GSA said it can save 4% to 5% in energy costs for every one degree increase in the server inlet temperature.”  (Link to Article)  A 5% energy savings is something that makes IT managers really salivate.

    eBay’s newest data center in Phoenix, AZ employs open-air cooling technology to reduce energy used for cooling as a percentage of total site power consumption.  (Link to Image)
    So where is the industry?  The article continues that the 2013 Uptime Institute survey that included 1,000 data centers globally, almost 50% were operating at between 71°F (21.6°C) and 75°F (23.9°C).  The Uptime Institute noted that the survey did not show much change from the previous year.  Incredibly, 37% of data centers were operating a frigid 65°F (18.3°C) to 70°F (21.1°C).  Some good news was the fact that data centers operating at less than 65°F (18.3°C) have decreased from 15% to 6% of those surveyed.  This is a self-selected survey, so the data has to be looked at somewhat cautiously since some data center personnel may not elect to participate, but the data is sobering.

    So what’s the problem?  Server and other electronic equipment suppliers have participated fully in the TC 9.9 guidelines; they are certain that their equipment will operate within specification at the higher temperatures.  Their warranties reflect this.  And yet, other issues exist.

    One may the issue of poorly controlled buildings.   Older, poorly insulated facilities with dated, less efficient HVAC equipment may be forced to lower the temperature to withstand elevated summer temperatures, especially if they have significant air leakage.  Indeed, in the Boston area the month of July 2013 has been an average 4°F (2.2°C) hotter than average, a load that will tax even newer cooling systems.  Finally, the elevated temperatures may only apply to the newer equipment in any given data center.  Many data centers have a collection of equipment that contains some of the newest, state of the art servers sharing space vintage electronics that need the cooler temperatures to operate without problems.  And changing out equipment to allow a site to raise the temperature will mean assessing all electronic systems, including building facilities.
    So the industry has a dilemma, save energy and operating cost by raising data center temperatures which could require building, HVAC electronic equipment upgrades, or continue to pay higher operating costs.  The flip side is the price to retrofit buildings, systems and electronic equipment; a cost that would be paid by “Facilities” or “Operations”, not “IT”.
    Image from Slate.com piece about Google’s data center (Link to Image)

    Data center professionals are no different from other industries in that making change is hard, it can come with risks.  And changes to operating protocols are not done lightly when many data centers based their business strategy on reliability guarantees to their customers.  Who among us is willing to stake their professional reputation and possibly their job on a major undertaking that contains variables that may be out of our control?  So a studied approach is called for.   But in the end, the cost of energy will inevitably increase, and the need to implement more powerful servers, etc. will be irresistible. When that time comes, the need to implement raising temperature limits will be examined closely as part of an overall business strategy.  In the mean time, data center personnel may want to check out a recent Slate website post titled “The Internet Wears Shorts”, wherein the author describes Google technicians who work in summer clothes.  The thrust is that Google has achieved significant energy efficiency, partially by running their data centers at “a balmy 80°F” (22.2°C).

    Author: Dave Ruede is VP Marketing at Boston based Temperature@lert (www.temperaturealert.com), a leading developer and provider of low-cost, high-performance temperature monitoring products.  Professional interests include environmental and energy issues as they relate to data centers, clean rooms, and electronics.  Contact: dave@temperaturealert.com

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. Next page