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  • About Temperature Sensors: A Brief History and the Vendor Landscape

    About Temperature Sensors: A Brief History and the Vendor Landscape

     

    If you've begun your search for a temperature sensor product, you've likely realized that there are a tremendous amount of choices available. What is it about temperature sensors that makes this decision so complicated? Similar to the theme of our previous article "Choosing a Temperature Sensor: A Paradox of Choice"; the amount of options, features, and specifications can be overwhelming. You might ask,  "Where should I start? What are the key considerations for purchasing a sensor, and how can one differentiate between the near carbon-copy vendors?".

    Without slicing and dicing the entire landscape from AVTech to Monnit, there are a few key considerations for purchasing of a temperature sensor and monitoring system. One of the most common questions (that is, from the potential customer to the vendor) is to ask "Can I view my temperatures/monitoring points remotely?". The answer is typically yes, as most vendors have an optional add-on service that includes the ability to monitor temperatures remotely. Although sensors may be thousands of miles (or a stone's throw) away, readings, logs, and other compliance-fueled information can be easily accessed from most systems. When inquiring about temperature sensors, make sure to outline the importance of remote monitoring for your specific situation to the vendor. Communication is the key!

    As a simple example, our Sensor Cloud service (priced at $9.95/month) provides a nice glimpse into remote environments. By using a web portal (myalertlist.com) for access, a well-traveled professional can have peace of mind as they sift through devices, alerts, and status reports on-the-go. There is also the ability to maintain log storages for up to three years, a crucial necessity for many compliance-minded customers. An impending audit or compliance check can be nerve racking, so a log history is often a "must" for these situations. Many of our competitors offer a similar service, with varying feature sets and optional add-ons. To that end, Temperature@lert is not the only shop on the block with remote monitoring capabilities, but it's worth noting that a Sensor Cloud-enabled device is smarter and more reliable than bare hardware.

    Another issue that's often discussed in the 'prospect' circle is the variety of alert types. Many years ago, capabilities were somewhat limited in the sensor market. Vendors could typically offer email alerts for sensors that had reached their respected threshold, but even then, smartphones and on-the-go emails weren't as common. Common problems began to arise with this limited capability; customers asked "How will I receive alerts during the time when I'm away from the office, or if I'm in Disneyland, how will I know if my server room is overheating without email access?". Fast forward to today, and the evolution of temperature sensors, monitoring software, and other communications has brought expanded alert capabilities to customers (large or small). Many vendors now offer text message alerts to supplement emails, and thereby opening the mobile stream of alerting to cell phone users. This is an excellent step-up from the standard email alerts, and frankly, most of us are pretty responsive to text messages.

    But unfortunately, text messages are typically useful for casual conversation, simple notes, and/or friendly reminders. When a conversation reaches a critical point or becomes time-sensitive, a simple phone call is the most direct route to communication. Almost by definition, text messages are passive reminders/notifications, and aren't exactly ideal fortemperature monitoring alerts. A text message that signifies an overheating server room or vaccine refrigeration failure is hardly sufficient to address these significant problems. And the "alert" comes in the form of a quiet beep or bell. (hardly an alert at all!). Even with the evolution of many of our vendors and competitors (with text and email alerts), our own Cellular Edition is the only low-cost, high performance device that offers phone calls for alerting. Calling on the passive nature of a text alert, a phone call is a more immediate, direct, and urgent form of communication for customers to receive alerts. Again, while Temperature@lert is not the only vendor in the marketplace that offers text and email alerts, the ability to send phone call alerts is one of our primary differentiators (and, may we say, one of our primary selling points due to the sense of urgency that comes from a phone call alert).  

    It should be noted that the Sensor Cloud service (while included with the Cellular Edition) is an optional add-on purchase for our other products. Both the WiFi and USB edition can be tied to a sensor cloud account, allowing the same bells and whistles from above. From cell phone alerts, to log storage, to remote monitoring, Sensor Cloud is a truly comprehensive service that boosts all of our products to the "next generation" of temperature monitoring.

    While remote monitoring capabilities and cell phone alerts aren't the only considerations for temperature sensors, these are two of the main issues that we see from our customers. We've assembled a solutions team, or a dedicated group of individuals that will dissect your needs, work through pain points, and devise a solid solution. Our support staff is also available around the clock, and customers are welcome to reach out directly to all team members with questions or concerns. Many vendors have large corporate ears, and it can be difficult to reach the proper ear for pricing, support, and/or standard customer service questions. With Temperature@lert, an informed mind sits at the other end of every call or question. 

     If you've arrived hoping to learn about temperature sensor vendors, or to learn about a few key differentiations relative to temperature sensors and their respective vendors, we hope that this information will be useful in your purchase journey. If you'd like to chime in on the discussion about temperature sensors, their history in the B2B market, or the vendor landscape, chime in on the comments section. 

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  • Essential Tech Check List: Building & Retrofitting Your Server Room

    Whether you're building a server room, adding on, or moving equipment there are many considerations to mull over. From the basics to alarm systems, it is important to ensure your server room is efficient and to protect your mission critical equipment. Previously in our blog, we have addressed the issues surrounding the microclimate present in your server room; however, it is critical to have an understanding of how a server room should be laid-out and managed. Use our check list as a guide for promoting security, efficiency, and productivity:

    Our Essential Tech Check List

    (1) Your Basics of Space

    • -Examine the layout of the space and how many units of space you have to work with.

    • -The walls (including ceiling) and doors should isolate the sounds that your equipment is creating.

    • -Check to see which way the door opens. There should also be no windows or other entry points other than the doors in the room.

    • -Consider the floor and whether your equipment will need raised flooring. Aim for anti-static floor finishing to prevent an unwanted static charge.

    • -Make sure there is enough clearance for racks and that they are stable enough to hold your equipment.

    • -Check for aisle clearance too, make sure your have enough room for exhaust to escape and not over-heat nearby equipment.

    • -Think about whether you need ladder racks, cabinets, shelves, patch panels, or rack mounts.

    • -Take into weight and size of each piece of equipment into consideration when designing the layout.


    (2) Keeping Your Cool

    • -Check and see what type if centralized cooling is available, whether an under the floor air distribution or an air duct system.

    • -If there is no centralized system available, get an air conditioner or cooling unit that is able to keep your equipment working productively while minimizing energy consumption and costs.

    • -If at all possible, fresh air vents are great and save on energy costs and consumption!

    • -Remove any and all radiators or other heating equipment currently present in the room. You don't need to add heat at all!

    • -Monitor your cooling system(s) to make sure it is working properly, especially when no one is there.

    • -Make sure your cooling units are not too close in proximity to your electrical equipment, think condensation and flooding. Do not place air conditioning units over your servers.

    • -Monitor the humidity to prevent static charge and electrical shorts.

    • -See if a chilled water system is in the budget or find something within the budget constraints to ensure that the hot air has somewhere to go.

     

    (3) Using Your Power

    • -Check to make sure that you have enough outlets to support power to all your equipment and not to overload them.

    • -Get backup power, preferably UPS to prevent data loss from power blinking or outages.

    • -Don't surpass the maximum electrical intensity per unit of space.

    • -Consider shut down capabilities of equipment (SNMP traps for example).

    • -Make sure your equipment is grounded.

    • -Monitor for power outages if you are not using back-up power systems.

    • -Monitor your back up power systems to make sure your mission critical equipment is not failing due to power loss.

     

    (4) Keeping Secure & Safe

    • -Have at least one phone present in the room in case of emergencies.

    • -Either check for a preexisting fire alarm system and install one if there isn't.

    • -Get a fire suppression system if there is not one there. Take into consideration of whether you will have a wet or dry suppression system and the effects that will have on your equipment. (Halon is a great choice!)

    • -Have reliable contacts to help resolve issues immediately, or form a system of escalation.

    • -Monitor for flooding, especially if this has happened historically in the past.

    • -Secure entrances/exits, this is expensive equipment with critical data, you don't want just anyone in there messing around!

     

    (5) Other Considerations

    • -Get the best cabling/wiring available within budget constraints. 

    • -Keep extra cabling/wiring around, because you never know when you may need it.

    • -Consider color coding wires/cables, a little more work now but definitely a time-saver in the future!

    • -Think about lighting: location & heat produced.

    • -If there is someone sharing the space, get them some earplugs! It's going to be loud in there with the equipment being used.

    • -Consider networking/phone lines being run in there and how much space you have left after that.

    • -Plan for future expansion or retrofitting (again).

    • -Leave the service loops in the ceilings.

    • -Label outlets.

    • -Get rid of dust, your equipment hates it!

    • -Check if you have a rodent/pest problem.

    • -Cover emergency shutoff switches so that it can't be accidentally triggered.

    • -Try to centralize the room in the building so that you can eliminate having to use more cabling/wiring than you need to.

    • -Meet OSHA and ASHRAE guidelines as well local codes.


    Is your server room or do you know of someone's server room that is not being monitored for temperature? Are you concerned with energy consumption, ability to monitor off-hours, and/or preventing mission critical equipment from failure? If you or know someone who is experiencing such issues, we want to hear form YOU!

    We will be giving away ONE FREE USB DEVICE per month to the server room with the most need! Valued at $129.99,Temperature@lert USB Edition is a low-cost, high-performance device that monitors the ambient temperature in your server room and alerts you via email when the temperature rises or falls outside your acceptable range.

    Please send a brief description, pictures, and/or videos to diane@temperaturealert.com for consideration! Our team will select one winner each month based on description and need, because we firmly believe that companies in every industry 


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  • Top 3 Reasons to Monitor Your Server Room / Data Center

    It's 2013, a new year with a smaller budget and of course a higher expectancy for better equipment efficiency. In order to have this higher level of efficiency while meeting budget constraints, you would need to essentially extend the lifespan of your equipment. Expanding the lifespan requires a monitoring system that would ensure your equipment is operating in an acceptable range of environmental conditions. Here are our Top 3 Reasons to Monitor Your Server Room / Data Center:

     

    (1) Protect Your Mission Critical equipment from Failure

    The humming of servers is generally a good indicator that equipment is working diligently. However with the increase in productivity, comes an increase in temperature created by your efficient equipment. Although ASHRAE did increase the temperature envelope to 80.6°F for data centers, many still try to push the envelope in order to promote higher efficiency while trying to lower energy costs and usage. To achieve this, you would need to use less coolers and chillers yet still run equipment at a high rate of productivity; such as Google's Data Center in Belgium, which has been deemed Google's most efficicent data center.

    Innovative approaches to running your server and other technical equipment at a higher temperature have greatly improved productivity levels while lowering energy costs. However not every company has the budget for the latest in server room and data center technology. Less technologically innovative servers that try to run at higher productivity in hotter climates can fail, resulting in damaged or melting equipment as well as data loss, not to mention unhappy IT people crammed into that hot room as well.


    (2) Inability to Physically & Personally Monitor After Hours

    In the IT realm, servers are most certainly mission critical; however, servers are rarely viewed as a life or death matter. Considering how much data and information has been collected and stored, these pieces of equipment surely serve an important purpose to all. After all, technology is the backbone supporting a company's operations nowadays.

    Just like a human cannot function at high efficiency without a healthy spine, it is very difficult for a company to function productively without technology in such a tech-savvy timeBut since servers are not often seen as mission critical by ones outside the IT realm, there is a lack of a budget for monitoring these servers. Often overlooked and forgotten, there is rarely a person designated to monitor after hours when IT staff have left for the day. This often leaves these pieces of mission critical equipment unmonitored, resulting in not only informational loss but financial loss as well: During 2009, an estimated $50 million to $100 million losses occurred due to environmental issues going unmonitored!


    (3) Be Green Friendly: Lower Energy & Costs

    With decreased budgets presented and increased efficiency expected along with meeting green and sustainability initiatives, IT staff are forced to make due. This means working in hotter enviornments in order to run machines at full productivity levels while not over-using the air conditioning, cooler, chiller or HVAC systems. Even Google's Data Center in Beligum uses only fresh air to cool off the equipment. Despite the risks of high temperature, many must make these choices in order to meet departmental changes.

    By at least monitoring temperature, you can help extend the lifespans of your servers. Considering the fact that running them at higher temperatures is a must, making sure your servers are not working in too hot of an environment is therefore crucial. At some point, the envelope will be pushed to such an extent that equipment will malfunction and even melt. By efficiently limiting use of cooling & HVAC systems, you would save in costs and lower energy consumption while still protecting your mission critical equipment. By using temperature monitoring equipment with SNMP traps, you would even be able to program in a shut down mode for your equipment if the temperature threshold has been breached.

    By taking the initiative to meet all the new requirements ranging from budget to sustainability by doing temperature monitoring, you will be able to prevent disaster instead of having to clean up melted server. Learn more from our FREE E-Book on Temperature Monitoring:

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  • Temperature@lert Surpasses Over $1 Billion in Assets Protected

    Temperature@lert, a leading provider of low-cost, high-performance temperature monitoring products, is now protecting over $1 Billion of customer assets.  Temperature@lert's mission is to provide companies and individuals with remote monitoring and alerting of temperature and other environmental conditions to alleviate customer worries about system malfunctions or product damage due to changes in temperature or other environmental conditions. 

    Temperature@lert was founded and funded in 2005 by CEO Harry Schechter in Washington, D.C. with the USB Edition as their first temperature-monitoring device developed. Currently Temperature@lert’s central office is located in Boston, MA and their current product and service offerings include: USB Edition, WiFi Edition, Cellular Edition, Solar Cellular Edition, and Sensor Cloud. Several of their products and services have won awards ranging from the MITX Innovation Awards to the American Business Awards’ Gold Stevie.

    Temperature@lert’s award-winning devices have aided users in major industries spanning from Information Technology (IT) to Biopharmaceuticals and Medical to Commercial Refrigeration.  Clients include Abbott Laboratories, Microsoft, Apple, Heil Environmental, Merck Corporation, University of Connecticut, Vanderbilt University, and University of Pennsylvania to name a few.

    “By giving 110% personally and having established a talented team willing to do the same, Temperature@lert has successfully grown in both research & development and users over the past eight years,” says CEO & President, Harry Schechter. “We now protect over $1 Billion of customer assets with over 40,000 devices in 50 countries with the world’s easiest to use solution. Temperature@lert’s mission to monitor environmental conditions and prevent problems related to such conditions is truly being realized and fulfilled. We strive to keep innovating and alleviating environmental conditions related disasters globally.”

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  • It's Hot! It's Cold! Oh No... It's Your Fluctuating Server Room Temperature Again...

    We know that every room, especially a server room, has its own microclimate. Even sensors that are inches apart can read different values! Although similar applications might share the same temperature threshold range, every sensor placement location is unique. It sounds strange; that there would be such fluctuations in temperature within inches, but this happens because your server room has its own minature weather pattern!

    So how do you figure out the correct temperature range for monitoring your server room? Or where to place your sensor? As many conditions as there are for the actual ourdoor weather patterns, there are many variables for sensor placement and operational range because of the changing indoor microclimate.

    Essentially, in order to determine the right thresholds for your server room "environment", you need to acquire adequate baseline knowledge. This process is called "baselining", which involves monitoring your server room first to establish a history of normal conditions. Temperature is a significant threat to your equipment and in order to battle this, you need to discover and establish your server room's microclimate (i.e. baselining)!


    Baselining is basically achieved through studying the space of your server room while considering the components within it. Thic can be done to determine the proper ranges for both temperature and humiditySo what spots are the most critical for consideration when it comes to sensor placement?

    1. Hot Spots
    At the bare minimum, place at least one sensor in a central location in the room. Note: every room has its own mini weather pattern, and conditions from one part to another can vary based on what the room contains and where vents/returns are located. The simplest rule of thumb is that heat rises. So, the higher the sensor placement, the warmer the temperature

    2. Cooling Vent Locations
    Whether it is an air conditioner, economized cooler, or another chilling device, it will affect the sensor reading depending on proximity of the sensor to the vent. If you want to monitor whether your cooling unit may be going out at different times,place a sensor in the air duct and you can determine when the cooling unit is off. Placement of a sensor in close proximity to the cooling unit may cause the sensor to pick up cooling unit "cycles", sending you false alerts in the process.

    3. Exhausts
    Besides cooling vents, you need to also consider hot vents from server cabinets or compressors. Placing a sensor near or in between these areas is crucial as high temperatures can cause damage to hardware. The exhaust-based alerts will draw attention to the high temperatures within the servers, allowing you to prevent loss of hardware (and revenue!)

    4. Ancillary Humidification Systems
    These systems help control humidity. Too much humidity can cause condensation, which leads to electrical shorts. Not enough humidity causes one to have quite the mini-electrifying experience with static electricity at its peak. Place your humidity sensor in a location seperate from the ancillary humidification system in order to prevent the sensor from getting shorted and to avoid false humidity readings.

    By monitoring temperature and humidity, one can have early warning of any disasters looming in your server room. It is always better to prevent a disaster rather than mop up after it (speaking of, flood sensors are great too!). If you need assistance in determining the best practices and routines for your server room, please feel free to shoot me an email:diane@temperaturealert.com.

    Happy Monitoring!

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  • From Cryogenics to BBQ Smokers: Expanded Range Temperature Sensor Launches Today

    What do cryogenic freezers, solar thermal collection systems, BBQ smokers, and astronaut ice cream makers all have in common? 


    They all require temperature monitoring in extreme temperature ranges. With today's release of our Expanded Range Temperature Sensor, this accessory is an excellent addition to either the Cellular, Wifi, or Solar Editions. 


    The probe measures between -200°C to +600°C. This opens the doors of possibility to monitoring critical temperature ranges for everything from biopharmaceuticals to the perfect rack of BBQ ribs. 


    For more information and photos, please review our press release:

    Temperature@lert Releases Expanded Range Temperature Sensor



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  • Android Smartphone Users now have Temperature@lert App

    Temperature@lert Cellular, WiFi and USB Edition Sensor Cloud subscribers who use Android smartphones can now enjoy the ease and convenience of checking in on their devices with our latest tool, the Temperature@lert Android App.  It's free and easy to use.  And most of all, it's based on over two years of history with our iPhone app and comes with all the experience and learning that comes with it.  To read the full press release and find a link to the app, go to our Press Room page at Link to full Press Release and App Link .

    And if you're a customer and not yet using our low cost, secure server based Sensor Cloud service for alert notifications including SMS text and voice, drop us a not at info@temperaturealert.com and we'll get back to you with the details.

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  • The Food Safety Modernization Act: Why is it Important?

    On January 4, 2011, in an effort to prevent food borne illness, the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into to law. One portion of the law states:

    “The owner, operator, or agent in charge of a facility shall, in accordance with this section, evaluate the hazards that could affect food manufactured, processed, packed, or held by such facility, identify and implement preventive controls to significantly minimize or prevent the occurrence of such hazards and provide assurances that such food is not adulterated under section 402 or misbranded under section 403(w), monitor the performance of those controls, and maintain records of this monitoring as a matter of routine practice.”

    In other words, if during processing, packaging, shipping and storing of a food there are potential hazards to the food’s quality, counter measures must be implemented. Likewise, records, which can be checked by the FDA, of the monitoring must be maintained

    This is another reason why temperature monitoring is important. Let’s say you were refrigerating meat. To ensure the quality of the meat, steps would have to be made to ensure that the refrigeration temperature stays within acceptable limits. In addition, records of the meat’s refrigeration temperatures must be recorded. A temperature monitoring system could do this for you by sending alerts when temperatures go awry and log its readings for record keeping.

    To get a better idea of what types of temperature monitoring products and services are available, take a look at our products page. If you need more information, drop us a line at info@temperaturealert.com

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  • Which sensor is best for my application?

    Like people, sensors come in all shapes, types and sizes, and like people, each type has its place in the sensor universe.  But, "Which sensor is right for my needs?" is a question we often hear.


    We've done some simple experiments using several types of sensors to explain the differences in application and performance for the various types of sensors in our latest White Paper titled, "Sensor response and reporting frequency considerations for critical applications."

    Based on tests everyone can relate to, the experiments are used to highlight the differences in sensor performance and how it would apply to specific applications.

    Read the entire document in our White Paper Library at: Click Here for Link to Temperature@lert White Paper Library

    And for any questions, as always feel free to send us a note at info@temperaturealert.com.

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  • Food distributors and resellers continue to choose Temperature@lert to protect their products, customers, and business

    What do large and small food distributors and wholesalers have in common?  Problems occur when they least expect it. Temperature@lert's WiFi and Cellular Editions have received rave reviews from our customers.  In the latest press release, a Metro-NYC area food distributor relates why they chose Temperature@lert's WiFi Edition when they needed to monitor their portable storage units.  Easy to install and use, the WiFi Edition fit the bill exactly. Read the full press release at: Click here for link to full article

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