temperature@lert blog

  • Vaccine Transportation: Maintaining a Successful Cold Chain Without Reliable Electricity [Part 1]

    What innovations have been developed to support cold chain logistics without relying on electrical access.

    After reviewing some of the consequences caused by inadequate handling and fluctuations in vaccines’ temperature in the previous article, we will now explore the new practices and innovations that have been developed to overcome different challenges, related to the transportation, monitoring, and storing of heat sensitive vaccines where the access to electricity is limited.

    Part I of this article will focus on solar-direct refrigeration technology and passive-cooled cold boxes; Part II will review the Energize the Chain project and new monitoring technologies.

    In some regions of the developing world, having access to refrigeration equipment and electricity can be seen as a luxury. Energy poverty is a great problem affecting 3 billion people around the world who lack access to adequate electricity (almost half of the world’s population). Millions of children die every year from diseases that could have been easily prevented with vaccines that already exist, but remote rural areas might not have access to the technology and electricity required to keep those vaccines at controlled temperatures.

    So therefore even when the supply of vaccines is readily available, and they get to rural villages in developing countries, the real challenge lies in keeping them from becoming inactive once they get there.  

    Coming next is a review of some of the most relevant technologies and innovations that so far have been developed to address the obstacle of developing countries without reliable access to electrical power. These technologies aim to maintain vaccines refrigerated within their temperature range without relying on electricity.


    Solar-direct refrigeration technology

    This technology evolved from electric refrigerators used in areas with insufficient power supply; electric refrigerators (a.k.a. absorption refrigerators) burn kerosene or liquid petroleum gas to keep a steady temperature range. Electric refrigerators have been around since the 80’s but have proven to be inefficient because of interruptions due to poor planning, fuel shortages, limited ice-making capacity, poor temperature control, and theft among other reasons. Despite their limitations in providing appropriate storage for vaccines, absorption refrigerators are still used in over 60% of vaccine storage locations.  

    The solar refrigerators that came soon after were first generation refrigerators that contained an industrial battery for storing solar energy, and even though some solar refrigeration projects have been successful for years, many suffered from battery system failures. If a battery replacement was not anticipated or there was no funding available, the entire system failed.

    The second generation of solar refrigerators counts with battery-free solar direct-drive technology and doesn’t require any external batteries or backup generators; they use cool storage (an “ice battery”) that’s inside the refrigerator and is able to maintain acceptable temperatures for many days even at night or during cloudy and rainy weather. The WHO has pre-qualified six different solar direct-drive refrigerators since 2010. 


    Passive-cooled cold boxes

    The most challenging part of cold chain operations, in terms of keeping temperatures steady, is probably what has been described as the “last mile”; which refers to the last stage of the delivery to its final destination. In countries like the U.S. the “last mile” usually involves trucks or vans and specific regulations, however, in developing countries the delivery of the last mile could be easily done by a person who rides a camel from town to town.

    For over four decades, developing countries have heavily relied on containers/boxes with frozen water packs used for the “last mile” transportation of vaccines. According to the World Health Organization, these boxes can be carried by humans walking, bicycles, or motorbikes.

    Regular cold boxes require ice packs or cold-water packs to keep vaccines cool; but if the temperature of the ice packs isn’t stable (0°C), there’s a great risk that vaccines will freeze; this has become a serious issue. The vaccines for tetanus toxoid, hepatitis B, pneumococcal conjugate, cholera, rotavirus, and human papillomavirus are among some of the most relevant freeze-sensitive vaccines.

    New technologies have emerged with new designs for cold boxes. One of the most successful models of passive coolers for long-term vaccine storage without electricity has been the Nano-Q™. These boxes provide up to seven days of refrigeration at outside temperatures of 32°C before the ice needs to be replaced; it uses regular ice that’s available for purchase nearby from health centers and provides easy monitoring. These passive-cooled cold boxes were part of a program in Vietnam, which yield great results: no freezing temperatures were recorded over more than 65 months of cumulative data. “Users appreciated having vaccine storage that was independent from the electrical grind, as electrical cuts are common”.

    Other models and designs of passive-cooled cold boxes have been designed, but their cold life varies between three to up to five days; the Nano-Q™ can keep vaccines refrigerated for the longest.

    The second part of this article will look into other innovations and technologies being used to ensure the efficiency of cold chain logistics without reliable access to electricity.

    When many outside factors, including efficient access to electricity, contributing to the struggle of maintaining the cold chain, the monitoring at every link of the process becomes critical and fundamental to achieving the desired results from using the vaccines. For more on monitoring temperatures even during power outages check out Temperature@lert’s Cellular Edition here http://www.temperaturealert.com/Wireless-Temperature-Store/ZPointCellular.aspx or call us at +1-866-524-3540.



    Lorena Sifontes, Content Marketing Intern

    Lorena is a senior international student at Endicott College, pursuing a degree on Integrated Marketing Communications with a minor in Psychology. Born in Venezuela and raised in Panama, she has helped companies manage their social media accounts and marketing. Currently, she’s a content marketing intern at Temperature@lert, and her ideal temperature is 75°F for walking and hiking outdoors.

    Lorena Sifontes

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  • Points To Monitor In Your Hotel: Wrap-Up

    Hawaii, hotel, hotels in Hawaii


    Whether your hotel is located on a remote tropical island, in the middle of a busy, bustling city, or nestled in the mountains, as a manager or owner, you've always got a full plate and a seemingly never ending list of chores, repairs and upkeep that need to get done in order to make sure that your guests are comfortable and carefree. On any given day, you've got a good percentage of your hundreds of rooms filled, crowded dinning rooms in your multiple restaurants at breakfast, lunch and dinner, a poolside packed with swimmers and sunbathers, leisurely lawn strollers traversing the grounds and fitness lovers pumping iron in the gym. It's an exhausting list to read, let alone manage, and perhaps, only a superhero with the ability to be in more one place at the same time would be able to take care of all the problems that can arise daily in a hotel without any help.


    As the person in charge, you know that there's so much more that goes into the running of a successful hotel than the promise of clean sheets, free WiFi and continental breakfasts for guests. You've got to constantly be thinking about staff management, energy costs, grounds upkeep and guest relations and safety, is surely a modest list of things that are running through your mind on a daily basis. So it's not hard to imagine the instantaneous headache you'd get if your hotel's power went out or the refrigeration system of your biggest kitchen failed or your hot tub wouldn't heat.

               

    Unfortunately, unforeseen disasters are something that people face in almost every industry, and not surprisingly, that includes the hospitality industry. The unprepared owner or manager will most likely spend more time reacting to problems, like the warm refrigerator or the cold hot tub, and troubleshooting complications that could have been easily avoided with the implementation of precautionary actions and aversion strategies. Critical maintenance and upkeep strategies should be no-brainer, standard practices for you and your staff, not back-up plans.



    At this point in the series, you've probably come to realize how many of your hotel's amenities and attractions are dependent on the maintenance of ideal temperatures to function seamlessly and smoothly. But on top of everything else that you're dealing with, our guess is that monitoring the temperature of specific points in your hotel, hourly, is probably the last thing you have time for, and the task can seem daunting, if not impossible. And let's be honest. Hiring someone to manually monitor critical points at the hotel around the clock is an equally unrealistic, not to mention, a costly solution. But don't throw your hands in the air in defeat just yet. You're a smart manager and you'll be damned if there's not an equally smart solution out there for you and the critical points that need monitoring at your hotel.


    Fortunately for you and your efforts to keep your hotel up and running and your guests happy, you don't have to look that far for a temperature monitoring solution that's affordable, easy-to-use and reliable. Imagine being able to save all the perishables in your kitchen's failed refrigerator because you received an alert before the food spoiled. You'd be saving yourself hundreds of dollars in product that would otherwise have to be tossed. Or think about being able to call in a spa repairman to fix the problem with your pool before you have to answer to all the angry guests who booked a room at your hotel because they wanted to spend a relaxing weekend poolside. The trouble, money, resources and  headache you could save yourself with automatic, remote and continuous monitoring systems are well worth the investment.

               

    At Temperature@lert we have a wide range of product offerings, such as WiFi, Cellular and ZPoint that are linked to the company's Sensor Cloud platform to provide you with a cost-effective solutions for your hotel, with minimum effort, whether it's a sprawling resort or a cozy inn. The Temperature@lert products and services can help to bring you peace of mind and you can rest a little easier knowing that you'll be alerted before a problem arises, not after. You want to be able to avert costly and avoidable disasters, not spend time cleaning them up. For more information about Temperature@lert's products and Sensor Cloud offerings, visit our website at http://www.temperaturealert.com/ or call us at 1-866-524-3540.


    temperature monitoring guide


    Written By:

    Kate Hofberg, Epicurean Essayist

    Temperature@lert’s resident foodie from sunny Santa Barbara, Kate Hofberg, creates weekly blog posts, manages the content database, and assists with the marketing team's projects. Balancing a love for both the west and east coast, Hofberg studied at University of California Santa Barbara, where she received a Bachelors in Communications, and Boston University, where she is currently a Masters candidate in Journalism. Before coming to Temperature@lert, Hofberg trained in her foodie ways through consumption of extremely spicy, authentic Mexican food with her three brothers and managing a popular Santa Barbara beachside restaurant. Through her training and love of great food, she brings fresh methods of cooking up content. When Hofberg is not working on Temperature@lert marketing endeavors, she serves as a weekly opinion columnist for the Boston University independent student-run newspaper, The Daily Free Press. If time permits, Hofberg enjoys long walks, reading, playing with her cat, and eating pizza. Her ideal temperature is 115°F because she loves temperatures as hot and spicy as her food.

    Kate Hofberg

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  • USB 101 Part 3: Powerful Integration Tools

    IT Professionals like to play: USB Edition offers technical hooks for customization.


    IT professionals more than those in bio/pharma/lab and food service applications tend to want to customize temperature monitoring devices for their particular operation.  After all, that’s why they’ve chosen the profession, or were chosen by the profession. Whatever. Of particular interest are features that assist in messaging as well as integration into existing systems.  For example, a temperature monitoring device may be viewed more favorably if it is capable of providing email and SMS text alerts; phone alerts may be even more desirable. Temperature@lert’s USB Edition provides a suite of integration options that meet most any need.


    The USB Edition data logging provides easy downloads in XML and text formats that can readily be turned into tables and graphs in reports for management review.  Additionally, technically inclined IT professionals can query the temperature logs instantly by simply installing Microsoft's SQL Server Management Studio to access the raw temperature logs.  The downloads section of our support site contains many useful resources for this product. You can download a complete running Visual Studio project that automatically reads the temperatures from the database and outputs them to a text log.



    Left: Installing Microsoft's SQL Server Management Studio allows IT Professionals to query the raw temperature logs instantly. Right: Temperature@lert’s support site offers downloads contains many useful resources including a complete running Visual Studio project that automatically reads the temperatures from the database and outputs them to a text log


    The USB Edition can be readily integrated into Enterprise applications.  Below are two screenshots showing tools that are ready to use for integration into company websites, etc.  Users can run custom PowerShell scripts.  The device operates on Windows 2000, XP, 2003 Server, Vista, 7, and 2008 Server.  Contact Temperature@lert for Linux Drivers.  The USB Edition includes SNMP capability for integration into Enterprise systems.



    Left: MS SQL CE log file for easy integration into company websites and other applications. Right: Configuration screen shows integrate with your existing systems via SNMP.


    Our website offers scores of customer reviews describing how customers like and use the product.  Regarding integration, one customer notes, “Temperature@lert is our 24/7 guardian watching our CRAC units. Our implementation has saved us thousands of dollars in downtime all for a few hundred dollar investment. Iíve also build some additional support apps that read the T@ logs and import the information into a DB with a web front-end that allows facilities users and other IT users direct access to the temperature in any of our rooms over a website.” (Bryan J. McMullan, Infrastructure Mgr, Litigation Management, Inc.)



    Not all IT Professionals have the time or need to customize their USB Edition, and for them the ease of installation, setup and use is very important.  For those with time and the need the USB Edition offers powerful tools for most purposes.   The final piece in this series will discuss a way to add low cost fault tolerant operation for the most critical applications.

    temperature, temperature monitoring, ebook

    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

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  • Vaccine Transportation Series: What Limitations Affect Cold Chain Logistics?

    Millions of children die every year of preventable diseases because of the inefficient or inexistent refrigeration needed to get them vaccines that already exists.


    If after reading the first piece of this series you still find yourself wondering about the relevance this issue might have, think about this: Imagine a scenario where there’s an outbreak of a virus (like the Ebola virus disease) for which there’s no cure or vaccine yet.


    With the current outbreak of the Ebola virus, the more severely affected regions are developing countries in West Africa. According to the WHO, “The most severely affected countries, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have very weak health systems, lacking human and infrastructural resources, having only emerged from long periods of conflict and instability”.


    ebola, health care practitioners, volunteer, virus, disease, health system, cold chain, technology, vaccine, transportation, refrigeration, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Libia, developing countries, sanitation, epidemic

    Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/


    Even though currently there are no licensed Ebola vaccines, there are 2 potential candidates undergoing evaluation according to the WHO. Imagine what might happen if the temperature during the transportation and/or storing of the experimental vaccines to treat the virus affected the results of the trials? Or more realistically, what if a cure is found and the temperature of the vaccine needs to be kept among a specific range? How would developing countries with weak health systems overcome their difficulties to control that the cold chain of the vaccines remains unbroken? What if the vaccines fall out of their recommended temperature range and are still administered to infected patients? According to a recent article from Forbes titled “The one simple but crucial technology overlooked in the fight against Ebola,” the author stated, “Temperature control will matter for both vaccines and treatments, since many of the kinds of drugs being studied for Ebola are delicate biological compounds, vulnerable to irreversible chemical changes if allowed to get too warm or if frozen”.


    Currently, the Ebola epidemic has spread in Liberia to the point where “No free beds for Ebola treatment exist anywhere in the country”. Healthcare workers are highly exposed to being infected and many have died. As of right now the country already faces the need for beds, supplies, and staff. What if on top of that we added the need for successful cold chain operations and refrigeration to treat the disease? The ultimate challenge will be getting refrigeration systems and power sources to maintain the cold chain unbroken until vaccines reach the patients.


    ebola, health care practitioners, volunteer, virus, disease, health system, cold chain, technology, vaccine, transportation, refrigeration, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Libia, developing countries, sanitation, epidemic

    Source: http://www.controversia.com.br/


    This piece will explore past events where the mishandling or bad practices during the transportation, storage or monitoring of heat-sensitive vaccines have had tragic consequences in developing countries.


     The Case of Polio in Pakistan


    As of October 3, 2014, ABC News reported 194 cases of Pakistani patients affected by polio, which is very close to their national record number of 199 in 2001 (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/polio-cases-pakistan-edge-closer-record-25939306). Even though Polio can be easily prevented with a vaccine, Pakistanis face many challenges to prevent the disease. Besides geographical and economic barriers, many affected areas can’t be accessed by anti-polio campaigns because of the threats of Taliban militants.


    The family of a 2-year-old boy from a small village in North Waziristan shared their story with NBC News; since Taliban militants prevented the access of health workers to their village, the boy’s father and uncle chose to put themselves at great risk by smuggling the vaccine from the largest nearby town into their village in order to keep the children in their family healthy. The 16-year-old uncle said, “I was afraid but wanted to vaccinate our children at any cost”.  Even though they managed to get the 2-year-old boy a few doses of the vaccine, he contracted Polio. The potency of the Polio vaccine can be weakened if the cold chain is broken, and it was difficult for the uncle to assess whether he’d managed to keep the vaccines at a constant temperature while he transported them. In 2012, 58 Pakistani children became infected with Polio despite having properly received all doses of the vaccine.


    heat-sensitive, temperature-sensitive, Pakistan, polio, Taliban, militants, record, vaccine, cold chain, polio campaign, transportation, temperature 


    Faulty refrigeration in Honk Kong


    On September 25, 2014 a nurse noticed a faulty refrigerator at the Tuen Mun Hospital. Between September 23 and September 25, 2014 over 40 children had received BCG and hepatitis B vaccines that were being kept at a temperature of 19 degrees Celsius, due to the faulty refrigerator. The hospital expressed its apologies and assured the vaccines wouldn’t affect or harm the recipients, however, the event is still under investigation. On a press release the hospital committed to investigate the cause of the issue to prevent it from happening again.


    Thread of epidemic in flooded Kashmir


    The Indian region of Kashmir copes with a recent flooding that killed hundreds of people and affected hundreds of villages, leaving hundreds of thousands of people living in temporary shelters. The flooding (caused by days of rain and the swelling of two rivers) has raised many concerns from health-care practitioners. “There are pretty high chances of waterborne diseases and diseases due to overcrowding," said the specialist Dr. Javaid Naqishbandi.


    The risk of water-borne diseases increase with a lack of access to clean water (or chlorine tablets), dead animals floating around the streets, and the unavailability of vaccines that protect against water-borne diseases at the medical camps where people are being treated.


    Shahid Bhat is a volunteer who visited several private hospitals and medical camps looking for vaccines in response to the rising cases of gastro-enterological problems; he said, “All the hospitals said they did not have the vaccines due to lack of electricity. A vaccine needs to be refrigerated or it will get destroyed”.


    After reviewing these events, we can better understand how difficult it can be to maintain the effectiveness of vaccines when challenges arise. Whether it’s the lack of electricity that prevents the access to heat-sensitive vaccines, an inaccurate monitoring of temperature during the storage of vaccines, or when the cold chain is broken during the transportation of vaccines, developing countries face many adversities to maintain vaccines between their recommended range of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. 


    When many outside factors, including efficient access to electricity, contribute to the struggle of maintaining the cold chain, the monitoring at every link of the process becomes critical and fundamental to achieving the desired results from using the vaccines. For more on monitoring temperatures even during power outages check out Temperature@lert’s Cellular Edition here http://www.temperaturealert.com/Wireless-Temperature-Store/ZPointCellular.aspx or call us at +1-866-524-3540.



    Lorena Sifontes, Content Marketing Intern

    Lorena is a senior international student at Endicott College, pursuing a degree on Integrated Marketing Communications with a minor in Psychology. Born in Venezuela and raised in Panama, she has helped companies manage their social media accounts and marketing. Currently, she’s a content marketing intern at Temperature@lert, and her ideal temperature is 75°F for walking and hiking outdoors.

    Lorena Sifontes

    Full story

  • Points To Monitor In Your Hotel: Hotel Grounds

    It's not surprising that guests can form their first and usually lasting impressions of the quality of your hotel establishment from the upkeep of the grounds. Online, your hotel homepage features a photomontage of lush gardens, green grounds, and perfectly manicured landscaping. The photos that illustrate dreamy sunsets, bright sunny days, and quiet mornings with romantic lighting are enough to convince almost everyone that visits your website that your hotel rivals the beauty of the Garden of Eden. In fact, the grounds of your hotel are a huge selling point, and many people choose your hotel over others simply because of your supposed attention to grounds upkeep. The hotel grounds are where guests and visitors can relax, take leisurely strolls, picnic, and enjoy the flora and fauna of the flowering gardens. And there are even more benefits of having impeccably manicured grounds. How about providing shade in hot climates, protection from strong winds and if your hotel is in a city, a haven from traffic fumes and dusts?


    You want people to step onto your grounds and be struck with the beauty of your hotel. So imagine when your guests arrive only to find that the pictures so profoundly featured on your website are nothing more than marked-up, photoshopped pictures that look nothing like the actual grounds of your hotel. Imagine the looks of disappointment when they realize that what they thought was going to be a romantic weekend getaway at your pictured equivalent of “Heaven on earth” was actually going to be little more than an overpriced stay at a glorified motel.


    While an attractive, clean and well-maintained outside appearance is usually a pretty good indicator of the commitment to high standards and cleanliness within, disregard and failure to upkeep gardens and grounds tells your guests that you aren't concerned with much other than swiping their credit card for payment. But if the upkeep of your grounds and gardens can influence whether or not a guest returns or recommends the hotel to others, it seems like a no-brainer that you would take the time to trim your shrubs and rake your leaves.

    Bali, hotel, temperature monitoring, energy savings, energy costs, plants, hotel monitoring

    Perhaps the reason that your gardens have gone from thriving to shriveling is because of the astronomical amount of your water bill and the drain of energy that the maintenance of your garden requires. But what if you learned that smart landscaping designs could not only be maintained relatively inexpensively, but could also help curb the costs of energy in other realms of your hotel as well? It's a way to kill two birds with one stone, really. Not only are you able to impress your guests with the upkeep of the outside appearance of your hotel and maintain your reputation as an ideal getaway spot, but you'll also be able to save resources and energy that could, with no doubt, be used in smarter ways in your establishment.


    In fact, according to Hotel Energy Solutions, well-designed landscaping can minimize summer heat gain in your hotel, reducing your cooling needs by 20-100 percent. It's true! How about an example? Try planting big leafy tree on the southwest or southeast side of the hotel property. Why? Because the shade that's cast by the tree will help reduce the cooling needs of the inside of your hotel and help you to maintain a comfortable temperature for your guests.

               

    Or how about instead of planting trees, shrubs, and flowers that aren't native to your hotel climate and require extra care to bloom and blossom, consider planting indigenous shrubs that need less TLC to survive. Not only will you be able to cut maintenance costs, but you'll also be saving money on energy and water resources.


    In the dead of summer when the weather is warm and the sun is bright, your guests will surely be thrilled with the shade cover that the landscaping of the hotel property offers. What else can help with summer heat? Installing open pools or fountains can help with cooling by evaporation. Also, choosing the right ground cover for the grounds can help play a role in keeping your summer guests cool and comfortable.


    These are just simple shortcut solutions that can help you in the long run with the maintenance of your property, but they're tricks that won't solve all your problems. But don't worry. We have a suggested solution for you because we know that the combined realities of spring rainfall, summer heat and potentially brutal winter temperatures can be a significant concern for the upkeep of your property. With the installation of humidity sensors and/or flood sensors you can take a big sigh of relief because they are excellent safeguards for problematic weather. Using a sustainable approach for the planning and maintenance of gardens and grounds combined with the implementation of continuous, automatic and fault tolerant temperature, humidity and/or flood sensors will help you to reduce your maintenance costs, keep your gardens growing, and show your commitment to operating a hotel that guests will want to return to for many years to come.


    temperature monitoring guide



    Sources:

    1. advancedEnergy.org
    2. http://hotelenergysolutions.net/content/ee-protect-building-extreme-temperatures


    Written By:

    Kate Hofberg, Epicurean Essayist

    Temperature@lert’s resident foodie from sunny Santa Barbara, Kate Hofberg, creates weekly blog posts, manages the content database, and assists with the marketing team's projects. Balancing a love for both the west and east coast, Hofberg studied at University of California Santa Barbara, where she received a Bachelors in Communications, and Boston University, where she is currently a Masters candidate in Journalism. Before coming to Temperature@lert, Hofberg trained in her foodie ways through consumption of extremely spicy, authentic Mexican food with her three brothers and managing a popular Santa Barbara beachside restaurant. Through her training and love of great food, she brings fresh methods of cooking up content. When Hofberg is not working on Temperature@lert marketing endeavors, she serves as a weekly opinion columnist for the Boston University independent student-run newspaper, The Daily Free Press. If time permits, Hofberg enjoys long walks, reading, playing with her cat, and eating pizza. Her ideal temperature is 115°F because she loves temperatures as hot and spicy as her food.

    Kate Hofberg

    Full story

  • USB 101 Part 2: The Power of a Ready to Use Temperature Monitor

    Self-directed sensor integration is great, but is it cost-effective, robust, and proven?


    The market for temperature monitoring devices in server, telecom and IT rooms offers hundreds of choices that vary in price, design, and ease of setup and use.  So when an IT professional needs to monitor the temperature of their facility what do they choose?  The answer is, “It depends.”  It depends on the budget, time ones has to look at every and all options, the equipment or area to be monitored, technical wherewithal to integrate the device, alerting and reporting requirements, and reputation in the market.


    But what does one do when they want a ready to use, temperature monitoring and alerting that can be configured to work in minutes, send out one or multiple email alerts, and is able to be configured for SMS text alerts?  Temperature@lert’s USB Edition provides this and more, helping reduce setup and custom configuration time compared to low cost options.


    The USB Edition comes with it’s own ready to use software, so installing and configuring the device is easy.  For email alerts when temperatures exceed user defined levels is simple using the built in SMTP configuration screen (below). Temperature@lert can even provide a secure SMTP outbound email server if one is not available.



    USB Edition Configuration screenshot showing alert email address and SMTP server setup.  High and low temperature alarm levels and alert frequency are also defined here.  SSL/TSL encryption can also be specified from this screen.


    The USB Edition software provides graphic screens displaying temperature history on a chart in user selected Fahrenheit or Celsius units.  Users can quickly adjust zoom levels to examine data more closely with a point and click tool (bottom right of graph).  When the next reading is scheduled if temperatures exceed user set levels, 75°F in this case, the temperature reading and graphic on left side of the graph changes from white to yellow and the thermometer image above shows an out of specification warning, the universal NO symbol of a red circle with a slash.  Concurrently, and email message is sent to those set by the user in the setup process alerting them that there is a temperature excursion and action is needed.



    Temperature graph displays show normal (left) and alert (right) conditions displayed by the USB Edition’s software program which is included in the device price.


    Another standard feature of the USB Edition’s software is the automatic shutdown option.  If the USB Edition is plugged into a computer or server that must be protected from damage due to extreme temperatures, the software allows the user to shut down the computer or server automatically to prevent damage.  The user can set the interval before the device is shut down to allow technicians to correct the cause of the condition. This option can be extremely valuable for mission critical equipment.


    Shut down screen shot lets user define time to disable mission critical electronics.



    "It is so important to monitor our IT department server room equipment for out of boundary temperatures which can damage or shorten the life of costly network and server  equipment. The USB Temperature@lert device has helped by alerting us via email at the time the temperature exceeds our set limits." Jim Isom, Network Specialist @ CG&FS


    Selecting a simple USB temperature monitoring and alerting device can be challenging.  Depending on their workload, which is generally excessive, IT professionals may not have the time to program their own temperature sensors to enable them to be robust monitoring and alarm devices.  Temperature@lert’s USB Edition provides a robust, proven complete package ready to use.  Thousands of these devices are in use in Small and MidSized Business (SMB) server, telecom and computer rooms worldwide.   Additionally the device provides additional hooks and features that IT professionals can use to customize the operation and integrate it into enterprise systems; more about that in the next piece in this series.


    For additional information visit: http://www.temperaturealert.com/Wireless-Temperature-Store/Temperature-Alert-USB-Sensor.aspx.



    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

  • Vaccine Transportation Series: How does the cold chain affect the potency of vaccines?

    The importance of the cold chain in developing countries facing limitations for the storage, transportation, and monitoring of vaccines caused by limited or unreliable access to electricity.


    Some of the most important vaccines in the world are heat-sensitive, thus requiring custom transportation and storage to ensure their effectiveness. The process of transporting these products has been described as the cold chain, which involves sophisticated technologies such as refrigeration systems that prevent vaccines from loosing their integrity. In this series we will explore the challenges that are faced by regions in developing countries where the access to electricity isn’t steady or reliable, and how they’ve managed to overcome their limitations.

    The first piece of the series will serve as an introduction to the cold chain and its relevance; the second piece will explore real-life cases reflecting the most prominent challenges that countries have faced and the consequences of inadequately handling the vaccines; lastly, the third piece will cover the technologies and innovations that serve to facilitate the transportation and storage of heat-sensitive vaccines without relying on electrical power and the possibility of power failure.


    The following infographic from msfaccess.org illustrates the issue of Chad, a developing country with hot climate that struggles to keep vaccines at cold temperatures since electricity available for refrigeration is limited:


    vaccines, challenge, developing countries, climate, Chad, electricity, refrigeration, cold chain, temperature, monitoring


    Logistics are vital in determining the success of cold chains, which refers to the transportation of temperature sensitive products through thermal and refrigerated packaging methods. Logistics deals with to the management and detailed coordination of operations that allow the flow of goods from point of origin to point of consumption. Its primary operations focus on inventory, transportation, warehousing, packaging, and information management among others.


    The cold chain aims to protect the integrity of products from the moment they leave the manufacturers until they reach the end users.  The two major sectors concerned with cold chain logistics are the food & beverages and the bio-pharmaceutical industries. Several means of transportation are used in different stages of the cold chain, such as refrigerated trucks, refrigerated cargo ships, and air cargo. The following graphic illustrates some of the main components that are usually involved in any given cold chain; which involves a process that begins with the manufacturer/supplier, followed by the transportation of the products to warehouses where the products are stored and then transported again until they reach the end customer.


    cold chain, logistics, infrastructure, supply, manufacturer, transportation, refrigerated trucks, containers, storage, warehouse, end customer, retail, airport, port


    For vaccines the dynamic of the cold chain involves more links (different steps of transporting or storing that vaccines go through). Most heat-sensitive vaccines must be kept between a range of 2 to 8 degrees Celcius at any and every given point throughout the links of the cold chain. The following graphic outlines the steps involved in a typical cold chain for vaccines:


    vaccine, manufacturer, cold chain, logistics, airport, vaccine store, primary, intermediate, health center, health post, end consumer, child, mother, cold boxes, refrigerated trucks, transportation

    (Source: World Health Organization. Vaccines, Immunization and Biologicals. The Cold Chain. November 26, 2002. www.who.int/vaccines-access/coldchain/the_cold_chain_.htm).


    The preservation of an intact cold chain is imperative for the handling and transportation of temperature-sensitive drugs and vaccines, since temperature fluctuations are very likely to alter the effectiveness and outcomes of using these drugs. One of the biggest challenges consists in preventing them from freezing, since freezing affects the quality of vaccines. The World Health Organization (WHO, 2006) reported that the impact on the potency of vaccines each time they’re exposed to ambient temperatures is cumulative; which highlights the importance of a successful cold chain from beginning to end.


    The global expenditures on the cold chain market from the bio-pharmaceutical industry rose from $5.1 billion in 2010 to $6.6 billion in 2011. The market will continue to grow as many more of the top global pharmaceutical products and vaccines require cold-chain handling, such as influenza vaccines, Hepatitis A & B, and varicella among others. The market is expected to grow on average 8% per year.


    Maintaining a cold chain that doesn’t break at any point can become a very challenging quest when power outages are common. When there’s a lack of adequate temperature monitoring there’s no way to predict when the potency of vaccines has been compromised by previous breaks in the cold chain, causing undesirable and sometimes harmful results.


    Monitoring and logging temperatures through the cold chain is key in the transportation of vaccines; however most monitoring devices are not immune to power outages and may stop reading and/or recording changes in temperature. Regions in developing countries where the access to electricity might be limited or not steady require special considerations that should be taken into account when choosing a monitoring device. Temperature@lert’s ZPoint Cellular Edition is capable of monitoring temperatures and it’s able to keep monitoring during power outages; it sends alerts via email, telephone, and text message when the temperature rises or falls out of range. Learn more about the Cellular Edition at http://www.temperaturealert.com/Wireless-Temperature-Store/ZPointCellular.aspx or call us at +1-866-524-3540.


    The next piece of the series will look into some of the situations where temperature has affected the efficiency of vaccines in developing countries.



    Lorena Sifontes, Content Marketing Intern

    Lorena is a senior international student at Endicott College, pursuing a degree on Integrated Marketing Communications with a minor in Psychology. Born in Venezuela and raised in Panama, she has helped companies manage their social media accounts and marketing. Currently, she’s a content marketing intern at Temperature@lert, and her ideal temperature is 75°F for walking and hiking outdoors.

    Lorena Sifontes

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  • IT Technician to Manager: The Dog Ate My Servers!

    USB 101 Part 1: Protecting server rooms is easier than ever with ready-to-use low-cost USB alerting device

    Small and Mid Sized Businesses (SMBs) don’t generally have the budget that large data centers do to manage server security and environmental conditions.  Mega Data Centers are staffed 24/7/365 with control room personnel and technicians to jump on any problem that can arise.  The alarm and monitoring systems are wired into a myriad of dashboards checked regularly by security and technical personnel to help maintain the data center’s reliability, security, safety and uptime guarantees.  And yet things go wrong.


    So what do SMBs do when environmental conditions threaten their servers?  My first thought is blame the dog; after all almost everyone has made one excuse or another blaming their canine companions especially when it comes to not having one’s homework done.  And some companies have employee’s dogs roaming the halls, so why not blame the dog?  My granddaughter has many examples of her and her mom’s shoes and other items being chewed beyond repair or even recognition when the juvenile pooch is left alone for any amount of time.


    Dogs have been known to damage computers, so why not “The dog ate my servers!” the next time they go down. (Link to Source)  I’m sure IT managers will understand.


    Seriously, “the network is down” is a common occurrence in every company.  Electrical grid reliability is often the cause of unplanned outages.  Updates and human error contribute to many outages even at companies like Facebook and Google.  Not all events are preventable, grid outages for example.  Training may help reduce human errors.  One more common reason for SMB server room outages is Air Conditioning failure.  This is especially true in hot summer months when the AC compressors are working overtime at maximum capacity.  And many times AC failures are not preventable: the compressor fails without warning or a coolant leak occurs in a line that flexed once too often from vibration.


    The interesting thing to me is that so many SMB server rooms are not monitored for temperature excursions, especially when so many are in former storage closets with little ventilation; maybe one AC outlet and return inlet in the entire space. Given the heat generated from a couple of racks of servers and telecom equipment the cooling is often marginal at best. HVAC systems are not generally rebalanced for server rooms so when workers complain they are not getting enough cooling, damper adjustments are often made without regard to the server room’s needs, exacerbating the problem.


    It doesn’t take much to trip a server, room ambient of 125°F is often the thermal switch cut off point.  This is the outside temperature of a very hot day in Phoenix; at these temperatures the airport closes because air density is too low to generate sufficient lift.  And in server rooms low hot air density interferes with heat transfer from electrical components to the cooling air meaning chips run hotter.  If the temperature rises enough and power is maintained, electrical component failure is likely. At the least components are stresses and performance degrades sometimes permanently and failure some weeks or months later likely. Major data center personnel I have talked to at conferences note they see a rash of failures a few months after servers are stressed by high temperature excursions.  The often older SMB server room equipment can be more vulnerable to thermal damage.



    Temperature@lert USB Edition and Screenshot showing alarm condition.


    So what’s an IT professional to do?  Temperature data loggers are ubiquitous and easily purchased online.  Temperature alarms are likewise easy to find and install and they ring a bell or flash a light when things get too hot, even when no one is present to hear them.  Given enough time IT personnel can make anything work.  But what does one do when they want a ready to use, temperature monitoring and alerting that can be configured to work in minutes, collect data in formats useful for charts and graphs for reporting such as XML and text files, send out one or multiple email alerts, able to be configured for SMS text alerts, provide hooks such as support for SMTP authentication, run custom Power Shell scripts and log alerts to the PC’s net log?  Temperature@lert’s USB Edition provides this and more, helping reduce setup and custom configuration time compared to low cost options.


    In the next piece of this four part series I’ll look at these functions in detail to help understand the power of Temperature@lert’s USB Edition.  In the final piece I’ll look at a fault-tolerant option that provides the ultimate in server room protection short of hiring a security service.



    temperature monitoring ebook, best practices for monitoring and sensors


    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

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  • Cost Effective Server Room Temperature Monitoring Without DCIM

    DCIM systems for temperature monitoring alone makes little RoI sense for server rooms.


    It’s hard to believe but many companies with smaller in-house data centers, those with 10-20 racks, and with server rooms containing a handful of racks and telecom equipment are often not automatically monitored for temperature.  Although numbers are difficult to quantify, the fact is that many suppliers like Temperature@lert have a significant IT piece of their business.  So it’s not hard to understand that DCIM suppliers whose primary pitch to large data centers is asset management and whose RoI in smaller data centers and server rooms is not asset management but environmental monitoring.  After all, dedicated temperature monitoring devices do not require the built in capability or expensive software packages that DCIM product necessitate.


    Why is this so?  Taking a look at a recently published application note a major DCIM company discusses how to follow ASHRAE data center temperature operating guidelines using RCI (Rack Cooling Index), RTI (Return Temperature Index) and multiple RFID (Radio Frequency ID) sensors coupled to a RF reader plus asset management software as an interface to the data adding up to several hundreds if not thousands of dollars of investment and manpower to install, train and use the system.  Contrast that with a dedicated WiFi temperature monitoring device capable of supporting up to four wired sensors and which has all of the software needed pre installed set up to send email and capable of supporting text messaging and SMTP authentication, that provides text and XML log temperature readings for easy integration to custom applications that costs a few hundred dollars.  The RoI on the dedicated device will be a fraction of the time as the DCIM system.  But can it do the same job?

    ASHRAE data center recommended temperature range, 2004 and 2011 update.   Link to Source.  ASHRAE recommended temperature are is between 68–77 °F (20–25 °C), with an allowable range spanning 59–90 °F (15–32 °C).

    Large data centers generally have full environmental and security monitoring systems to meet their uptime and security goals.  Companies running Cloud providers know within seconds when something goes very wrong and soon after the entire web connected universe is alerted when their favorite hosted applications are not available.  In 2013 Dropbox, Facebook, Google Drive and Facebook suffered self inflicted outages while Amazon’s cloud service took down websites Reddit, Github and Minecraft among others. This year Dropbox, Samsung, Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft, Verizon and Time Warner Cable suffered major outages and it’s only August when this is being written.


    Not all of these were due to temperature related failures.  According to 2013 data in the table below 27% of data center failures reported in the survey were “Heat related CRAC failures”.  This is a significant number given that data centers designed for optimum cooling and does not bode well for small server rooms where AC is often tied into the general building HVAC where in hot summer months the demand for personnel comfort can help unbalance the air distribution and raise server room temperatures significantly.  Couple that with the all too frequent AC unit failures and the need to monitor server rooms seems like a no-brainer.


    A comparison of data center failure causes in 2010 and 2013 shows Heat related CRAC failures noted by 27% of respondents.  UPS battery failures led the list with two categories noted and human error came in as #2.  (Link to Source)


    The DCIM piece notes that raising the temperature of a “typical 8,000 sq.ft. data center can save at least $64,000 per year in cooling costs by raising the temperature by 2°F while remaining safely within the 2011 ASHRAE temperature envelope guideline window.  To implement this rack and return air temperature cooling were measured in several locations by placing multiple RFID temperature sensors with four RFID sensors for every third rack plus a

    Rack Cooling and Return Air Temperature are two categories to monitor according to one RFID monitoring system supplier.  That’s a lot of equipment and cost.  Add to that installation, training, personnel to use the data to then perform experiments to achieve the energy reduction without jeopardizing uptime or availability, and maintenance of the battery powered sensors.


    For server rooms the good news is that room temperatures have been operating relatively safely within a safe operating range.  At most sites things have been working smoothly for some time and it’s only when the AC is interrupted that problems occur.  So what is needed to monitor such an event?  The answer is a simple WiFi device capable of supporting up to four wired sensors for a few hundred dollars.  The sensors will be located near the front of the HVAC outlets.  The two other ports can be used to monitor temperature near the ceiling where heat will accumulate most quickly.  Users will need to take data near the HVAC inlet and outlet to understand the range of temperatures in order to set the alarm levels, and to monitor the ceiling level sensors for a period of a few hours to do the same.  The trick is to find the balance of normal high and low temperatures before setting the upper and lower limits.  This will help avoid possible nuisance alerts when temperatures drift near the upper operating range, on hot summer days for example.  An offset of 5 °F (3 °C) from the upper and lower operating range is a good place to start.  The range can be tightened up or loosened over time if needed.  And energy saving experiments can be done with a close watch on the readings to achieve the savings promoted by the vastly more expensive system.


    Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 1.52.54 PM.png

    Temperature@lert WiFi Edition server room monitor (left) vs RFID environmental monitoring system described by RFID supplier (right). https://www-304.ibm.com/software/brandcatalog/ismlibrary/details?catalog.label=1TW10MA2V


    The choice for small data centers and server rooms is clear, thousands of dollars and time for a system whose primary application is asset management vs a dedicated, self-contained WiFi temperature monitoring device for a couple of hundred dollars.  Not only will the WiFi cost be significantly lower but installation and setup will be accomplished in a fraction of the time for RFID.  And managers will like the easy justification and RoI.


    temperature monitoring ebook, best practices for monitoring and sensors


    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

  • Vaccine Transportation: Challenges & Innovation in Developing Countries

    Some of the most important vaccines in the world are heat-sensitive, thus requiring custom transportation and storage to ensure their integrity and effectiveness. The process involving the transportation and storage of heat-sensitive products has been defined as the cold chain. It requires reliable refrigeration technologies to successfully move the vaccines from their manufacturers to the end user. Maintaining cold chain operations becomes a challenging quest for developing countries without reliable or limited access to electrical power.


    The following presentation will offer an overview of the cold chain; look into some real life limitations of cold chain logistics in developing countries and present some of the new technologies being used to overcome the situations where electricity isn’t readily available. 


    Temperature@lert, vaccines, monitoring, Ebola, Africa, cold chain, technology


    Over the next few weeks, we will publish four articles that provide greater insight into cold chain operations. The themes that will be covered:

    (1) cold chain: what is it and the logistics surrounding it

    (2) cold chain's relevance to the current outbreak of Ebola in Africa

    (3) past cases and challenges with cold chain operations

    (4) the innovations in transportation, storage, and monitoring of vaccines



    Lorena Sifontes, Content Marketing Intern

    Lorena is a senior international student at Endicott College, pursuing a degree on Integrated Marketing Communications with a minor in Psychology. Born in Venezuela and raised in Panama, she has helped companies manage their social media accounts and marketing. Currently, she’s a content marketing intern at Temperature@lert, and her ideal temperature is 75°F for walking and hiking outdoors.

    Lorena Sifontes

    Full story

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