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.