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  • Contained: The Federal Regulations of Importation

    When importing goods to the U.S., a firm must be sure that the contents of their inbound containers conform to the articles present within the Code of Federal Regulations’ Customs Duties section. In addition, freight forwarders must be thorough in their container tracking, clearing, and collection processes as wares arrive into port. Any failure in either area could result in the seizure or forfeiture of a container or containers. 


    Container Tracking

    While there are roughly 200 applicable customs regulations, for the sake of sanity, this blog post will focus on three of them. The first pertains to the act of entry and what is required of importers once a container reaches an American port. Highlights from CFR 19 Part 142 are such:

    After arrival of merchandise. merchandise for which entry is required will be entered within 15 calendar days after landing from a vessel, aircraft or vehicle, or after arrival at the port of destination in the case of merchandise transported in bond.

    Contents. The entry documentation required to secure the release of merchandise must consist of the following:

    (a) (1) Entry

    (b) (2) Evidence of the right to make entry. 

    (c) (3) Commercial invoice. 

    (d) (4) Packing list.

    (e) (5) Other documentation. Other documents which may be required by CBP or other Federal, State, or local agencies for a particular shipment.

    (f) (6) Identification. When merchandise is imported having been sold, or consigned, to a person in the United States, the name, street address, and appropriate identification number of that person must be shown on the entry documents.
     


    Container Clearing

    Another section of interest is CFR 19 Part 11, which details the packing, stamping, and marking of specific items like alcohol and tobacco and wool, fur, and textile products and the penalties one could incur if careless errors or blatant neglect are discovered:

    (a) All cigars and cigarettes imported into the United States, except importations by mail and in baggage, shall be placed in the public stores or in a designated bonded warehouse to remain until inspected, weighed, and repacked, if necessary, under the Customs and internal-revenue laws. However, if the invoice and entry presented specify all of the information necessary for prompt determination of the estimate duty and tax on the packages of cigars and cigarettes covered thereby, the port director may permit designation of less than the entire importation for examination.

    (b) (a) The port director, in his discretion, may require marks, brands, stamps, labels, or similar devices to be placed on any bulk container used for holding, storing, transferring, or conveying imported distilled spirits, wines, and malt liquors.

    (c) (a) Wool products imported into the United States, except those made more than 20 years prior to importation, and except carpets, rugs, mats, and upholsteries, shall have affixed thereto a stamp, tag, label, or other means of identification.

    (d) (a) Fur products imported into the United States shall have affixed thereto a label. The term “fur product” means any article of wearing apparel made in whole or in part of fur or used fur; except that such term shall not include such articles as the Federal Trade Commission shall exempt by reason of the relatively small quantity or value of the fur or used fur contained therein.

    (e) (a) Textile fiber products imported into the United States shall be labeled or marked in accordance with the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder by the Federal Trade Commission. An invoice or other paper, containing the specified information may be used in lieu of a label where the textile product is not in the form intended for sale, delivery to, or for use by the ultimate consumer.

    Container Collection

    Our final look involves the components of CFR 19 Part 127, a section dedicated to the holding, abandonment, and sale of imported merchandise; and its this last procedure that has become the conceptual springboard for a highly entertaining and widely viewed A&E show. The most prominent points of this regulation include the following:

    Merchandise shall be considered general order merchandise when it is taken into the custody of the port director and deposited in the public stores or a general order warehouse at the risk and expense of the consignee for any of the following reasons:

    (a) Whenever entry of any imported merchandise is not made within the time provided by law or regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury.

    (b) Whenever entry is incomplete because of failure to pay estimated duties.

    (c) Whenever, in the opinion of the port director, entry cannot be made for want of proper documents or other causes.

    (d) Whenever the port director believes that any merchandise is not correctly or legally invoiced.

    (e) Whenever, at the request of the consignee or the owner or master of the vessel or person in charge of the vehicle in which merchandise is imported, any merchandise is taken possession of by the port director after the expiration of 1 day after entry of the vessel or report of the vehicle.

    Any entered or unentered merchandise which remains in Customs custody for 6 months from the date of importation or a lesser period for special merchandise as provided, and without all estimated duties and storage or other charges having been paid, shall be considered unclaimed and abandoned.

    All unclaimed and abandoned merchandise will be sold at the first regular sale held after the merchandise becomes subject to sale, unless a deferment of its sale is authorized by the port director. Regular sales shall be made once every year or more often at the discretion of the port director.

    From the proceeds of sale of merchandise remaining in public stores or in bonded warehouse beyond the time fixed by law, the following charges shall be paid in the order named:

    (a) Internal revenue taxes.

    (b) Expenses of advertising and sale.

    (c) Expenses of cartage, storage and labor. When the proceeds are insufficient to pay such charges fully, they shall be paid pro rata.

    (d) Duties.

    (e) Any other charges due the United States in connection with the merchandise.

    (f) Any sum due to satisfy a lien for freight, charges, or contributions in general average, of       which due notice shall have been given in the manner prescribed by law.

    There are several additional details within section 127 that concern the seizure and sale of exceptional items like firearms, drugs, chemicals, agriculture, and alcohol, but, out of fact and commemoration of April 15th, it should be stated that failure to pay appropriate taxes or duties on such products is more often than not the reason for confiscation. 

    However, a container doesn’t necessarily need to be taken into custody for it to be classified as abandoned. As viewers of that earlier mentioned A&E program quickly learn, many shipments are legitimately forgotten or lost in transit, but thanks to affordable, cloud-based monitoring solutions, freight forwarders and importing firms now have the ability to oversee, assess, and address shipping conditions during container tracking, clearing, and collection processes. After all, no company wants to have its goods auctioned off on cable television.

    Next week we’ll look at some publicly epic importing disasters from the past year or so. It should be a post filled with improbability and absurdity. Don’t forget. 




    Written by:

    Chris Monaco, Covert Content Creator

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

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

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


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

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

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



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

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

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


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

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

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

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



    Written By:

    Dave Ruede, Well-Versed Wordsmith

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

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  • Data Center Monitoring: Raised Temperatures, Riskier Management

    Data Center Temperature Monitoring: Raised Temperatures, Riskier Management

    In 2008, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) published new environmental guidelines for datacom equipment. They increased the high-end temperature from 77°F to 80.6°F.

    The guideline chart below shows the changes in more details:

    data center guideline chart

    According to the 2008 guideline, the recommended operating environments could not ensure optimum energy efficiency. There are varying degrees of energy efficiency within the recommended zone, depending on the outdoor temperature and the cooling system design. Thus, the guideline suggests, “it is incumbent upon each data center operator to review and determine, with appropriate engineering expertise, the ideal point for their system”.

    Patrick Thibodeau, reporter at computerworld.com, conducted an interview with Roger Schmidt, the IBM chief engineer for data center energy efficiency, about how the new temperature parameters will influence energy savings and data center cooling. When asked “how much heat can servers handle before they run into trouble”, Schmidt replied:

    “The previous guidelines for inlet conditions into server and storage racks was recommended at 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 77 Fahrenheit. This is where the IT industry feels that if you run at those conditions you will have reliable equipment for long periods of time. There is an allowable limit that is much bigger, from 59 degrees Fahrenheit to 89 degrees. That means that IT equipment will operate in that range, but if you run at the extremes of that range for long periods of time you may have some fails. We changed the recommended level -- the allowable levels remained the same -- to 64F to 81F. That means at the inlet of your server rack you can go to 81 degrees -- that's pretty warm. [The standard also sets recommendation on humidity levels as well.]”

    He also revealed that 81°F is a point where the power increase is minimal, because “raising it higher than that [the recommended limit] may end up diminishing returns for saving power at the whole data center level.” In fact, according to GSA, it can save about 4% to 5% in energy costs for each degree of increase in the server inlet temperature.

    Too much humidity will result in condensation, which leads to electrical shorts. According to GSA, “based on extensive reliability testing of Printed Circuit Board (PCB) laminate materials, it has been shown that conductive anodic filament (CAF) growth is strongly related to relative humidity. As humidity increases, time to failure rapidly decreases. Extended periods of relative humidity exceeding 60% can result in failures, especially given the reduced conductor to conductor spacing common in many designs today.” The upper moisture region is also important in protecting the disk and tape from corrosion. Excessive humidity forms monolayers of water on device surfaces, providing electrolyte for corrosion. On the other hand, too little humidity will leave the room electro-statistically charged.

    After the new standards were published, it would take time for the data centers to update their operating rooms. According to Schmidt, IBM started using the new guidelines internally since 2008, and some other data center probably would step it up two degrees at a time. To run near the new ASHRAE temperature limits means a higher risk environment for staff to manage and requires more operational expertise. According to 2013 Uptime Institute survey data, nearly half of all data centers reported that their systems ran at 71°F to 75°F. 37% of data center reported temperature from 65°F to 70°F, the next largest temperature segment. The trend to warmer data centers is better revealed by the fact that there were 7% data centers operating at 75°F or above, compared with 3% in the year before.

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    References:

    ASHRAE, “2008 ASHRAE Environmental Guidelines for Datacom Equipment” http://tc99.ashraetcs.org/documents/ASHRAE_Extended_Environmental_Envelope_Final_Aug_1_2008.pdf

    Patrick Thibodeau, “It's getting warmer in some data centers”, 07/15/2013. http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9240803/It_s_getting_warmer_in_some_data_centers

    Patrick Thibodeau , “Q&A: The man who helped raise server operating temperatures”, 07/06/2009. http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9135139/Q_A_The_man_who_helped_raise_server_operating_temperatures_



    Written by:

    Ivory Wu, Sharp Semantic Scribe

    Traveling from Beijing to Massachusetts, Ivory recently graduated with a BA from Wellesley College in Sociology and Economics. Scholastic Ivory has also studied at NYU Stern School of Business as well as MIT. She joins Temperature@lert as the Sharp Semantic Scribe, where she creates weekly blog posts and assists with marketing team projects. When Ivory is not working on her posts and her studies, she enjoys cooking and eating sweets, traveling and couch surfing (12 countries and counting), and fencing (She was the Women's Foil Champion in Beijing at 15!). For this active blogger, Ivory's favorite temperature is 72°F because it's the perfect temperature for outdoor jogging.

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  • Freight Forwarders: By Sea, Air, and Land

    Businesses looking to export or import goods have a multitude of logistics to consider and undertake. Having worked in the area of international supply chain management for an action-sports apparel and accessories company, I can say that monitoring such a vital and susceptible activity involves lengthy spreadsheets, numerous emails, and continual phone calls. Luckily, there is an entire industry dedicated to the movement of freight into and out of the United States: freight forwarding.

    Freight forwarders are the behind-the-curtain orchestrators of all things international trade. Export.gov provides a section dedicated to understanding the pivotal involvement of such firms, detailing their services as:

         • Advising on exporting costs including freight costs, port charges, consular fees, costs of special documentation, insurance costs and freight handling fees;

         • Preparing and filing required export documentation such as the bill of lading and routing appropriate documents to the seller, the buyer or a paying bank;

         • Advising on the most appropriate mode of cargo transport and making arrangements to pack and load the cargo;

         • Reserving the necessary cargo space on a vessel, aircraft, train, or truck.

         • Making arrangements with overseas customs brokers to ensure that the goods and documents comply with customs regulations.

    So, you may ask, who are these mysterious entities know as freight forwarders? Well, while they do perform their functions during all hours of the day in ports across the country and world, they don’t wear black pajamas to get things done. Rather, they are enormous multinational companies, some of which are household names, that excel at handling the logistics and balancing the dynamic variables of transporting cargo by sea, air, and land.

    In a 2013 article, Patrick Burnson listed the top twenty-five global freight forwarders by revenue and volume. While the top twelve are below, the remaining thirteen can be found here.

    Popular Shippers List

    Burnson’s piece also provided a glimpse into the impressive size of the freight forwarding industry overall. For instance, in 2012 sea shipments grew by 11.5% to $63.23 billion, and while air cargo dropped by 4.2% to $62.62 billion, the main reasons for the decline were overcapacity and rising costs like those of fuel. In short, air shipment revenue was a victim of too much demand and a fluctuation of those dynamic variables mentioned earlier.

    Of course, with the United States sharing borders with Canada and Mexico, exporting and importing by land, specifically by rail, has grown considerably since the start of the 21st century. A report by the Federal Railroad Administration stated that the value of goods transported by train from and to Mexico increased from $20.4 billion in 1999 to $64.5 billion in 2012. Over the same period, freight from Canada grew by 78% from $58 billion to $103 billion. While this method is dominated by large, heavy exports and imports like cars and coal, it is still a freight market that continues to expand, especially as the global economy strengthens.

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    Regardless of the mode of transport, freight forwarders must adjust their operations according to universal factors like capacity, rates, and transit times. Just because sea shipments rose and air cargo declined in 2012, doesn’t mean the trend will continue as competition among and within freight markets evolves alongside customer demand.

    In general, freight forwarding looks to grow by 6.8% before 2016. With this growth come the changing needs of companies relying on forwarders to move their goods in an expeditious and comprehensive manner. In another 2013 article, author Rob Knigge talked about the current concerns and developing demands of export and import customers and stated the following about using IT solutions to provide more clarity during transport:

    Supply chain visibility remains a top operational priority for large customers. Customers generally struggle to achieve a unified picture of their supply chains because of the legacy information systems designed to operate within a single company, not across a network of companies. Thus, the ability to share real-time information with key customers, suppliers and partners has become critical in the freight forwarding industry.

    Companies and their stakeholders need their supply chains monitored for harmful environmental conditions, as a prolonged negative situation could jeopardize the integrity of the assets being shipped. When not given the proper attention, irregular elements like humidity, temperature, and CO2 can destroy a shipment of imported products. Imagine how poorly a container of bananas would fare during an unexpected five-day, mid-July stint on the dock in Newark, New Jersey. Without any awareness or intervention, the value of those portable producers of potassium would evaporate in the cast iron cauldron heat of summer.

    Using this insight as both a closing place of thought and a point of transition for our next discussion on particular regulations pertaining to shipping and shipping containers, it’s important to note that the last piece of this series will address the issues raised here by offering a customizable, cloud-based IT solution that can be deployed by freight forwarders or their customers alike.




    Written by:

    Chris Monaco, Covert Content Creator

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

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  • Electrical Power Options for Wireless Temperature Monitoring Devices

    Understanding WTM device configuration options is a beginning.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Graphic showing possible components of WTM devices.

    Graphic showing possible components of WTM devices.

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

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

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


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


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

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



    Written By:

    Dave Ruede, Well-Versed Wordsmith

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

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  • Importing and Exporting: A Container Conundrum


    Whether you believe it to be detrimental or beneficial, globalization continues to alter literal and figurative landscapes the world over; and many inherent characteristics of this sweeping transformation are readily apparent in everyday commerce. Though these activities have dramatically increased in frequency over the past thirty years, businesses often remark that the regulatory guidelines and support systems overseeing and accompanying such movements, respectively speaking, haven’t evolved as fast as necessary.

    Two actions that occur interminably in ports across the U.S. are the importation and exportation of goods via shipping containers. Regardless of whether they are transported by water, land, or air, there are governmental requirements to follow, risks to mitigate, and assets to protect. Major ports leave little room for error. The Port Newark Container Terminal handles over 600,000 containers annually with plans to double that number by 2030. Goods can be lost during transfer or seized by U.S. Customs if lapses in cargo oversight or regulatory compliance occur.

    Depending on which industry or industries a company operates within, the goods it imports and exports are subject to various and sometimes quite specific forms and levels of federal classification, regulation, and duties. The more accurate and responsive a firm is with information regarding a shipment, the faster exportation or importation can transpire; and similar to most other business processes, time equals money.


    Export.gov is a helpful and thorough resource that guides firms through the often-intricate affair of exportation. The U.S. State Department, which implements and manages export controls, lists the following as the crux of its efforts:

    The U.S. government controls exports of sensitive equipment, software and technology as a means to promote our national security interests and foreign policy objectives. Through our export control system, the U.S. government can effectively:

         • Provide for national security by limiting access to the most sensitive U.S. technology and weapons

         • Promote regional stability

         • Take into account human rights considerations

         • Prevent proliferation of weapons and technologies, including of weapons of mass destruction, to problem end-users and        supporters of international terrorism

         • Comply with international commitments, i.e. nonproliferation regimes and UN Security Council sanctions and UNSC        resolution 1540

    Regarding the inbound flow of containers and their contents, post 9/11 the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s mission shifted away from its former charge of trade protection and tariff collection to a more pressing primary objective: detecting, deterring, and preventing terrorists and their weapons from entering the United States. The full guide, written in 2003 and revised in 2006, is available to importers here and addresses topics like free trade, origin marking, product classification, and small-business importation.


    As you might have already deduced, April’s posts are dedicated to importing and exporting supply chain materials or goods. Moving beyond this broad overview, each of the next three weeks will take a closer look at specific industry regulations; large U.S. freight forwarders and the particular challenges of shipping by land, air, or sea; and implementing a comprehensive asset protection solution that tracks and monitors containers traveling long, sometimes unfavorable distances. It should be a productive and intriguing month, so if you haven’t already, bookmark us.


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    Written by:

    Chris Monaco, Covert Content Creator

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

    Chris Monaco Temperature@lert

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  • Wireless Technology Choices for Temperature Monitoring Sensors - Part 2

    WTM device claims about Transmission Range need closer scrutiny.

    Part 1 of this title examined data rate factors in selecting Wireless Temperature Monitor devices from the graphic below. Essentially, data rate is not ever a factor since the monitoring interval for medical refrigeration WTM devices is in the order of minutes and produces very small amounts of data. The only time data rate could be a factor is if the refrigerator is monitored every second or less and a number of additional parameters was being transmitted, however even this would not be a factor in many cases since, again, the amount of data is small. There may be a case where rate is a factor if, for example, high definition video transmission was added to the data. Since such systems when in use are generally part of the facility’s security systems, data rate should not be concern when evaluating WTM devices for hospital refrigeration monitoring.


    Comparison of range vs. peak data rate for wireless communication technologies used in Wireless Temperature Monitoring (WTM) devices. (Link to Source)

    Range, unlike data rate is a factor that needs to be understood when making a WTM system selection. This is for several reasons. First, wireless technology included a wireless transmitter and the transmitted data needs to be able to reach the corresponding wireless receiver, either the facility’s wireless network or a dedicated device provided by the supplier. In some cases where several wireless temperature sensors are communicating with a single receiver, even more care is needed to insure robust communication.

    Another factor inherent in range but not generally acknowledged is interference from the facility itself. Factors such as walls, medical or infrastructure equipment, furniture and file cabinets and in cases where the WTM device is entirely inside the refrigerator, the refrigerator itself. Claims about range are almost always based on optimal conditions: line of sight in air. Qualifiers that the WTM device’s range may vary depending on interference from objects in the immediate vicinity are offered. (Full disclosure: Temperature@lert offers both a Line of Sight and Indoor/Urban specification for its wireless devices.) These are reasonable qualifiers.

    The table below provides another view of the presentation in the graphic above. In the Range row wireless options are generally noted as a range, 10 to 100 meters in the case of WiFi, for example. Those who use WiFi networks and portable devices in their homes or work can attest to the variability of signal strength as they move away from the WiFi router (transmitter/receiver) or move into an area that is heavily furnished or shielded by a number of walls between the portable device and the WiFi router.


    Comparison of Wireless Networking Technologies used in WTM Systems. (Link to Source)

    Because range is such an important but difficult to absolutely specify parameter when choosing a wireless temperature monitor experimentation with a test device from the WTM supplier is recommended. A single device is usually sufficient since it can be moved around the facility to determine the suitability in different locations and under different conditions. Recording the results for a few minutes at each location is all that is needed since the signal is either there or not there, and the data stream is either coherent or not. Again, experience with home WiFi networks are instructive.

    The next piece in this series will examine a WTM device parameter closely tied to data rate and range, power source type and the effects on performance.

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


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    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.

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  • FDAAA: Drug Safety throughout the Lifecycle

    FDAAA: Drug Safety throughout the Lifecycle

    The FDA Amendment Act (FDAAA) places an emphasis on “safety throughout the lifecycle,” namely close monitoring throughout the product lifecycle: before marketing and after licensure.

    In the past six months, the FDA has taken a series of actions to regulate drugs imported to the U.S. In September of 2013, the FDA blocked imports of medicine made in the Ranbaxy Plant of India. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the import alert resulted from Ranbaxy’s constant and significant violations of manufacturing rules. Ranbaxy would not be allowed to manufacture drugs for the U.S at the Mohali site where the plant inspectors uncovered manufacturing violations until a third party inspector is hired to help it meet the FDA compliances.

    According to the FDA Commissioner, Margaret Hamburg, multiple U.S. import suspensions on Indian pharmaceutical companies are part of a global effort to improve drug safety. This FDA amendment calls for further global collaborations; enhancing drug safety is not a domestic issue. In her presentation for 2010 FDA Vaccine Safety Webinar, Dr. Sutherland suggested that the FDA partner with World Health Organization (WHO) and other NGOs to construct an efficient global regulatory system. This also requires efficient information sharing arrangements between various drug regulatory authorities.



    As the U.S. consumes larger amounts of imported medicines each year, the FDA implemented more efforts on surveillance over drug production worldwide. In the future, the U.S. FDA may increase staff inspectors abroad to supervise manufacture sites that export drugs to the U.S. India is the U.S.’s second largest medication supplier, and Ranbaxy, the biggest drug producer in India, has been hit by a series of FDA import suspensions since 2008. Indian Health Services (IHS) is listed as a major federal partner in improving biologic product safety, and future collaboration is expected from both sides.

    Meanwhile, some leading pharmaceutical companies abroad receive expedited U.S. entry through a pilot program that puts the “trustworthy foreign-made medicines” on the fast tracks into the U.S. This pilot program included 13 pharmaceutical titans, including Pfizer Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline LLC, due to their satisfactory corrective plans to rectify the most potential problems as well as their ability to “control their drugs from the time of manufacture abroad until the point of importation into the U.S.”

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    References:

    Dan Prochilo, “Pfizer, GSK To Have Imported Drugs Fast-Tracked By FDA”. http://www.law360.com/articles/510906/pfizer-gsk-to-have-imported-drugs-fast-tracked-by-fda

    Andrea Sutherland, “Beyond VAERS: How the FDA continues to improve vaccine safety surveillance”. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/NewsEvents/WorkshopsMeetingsConferences/UCM218707.pdf

    “FDA chief: U.S. is ‘not targeting’ India with new drug import rules”. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/02/21/fda-chief-u-s-is-not-targeting-india-with-new-drug-import-rules/



    Written by:

    Ivory Wu, Sharp Semantic Scribe

    Traveling from Beijing to Massachusetts, Ivory recently graduated with a BA from Wellesley College in Sociology and Economics. Scholastic Ivory has also studied at NYU Stern School of Business as well as MIT. She joins Temperature@lert as the Sharp Semantic Scribe, where she creates weekly blog posts and assists with marketing team projects. When Ivory is not working on her posts and her studies, she enjoys cooking and eating sweets, traveling and couch surfing (12 countries and counting), and fencing (She was the Women's Foil Champion in Beijing at 15!). For this active blogger, Ivory's favorite temperature is 72°F because it's the perfect temperature for outdoor jogging.

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  • CFR 20 Part 133: Pass the Cheese, Please


    Before concluding our month-long conversation on dairy, we must take a moment to acknowledge the unrivaled versatility, variety (over 2000!), and vitality of cheese. Without cheese, there would be no pizza. Without cheese, there would be no enchiladas. And without cheese, there would be no grilled cheese sandwiches!

    It would be preposterous to consider hosting a wine and cheese party featuring fruit and crackers only (imagine what the French would say). Additionally, it's very challenging to imagine the classic American cookout consisting of just hotdogs and plain hamburgers (how unpatriotic). Indeed, cheese is omnipresent and omnipotent!

    So, just how much of this soft gold does humanity actually devour? Well, according to the International Dairy Foods Association, in 2011 the U.S. consumed cheese in the following manner:

    U.S. per capita consumption of natural cheese increased by 0.36 pounds over the 2010 amount, reaching a level of 33.50 pounds, the second highest amount on record.

    The largest consumption increase in 2011 was for Italian-type cheeses, which were up 0.36 pounds per person to 14.80 pounds, setting a record for the second straight year. American-type cheese consumption decreased slightly, dropping by 0.14 pounds to 13.18 pounds per person. Consumption of other than Italian or American cheeses increased by 0.14 pounds to 5.52 pounds per person.

    The most consumed types of cheese in the U.S. are mozzarella and cheddar. Mozzarella cheese per capita consumption reached a new record high of 11.43 pounds in 2011; the previous record was 11.25 pounds per person set in 2010. Consumption of cheddar cheese declined for the second straight year; down 0.29 pounds or 2.8%.

    Volume sales of natural cheese in U.S. Food and Drug Stores reached approximately 2.272 billion pounds in 2011, with a value of over $11 billion dollars. The top three cheese types that accounted for the largest volume sales were Cheddar (36.7%), Mozzarella (20.9%) and Colby Jack (9.3%). Together, these three account for two-thirds (66.9%) of the volume sales of natural cheese. The top three also account for almost $7 billion dollars (62.5%) of the $11 billion dollars in sales.

    Even with such strong numbers in terms of volume and value, America's per capita cheese consumption in 2009 didn't even crack the top-five global standings according to this chart from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board:

    International Cheese Consumption

    With domestic and international demand robust with growth, the production of all types of cheese must maintain an equal or greater escalation or the potential for a, dare I write, cheese shortage could emerge. According to the United States Department of agriculture, the EU currently leads all regions of the world regarding output, but the U.S. is the number one individually producing country.

    Though some farms or companies specialize in one or two varieties, putting all their milk in one vat so to speak, other, large-scale manufacturers may churn out (pun intended) over twenty! Regardless of size, however, the federal government maintains guidelines on the production, labeling, and distribution of cheese under CFR 20 Part 133. This section of our much referred to document not only provides general temperature thresholds for pasteurization, shown in the table below, but specific ingredients, process steps, and labeling terminology on over seventy-five varieties like asiago, colby, gouda, gruyere, muenster, provolone, and swiss. Additionally, the pasteurization requirements for processed cheese similar to what is found inside a compressed can or plastic container, or amongst other processed food items like fruits, vegetables, or meats.

    Compliance with rules respective to specific cheeses ensures safety and quality for consumers and is enforced by federal inspectors. If violations are found, timely warnings can be disseminated to the public and, based upon the degree of the error, penalties issued to the liable firm. The latest validation of these guidelines and oversights involves a March 2014 recall of Hispanic-style cheeses after the CDC confirmed eight reports of listeriosis, and a subsequent FDA inspection discovered related bacterial strains at an inadequate Delaware production facility.

    Avoiding a similar catastrophe involves maintaining the structural integrity of the plant in use, imploring employees to keep themselves and their workstations sanitary, and monitoring the environmental conditions of individual process stages, like pasteurization and storage. Temperature and humidity requirements vary by cheese type, which means recording and storing data for twenty varieties or more can be quite the daunting task if done manually.

    Temp/Time Requirements for Pasteurization

    Temperature Time
    145 deg. F 30 min.
    161 deg. F 15 s.
    191 deg. F 1 s.
    204 deg. F 0.05 s.
    212 deg. F 0.01 s.

    But what if your chances of a violation could be greatly reduced, level of asset protection impressively increased, and operations budget responsibly left intact? A proprietary, cloud-based monitoring system with features like wireless nodes and phone alerts, automated reports, and audit trails through an independent Sensor Cloud service not only answers all three hypotheticals, it is an investment worth its weight in, you guessed it, cheese.

    Cheese Monitoring




    Written by:

    Chris Monaco, Covert Content Creator

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

    Chris Monaco Temperature@lert

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

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

    Temperature@lert iPhone iOS7 App

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

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

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

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


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    Written By:

    Diane Deng, Advertising Acrobat

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

    Temperature@lert Diane Deng

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