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  • Spiders Rain From The Sky? Sorry, No.

    We can do most anything, but we can’t do that. (With apologies to Meatloaf)


    The news caught my eye earlier this week as headlines blared about spiders raining down from the sky in Goulburn NSW, Australia, about 200 km southwest from Sidney. My first thought of course is can Temperature@lert help with that? The short answer is no, we can’t do that. But we can do a lot of other things.


    Temperature@lert has a Cellular Edition customer that travels around the US in their motorhome with three macaws, following the NHRA drag racing circuit and monitoring their motorhome’s temperature while away to keep an eye on their pet’s safety. We can keep you from cooking your own goose, but we can’t keep spiders from raining down on you.



    We can keep this macaw family member safe during his travels in the family’s RV, but we can’t keep spiders from raining down and covering your trees, grass and house.


    We monitor the temperature of animal transport trailers for a big cat rescue organization to help keep the occupants safe by alerting the driver when the air conditioner kicks off. But we can’t keep spiders from raining down from the sky, even with lions and tigers and bears at our beck and call. (Okay, not bears, I made that part up.)


    Crime labs depend on us to protect their evidence with our ZPoint wireless sensor, ensuring that evidence is not compromised and results are scientifically sound and criminals are kept off the streets. But protecting folks when millions of tiny spiders take flight during their annual migration and rain down on their property? No, we can’t do that.


     


    Our customers monitor forensic evidence in crime labs but we can’t help with millions of tiny spiders raining down on your yard.


    We monitor concrete temperature as it sets during tunnel construction to insure the finished tunnel’s structure meets specifications and does not fail before its rated life. Yes, even though we keep the earth from collapsing a tunnel, we do not have a solution when spiders parachute by the thousands from the sky. We still can’t do that.



    We monitor concrete while it's curing to make sure tunnels, bridges and buildings are safe, but we can’t keep your yard spider free when the little creatures decide to take flight.


    Why all the worry about spiders raining down from the sky? Recently Australia experienced such an episode when millions of young spiders migrate by “ballooning”, casting webs into the air that act like a parachute and lift them airborne. It turns out that this phenomenon is not new or unique, it happens regularly around the world. And if you think you’re safe in the US you are mistaken. Texas was the last state to report such an outbreak.


    Spider rain happens when tiny newborn spiders decide to take flight to find a new home. This happens all the time but when they all decide to do so at once, the effect is dramatic. The little critters stand on the tips of their tiny legs and shoot a thread into the air. If the wind is strong enough the thread acts like a parasail and takes the spider airborne, delivering it to it’s new home. All I can say is I’m glad tarantulas don’t exhibit this behavior.



    A search for “spider ballooning” on YouTube can lead to several interesting videos describing the phenomenon of “spider rain”.


    In the mean time, one last image of Australia’s spider rain for those who want another thing to worry about. And if you find that spider rain is becoming a global nuisance, just drop us a line and maybe we’ll see if we can do something about it. In the meanwhile, you may be well served to carry an umbrella in Australia, rain or shine.



    Link to Image Source and Spider Rain Article

    Temperature@lert provides cost-effective, fault-tolerant wireless temperature monitoring solution for individuals and organizations of all sizes. For information about our Cellular and Sensor Cloud offerings, visit our website at http://www.temperaturealert.com/ or call us at +1-866-524-3540.

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  • Dogs and Temperature: Healthy and Happy Puppies

    puppy, dogs

    Imagine you are the head caretaker at a popular dog shelter. At your facility you not only house dogs that have been rescued, but puppies that are born on site, and all of them are looking for loving homes and owners that want to be their new best friends. It's been an excessively hot summer, and you have had to take extra care in making sure that the dogs in your shelter are staying cool enough and that they aren't overheating. The last thing you want on your plate is a bunch of hot dogs, and we don't mean the kind that are topped with ketchup and mustard and chowed down in three bites.


    In the past, our blog has discussed the importance of monitoring the temperatures inside RV's and cars, specifically police vehicles, because in a matter of minutes, dogs left behind in our cars can be exposed to temperatures that are not only excessively hot, but also excessively cruel. But, as you can probably guess, hot cars in the summer aren't the only times we should be worried about the temperatures that we keep our dogs in.


    You may not even realize it, but did you know that ambient temperature and humidity levels of our dogs’ environments could affect everything from their acclimation to their surroundings to their fertility potential? It's true! So what exactly are the parameters for safe temperature and humidity levels for dogs? Let us help you out!


    It may sounds a little bit obvious, but, according to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, dogs and puppies must never be subjected to any combination of temperature and humidity for a duration that is detrimental to the animal's health or well-being, taking into consideration such factors as the age, breed, overall health status and acclimation of the animal. If anything, it's an ambiguous answer that would probably be much more helpful if it was quantified in degrees. It's a broad range, but temperatures in dog shelters should never get below 55°F nor should they ever exceed 90°F.


    You may be wondering why the temperature range for dog housing is so broad, and the answer is because certain breeds of dog are more sensitive to fluctuations in temperature than others. Typically, short-nosed breeds such as pugs, Pekinese, Boston terriers, English bulldogs and boxers, among others, are known to be more sensitive to heat extremes because these breeds are not anatomically as efficient at handling increased temperature and humidity levels as normal shaped dogs. This is because they don't have as much surface area available within their nose and throat regions to function in decreasing body heat during the panting process compared to other breeds of dogs.

    puppy, dogs


    Where dogs with short noses are more sensitive to extremities in heat, smaller dogs with short legs, and short hair, or even hairless coats, like dachshunds, Chihuahuas and Chinese crested, are more sensitive to the cold. This is because their abdomens, chest, groins and lower extremities are more exposed to snowy and icy ground cover.


    As it turns out, it's extremely important for you to provide a temperate environment for the dogs in your care, and it doesn't necessarily have to be done with air conditioning and fans, which could rack up your electric bill astronomically. By simply providing shaded areas for the dogs to relax, you are doing them a big favor. It is true that different breeds are more or less tolerant to different extremities in heat and temperature, but as a general rule, all dogs are not very efficient at dissipating body gear and generally cannot tolerate elevated temperatures, humidity levels or direct sunlight for long periods of time. More often than any shelter employee would care to admit, shelters for dogs become too warm for the animals and the dogs being housed there suffer from overheating and discomfort.


    But beyond just being uncomfortable and overly warm, our furry friends are at risk with environmental or climatic stresses that can negatively affect their health. What kind of problems can you expect to see in a dog that’s too hot? Untreated heat stress can lead to a heat stroke, which is potentially fatal and you know you've got a big and immediate problem on your hands when one or more of your dogs are showing signs like vigorous, uncontrolled panting, labored breathing, dark red gums, tacky or dry membranes, specifically in the gums, salivating or foaming at the mouth, vomiting, dehydration, lying down and unwilling or unable to get up and, trembling, dizziness, disorientation, just to name a few.

               

    Still, dogs can suffer more than just short-term affects from heat suffering. As I mentioned earlier, heat stress or heat stoke can directly decrease both spermatozoa production and survivability within the male reproductive tract. They are effects that are similar to those that male dogs experience after running a fever during a viral or bacterial infection. And sorry lady pups, you're at risk for low fertility rates too, with exposure to high temperature extremes. Heat stress has been shown to negatively effect pregnancy and embryo survival in breeding females.

               

    You want to continue your reputation as a caretaker at a dog shelter that takes pride in being safe, humane and loving, and although it takes a lot of work, manually monitoring the temperature and humidity of the environment doesn't need to be added to the list of your daily chores. In the hot summer months, you worry about feeding, exercising, providing water and health care for the playful pups in your care, and let automatic, low-cost and easy-to-use temperature monitors do the tedious work of making sure that temperatures and humidity levels are kept within safe ranges.

               

    If you could be spared the nightmare of walking in to a kennel filled with dehydrated and uncomfortable dogs by receiving a text, phone call or e-mail alert in the middle of the night when your air conditioner goes out, why wouldn't you?


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  • Cats, Dogs and Animals in Shelters

    animal shelter pets, animal shelter, dog, dogs, pets, temperature monitoring

    It's the look of love in eyes of those looking to adopt a new pet that makes your of job of constant care-taking worth it. But it's not just the giggle of the little boy who found his companion in a playful puppy or the fluorescent smile spread across the face of the little girl when she picks out a new kitten that's going to be her new best friend that warms your heart, but also, that you did good work in finding a home for an animal that deserves all the love, care and attention in the world.


    But, as an animal caretaker in a busy shelter, with animals in an out all the time, you know that there's a lot of work that goes into raising a playful puppy and a cuddly kitty cat. It's so much more than showering them with hugs and kisses, throwing the tennis ball and spooning with them at bedtime. It requires taking time out of your busy schedule everyday to walk them, feed them, clean them, take them to the vet for shots and check-ups and regular grooming them, just to list a few obligations for pet owners. Our pets might be our best friends, but they're costly and time consuming ones at that!


    Of course they need our unconditional love, but beyond the everyday chores that our pets rely on us for to stay happy and healthy, especially when they're in the shelter waiting to be taken home with a good family, as their temporary caretaker, you need to make sure that you are running a shelter that follows some pretty specific guidelines. It's of vital importance, not only to the health of the animals in your shelter, but also to the health or the human caretakers, that regulations, in terms of sanitation, feeding practices, medical attention, and of course, temperate environments.

    corgi, pet monitoring, pets, cats, dogs 

    You may not even realize it, but maintaining proper temperatures in your animal shelter is a critical practice that can greatly affect the health of the animals that are in your care. They not only expect you to feed them daily and shower them with affection, but they're banking on you to make sure that they are kept in units that are not too cold and not too hot. Just like us humans, animals are extremely sensitive to fluctuations in temperature and humidity, and unless careful the upkeep of proper ambient temperatures is observed, you'll have bigger problems than puppies who just want to be adopted.


    As the responsible and loving caretaker that you are, you want to be able to ensure that proper temperature and humidity levels are maintained, even in the middle of the night, long after your workday is over. Imagine coming to work on a hot summer morning to find that your air conditioner had failed at some point during the night. Without an automatic temperature monitoring system that offers text, e-mail or phone alerts, how could you even know that there is a problem that needs addressing? The truth is that you couldn't know until, unfortunately, it's probably too late. If you're lucky, you might just walk in and find that many of the animals in your shelter are simply dehydrated. If you're unlucky, however, you might walk in to work and find that the animals in your shelter have suffered severe heat stroke, which can actually be fatal. It's a morning at work that we promise; no one wants to walk into.


    The fear of losing a pet is one that exists in the mind of every loving pet owner and caretaker. The good news is, that you could never have to spend the day nursing animals back to health because there are preventative solutions that can ensure that the animals in your care are comfortable, safe and healthy round the clock, even when you aren't there to monitor temperature and humidity levels manually.

               

    Throughout this series, we'll take a closer look at why it's so important for animal shelters to monitor temperature and humidity levels, no matter the type of animals that are in your care. There are numerous problems that can arise if ambient temperatures aren't carefully observed and if you could save yourself the head and heartache of dealing with animals that are suffering because of their poorly monitored environments, why wouldn't you? 

    monitor temperature, temperature monitoring, pet shelter monitoring, animal shelter monitoring, RV temperature monitoring, dog monitoring

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  • 2015 Temperature Sensors Forecast

    The sensor market is expected to grow to $6.05 Billion by 2020. With the demand of temperature sensors growing, it is important for the customer and manufacturer to choose their sensors wisely. From applications in the medical and healthcare sector to aerospace and defense, there is a rising need for more accurate temperature monitoring; thus creating an increased need to use proper sensors for industry specific applications.

    View the following guide to get a greater insight into the temperature sensor industry in 2015 and beyond:

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  • Wireless Temperature Monitoring System Topology Considerations

    Smart decisions during the evaluation process can help simplify the sensor network layout.


    In this ongoing series centered around NYC Hospital Queens’ experience in selecting and installing a Wireless Temperature Monitoring (WTM) system to track medications and blood in hospital refrigerators (Link to Article) several factors as to the placement of WTM devices to support 174 refrigerators, freezers, and other critical areas in a hospital that is comprised of four main buildings, some built in the 1950s needed to be taken into account.


    As was noted in a previous piece, the WTM system chosen at NYC Hospital Queens uses  wireless receivers located above the ceiling as communication bridges between the sensor modules and the hospital’s IT network.  The author notes, “signal strength dictates the number of receivers needed. Our institution comprises four main buildings, some of which were built in the late 1950s. Thus, the signal strength of the sensors in the oldest building was less than optimal and required the addition of multiple receivers to provide consistent readings. Basement areas also may require multiple receivers”.

    Temperature@lert WIFI Monitoring Device

    WiFi WTM device installed in server room provides a strong signal, good range and fast data rate without the expense of additional equipment (e.g. repeater/gateway).


    Evaluating a WTM device’s signal strength or range in all of the locations to be monitored is paramount before selecting any one technology. Depending on the wireless technology chosen, each wireless sensor type may require more or fewer receivers to make the connection, resulting in more or less complex and higher or lower cost deployments.  NYC Hospital Queens could possibly have chosen a device that does not need a receiver (a.k.a. gateway) but had sufficient signal strength to communicate to the site’s IT network directly.  A standard WiFi device could potentially provide such capability without the added expense of a receiver/gateway device.

    Mesh network showing sensor nodes (red/green) and receivers/gateways (red).  In this case some sensors also act as gateways and can help link remote sensors without the added cost of a dedicated gateway. (Link to Source)



    Some wireless technologies are able to overcome interference from the building infrastructure, equipment or furnishings that others may not. Other wireless technologies have mesh network capability, meaning the wireless sensors or receiver/gateways can communicate with each other. Therefore when one device is not operating properly or experiences signal degradation caused by interference, the device can communicate with an alternative neighboring device to maintain the network integrity. And still other WTM designs employ receiver/gateways that can contain their own temperature sensor(s) in addition to serving as a gateway, providing an additional pathway to lower the complexity and cost of the system. Evaluating wireless devices from several vendors, each using different wireless technologies, WiFi, ZigBee, RFID, Bluetooth, proprietary, etc. can help the user understand how each works in the various locations to be monitored.


    But what does one do when these technologies don’t work or are not feasible for a hospital’s IT network? For example, some IT departments are averse to adding new devices to their internal networks due to security or capacity capacity concerns because continuous temperature monitoring of 174 sensors in the case of New York Hospital Queens for example can generate a lot of data quickly. To meet the hospital’s need, historical data needs to be maintained, secured and stored for an extended period of time for regulatory purposes. Adding alerting capability to the WTM system, for example sending e-mail, text or phone call messages when something goes wrong, means an additional level of IT capacity is needed to send and log these alerts. Adding an escalation plan for times when issues do not get resolved in a timely manner adds an additional level of complexity. Close collaboration with the hospital’s IT resources will be needed to determine what is possible and what is not.


    Temperature@lert How It Works


    If IT capacity or network policies make it very difficult if not impossible to add a WTM system, what options exist? One good option is a cellular gateway that communicates directly to the wireless sensor network and uploads data to cloud based sensors via major carrier cellular networks. Temperature@lert’s Cellular Edition is one such device. Each Cellular Edition is equipped with a cellular transmitter/receiver that communicates through national cellular carrier networks to Temperature@lert’s Sensor Cloud web based storage, reporting and alerting services. Each Cellular Edition can link to several Z-Point wireless sensor nodes resulting in up to 45 sensors being monitored via one Cellular Edition gateway depending on signal strength and equipment layout.


    Understanding how any new wireless network will operate at a site requires study and testing. Once the locations to be monitored are mapped and solutions that the organization’s IT department supports are determined, those tasked with the WTM decision are ready to make their recommendation. This all takes time and energy, so add that to the planning process and everyone will have a better understanding of who, what, when, where and why the final selection is made. Because once this happens and the installation starts, it will be good to have the history to remind all how they got here.


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



    Written By:

    Dave Ruede, Well-Versed Wordsmith

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

    Temperature@lert Dave Ruede

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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.

    Temperature@lert Dave Ruede

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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.

    Temperature@lert Dave Ruede

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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.


    Free Temperature@lert 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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  • Why Sweat The Details?


    Complying with mandatory Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) can be stressful no matter which vaccine process your biotech, pharmaceutical or medical company undertakes, but that preoccupation can also be reduced. As previously noted, GMPs are regulated by the FDA and fluctuate between broad and narrow, required and recommended. With the Code of Federal Regulations acting as a compliance manual, firms are expected to validate that their processes and products are safe, effective and protected.

    Two regulations of particular relevance to vaccines are 21 CFR Part 10.11 and Part 11. First conceived from the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of the late 1980s, Part 10.11 provides requirements for vaccine labeling and breaks down the process review as follows:


         - Proposed labeling must be submitted for pre-approval

         - Package inserts must be included with submission

         - Inserts must have sufficient instructions, warnings and precautionary information

         - Post-approval surveillance based on medical literature and mortality reports determines whether labeling must be updated


    Added in 1997 and refreshed in 2003, 21 CFR Part 11 specifically deals with the collection and storage of electronic records and signatures:

    The regulations in this part set forth the criteria under which the agency considers electronic records, electronic signatures and handwritten signatures executed to electronic records to be trustworthy, reliable and generally equivalent to paper records and handwritten signatures executed on paper.

    The FDA monitors these electronic entries by requiring that, among other things, the following major components be accessible and accountable:

         - Validation of temperature parameters

         - Auditable data and action logs

         - Record protection


    Failure to provide adequate and consistent electronic documentation may lead to a compliance violation, but such regulatory hassles are avoidable. Technological advances in wireless temperature monitoring have made CFR compliance less intensive than ever. Through device and system automation, you can set temperature boundaries and receive e-mail, SMS, and phone alerts if they are breached. Additionally, all actions and records are time stamped, logged and stored within a secure cloud service. Your company’s ability to adhere to GMP guidelines will be one less concern in your day, which is what truly matters.

    Like any regulatory standard, the demands of GMPs are numerous, and an infraction costly, but with a proprietary wireless monitoring device and complementary system, you don’t have to sweat the details.

    We’ll continue with pharmaceutical products and their respective CFRs next week.


    Free Guide for Vaccine Monitoring


    Full disclosure: This writer is employed by one such supplier of wireless temperature monitoring systems, Temperature@lert, that help its users to meet complaince.

    Temperature@lert’s ZPoint Cellular Edition ensures that important electronic records (temperature and time logs, alerts, and alert responses) are documented and retained for one year within our Sensor Cloud service. Should the environment you’re monitoring lose power, the ZPoint Cellular Edition’s internal backup battery will keep the device and sensors operational for several days, allowing alerts and measurements to continue without interference. For more information about Temperature@lert’s Cellular and Sensor Cloud offerings, visit our website at http://www.temperaturealert.com/ or call us at +1-866-524-3540.



    Temperature@lert Cellular Edition


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  • Evolving And Expanding Capabilities: Pressure Sensing


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

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

    Temperature@lert: Clean Room Pressure Monitoring

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

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

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

    Free Temperature@lert E-Book

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

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

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