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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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  • 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.

    Temperature@lert Dave Ruede

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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.


    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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  • Wireless Technology Choices for Temperature Monitoring Sensors - Part 1

    You don’t need to be a geek or nerd to make the right wireless choice for refrigeration monitors.

    As seen in the previous piece in this series titled NYC Hospital Examines WTM (Wireless Temperature Monitoring) Options, there are several factors to consider in understanding which device will work best to help protect the safety and efficacy of temperature sensitive medicines such as vaccines. Among the ones explored were battery or AC power (or both!) and the use of sensor buffer vials.

    The heart of WTM sensors is the wireless technology itself. Wireless sensors can be easier to install since they do not need to be connected to the site’s IT network via LAN cables. Those that operate solely on battery powered can be easily placed anywhere, some would claim, although that is not exactly true and comes to the heart of the matter: WTM devices are like Kryptonite confronting lead, they cannot penetrate everything. And those limitations are dictated by the wireless technology embedded in the device. So a look at the offerings and some words about their suitability under various circumstances is called for.


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

    Peak data rate is one of the factors for wireless communications. For WTM devices peak data rate is almost never an issue. Unlike computers, tablets and smartphones that are uploading or downloading megabytes of data very quickly, temperature readings contain very little data (temperature, date, time, device ID, etc.), a few to several bytes for each reading. And because refrigeration monitoring almost never requires continuous monitoring, every second for example, the number of transmissions is small. This is because of two factors. First, WTM devices that report and send alarm or alerting messages if the temperature changes from one second to the next will invariably send out dozens if not hundreds of alerts that are non actionable, a refrigerator door is left open for 30 to 60 seconds for example. Medications in the refrigerator are not at risk when this happens. They are at risk if the temperature rises above the alert level and stays there for several minutes. This is one reason buffer vials are used, to dampen out momentary temperature spikes that are not meaningful.

    Medical refrigerator with door open for several seconds or even a minute does not generally put medications at risk. Using a sensor buffer vial can give better insight to temperatures of medications during excursions. (Link to Image Source)

    WTM devices are typically set to read and transmit the temperature every few minutes, 2 to 5 minutes for example and in some cases every 10 to 15 minutes. At one site a large medical freezer is monitored every 15 minutes because the staff knows that with the door closed they have up to six hours to recover or move sensitive materials to another unit without exceeding temperature limits. Each hospital will need to experiment with monitoring intervals and temperature limit settings to find the right balance between too much and too little. This generally happens quickly, especially if very tight limits and frequent monitoring is chosen in the start. Getting dozens of notifications when staff is searching for a medication or several door openings occur within a relatively short time will help find the balance to insure medication safety and efficacy.

    The next piece in this series will explore the range portion of the graphic.

    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’s Cellular and SensorCloud offerings, 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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  • Food Companies: Not All Press is Good Press

    One of the most recent and highly profiled U.S. dairy incidents occurred during the fall of 2013 and involved a New York-based Greek yogurt company. Hundreds of consumers fell sick after they had purchased and eaten yogurt tainted by mold. While no one became seriously ill, and the mold discovered was not of a foodborne pathogen variety (salmonella, E. coli etc.), reports of gastrointestinal ailments among consumers prompted the company to remove and destroy all questionable inventory. Besides costing money, the mishap took a toll on the firm’s previously admired and trusted brand and manufacturing processes, respectively, as many consumers took to Twitter and Facebook to express their concern and disapproval.

    The mold that tainted this company’s products is one commonly found around foods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy, Mocur circinelloids, and can be a culprit in spoilage when not immediately identified and removed. Some folks questioned whether or not it was actually Mocur circinelloids that caused people to fall ill, but the subsequently filled FDA report stated that no other bacterial culprit was found inside the Idaho facility.

    Regardless of whether or not another organism was at the core of the contamination, the entire ordeal stands as another reminder of how fiercely rapid a gap in a company’s manufacturing process can lead to public fury and governmental scrutiny, especially in today’s world of digitally instantaneous, consumer blowback. But this latest example is perhaps even more disconcerting than most because it involved the molding of yogurt, a product that is inherently, well, moldy.

    Crudely speaking, yogurt is created by adding bacteria to heated milk, and the entire process, whether undertaken within a factory or household kitchen, requires precision both in terms of combining the ingredients and monitoring the mixture’s temperature during heating and cooling stages. The FDA, consistent in its dedication to oversee the application of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), provides 21 CFR Part 131 as a blueprint for producing all types of milk, cream, and yogurt. The document, which contains guidelines on general pasteurization procedures and the production and labeling of specific varieties of aforementioned dairy products, begins its section on non-fat, low-fat, and regular yogurt by defining core expectations for the base product:

    Yogurt, before the addition of bulky flavors, contains not less than 3.25 percent milkfat and not less than 8.25 percent milk solids not fat, and has a titratable acidity of not less than 0.9 percent, expressed as lactic acid. The food may be homogenized and shall be pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized prior to the addition of the bacterial culture. Flavoring ingredients may be added after pasteurization or ultra-pasteurization. To extend the shelf life of the food, yogurt may be heat treated after culturing is completed, to destroy viable microorganisms.

    Beyond listing the required milkfat parameters and acidity level for regular yogurt, this excerpt mentions two activities predicated on proper environmental monitoring. Temperature plays a critical role in heating and cooling, and any increase in humidity can act as a bellwether for deteriorating ambient conditions and possible bacterial growth. Monitoring these variables can prevent production failures, and customizable, cloud-based monitoring systems like Temperature@lert’s Cellular Edition with Sensor Cloud are more than just technical instruments; they’re autonomous, comprehensive solutions to problems that once seemed unavoidable.

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    Even without being presumptuous about a yogurt company’s past oversight, one can deduce that dangerous windows of exposure exist during dairy manufacturing processes, and deploying preventative safeguards to ensure a product’s quality and condition isn’t just operationally and financially prudent, it’s also organizationally principled.




    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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  • NYC Hospital Examines WTM Options

    Wireless Temperature Monitoring systems can vary greatly in design, technology, ease of use.

    This third piece of the series examining New York Hospital Queens’ experience with Wireless Temperature Monitoring systems as reported on the Pharmacy Purchasing and Products website article, we look at the options considered and some that were not . (Link to PPP Article)

    Once medication, blood and nutrition products refrigeration was evaluated and found lacking prompting a replacement of dorm style units with over 100 medical grade refrigeration in patient care areas, the next step was to examine WTM options for evaluation. According to author Alexander F. Melchert, , MS, RPh, the Director of Pharmacy at the hospital, “Several WTM systems were evaluated culminating in the adoption of one that best suited our needs.

    The hospital selected a device that utilizes wireless sensors connected to probes immersed in a bottle of ethylene glycol as ideal for their needs. The ethylene glycol bottle is used as a buffer to reduce temperature fluctuations that can result in false alerts. (Note: Liquid ethylene glycol and propylene glycol are commonly used in laboratory and food applications, dry sand or glass beads are options that eliminates the potential for liquid spills.) The temperature sensor is immersed into the bottle which is then capped and placed into the refrigerator. Two other factors noted were cost and the ability to self-install, meaning hospital personnel could perform all of the tasks to place the sensors and get them operating correctly, not a small consideration when dealing with new and potentially complicated technology.

    Temperature buffer vial comparison: Air, dry sand, and propylene glycol shows damping effects of each. Damping is useful to manage momentary temperature changes that are not significant to the product’s efficacy, safety or quality. (Link to Source)

    Dry or liquid media filled buffer vial with temperature sensor installed helps reduce temperature fluctuations due to medical refrigerator door opening and the possible triggering of alarms or alerts that do not compromise the medication.(Link to Source)

    The Pharmacy Purchasing and Products article’s author describes other aspect of the experience. “The WTM system was phased in over a one-year period. Once an area was integrated into the electronic process we discontinued the use of manual logs, with the exception of situations where network downtime exceeded 12 hours. In addition, because these refrigerators and freezers are designed for hospital use, they typically include ports or access points for inserting the temperature sensors, easing the installation process.

    WTM devices can take many forms and use many different technologies. The devices may be battery powered, have internal batteries for backup during power outages, or be powered by the sites electrical power. Which type of power one selects is dependent on whether or not the device is required to be operating when the sites electrical power goes down or, in the case of sites with emergency generators, how long the backup power can operate. Sites that require temperature monitoring regardless of external power sources will want to choose WTM systems that can operate on internal batteries for several days if not longer. Such devices will also need internal data logging and downloading for times when network connects are interrupted.

    A second key factor to consider is the wireless communication technology. Several options exist including WiFi, Bluetooth, RFID, ZigBee, WLAN, WiMax, NFC plus mobile communication technologies such as GSM, CDMA and LTE. The choices can be daunting since each wireless technology comes with its strengths and weaknesses. Wireless technology options will be explored in the next piece in this series. The good news is the user need not be an expert on the technology options. One does have to be clear on the requirements or scope of work, and once that happens the best option or options will rise to the top.

    Wireless sensor communication technologies comparing data rate and range (Link to Source)

    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’s Cellular and SensorCloud offerings, visit our website at http://www.temperaturealert.com/ or call us at +1-866-524-3540.

    Free Vaccine Monitoring Guide


    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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  • 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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  • Happy Thanksgiving from the Temperature@lert Team!

    Temperature@lert December Deals on Temperature Monitoring

    In true holiday spirit, Temperature@lert will be offering a number of promotions throughout the month of December. Keep a close watch on the following social media accounts for discounts on Temperature@lert devices and accessories:


    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/temperature-lert

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TemperatureAlert

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/TempAlertHarry


    Use the coupon codes from these social accounts and apply them at checkout to your order.

    These promotions may only be used with MSRP pricing. Excludes resellers and other strategic partners. Shipping discounts not valid for International Shipments.

    As always, feel free to give us a call at 866-524-3540 with any questions.


    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    ~The Temperature@lert Team



    Temperature@lert Temperature Monitoring December Deals

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