Cold Chain Iot Solutions – From frozen potato chips to life-saving medicines, many products must be carefully monitored from production to point of sale to ensure they are kept at safe temperatures. At every stage of the journey, from harvest, processing, distribution and retail, maintaining a safe temperature for these products may be the only thing protecting consumers from foodborne illness, spoiled biologicals and other serious problems.
Historically, the means used to maintain the cold chain have been the same: refrigeration systems equipped with temperature sensors that are regularly monitored and recorded by staff to ensure compliance. But with the availability of low-cost, low-power IoT sensors, these older systems are increasingly seen as overworked and outdated. Worse, there are many points of failure where simple human error can lead to non-compliance, deterioration and disease.
Cold Chain Iot Solutions
In this blog post, we’ll explore how sensors can replace laborious and error-prone human involvement in cold chain measurement and record-keeping processes. We’ll also explore how sensor networks offer the dual benefits of increased accuracy and reduced costs for manufacturers, shippers, and retailers.
Food & Beverage Cold Chain Management…
As mentioned earlier, the procedures that have historically determined cold chain measurement and compliance are low-tech: human observation, recording, and paperwork. Workers are instructed to take notes to show and initialize thermometer readings at different intervals. Basically, it filled the overall need pretty well. But it is an imperfect system, vulnerable to human error, which manifests itself in many ways.
The reality on the ground is the same in most places. Employees have more responsibilities and less time, as most companies strive to be more efficient and productive. And with that increased pressure comes the potential for error. Workers can sometimes get measurements wrong in a hurry, or at worst fill in the expected measurement and move on. Accuracy suffers and there is no way to retrospectively confirm recorded data.
This is the responsibility of each part of the cold chain. When you consider how many people, refrigeration units and locations are involved in this process, you can understand exactly how many opportunities there are for this system to fail. All participants must diligently perform these tasks with complete accuracy to ensure that assets are protected. It only takes one failure to put this product at risk.
That’s where the real opportunity lies with wireless IoT sensors – creating real accountability in the system. Wireless sensors that report their temperature data to a cloud-based monitoring system offer a new level of confidence. Wireless sensor readings are a physical indication of the conditions in the refrigeration unit, not just a human expression of those conditions. They can record readings much more often than a human can. And in the event of a malfunction or out-of-spec, maintenance personnel can be alerted to the problem in a much faster response window than is possible with human observation.
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Wireless IoT sensors can provide more readings in more places than humans can read and record. These testimonies can be treated with greater confidence. And importantly, it can be done very cost-effectively.
Wireless IoT sensors allow workers to focus on more important tasks rather than the tedious task of recording a facility’s temperature. This allows them to be more efficient, if it fails they will only go to the cooling system. A cloud-based application can record temperatures and flag faulty conditions, allowing workers to spend more time in areas where humans are needed the most.
IoT sensors are easy to install and require very little maintenance after installation. The energy-efficient features of IoT sensors, such as our Sentrius™ RS1xx temperature and humidity sensor, allow the device to be deployed for years with little maintenance, all powered by a simple pill battery. They can be mounted on a wall, placed in the range of gateway products like our Sentrius RG1xx gateway, and start collecting highly reliable and up-to-date data for years without further involvement.
All of this has tremendous value compared to the cost of failure. Spoilage or recall is a serious threat in terms of recovery costs, illness and ultimately lack of confidence. Examples abound, and brand damage can be very difficult to overcome when contamination occurs. Many brands have suffered from a lack of public confidence after years of recalls, which can often be avoided with the level of detail inherent in wireless IoT sensors.
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Laird Connectivity offers a wide range of wireless sensors and gateways tailored for many common cold chain use cases. Our Sentrius RS1xx sensors are available with internal temperature and humidity sensors, an external sensor for indoor measurements and also open/close sensors that can be used to ensure door closing and temperature stabilization. They are easily configured to work with our RG1xx gateways, can connect to multiple sensors and send that data to the cloud for processing via Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
Most importantly, we also offer starter kits to show you how you can quickly and easily configure gateways and sensors with Amazon Web Services and start polling sensors for real-time updates almost immediately. Our IoT starter kit includes IG60-BL654 + BT510 starter kits and new kits.
Enter your email address to receive weekly updates on our latest news, blog posts, white papers, success stories and more! According to a recent report by the United Nations (UN), about a third of the world’s total food production is wasted every year. These losses affect our planet 4,400 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year; about 8% of all annual greenhouse gas emissions.
Fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, dairy products and many other perishable products require temperature controlled transport to maintain product safety, quality and freshness. But, according to a UN report, inadequate cold chain logistics results in the loss of nearly half of temperature-sensitive products every year.
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In the life sciences industry, suboptimal conditions lead to more than waste. It can threaten human life. In one case, around 100,000 Covid vaccines and other medicines were lost when the temperature in a cold room rose.
Many organizations today have created applications that help them ensure efficient cold chains and supply chains. For example, Farm Trans provides a comprehensive “connected” logistics supply chain for the food industry, while AntTail provides transparency in the pharmaceutical cold chain from manufacturer to patient.
This post was written by Victoria Semaan, Senior Partner Solutions Architect at AWS, and Erika Arena, Chief Industry Officer.
Gartner suggests that designing and managing effective cold chains requires collaboration between many stakeholders and requires extensive in-house expertise. That’s certainly true, but a lot also comes down to the smart use of today’s technologies, including the Internet of Things, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. In addition, there is the challenge of managing complex integration. All of this puts enormous pressure on logistics functions and therefore IT teams, who are already being asked to do more with less.
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There is no single solution that can easily meet the cold chain distribution requirements of all industry niches. Many organizations have tried and struggled to manage their supply chain with enterprise-wide solutions. Others have tried to do this with isolated solutions such as works management, transportation and procurement. Most of them do not come true in one way or another, they often lack the freedom to customize or lack the ability to integrate and share data. Most struggle to keep up with frequent changes, creating a major headache for logistics leaders, especially those operating in a dynamic business environment.
Today, new approaches have emerged that facilitate custom development, system integration, and adaptation to change. Low-code development platforms help organizations build their own custom applications. These applications allow them to better manage their supply chains, adapt quickly to change, reduce waste and waste costs, and outperform slower commercial competitors.
Before we get down to building low-code solutions, let’s understand the complexity involved. An effective solution not only supports all steps from product collection to timely delivery. It also needs to monitor product location, temperature and other variables and then provide that information in near real time to logistics managers, quality controllers, operations and customers and other stakeholders. It must also be able to quickly alert service technicians when conditions suggest an equipment failure threatens a shipment. Then, like all these, systems implementation also requires juggling industrial hardware (sensors, actuators), data management and analytics, as well as the aforementioned complex system integrations. Solving all of this with traditional app development is time-consuming, time-consuming, and expensive. But don’t give up. The answer is in low code.
Unlike traditional code-based software development, low-code platforms such as those offered by industry leaders allow developers to build applications quickly. Out of the box
Cold Chain Monitoring
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