Market Heating Up for Cool Temperature-Logging Products
The temperature-logger market is growing fast, due to increased demand from cold-chain operators for greater innovation in item-level logging. A new temperature logger that can be read by a smartphone could answer that demand.
Pressure is increasing on operators of cold-chain logistics systems. The pressure takes various forms, the most obvious of which is the introduction in many jurisdictions of strict health and safety requirements, aimed at protecting the public. Then, there’s the pressure applied by retailers who want to be able to offer end customers the best possible product in the best possible condition. Even further down the supply chain, consumers themselves are starting to take an interest in the traceability of products – not just where they come from, but whether they were stored and transported at the correct ambient temperature.
Item by Item
For many operators, this increased scrutiny means that they’re being forced to investigate ways of logging the temperature not just of a truck’s cargo bay or a specific pallet, but of individual products themselves – what’s known as item-level temperature logging.
However, the ability to log the temperature of an individual item on a pallet or in a truck isn’t enough – there is also a need to follow the product after it’s been logged, and has moved on down the supply chain. This implies something like a police chain of custody, with regular, continual temperature readings and a way of managing all the data generated for masses of individual items.
NFC technology offers the ability, in conjunction with cloud-based data management, to provide individual item-level temperature tracking and trusted chain of custody data. By tagging each and every item with a low-cost NFC tag, tagged items become “smart,” and enable simple data acquisition via NFC that offers previously unheard-of levels of authentication and security.
Innovation plus Intelligence
SMARTRAC’s Temperature Logger NFC breaks with tradition to combine the affordability of NFC with the intelligence provided by Cloud Services. In conjunction with Smart Cosmos, SMARTRAC’s solutions suite, Temperature Logger NFC solves the problem of collating and managing the millions of bits of data provided by temperature loggers throughout a cold chain.
The use of NFC, rather than traditional embedded chips, means that costs are greatly reduced. Since NFC is installed on most new smartphones, logging temperature data couldn’t be easier. Temperature Logger NFC generates a data file for uploading, and a temperature graph that is easy to understand. The logging process requires no special equipment, just the installation of an app on the smartphone.
Smart Cosmos takes care of data collation, and the results can be viewed online, or via the smartphone app. Using such pre-existing technology in innovative ways means that the solution can be offered at a reasonable price point – particularly when compared to traditional solutions. This can only be good news for markets that have yet to embrace temperature logging for cost reasons, or because regulation has not yet reached them.
In the near future, new loggers will be introduced that register shocks and vibration, or moisture levels, extending the market for data loggers to a much broader range of industries. According to Ted Danhauser, VP Sales Americas, SMARTRAC, “Trusted chains of custody that guarantee the integrity of materials throughout the entire supply chain, including their associated temperature logging data, are driving innovative solutions in this market space."
“What’s critical is the ability to associate individual items from the same box, the same pallet or the same truck with a specific temperature logger, and to maintain the logged data and chain of custody even after the logger and the items are separated. NFC provides the continual data readings that prove chain of custody, and Smart Cosmos manages that data for easy consultation.”
Following feedback received since the Cold Chain Global Forum 2017 in late September, SMARTRAC has identified that there is a growing need for advanced logging solutions in the pharma, healthcare and food markets – particularly covering the last mile. Product innovation is being driven by the growing demand for trusted chains of custody, together with the data integrity of the materials as they pass through the supply chain.
The key challenge is to come up with the right product for the right application. A “right” product combines the required level of performance with an appropriate price point. The combination of NFC technology with Cloud Services means that data integrity throughout the cold chain is no longer the preserve of huge multinational companies – it’s within everyone’s reach.
For further information about SMARTRAC’s Temperature Logger NFC, please contact our sales & customer service team.