August 10, 2017

Unlocking the Potential of Enterprise IoT

Written by Pavan Pant

As with all transformative technologies, IoT has been the source of an inordinate amount of hype but has also been a catalyst for the digital industrial revolution. General Electric’s chief economist Marco Annunziato estimated that Industrial and Enterprise focused IoT could add between 10 and 15 trillion dollars to global GDP. These gains come through small, incremental improvements in the world’s industrial assets.

While this is encouraging, this growth is not a foregone conclusion. It requires a robust IoT ecosystem to solve the market’s problems efficiently and elegantly. TempAlert, founded at MIT, has been part of the IoT ecosystem since 2005 with a focus on automating food safety and pharmacy safety processes for some of the largest enterprises in the world. We believe that our enterprise IoT solution will transform how the largest enterprises in the world sense, monitor, and make decisions.

Unlocking the seemingly limitless potential of IoT for Enterprises requires a robust understanding of what might prevent us from seeing the type of exponential growth envisioned by Marco. This was the topic of a recent MIT Technology Conference where SmartSense participated in an IoT panel discussion. It was an honor to be recognized as one of the thought leaders in our industry and a great opportunity to showcase how we are creating and capturing value for our customers. I thought it would be useful to share some of the real-world use cases that we have solved for our largest enterprise customers.

Taking the Heat off Pharmacies While Keeping Medications Cool

SmartSense has developed a way to help many of the nation’s retail pharmacies remotely monitor the temperature of their vaccines and medications and solved a problem that could have potentially disastrous consequences. The State Boards of Pharmacy determine compliance standards for storing vaccines and medications within a specific temperature range so that they remain viable. Our temperature monitoring solution, currently deployed across 25% of retail pharmacies, automates a daily process to make sure the temperature of vaccines and medications comply with the State Board of Pharmacy standards.

Pharmacists are highly trained resources and are a vital part of the daily operations for a pharmacy. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that their time is used as efficiently as possible. Previously, pharmacists had to manually record temperatures of refrigerators and freezers, sometimes numbering as many as ten cooling units, twice a day. It is an important responsibility, but an ineffective use of the pharmacist’s time. SmartSense has significantly improved and automated this process with integrated wireless sensors that deploy in less than 15 minutes. We have an intuitive user interface that helps customers manage their pharmacy operations in a more streamlined fashion.The State Boards of Pharmacy define the optimum temperature ranges for medication and vaccine storage, which retail pharmacies need to adhere to. TempAlert’s lossless monitoring technology ensures that they are storing their products within these ranges at all times.

Pharmacists and compliance managers have access to temperature data through our web-based Insights™platform, which they can view at any time, from any device. If a fridge or freezer strays out of the recommended range, alerts will be sent via phone, SMS, and email to the necessary personnel. This enables pharmacies to promptly respond to any temperature excursions and take immediate corrective action. With paper logs, by the time you realize a refrigerator has malfunctioned, it is probably already too late - the operational loss and reputational damage has already been done. Pharmacy remote monitoring protects against compliance risk and product loss, improves efficiency, and enables immediate corrective action.

We’re not just solving real-world problems for pharmacies; we’re also addressing serious food safety challenges for restaurants.

Reducing Reputational Risk for Quick-Service Restaurant Brands

There have been a number of food safety incidents over the years. At the time, the brands suffered terribly and had to rebuild their public image. The issue here is that the market is underserved and temperature monitoring, the digitization food safety processes have been lower priorities. We know it’s not easy to recover from a food safety issue.

SmartSense has designed a solution that can help protect your brand. We are using our portfolio of products to help restaurants understand where the highest-risk items are. In addition to monitoring the temperature of environments within fridges and freezers with our sensors, restaurant employees can use our Bluetooth food probe to check the temperature of any ingredient on the makeline, hot lines, cold lines and also check the temperature of food items stored in a rethermalizer.

Similar to pharmacies, the traditional procedure for managing food safety within a restaurant relies on manual processes. A majority of food safety procedures are managed on paper, providing no visibility or control at the corporate level. Much like the pharmacy safety use case, this leads to a reactive approach because you may not know that something is wrong until it is too late.

For fast food restaurant chains, time is money and efficiency is king. If steps or processes can be eliminated, that can have a direct impact on the bottom line. Using paper logs, restaurant supervisors have to manually check the temperature of fridges, freezers, and makeline ingredients 1-2 times per shift. Employing TempAlert’s industrial strength IoT technology with wireless sensors, food probes, and digital food safety checklists, restaurant chains can significantly reduce the probability of food safety incidents and streamline their processes.

Walking the Walk Toward Enterprise IoT Solutions

SmartSense is solving real-world problems for our customers using Enterprise IoT technology. We are deployed at over 50,000 locations around the world and enable sensor-driven decisions for over 2,000 organizations. With nation-wide deployments at CVS, Walmart, and Costco we have a treasure trove of data to help our customers gain meaningful insights.

Our hope for the future is to be part of a much broader ecosystem and unlock the exponential value of IoT for the largest, most sophisticated enterprises in the world. SmartSense employs a creative problem-solving approach to arrive at innovative solutions, and our vision is to reimagine how industrial sensors are deployed, managed and maintained at enterprises. We are excited about the growth opportunities ahead of us and look forward to the journey ahead.

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