CRM LLC Uses OneEvent IoT Solution to Keep Cool Environments Cool
Keeping perishable products cold is a critical part of running any food-related business. If food temperatures rise above their legally approved maximum they can spoil quickly. And aside from the possible effects on consumers, the facilities can lose their certifications, receive fines, or even get shut down. That’s why companies storing food constantly check the temperature of their chillers, refrigerators, and freezers. At Certified Refrigeration and Mechanical (CRM) LLC, of Madison, Wisc., sales executive Warren Graham solves these problems by installing IoT systems.
“Our food service customers need to be constantly vigilant and monitor the temperatures of their refrigerated spaces multiple times every day,” says Graham.
Recording temperatures throughout the day, maintaining paper records, and manually checking temperatures overnight or on weekends is normal practice for most businesses that store food, Graham says, but adds considerable inconvenience and cost. Keeping up with the monitoring routine is usually manageable during working hours when staff is close by, but even then, it’s common to miss a reading from time to time. Monitoring when there’s no staff in the facility presents an even bigger challenge. CRM wanted a reliable IoT solution to reduce this burden for its customers.
Finding an IoT Answer
The solution CRM ultimately chose is from OneEvent Technologies, of Mt. Horeb, Wisc. The company offers a variety of IoT-based monitoring and reporting systems, one of which is designed for restaurant and food service cooler monitoring. It comes complete with sensors, connectivity, data collection, reporting, and alert functions, so CRM could easily make the system an optional part of its regular service offerings.
OneEvent’s solution monitors temperatures every three minutes, enabling it to detect problems long before cooler units get hot enough to exceed allowable maximums. The system is connected to a cellular gateway that’s independent of the customer’s network and includes a battery backup that keeps it active in the event of a power outage.
Up and Running
Connectivity is critical to monitoring and sending alerts, and refrigeration equipment poses unique challenges to RF signals because of its highly efficient insulation and metal casing. “We encountered challenges with communication between the installed cellular gateways and wireless sensors,” explains Graham. After some experimentation, the CRM team devised positioning tactics that enabled reliable and consistent connectivity.
Once the OneEvent solution is up and running, users can access reports through apps on their mobile devices and desktops. Results and current conditions are presented in both tabular and graphical formats to help users understand cooler status and performance. When conditions exceed predetermined temperature thresholds, users are notified via text messages, allowing them to take remedial action immediately when necessary.
IoT implementations are changing the way businesses work and making their products, services, and work environments safer and more productive. OneEvent’s products are also changing how companies like CRM can help its customers by offering new services while providing additional sources of revenue to service organizations. The expanding field of IoT products lets service providers deliver better reliability and faster response times to companies that must themselves deliver top quality and impeccable service to their customers.
SCOTT KOEGLER is a technology journalist with 20 years’ experience writing about business, computing, and technology topics. He was CIO for three midsize companies for a total of 15 years. His work with developers, marketing, business processes, and C-level executives has allowed him to focus on the intersection of business and technology.