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Real-Time Monitoring. Good for kids…and produce.

Imagine you’re a parent with three children – triplets actually – and your spouse is going away on a weekend jaunt to Napa Valley. This will be the first time you’re alone with the kids for an extended period, so you’re not really sure where to start. What do kids even do all day? Oh, that’s right. They play. But, growing up as an only child, you never really learned to play well with others. And, unfortunately, caring for things (animals, people) is just not in your DNA. All of your pets mysteriously disappeared when you were a kid. They ran away because you never fed them. To top it off, you have an avoider personality; you figure if you ignore a situation long enough, it will eventually just go away.

So, here you are with your three beautiful children for an entire weekend, and your spouse isn’t around to tell you what to do. Luckily, sensing that you were already overwhelmed, your spouse feeds and bathes the kids before heading to the airport. “Okay!” you think. “The kids have eaten and they’re clean. This is going to be a breeze! I’ll be able to get a lot of work done over the next couple of days.” You head to your home office, and before you know it, it’s Sunday afternoon – and your spouse is back. You breathe a sigh of relief and think, “I did it! That wasn’t so hard after all.”

You’re feeling pretty good about yourself – until you hear a scream. You run to the kitchen to see the most horrific sight ever. (Except for that time when you were five, and your friend Sydney threw up and it came out of her nose). The kitchen is a bona fide disaster area. There’s at least two dozen broken eggs on the floor, oatmeal on the walls, syrup on the ceiling, a sink full of dirty dishes, and the glass in the back door is shattered to bits. And there’s an odor, the origin of which you’re afraid to find. As you squint to look through the cracked back door window, you see that EVERY tree in the backyard has been teepeed!

You run out of the kitchen looking for the children, and when you find them, they are a sight to behold. You know that when your spouse sees them, you’re going to wish you had taken a trip too – TO THE MOON! One side of Jackson’s hair is completely shaved. Natalie has painted her entire body pink. You haven’t found Billy yet. Come to think of it, you haven’t seen him since Friday. “What could have happened? I thought I could just ‘set it and forget it,’ so to speak. After all, the kids had plenty of food, water, toys and television. The last time I saw them they were right as rain. How did this happen?”

Set It and Forget It?

The above story is a funny (I hope) illustration of what happens when you “set it and forget it” while caring for children. Everyone knows, even those who aren’t parents, that kids need care 24 hours a day. Any mom or dad will tell you that going more than a few minutes without checking on their children is a recipe for disaster. Parents typically want to know their kids’ whereabouts at all times, even when they’re older. (ESPECIALLY, when they’re older!) This is a great analogy for handling perishable products, like food. When shipping produce, for example, maintaining the proper temperature is necessary to prevent spoilage. Temperature monitoring devices are used to identify any instances where the prescribed temperature is not maintained. The problem with traditional devices is that shippers and receivers won’t find out about these temperature excursions until after the fact, once the cargo has already reached its destination. Here’s the problem with that. If the temperature was above 40°F for even one hour, the buyer could reject the whole shipment. This happens more often than anyone would care to admit, and as a result, perfectly good food often goes to waste.

In Real Time

There is a solution, however, that many in the food industry are only recently starting to adopt. It’s called real-time monitoring. With RTL technology, stakeholders actually know the when, where and how of perishable shipments. While the cargo is in route, shippers and receivers can see temperature, location, and whether there has been light exposure. Having this information readily available allows for quick action whenever a problem is identified. This is vitally important, not only from a financial perspective, but also when discussing solutions for ending world hunger.

Tune in to the IoT Podcast as Erich Hugo, Managing Director of Business Innovation for DeltaTrak, discusses how the Internet of Things and Real-Time Data Loggers can have a massively powerful impact on the logistics industry (and others), to significantly lower the amount of global food waste affecting our world today.

See the interview here.

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Category: Food
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