What is the Internet of Things (IoT) and how does it relate to Food Safety?
The Internet of Things, or IoT as its commonly called, is the interconnection via the internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data. These devices continually collect and exchange data with other devices within a network, so the data can be aggregated for further analysis, reporting, or predictive alarming.
IoT devices can connect to the internet by a variety of technologies or technology combinations ranging from WiFi, BlueTooth, Ethernet, Zigbee or Cellular, depending on the available network infrastructure present or the desire of the end user to segregate devices or data from their network. Typically, endusers will work with the vendor to select the appropriate technology to deploy – based upon the following criteria: Network type/availability, frequency, maximum range required, ease of deployment, facility layout, and network security required.
So how is the Internet of Things or IoT relevant for a Food Safety strategy?
In an integrated approach to food safety, IoT temperature sensors dispersed throughout the cold and hot food chain, coupled with a food safety/task management system for taking HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) required food safety temperature measurements, provides unprecedented visibility and traceability, for an end-to-end food safety strategy for groceries or restaurants.
It’s worth noting that customers are not necessarily looking for an IoT solution when they start the process for acquiring a solution for monitoring coolers/freezers or grills, but for an automated temperature monitoring system whose data is cloud-based and just so happens to be available via the internet.
Data from wireless IoT sensors, dispersed throughout the food chain is continually collected and analyzed to ensure temperatures do not exceed pre-defined limits. These limits are based upon HACCP guidelines. The collected data is then subsequently stored electronically for a period specified by the user, typically up to two-years from the collection date per FSMA Regulations.
If a temperature measurement falls outside pre-defined limits, an alert via text or SMS can be sent to the end-user for corrective actions.
Recent developments in IoT have also coupled active monitoring with predictive analytics to determine appliance health. An example of this would be looking at the temperature profile in a cooler to anticipate the longevity of the cooler based upon compressor behavior.
IoT Sensors can be used to remotely monitor your key investments and can result in an increase in overall operations efficiencies.