Big data has transformed how virtually every significant industry operates today. It has also given rise to an increasing need for companies to be able to collect, store and analyze large datasets efficiently and securely.
Collecting accurate data is no small task for healthcare, aerospace, and supply chain companies. Moreover, even slight errors in data aggregation can result in steep losses, fines, and even legal liability down the road. So it’s no wonder many firms are now abandoning the past manual data collection processes in favor of IoT devices that enable automated data collection.
Nowhere is this transition more evident than in the healthcare industry, where companies have replaced traditional environmental monitoring devices such as thermometers with digital data loggers. Data loggers are small electronic devices that collect environmental data such as temperature, humidity, and differential pressure. Data loggers present several essential advantages and risks compared to their non-digital counterparts.
Data Logger Opportunities
Data loggers present a variety of opportunities for different industries. For example, vaccine manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer rely on data loggers to monitor their products’ temperature and storage facilities. As a result, this is important because many pharmaceutical products and vaccines degrade or become unstable if stored at temperatures too high.
In the case of Pfizer, they shipped COVID-19 vaccines in specialized containers equipped with dry ice to keep temperatures low and data loggers that kept track of those temperatures. If temperatures rise above acceptable ranges, an automated system alerts the manufacturer.
Moreover, when vaccines are delivered, healthcare personnel must confirm their receipt, alerting the manufacturer that they were shipped successfully at acceptable temperatures. This technological system of checks and balances ensures a reliable, temperature-controlled supply chain, or as it’s known in the industry, cold chain storage management.
This marriage of big data, supply chain logistics, and IoT devices represents a significant opportunity for investors looking to capitalize on healthcare technologies. They are also a vital opportunity for pharmaceutical companies that need to improve quality assurance standards and streamline compliance procedures. In addition, data loggers have already become so ubiquitous in the industry that many regulators require their use to protect patients.
Benefits of Data Loggers
The primary benefit of data loggers is that they allow businesses to monitor environmental conditions in an automated, accurate, and affordable manner. As a result, this will enable companies to uphold quality assurance standards while minimizing legal liability and cutting costs.
Another significant benefit of data loggers is that they can be completely automated, accurate, and efficient in creating digital data records to analyze with powerful software. In other words, after transferring data from the data logger’s internal storage to a computer, the data becomes analyzed with software to determine any crucial patterns or signals of possible concern. Depending on the sort of analyzed data, this software can be pretty sophisticated, and some even use machine learning or AI algorithms to parse the data.
In addition, use the software to format the data for submission to regulators, which is often necessary for many industries, including the healthcare and cold chain storage sectors. As a result, this represents a broader social movement toward collecting and analyzing data. Since many regulators require data loggers to be used for environmental monitoring, setting them up designates an essential compliance benefit that helps companies avoid running afoul of regulatory guidelines.
Data loggers also help companies meet necessary traceability requirements. Food and beverage companies, for example, must also use cold chain storage practices to prevent food from spoiling while en route to consumers. In addition, in the case of a foodborne illness outbreak, they must be able to trace the outbreak’s source. Data loggers can help by recording which storage facilities were outside acceptable temperature ranges.
Disadvantages of Data Loggers
No technology is without disadvantages, and data loggers are no exception. For example, most data loggers store environmental data on internal memory, which must later be transferred and analyzed on an external computer. Therefore, companies face labor costs when employing workers that periodically connect data loggers to computer systems to transfer data.
It also means that there can be delays between when data loggers detect deviations in temperature and when management becomes aware of these deviations. This delay can cause lapses in quality assurance in which products are exposed to unsafe temperatures. As a result, many companies are implementing just-in-case management strategies.
Luckily, the data logger industry is no stranger to these concerns and has devised solutions that help companies avoid these pitfalls. For example, companies can now buy internet-connected data loggers that collect and transmit real-time temperature data to managers. This way, managers can immediately know when temperatures dip outside of acceptable ranges, and some data loggers can even be programmed to send an automated alert when this occurs.
What is a Validated Database?
Collecting environmental data is the first step in facilitating effective compliance and cold chain storage strategy.
Data validation refers to organizing, sorting, and verifying datasets to ensure they are accurate. Validation is part of a broader data integrity strategy to ensure that critical data is not erroneous or misinterpreted.
Data validation typically includes removing unreliable data, often called data cleaning. It’s imperative since inaccurate data can lead to companies making costly mistakes.
Data loggers can assist in the validation process by preventing inaccurate data from being gathered and collecting data digitized for future analysis by powerful software. As a result, implementation often includes validation alongside a cybersecurity strategy that keeps data secure.
Data loggers have several benefits regarding cold chain storage, compliance, and data validation. While there are some downsides to using data loggers, next-generation data loggers have addressed many of these issues. Therefore, this is why environmental monitoring tech is an exciting area of interest for investors today.