Our system continues to work when main power in the lab is off. Scout modules can run on battery for up to a month, and base station can operate on re-chargeable Li-Ion battery for up to 8 hours. Even when IT infrastructures is shut down , our system buffers data on locally and sends out alert to reminder we lost contact with our monitoring system.
As a security system, one would assume all freezer-monitoring systems would have backup batteries in case of power outage. Even in buildings with backup generators, power outage does happen, and it is one of the main reasons that temperature in freezers shoot up (the other two are door accidentally left open or popped open by frost/ice buildup and aging compressor). Unfortunately, many if not most freezer monitoring systems don’t have backup power, and stop working as soon as main power is off.
We went the extra mileage to bake this feature in and are proud to be one of the very few vendors to offer freezer monitoring systems with full backup power.
Our system connects to internet via Ethernet port by itself. As pointed out by Mr. Bauer at Institute of Regenerative Medicine at UC Davis, “this should be our biggest accompaniment“.
Many other wireless monitoring systems depend on software installed on customer’s computers to connect to internet. This might be convenient and easy to develop; it however creates a lot of trouble. The software may break upon update of windows OS. The computer can be accidentally shut down or infested by virus, or off because of power outage. In either case, the whole system will start to act out.
Our system is distributed one by nature in two ways. One is that we have an array of servers in different geographical locations. If any one of these servers goes down, the base station of our monitoring system will automatically switch to another server in the region or be instructed by user to connect to servers on another continent. Though we haven’t seen any down time in any of our servers so far, it can happen and did happen to other internet sites, sometimes due to facots we cannot control such as collapse of cloud infrastructure. The outage of AWS in 2015 brought down many major sites including Netflix.
Also the decision whether to send a remote SMS/Email alert is made locally on each scout. Also an auditory alarm is raised locally at the same time. If in an extremely case that all our servers are down, you still have local alarm to rely on.
Our temperature measuring devices, scout modules, have built in calibration functionality. Users can easily calibrate the system to a reference temperature system such as ice point or boiling point, or to any other temperature point against a precision thermometer. Though our system works completely fine without calibration for purpose of loss prevention, the calibration and validation can be easily done when required.
Believe it or not, within a niche market like freezer monitoring, there are more than 20 vendors in US. Most are newly founded in the last couple years. Unfortunately, the bloody truth is, most of those vendors will fold in a few years one way or another. Some pioneering vendors already stopped development, with bugs hanging around no one fixes. The landscape is very much like social network in early 2000s.
What does this mean to you?
That means you need to choose vendor wisely and carefully. Reduce your risk by not going with vendors which charge hefty sum upfront, by choosing the vendor that will most likely to stay.
We took a slow approach. To put it in perspective, we spent more than 1 year building our scout modules and went through 18 iterations. If we were to use off the shelf sensors and modules like many other vendors, we would have hacked together a temperature measuring device in less than two weeks.
Why are we doing it this way?
Because we want to do it right. Fenotech was founded by a researcher like many of you, after he was frustrated by a system from another vendor. We want to our customers happy with our product.