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IoT Device Options: Meeting the Needs of Today and Tomorrow in Life Sciences
Enterprise IoT

IoT Device Options: Meeting the Needs of Today and Tomorrow in Life Sciences

As IoT applications multiply in the life sciences industry, so do the devices available in the market. But not all deliver the same level of quality or functionality - some are purpose-built, while others have multiple sensors capable of addressing multiple use cases over time.

Life sciences organizations have plenty of uses for the Internet of Things (IoT). Typically, their first IoT investment addresses the need to track expensive assets as they move in and around labs. But when investing in technology for that specific purpose, organizations can set themselves up for further IoT deployments.

Much of it comes down to the devices they choose. As IoT applications multiply, so do the devices available in the market. But not all deliver the same level of quality or functionality. Some are purpose-built, while others handle multiple functions, such as monitoring temperature and humidity, detecting water leaks, and tracking moveable assets.  

Companies should pick suitable devices, just as they do when making infrastructure and software decisions. While addressing immediate needs to boost productivity and safety, organizations can make choices to build upon their IoT strategy and future-proof their business.

Multiple Sensors for Multiple Outcomes

In life sciences, the priority placed on asset tracking is understandable. In environments where precision and cleanliness are consequential, having the necessary tools and instruments ready to complete tasks is essential. Life sciences companies often have multiple laboratories and testing facilities that share mobile equipment, which moves from lab to lab as needed.

If teams can’t keep track of those assets, some inevitably get misplaced or go missing. Staff then have to look for lost assets, which draws them away from core duties and hurts productivity. And when equipment goes missing altogether, it has to be replaced – at a significant cost.  

It’s no wonder the asset tracking solutions market is growing at a 17% annual clip. A recent report estimates that technologies such as IoT-backed asset management can boost productivity by 50% to 100%. The technology also reduces maintenance costs, drives ROI, and helps to streamline and automate operations. For example, IoT can automate logging processes typically done by staff to record the status, condition, and location of equipment, saving them substantial time.

What’s more, organizations can maximize value from investing in these technologies by approaching their investments with an eye to the future. For instance, they can deploy enterprise-class multipurpose sensors at the edge, such as the MQflex.  The LoRaWAN® certified multi-sensor device delivers various business outcomes for the enterprise. In a life sciences context, adding the MQflex and leveraging the same network connectivity foundation used for tracking assets can perform the following:

Leak Detection and Alerting

The MQflex helps keep sensitive lab environments damage-free by sensing water leaks that can quickly turn into major water damage if not addressed promptly. A hardware solution combining the MQflex with purpose-built accessories helps to mitigate risk and avoid costly damage through location-enabled spot and zone-level detection.  

Operators can receive leak alerts through email, SMS, and API, then visualize and identify a leak’s location on a floor plan using the MQinsights application, so they can act quickly to remediate the issue.

Refrigeration and Freezer Monitoring

Many lab samples and solutions must be stored at specific temperatures for preservation and safety. The MQflex tracks temperatures in refrigerators and -80ºC freezers to protect thermosensitive assets.

Operations can view each refrigeration unit’s location and current temperature on a floor plan. As with leak detection, the software alerts when temperatures fluctuate out of the safe zone so that operators can address the issue immediately. Over time, data collected from monitored assets is critical for compliance purposes.

Operational Improvements and Cost Reduction

IoT technology is becoming ubiquitous because it delivers so many benefits. IoT-enabled devices help minimize errors that humans commonly make when handling manual tasks – asset-tracking is a perfectly illustrative example. Sensors help accomplish a multitude of tasks, not only providing actionable insights when issues occur but also through the aggregation of collected data.  

Deployment of MQflex devices, be it a small installation with a handful of sensors or an enterprise-scale implementation with thousands of sensors, lets organizations collect, store, and analyze high-value equipment data. The data can be sent to additional systems, such as an ERP, LMMS, data lake, etc., to eliminate silos and centralize information with user-friendly digital visualizations. This helps to derive meaningful insights that help keep equipment running properly and reduce operational costs.

Consider that the biopharma industry loses about $35 billion annually from failures in temperature-controlled logistics. Much of this can be addressed through the availability and shareability of information. Devices deployed for real-time condition monitoring and timely issue identification and remediation help reduce costs and significantly improve operations.

MQflex for Powerful Benefits

The MQflex enables multiple use cases, helping organizations build flexibility, resiliency, and scalability. The devices are cost-effective and versatile – they are easy to mount in diverse settings, designed to operate in a wide temperature range, and come with replaceable batteries lasting up to ten years.  

The MQflex was developed with the future in mind. As life sciences organizations move forward with digital transformation, they will continue to find new ways to drive value from IoT and edge investments. The MQflex delivers flexibility, scalability, and speed-to-market to optimize its operations well into the future.

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