IoT Food Sensors Make Supply Chain Visibility a Piece of Cake

Dagny Dukach
Dagny Dukach

There’s a lot of buzz around IoT and its potential to revolutionize supply chain management. But what does IoT really mean? 

On the one hand, it’s about connectivity -- instantaneous data transmission anytime, anywhere. But the other key piece is getting access to that data in the first place. That’s why we were excited to read the recent news regarding the development of new IoT-enabled sensors that help consumers and businesses tell whether food is still safe to eat. Researchers with the American Chemical Society are developing cheap, disposable sensors that provide real-time information about the condition of food products, making it possible to know whether products are spoiled without performing any special tests or using any specialized equipment.

Billions of Dollars of Waste

Avoiding spoiled leftovers may seem like small potatoes, but according to the National Resources Defence Council, Americans waste over $150 billion worth of food every year. And sensors that can determine whether goods are expired have applications not just for food, but also for pharmaceutical products, chemical products, and more. Visibility into the condition of food, medicine, and other lifetime-limited goods has the potential not only to keep you from eating that leftover lasagna that’s been sitting in the fridge just a bit too long, but also to save billions of dollars of waste.

Unlock Insights with Real-Time Sensors

And these food spoilage sensors are just one of the many emerging technologies that are enabling new levels of visibility into every part of the supply chain. Every year sensors get cheaper and more reliable, and these technology improvements are opening the door to a huge variety of applications. Low-cost, long-lasting sensors can track the condition of everything from electronics to sensitive pharmaceutical products to automotive components. These sensors provide access to otherwise unattainable data, and that data can unlock valuable, actionable insights -- from “throw out the 6-day-old lasagna” to “reroute the million-dollar time-critical pharmaceutical shipment”.

Ultimately, new sensing technologies like these are a key component of what enables products like Tive to be useful. The Tive solution provides the infrastructure for collecting, transmitting, and analyzing data, but all of that depends on sensors capable of collecting useful data. Today, Tive tracks location, climate, and integrity of shipments in transit. As sensing technology progresses, the Tive platform will inevitably integrate more and more advanced sensor technologies -- potentially even ones similar to the new food condition detectors described in the recent report.

IoT Sensors: A Growing Industry

The IoT-enabled food condition sensors being developed today are a perfect illustration of the potential for growth in the IoT supply chain tracking space. Industry-wide investment into smart sensors for a variety of applications is creating an ecosystem of accessible data, enabling new levels of awareness and insight across the supply chain. From million-dollar shipments to leftover lasagna, it’s an exciting time to be a part of this growing IoT-enabled supply chain visibility space.

Topics: IoT, Digital Supply Chain, Supply Chain Trackers

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