IoT technology is everywhere these days. From phones to watches to cars, it seems there’s a new IoT device released every day. While the tech-savvy seem to know what this means implicitly, the rest of us are left wondering what IoT is or if it’s just another technology buzzword.
The truth is that IoT is not just another fad. It is real, and it’s not as crazy or confusing as it may outwardly seem. In fact, IoT has many applications that can help ordinary people perform their jobs faster, easier, and more efficiently. Further, IoT devices have many applications inside the kitchen to help you protect what’s most important: saving money and protecting your inventory. Read on to learn what IoT is and how it can help you.
IoT is the acronym for the Internet of Things. To better understand IoT, focus on the final letter in the acronym: T, for things. In this instance, Things refer to the tools we use to get jobs done. Now, think of what those things are as they apply to foodservice. They might be your ventilation system, stove, or water heater.
So what if there was the ability to connect all of those “things” so they could communicate data with each other and with you autonomously. This already exists and constitutes the true philosophy behind the Internet of Things. IoT is the systematic connection of tools and devices linked together by the internet. With the ability to perform autonomous functions, particularly measurements and data logging, users can ensure that they have the best information available. Additionally, they can help you better analyze that data to increase efficiency, save money, or preemptively react to potentially harmful events.
While we’ve established that IoT devices rely on the internet, it’s crucial to understand how exactly they do that. IoT devices contain semiconductors and other microchips that enable them to conduct autonomous functions and connect to the internet. Once a function is completed, these devices automatically send the data to the cloud.
But what exactly is the cloud? Simply put, the cloud refers to the storage of data on the internet rather than your computer’s hard drive. As computers and internet technology began to improve, users established that storing these elements in the cloud made them universally accessible and provided safer storage regardless of device and operating system. For instance, if your computer or hard drive breaks down, your data and software are still available.
Another upside of cloud computing and storage is that software producers can continually update and optimize the software to make it more efficient and more accessible for consumers to use. Therefore, it was only a matter of time until this technology made its way into everyday items with all these advantages.
You may have noticed how many “smart” items there are for sale these days, such as fridges, thermostats, or garage door openers. All of these things are IoT integrated, and you might be surprised to find out that “Smart” and “IoT” are virtually interchangeable. That means no matter what job you need to complete, there is probably an IoT integrated device that can help you complete it.
Few industries are more primed to utilize IoT devices than foodservice. While IoT devices currently can’t do your prep work for you (at least not yet), they can help you monitor and control factors that make running your operation more manageable.
One area that can truly benefit from IoT technology is cold storage equipment. Businesses heavily utilize cold storage equipment to store expensive perishable inventory in the foodservice industry. However, there is one problem: cold storage equipment is efficient. Due to its near-constant use, refrigeration units frequently suffer component fatigue that leads to temperature excursions and, potentially, complete breakdowns. The effects of a total breakdown are further exacerbated by associated expensive perishable inventory waste.
In foodservice, 85% of inventory loss issues are due to time and temperature. Perishables stored at temperatures above 40°F for periods longer than two hours enter the food safety danger zone, meaning they are contaminated, and you need to throw them away immediately.
This food waste is a significant financial burden for restaurants. The average business in foodservice wastes 28-35% of its revenue on food waste. Therefore, reducing food waste can significantly impact your bottom line.
Enter Therma°. Therma° is an IoT integrated temperature and humidity monitoring device built with the foodservice industry in mind. Therma° measures and logs the conditions of your cold storage every ten minutes to ensure that your perishable inventory is held within threshold. When temperatures exceed safe limits, Therma° notifies you by phone, SMS, or email so you can take proactive measures to protect your inventory and bottom line. Click below to try Therma° today.