Have you heard of the Internet of Things? As a shipper, odds are pretty good that you have engaged with it, even if the phrase doesn't sound familiar. The Internet of Things (or IoT) is the concept of connecting non-traditional devices to the internet. If an item has an on/off switch, it could potentially be a part of the IoT and 'talk' to other devices.
This technology has major implications for pharmaceuticals. The challenges that the IoT addresses go beyond convenience, to facilitate distribution of life saving drugs.
One way that is happening is with temperature sensors. If you are reading this blog, you probably know that pharmaceuticals must be kept within a specific temperature range. Fall outside of it and you risk damaging your wares. But temperature fluctuations are almost inevitable (and hard to pinpoint). The International Air Transport Association finds that 20% of temperature sensitive products are damaged and 25% of vaccines are degraded by the time they reach their location. This is during a 'normal' year. Now imagine losing 20% of Covid vaccines.
Fortunately, the Internet of Things can address this. Gary Bull, Managing Director, Able Freight Services LLC, adds: "Carriers and shippers are using the IoT to track temperatures and locations throughout the shipping journey. Sensors can detect temperature changes, and can alert all involved operational team members if it falls outside of an optimal range". The IOT technology also collects valuable data, giving freight forwarders a way to identify problematic parts of the journey (say, if a shipment sits on a runway exposed to heat for too long).
You can bet the farm that when Covid vaccinations are shipped, there will be a temperature sensor on most of shipments, and the data it produces will be closely monitored and analyzed.
If you are an Able Freight customer, you can take advantage of this technology. DataHub, our in house digital platform, tracks shipments from start to finish, including location, temperature and humidity trackers.
Not familiar with DataHub, or curious to learn more? Give us a call or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll get you set up!