Archive for the ‘DicksonOne’ Category

Dickson Insights: Got Alarms? Why You Need DicksonOne

Posted on: November 18th, 2014 by Dickson No Comments

Ice Damages

 

The cover story for next month’s edition of Dickson Insights highlights the importance of closely monitoring your environment in the expectation of extreme weather, and stresses the urgency of having a monitoring system in your facility that can properly handle storage problems that are caused by extreme weather (large temperature swings, loss of power). Let’s say you already monitor, but are looking for an upgrade, which system is the best? Well, if you are living in an area that is susceptible to extreme conditions and you don’t have alarms, I can guarantee you are not keeping your products as safe as possible.

Alarms have fast become an essential component in environmental monitoring: companies want to know when something might go wrong, when something is probably going to go wrong, when something goes wrong, and when something really goes wrong. In the race to be as lean and efficient as possible, lost product and lost time are not options.

DicksonOne

So what kind of alarms are the best? The DicksonOne kind. DicksonOne not only provides audible alarms directly from the data logger, but the system can also email, text, and call you when your temperature or humidity gets out of whack. Furthermore, you can choose who receives these email, text, or phone call alarms when temperatures creep out of range. Snowstorms just got a little easier to handle.

To learn more about DicksonOne, go to DicksonOne.com


 

Winter Is Coming: Temperature Monitoring In Extreme Weather

Posted on: November 3rd, 2014 by Dickson No Comments

Snowstorm

Over the next couple of days, the weather is supposed to take a turn for the worse. We wrote up a few points to consider when it comes to your product’s safety during extreme weather. If you are in Canada or Miami Beach, keeping your environment at the correct temperature is very, very important.


Power outages

Since keeping the cold chain cold (for the most part) requires electricity, power outages are usually one of the greatest concern for our customers. Power outages can leave products in an unstable environment for extended periods of time, and power outages typically occur more frequently during extreme weather. Not to mention, when the power does go out, getting to your facility can be much tougher in extreme weather. How do you ensure your product is “all good” when the power goes out? Abide by these three things:

  • Have a robust alarming system in place, ready to go.
  • Make sure everyone in your facility knows the emergency plan of action.
  • Understand the in’s and out’s of your regulatory agencies policy on emergency situations.

Dickson’s wireless monitoring system, DicksonOne, allows you to customize who receives which alarms (text, email, phone call) for each individual logger or location. For example, during a winter storm, you may want person X, who is only a few miles from your facility, to investigate out of range temperature alarms or power outage notifications. During periods of relative calm, someone else may be the one who is designated to receive the alarms.

HVAC problems

Extremely hot or cold temperatures can cause HVAC failures in your facility, plain and simple. How do you guard against these failures? It’s tough, but temperature mapping your facility is a start. After that, we recommend placing data loggers with Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or cellular connectivity which can alarm you to failures, at key points in your HVAC system. Also, knowing which areas of your facility stay cold for the shortest and longest amount of time will help you place your finished goods in the most practical location during extreme weather conditions.

Transportation

Before nasty weather hits, you should understand not only how your products will be harmed inside your facility, but how they will be affected outside of it as well. Transportation is an interesting problem to tackle, because extreme weather may hit you, but not your consumers. Also, some companies don’t necessarily distribute their own products to consumers, but rather distribute them through a third party. We advise the following:

  • Test how your products packaging reacts to temperature over time (Mean Kinetic Temperature will help here).
  • Lay out action plans with your shipping or logistics partner to maintain the cold chain.
  • Check lines of communication, and make sure you are in the loop with everyone who could be affected.

Backup plans

Have a backup plan! During a blizzard, thunderstorm, or hurricane, your product may be compromised if you keep it in its current environment, whether that is in your vaccine fridge or food freezer. Extreme weather situations call for a backup plan, or a course of action that will alert and guide specific individuals in your company on how to properly move products, and where to move them. This usually includes placing temporary backup data loggers in coolers, ice baths, or whatever you are using to store your product safely during an adverse event. Furthermore, having a backup Product Quality Manager (in case your normal guy/gal is stuck under 6 feet of snow) isn’t a bad idea either.


 

Customer Profile: Using Data Loggers To Win A Museum Grant

Posted on: July 27th, 2014 by Dickson No Comments

iStock_000016213885XLarge

A few weeks ago, a Dickson customer called in to ask a question about the alarm functionality of DicksonOne (page 2 has more info on alarms!). After his question was answered, and as he was just about on his merry way, he mentioned something that made us smile: DicksonOne had helped him win a grant.

This customer was the curator for a small museum in the heart of the country, and had always wanted to update the HVAC and temperature control system in his facility. He had noticed that temperature fluctuations from one room to the next within his museum were unpredictable, especially as his old HVAC system became creakier and creakier. But, as with a lot of museums, money was always tight, so it never happened.

Many artifacts need to be kept in an environment with consistent and safe levels of temperature and humidity, otherwise their deterioration process speeds up exponentially. Next time you are at a large history museum, take a look inside some of the display cases. What do you find? A data logger or temperature sensor. Museums want irreplaceable artifacts, remnants of the past, to stay in their current state as long as possible. Extremely high or low temperatures, or extremely high or low humidity, can cause precious paintings to fade and documents to turn yellow.

This Dickson customer took a leap from antiquated chart recorders and the time-consuming USB data loggers to DicksonOne, which allows users to access their data anywhere. Not only that, but DicksonOne offers robust features like phone, text, and email alarms, a Reporting Suite, customizable device pages, and location management. But most importantly for him, DicksonOne is easy to use. The data is presented clearly, making temperature and humidity analysis a breeze.

Which is what this customer did. He monitored his facility in a few key locations that he thought were getting too hot or too cold, looked at the data, and saw that his current facility was not equipped to handle the volume of artifacts it currently held. So, he gathered all his data and the conclusions that he had drawn, and applied for a grant.

And he won it.

His museum is now getting money for some much needed HVAC updates, which we think is pretty cool.


 

Museum and Archive Storage: Data Loggers

Posted on: June 12th, 2014 by Dickson No Comments

Museum and Archive Storage: Data Loggers (2)

 

In the past few months, we’ve published two posts on temperature and humidity monitoring in an archive or museum. The first article was a general introduction to artifact storage. In the second article, we offered up some key questions you should ask when crafting your monitoring plan . . .

We said you should know what your budget is, what you are monitoring, what kind of system you want or currently have, the amount of documentation you need, and what kind of analysis you’d like to perform. So you’ve answered those questions to the best of your ability . . . it’s now time to choose how you will monitor your environment.

Data Logger(s)

If your budget is small, you will have to weigh features against number of loggers. This can mean choosing to monitor at a single point with a better data logger, or sacrificing certain features to buy more inexpensive data loggers.
If your budget is a bit more flexible, and your facility large, an environmental monitoring system may be in order. Environmental monitoring systems come in all shapes and sizes (check out DicksonOne on Page 10!), so do some research before you decide to purchase a system. Ask the manufacturer about the set-up process, software costs, and how the system will mesh with your facility’s capabilities.

Hardware

Choosing a specific data logger can be an arduous process. Data loggers come in all shapes and sizes, so we’ve listed the following features you should ask each manufacturer about before buying. When posing the following questions, you should do your best to relate each feature to how you will use it in your facility.

    • Size & Shape
    • Alarms
    • Sampling Rate
    • Display
    • Memory
    • Battery or AC Power

Software

You’ll need to get all that data off of your device. There are three distinct types of software used in conjunction with data loggers, according to how the data is downloaded. The first is locally hosted software, downloaded onto a single PC. This type of software is used with data loggers that require a manual download of their data. In other words, each data logger must be brought back to your PC, connected, and the data downloaded. You can also choose to host a wireless data logging system locally. This software works in conjunction with wireless data loggers, which send the recorded temperature and humidity data wirelessly to a server in your facility. The final type of software is cloud application software. Using the cloud, a company hosts your data for you, and your data is visible by logging onto a website. We’ve also noted a few features you should consider on the software side of things. They are:

    • Alarms (Emails, Text, and Phone Call)
    • Reports
    • API Access
    • Data Analysis

 

To view our entire series on museum and archival environmental monitoring, click here.

DicksonOne Reporting Suite

Posted on: May 23rd, 2014 by Matt M No Comments

Your data: How you want it, When you want it.

If you’ve ever talked to someone from Dickson, visited our trade show booth, or read other articles from this blog, you may have heard us say “Dickson means Data.” To us, this means that the users of our products can acquire the data they need in the most convenient way possible as well as analyze it or manipulate it to their liking.

Our DicksonOne system is the best example of how Dickson embodies that mantra. Not only does DicksonOne make it convenient and easy to automatically collect your environmental monitoring data, but it also lets you view and analyze it in various forms. For Excel users, you can use DicksonOne’s export feature to do simple calculations, graphs, or local backups of your data. For our techies out there, you can use the DicksonOne API to backup data to another server, perform advanced analytics, or integrate it into other systems (building management, manufacturing/production systems, or even business intelligence systems).

This week we bring one new feature to DicksonOne, a Reporting Suite.

ReportingSuiteFull

 

The DicksonOne Reporting Suite allows users to create customized reports that are automatically delivered directly to your inbox.

Users can customize:

    • How the data is arranged
    • Which logger(s) or location(s) are included
    • The name, frequency, delivery date
    • Recipients

We’ve created a handy little write-up about Creating Your First DicksonOne Report that walks you through how easy it is to create reports.

This is only the first release of this product. In the coming weeks and months we’ll be adding new and improved features and functionality to the Reporting Suite. Sign up for our emails (scroll down to the website footer) to receive the most recent news.

Reporting Suite features we are getting ready for you:

    • Including a graph in your emailed report
    • Including alarm & other event details in your report
    • Historical reports from a customizeable date range
    • Duplicating a report to use as a template for new reports
    • And more!

If you have any questions or feedback shoot us an email at support@dicksonone.com.