It is only fitting for this post that September has been deemed National Food Safety Education Month. By now you have heard that IoT technologies are enhancing and elevating our food source supply chains, mainly to preserve freshness, but also to prevent contamination. In addition, there is the usual spate of business benefits when integrating IoT technologies as well.
With respect to freshness and safety, players across the supply chain are adopting IoT technologies to automate equipment temperatures. Wireless sensors now connect refrigeration equipment and temperature controlled environments in the cloud, enabling food product temperatures to be monitored in real-time. This allows providers to not only adhere to industry standards and regulatory requirements, but in the event of a malfunction an operator is alerted immediately. In more advanced IoT deployments, sensors relay data proactively. This way operators can institute predictive maintenance practices that ensure malfunctions are avoided in the first place.
Another IoT technology that is seemingly custom made for the Food Industry is blockchain. Blockchain’s capabilities are ideal for a supply chain that has as many links in it as the Food Industry does. With the increasing market demands for farm-to-table and other naturally grown and processed products, blockchain becomes a trusted environment, as it provides an audit trail of all transactions from beginning to end of the process. And since no block in the chain can be altered, safety and time to market can be ensured. Every participant in the chain is held accountable – growers, suppliers, processors, distributors, retailers and regulators.
The business benefits brought about by the IoT to all the players in the Food Industry are significant. The health and wellness benefits that the IoT provides to the consumer are enormous.
While IoT is likely to come to mind when we think of groundbreaking improvements in automotive safety and innovative safety solutions for industrial workers and first responders, another way IoT is helping make life safer for all consumers is in its ability to improve food safety—specifically by bringing today’s food ecosystem into the modern technological era.