Anaren Inc.’s Wireless Group announced today the official launch of its Cellular Machines product line, which sends real-time sensor data over a cellular network where it can be received on mobile devices, or reviewed on desktops via a cloud server. Comprised of easy-to-install hardware and a monthly cellular access and monitoring service, the first mass-market Cellular Machines offering from Anaren is a standard Temperature Monitoring Kit for monitoring refrigerated assets in food-service, health care, and walk-in/reach-in applications such as warehouses and supermarkets. Operated on the Verizon Wireless Network, and introduced in December 2014 in synch with Verizon’s ongoing regional roll-out strategy, the Cellular Machines product family is one of several initiatives Anaren has embarked upon to leverage its formidable wireless experience in the exploding Internet of Things (IoT) space. Future iterations of the system will monitor other environmental factors such as light, moisture, vibration, pH, and power quality, among others.
“Millions of dollars in temperature-critical inventory are lost each year due to failed or under-performing refrigeration equipment,” says Mark Bowyer, Anaren’s director of wireless business development. “When you then factor in the health and safety threats of spoiled goods, fines for lack of compliance to safety standards, and the hassles, high costs, and human error of manual temperature monitoring, the need for an automated, reliable, and remote monitoring solution becomes something of a no brainer. Then it’s just question of which type of system makes the most sense.”
On the latter point, Bowyer says the key advantage of a cellular-based system is power continuity. “When there’s a power outage, hard-wired monitoring systems and Wi-Fi systems typically go down as well: The power could come back on after a few hours and you might never know your restaurant’s food or your pharmacy’s serums rose above safe temperatures.” Bowyer says the Cellular Machines system has a battery backup and runs on the most reliable communications infrastructure there is. “There’s a reason first-responders, municipalities, and consumers use their cell phones during power outages and disasters.”
The Cellular Machines product line began as a private company based in Austin, Texas. Founded in 2010 by Gerry Cullen, who continues to provide technical and R&D expertise in support of the product line, Cellular Machines—the company—was a user of Anaren’s recently introduced Anaren Integrated Radio (AIR) modules. “We were excited that Gerry and his team were using our radios, saw great potential in his solution, and were pleased to be able to add his technology to Anaren’s IoT portfolio,” Bowyer says.
For its part, Verizon Wireless likewise sees great potential in the IoT space and particularly Anaren’s Cellular Machines unique value proposition of a complete remote monitoring solution provided in a retail-style packaging.
In addition to marketing its Cellular Machines product line through the Verizon Network, Anaren will also be marketing the system directly to customers via its first-ever online storefront; on a case-by-case basis, the company will also negotiating volume and/or enterprise orders via national accounts management arrangements.