Looking Out for Labs: Remote Monitoring in the Face of a Pandemic

COVID research lab

Globally, private and academic labs of every discipline are diverting resources to treat and prevent COVID-19 infections. Efforts are being made within every STEM-related field to flatten the curve, creating the opportunity for healthcare workers and scientists to move beyond treatment to prevention.

Material scientists are collaborating with additive manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE). Bioengineers worldwide are delving into microfluidics to support coronavirus-fighting measures by optimizing medicine delivery and developing low-cost aerosol disinfectants. Reaching across campuses and even entire industries, physical scientists and engineers of all disciplines are uniting to run statistical models and possibly invent smart PPE that halts the community spread of COVID-19.

And running in the background of every single one of these interdisciplinary initiatives:
facility managers and essential lab personnel.

Remote Monitoring Goes the Distance:
The world’s seismic shift to healthcare has placed tremendous pressure on lab and facility managers who must ensure machine reliability and prevent human error from stymying progress. And what’s more, many lab and facility maintenance staff are performing these herculean tasks with pared-down teams that reflect a new reality: social distancing.

Beyond research colleagues or maintenance team members adhering to the 6-foot rule, even more personnel are toiling remotely due to shelter-in-place mandates. This distancing makes wireless sensors critical components of any pandemic-driven business continuity plan. Whenever it is, lab managers can remotely check on cold storage temperatures. Wherever they are, facility managers can be alerted if a mission-critical machine needs attention. Whatever their roles, decentralized researchers, such as homebound grad students or research nurses, can follow along as monitored variables change and catalog how changes could impact outcomes.

And with pressures mounting and social distancing calling for facility managers and lab techs to do even more with less—and do it all for the greater good—these professionals are increasingly turning to remote monitoring solutions, such as Monnit Wireless Sensors, to help.

Read more below about how these wireless sensors are supporting hospitals, pharmacies, R&D engineers, and research universities worldwide within typical lab settings.

iMonnit Enterprise logo

Need: On-premises data management
Solution: iMonnit Enterprise Appliance

Developed for sensitive operations, this PC arrives pre-configured to work as a software and database solution for remote monitoring. This device keeps data behind a firm’s in-house security protocols and firewalls.

  • Allows governmental agencies or firms in heavily regulated industries to follow on-prem guidelines that mandate on-site data storage and analysis.

Need: Sharing sensor locations with all personnel
Solution: iMonnit Sensor Mapping

Upload floorplan or lab schematics to show sensor placement.

  • Share with skeletal crews who oversee labs and machines dispersed throughout a facility or those scattered across campus.

Use: Ultra-low (-80°F) sample freezers
Solution: Three Phase Current Meter

Keep tabs on power draws; be alerted instantly if temperatures rise.

  • Protect irreplaceable samples of DNA and mRNA, or ensure the security of vaccine samples.

Need: Secure data collection & transmission to the cloud
Solution: ALTA Advanced Edge Gateway

Aggregate sensor data, “fingerprint” it for security, and transmit it to the cloud provider(s) and/or MQTTS server(s).

  • Ideal for widely decentralized researchers.
  • Supports R&D labs that must adhere to enterprise security protocols.

Use: Protect samples & monitor access to PPE/consumables
Solution: Open-Closed Sensors

Discreet sensor alerts managers if a door is left ajar or when sensitive areas have been accessed.

  • Be alerted instantly if a refrigerator or freezer door is open. Step in to protect samples and hours of work.
  • Know when PPE inventory is accessed.

Use: R&D filling machines 
Solution: Activity Detection Sensor

Ensure proper function, power status, and run time of pumps and dispensers filling nasal and oral sprays, as well as aerosol disinfectants.

Need: Sensor data security
Solution: SensorPrints

Easily get end-to-end data authentication for your research or healthcare data. Ensure data security from the point of generation to the point of consumption.

  • Integrate into information security protocols—helpful for enterprise-grade firms that are collaborating to tackle COVID-19-related challenges.

Use: Research nurses’ station
Solution: Monnit Local Alert

This centralized device broadcasts audible sensor alerts. On-unit LCD screen displays sensors readings. Tailor alerts to suit the environment: Flashing red LED, buzzer alarm & custom LCD messages.

  • Incorporate alert redundancy—ideal for healthcare hubs and facilities with 24/7 operations.

Use: Vaccine & Sample Storage
Solution: iMonnit HX

Provides quicker sensor heartbeats (check-ins) for mission-critical cold storage and machinery. Up to 1,440 heartbeats per day to identify subtle (yet harmful) temperature variations.

  • Optimize storage and handling protocols to protect vulnerable materials.

Need: Tracking power supplies for reliability
Solution: Wireless AC Current Meter

As machine health declines, power draws may change; abnormalities indicate that maintenance may be needed or that failure is imminent. Stay on top of changes to protect research or testing samples.

  • Power supply may fluctuate as temporary structures are built.
  • Harried researchers may forget to secure cold storage; someone may tamper with power strips.

Use: Negative pressure tents
Solution: Differential Air Pressure Sensor

Manipulate air movement to contain infectious particles and assist with proper filtration.

  • High-performance HVAC within freestanding structures enables patient isolation and treatment while protecting the general hospital population.

Use: Experimental Drugs
Solution: Temperature Sensor with Probe

Automatically capture minute temp differences when storing standard and experimental drugs. Data supports preparing formulas for field trials, production, and administration.

The world is sending its best, brightest, and bravest healthcare professionals, engineers, and researchers into battle. And behind them are legions of maintenance techs, janitors, lab managers, facility personnel, and essential admin personnel using the Internet of Things to sanitize, inform, comfort, and protect.

To learn how Monnit Wireless Sensors and Remote Monitoring solutions can provide your firm with the same levels of support—no matter what you do—call our Utah-based office at 801-561-5555 or email info@monnit.com.

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