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Temperature Sensing Technologies: Phone Calls Or Text Alerts?

May 03, 2013

Temperature Sensing Technologies: Phone calls or text alerting?

We all have our preferences. Vanilla or chocolate. Heads or tails. Red or black. Whatever the case may be, we’re creatures of habit. We want consistency and we want simplicity, and what works for some, may seem inefficient or time-consuming to others. Many of these habitual choices are trivial (shower before shave, chocolate over vanilla), whereas others require more consideration. In the world of temperature sensing technologies, customers and users have their own preferential choice to make for alert types.


Text Message Alerting for Sensor Technologies:

“Texting” can be described as a brief electronic message sent between two mobile phones. For some of us, this represents a straight and discreet line into our communication stream. For temperature alerts, these discreet alert notifications are useful because they don’t interrupt our tasks (such as a meeting or presentation). Alerts sent via text message are direct. Text messages have been widely adopted by vendors of sensor technologies, and aside from email alerting, is the most popular alert type available in the sensor market.


Phone Call Alerts for Sensor Technologies:

In a more recent development, a few temperature sensor vendors have implemented phone call alerts into their systems. It’s as simple as it sounds; once a temperature threshold is breached, the device communicates with built-in software and initiates a phone call to a designated person.  In contrast to text message alerting, phone call alerts are a firmer reminder of temperature excursions. Text messages can be overlooked or missed, especially if a phone is set to silent during the evening. In the most critical of times (early hours of the morning and evening), the line of communication (that indicates a failure or problem) needs to be clearly defined and reliable. Highly reliable alert types and notifications are fundamental to corrective action for temperature variance, and once an alert is triggered, the clock begins to tick. A text message alert might be a prod, but a phone call alert is a firm poke.  


What’s the right choice for you?

The differences between the two alert types are pretty obvious, and frankly, if the cell phone is set to silent, either alert can be easily missed. But alerts systems aren’t perfect, and even with robust alerting procedures, critical issues can be easily missed. One of the better strategies is the implementation of multiple alert types and escalations. By using a combination of text message and phone call alerts, temperature excursions (and failure notifications) are directed to a number of different people and mediums.

Escalating alerts takes this idea a bit further, in which an additional “extreme alert” layer is added. For instance, if temperatures exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit in a server room, system administrators and programmers are immediately notified. If the temperature rises to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (indication that the problem is swelling), higher level employees or owners will receive an alert as well. This strategy assumes that the first wave of alerts may not be received and/or responded to immediately, and provides a secondary layer of protection if temperatures are reaching certain extremes. Small temperature changes can be handled by the appropriate personnel, whereas an extreme rise in temperature can be part of a company-wide alert network.

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