Australian technology company looking to make its mark in cold storage industry

LiveSense specialises in The Internet of Things (IoT), mostly in the supermarket, restaurant and hotel industries, but sees potential in the fruit and vegetable sector. Director Grant Hall says the company was founded on the mission of providing actionable data for the fresh produce industry.

"I think there is a lot of potential in the produce industry, especially the apple and pear sector," he said. "A lot of growers store their produce at third-party storage facilities. So rather than just rely on the cold-storage provider, they could put their own portable system in and monitor the temperature as well. So instead of the grower spending a fortune growing a quality crop and kissing it goodbye at the farmgate, the LiveSense system can be their eyes and ears of the storage conditions that the produce is stored in and then alarm them of a fault. You can have a look on your phone, iPad or computer at any time to see what the pull-down temperatures are."

He adds that any company with a high-valuable crop commodity could benefit from this system, whether it is a grower that stores the produce themselves, or at a third-party facility. Mr Hall says one company who is already using it is Valley Pack in Shepparton, as quality outcomes are critical to their success.

"They have a sophisticated building management system, but they like LiveSense system because it is standalone," he said. "Each year you hear about systems failing with frozen rooms of fruit worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is an internet-based system, it is very good at communicating, so it can text or robocall, or email an unlimited amount of people if there is an alarm. A lot of the systems are deployed in a way that if you are not on site, you don't hear about it. So, this is a portable system, easy to install and not expensive with all this reporting. Another issue with controlled temperature storage, because you can't go in there as there's not enough oxygen, we can have a door sensor so it sends an instant alarm message if a door opens when it shouldn't. We can also do smoke or refrigerant leaks - so it is a flexible system. We also have soil moisture sensors and that sort of thing."

LiveSense is primarily a software company so data collection and presentation are one of the company's strengths, and Mr Hall says another advantage of the system is that it is easy to install. As there no wires, the TempLive modem "talks" to the various sensors that may be located in cool rooms, loading bays and refrigeration plants.

"Our system continuously reads temperatures 24/7, all that data is stored in the cloud and that is where all of our software is, and we can manipulate it to report it however the customer wants it. There are various ways that we can look at individual cool rooms, and there's a graph that you can look at the history and overview of all of the stores at any one time. If there's a fault, you can drill into that to see how long it has been around. So, we get the data and it is presented in a very user-friendly way - we can create a dashboard quite simply. Some customers don’t want to know about it unless there is a problem, in that scenario, customers are notified (in real-time) via text, robocall or email. It is very flexible."

Various wireless sensors have been on the market for decades, but Mr Hall says the technology is constantly improving, especially when it comes to signal strength, which can now reach 15-20 kilometres, and prices are getting cheaper.

Based in Melbourne, the company is also offering customers the opportunity for free trials, where it is logistically possible.

"We believe that it would drive better outcomes, because you are monitoring the storage conditions at very small intervals," he said. "So rather than opening the door and finding there is a problem - this will notify you in advance. So, I think this is a risk-reduction system, and should also better facilitate better information and therefore better outcomes."

LiveSense also says it could help companies when it comes to insurance. With the polystyrene panel posing a fire risk, Mr Hall says having smoke detectors scattered throughout the premises could help secure adequate insurance.

Source: Fresh Plaza

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