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Blulog Launches NFC Temperature Datalogger, Service

The company's battery-powered device, currently being used in pilot projects, features a passive NFC RFID inlay for downloading temperature data via an NFC-enabled Android smartphone.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 16, 2015

Several European food and pharmaceutical companies are piloting a Near Field Communication (NFC)-based temperature datalogger from Polish-French startup Blulog that allows employees and clients to access temperature histories of products in the cold supply chain, via their Android smartphones. The Blulog solution features a battery-powered temperature datalogger that can be placed in the back of a truck, in a container or in a carton. When products reach their destination, a company can use an NFC-enabled Android smartphone with Blulog's Blutag app to download and interpret the sensor's temperature history. Blulog also offers an NFC RFID reader for those without Android NFC-enabled phones.

In May of this year, Blulog first sent out samples of its NFC dataloggers to approximately 50 European companies in the pharmaceutical, food and logistics markets. The technology is currently being tested by Eurocash, a national food retail chain in Poland, as well as by an ice cream manufacturer.

Blulog's NFC temperature logger, the size of a credit card, uses its battery to record temperatures and a passive NFC RFID inlay to access its data.
Blulog was founded by four engineers who had a variety of technology backgrounds but were all interested in making sensor-based data easy to collect via a mobile phone. The group saw a large need for wireless temperature-tracking solutions that were low-cost and easy to install, says Jérémy Laurens, the company's sales and marketing director. Many traditional dataloggers require a computer and a USB connection to extract a PDF report regarding temperatures captured. What's more, most passive RFID tags tend to have limited memory capacity, and active RFID-based systems offering real-time alerts and automatic uploads to the cloud can be expensive and cumbersome to install.

In addition, passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID technology requires a handheld reader to capture data. The problem with that option, Laurens says, is that temperature-sensitive products, such as fresh produce and pharmaceuticals, are shipped across the world, often with multiple parties having ownership of those shipments at some point, and dispersing readers to all parties involved is not realistic. On the other hand, he notes, most people have an Android-based NFC-enabled smartphone in their pocket.

Jérémy Laurens
Over the course of several years, the firm developed a solution consisting of a single-use or reusable tag with sufficient memory to store up to 48,000 measurements. Since the solution utilizes an NFC-enabled phone, the app can also collect geolocation data at the time of the read, and automatically upload that information via the phone's cell connection. The company built a prototype and, last year, began offering the product for piloting purposes. The NFC-based datalogger is now commercially available worldwide, as is the Blutag app, which can be downloaded at the Google Play website.

"NFC is still quite new for people, but they're starting to get familiar with it," Laurens states. "The advantage of NFC is that you can have a very small [temperature-logging] device that uses almost no battery [power]."

The NFC temperature logger, which measures 2.5 millimeters (0.1 inch) in thickness and has the same length and width as a credit card, uses the power of its built-in battery to measure temperatures ranging from -30 degrees to +70 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees to +158 degrees Fahrenheit), and to then store that data. The temperature-measurement rate can be selected through the Blutag app and sent to the datalogger via an NFC transmission. Blulog can also preprogram the device for the user prior to shipping it to that customer.

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