Remote Monitoring Refrigeration Equipment Analysis

Part
01
of four
Part
01

Competitive Landscape - Sensaphone, Accruent, and AcuRite

Sensaphone, Accruent and AcuRite each provide remote monitoring products or services for cold storage, with overlapping target markets. While Sensaphone and Accruent both market to the food and beverage and medical and pharmaceutical industries, AcruRite is the only company of the three that explicitly targets the consumer market. Research findings have been included in the attached spreadsheet.

Sensaphone

  • Sensaphone offers remote monitoring for both food & beverage cold storage and medical cold storage. They highlight the importance of accurate, continuous monitoring and early warning systems for both industries because "disaster is always looming... especially when you aren't on site." In addition to remote monitoring and early warning systems, they offer data loggers and auto dialers, and they market their systems are cost savers to the food and beverage industry and lifesavers to the medical research and pharmaceutical industries.
  • Product and system strengths include: alarm systems to notify clients when they "detect readings outside of preset parameters and possible threats to equipment or facilities" or environmental changes may threaten products, standard and ultra-low freezer temperatures (-80 °C), monitors function as data loggers and store data remotely, so clients have verifiable records that temperatures remained in the correct range, there are no monthly fees on products, and systems include battery backup.
  • Sensaphone caters to multiple industries and offers a number of remote monitoring products, sensors and services. Although they offer a highly accessible and well-organized website, the sheer number of offerings may be intimidating to customers. Potential clients would be well advised to speak with a Sensaphone directly to ensure they purchase the right products and services for their need.

Accruent

  • Accruent primarily markets its remote monitoring products to grocery stores and healthcare facilities. They emphasize that their refrigerant management system is the "longest standing refrigerant management application on the market." They have "helped customers reduce leak rates, stay compliant, and save money for over 20 years." Their primary messaging also emphasizes the product's ease of use and seamless monitoring, promises a reduction in the client's overall maintenance costs, and highlights its system reports that ensure clients remain EPA and CARB compliant.
  • Grocers using Accruent's vx Sustain, Enterprise Refrigerant Management have refrigerant leaks of less than 10%, whereas traditional leak rates are closer to 25% annual emissions, the system reports allow clients to "track and maintain food and safety standards" to ensure and prove compliance with state laws, and receive automatic system notifications to staff on site. Users of IoT Enabled Environmental Monitoring also receive compliance reports and performance analytics, and real-time notification alerts.
  • Accruent's marketing is heavily directed toward grocery stores, and comparatively little information could be found about their IoT Enabled Environmental Monitoring for healthcare. Although this doesn't necessarily indicate a weakness in the product, it may indicate that they hold a smaller market share in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry.

AcuRite

  • AcuRite offers remote refrigeration monitoring to the food service industry and household consumers. AcuRite presents their temperature sensors as an easy and affordable solution for food service workers to comply with FDA safety regulations, and an easy and affordable way for household consumers to monitor temperatures for safe food storage and save some money in the event of a power outage.
  • AcuRite offers an affordable, consumer-friendly way for food service workers and families to monitor their fridge and freezer temperatures. Users can access sensor data through the My AcuRite App, which integrates with the entire product line in the AcuRite Home Monitoring Systems and allows users access to a suite of home tracking systems.
  • AcuRite doesn't explicitly market its temperature sensors as fridge and freezer monitors, which may limit the number of customers who find the product. Instead, AcuRite sells temperature and humidity sensors that are multi-use. Reviews seem to indicate that sensors are most commonly used to monitor indoor and outdoor temperatures, not fridge and freezer temperatures, and some users complain about connectivity issues with the app.
Part
02
of four
Part
02

Competitive Landscape - Johnson Controls, Schneider Electric, and ORBCOMM,

In summary, Johnson Controls boasts a team of certified monitoring management professionals that watch, detect, and prevent unwanted changes in temperature round the clock. The company targets companies that deal in refrigeration equipment. Schneider Electric’s Eliwell remote monitoring refrigeration system’s strength is in offering a wide variety of controllers. The company targets convenience stores. Detailed information is in the attached spreadsheet.

Johnson Controls

  • The strengths for Johnson Controls remote monitoring system is that it has “a team of certified monitoring management professionals who watch, detect, and prevent unwanted temperature changes” in the refrigeration equipment systems. The second strengths is that the company provides help for their remote monitoring system 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • A weakness for the company is limited information and marketing of its refrigeration remote monitoring product on the company's website compared to its competitors. The company provides only a one sentence description of the product on its website.
  • The target audience for Johnson Controls refrigeration remote monitoring system are companies that operate refrigeration equipment.
  • The messaging surrounding the company’s remote monitoring refrigeration system emphasize that it offers round the clock certified monitoring management professionals to monitor and quickly detect any changes in temperature systems.

Schneider Electric

  • Schneider Electric’s Eliwell remote monitoring refrigeration system’s strength is in offering a wide variety of controllers and the use of convenient tools and intelligent algorithms to improve efficiency and make maintenance work easy.
  • The company targets convenience stores with its remote monitoring refrigeration system.
  • The messaging surrounding the company’s remote monitoring refrigeration system emphasize that it minimizes food loss, promotes energy efficiency, and offers advanced refrigeration.

ORBCOMM

  • ORBCOMM's strength lies in its reputation as a leader in the global refrigerated transportation market. This has enabled big companies to trust it for their refrigeration tracking and monitoring of containers and reefers used in the cold chain system.
  • The company targets companies responsible for a reefer fleet, those that own refrigerated rail or sea containers, and those that operate multi-and multi-zone trailers.
  • The messaging surrounding the company’s remote monitoring refrigeration system emphasize that it is reliable in monitoring and getting food to its destination in a properly cooled condition. The messaging also emphasizes how the product can reduce expensive spoilage claims and minimize load rejection related to temperature.

Research Strategy

Although we found most of the required information, we could not find any weaknesses for Schneider Electric and ORBCOMM's remote monitoring refrigeration products. To find this information, our first strategy was to look for the relevant information on the website for the two companies, including the news or press pages. Our thinking was that we would find information related to the weaknesses faced by the companies. However, this strategy was not successful as no relevant information was found on the websites.

Our second strategy was to search for the relevant information in news articles and financial databases sources such as Forbes, Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, and Bloomberg. We thought that we could find articles written about weaknesses for the two companies such as product recalls. This strategy was also not successful as no information on weaknesses was found. Our third research strategy was to search the social media pages of the two companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, as we thought that customers would mention any weaknesses for remote monitoring refrigeration products or services, such as faulty products or systems. This strategy was also not successful as no weaknesses were found.

Our fourth strategy was to search reviews for products and services for the two companies on review websites such as Electrical Review and Amazon. This strategy produced reviews on other products and services by the companies, but none on their remote monitoring refrigeration products or services. We, therefore, concluded that information on weaknesses focusing on their remote monitoring refrigeration products or services is either not publicly available, or the products do not have any weaknesses.
Part
03
of four
Part
03

Competitive Landscape - Coretex, Thermo King, and Transducers Direct

As highlighted within the enclosed spreadsheet, Coretex and Thermo King offer remote refrigeration monitoring products tailored specifically to the fleet industry, while Transducers Direct offers more generic and widely application solutions.

Coretex

Strengths

  • Perhaps the greatest strength of Coretex's remote refrigeration monitoring product is the fact that it is uniquely tailored to the needs of shippers and carriers in the fleet industry.
  • Moreover, the Coretex product meets this specific function with what appears to be a uniquely sophisticated set of "over 50 features," including two-way reefer control, the monitoring of up to six doors and special alerts and notifications.
  • Meanwhile, the company also has the added benefit of partnering with McLeod on its product, which has the potential to expand the product's strengths through additional capital, customer reach and other opportunities through the partnership.

Weaknesses

  • However, these strengths also represent weaknesses in some cases for Coretex's remote refrigeration monitoring product, such as the fact that the company's product lacks the ability to reach a more diversified set of customers/industries.
  • Additionally, the product may be less attractive to fleet industry customers who are looking for a more simple/straightforward solution, as well as those who are looking to acquire remote refrigeration monitoring as part of a larger bundle of non-refrigeration services.

Target Audience

  • Coretex's target audience is limited to the fleet industry, including fleet needs across the construction, mixed fleet and waste industries.
  • Additionally, the company seeks customers on a global level, with offices in locations such as New York, San Diego, Auckland and Sydney.

Messaging

  • Coretex's messaging for its remote refrigeration monitoring product emphasizes the company's extensive experience in remote monitoring, with Coretex highlighting the over 60,000 vehicles that are connected through its products and its more than 16 years in the industry.
  • Additionally, Coretex highlights the broad, industry-specific capabilities of its solution by regularly repeating that its remote refrigeration monitoring product provides more than 50 features including "powerful FSMA, ELD, IFTA, DVIR" capabilities.


Thermo King

Strengths

  • Similar to Coretex, a major strength of Thermo King's remote refrigeration monitoring product is that it is tailored specifically to the fleet industry.
  • Moreover, Thermo King's solution is part of a much larger ConnectedSuite of related products, such as compliance and security as well as fuel usage.

Weaknesses

  • However, Thermo King's remote refrigeration monitoring solution may have a competitive weakness in that it does not appear to offer the robust volume of refrigeration monitoring features provided by other manufacturers (e.g., Coretex).
  • At the same time, the product also fails to provide the more expansive portfolio of non-refrigeration features that are sometimes bundled with refrigeration monitoring by different companies (e.g., Spireon).
  • Additionally, the fact that Thermo King's offers only one product that is only designed for the fleet industry may present some diversification risks.

Target Audience

  • Although Thermo King's target audience as a larger company is broad and includes numerous industries (e.g., food, pharmaceuticals) and countries (Germany, Spain), the company's target audience for its remote refrigeration monitoring solution is much more narrow.
  • Specifically, this product is tailored only to the fleet industry, and appears to emphasize the North American market, with Thermo King adding that it is the "best dealer network in the industry" for that region.

Messaging


Transducers Direct

Strengths

  • Transducers Direct's remote refrigeration monitoring products are differentiated and strengthened against many competitors given that the company offers multiple relevant solutions that are applicable to a wide variety of customers and industries.
  • Specifically, Transducers Direct offers its TDWLB product (the first wireless Bluetooth product of its kind) and CirrusSense.
  • Although both are applied in standard applications such as HVAC, it appears that they are also marketed and sold across a variety of industries, including manufacturing and construction.

Weaknesses

  • Perhaps the most significant weakness of Transducers Direct's remote refrigeration monitoring products is that they are somewhat generic.
  • Although this simplicity of design/features allows for their more flexible application across a variety of industries, they may be less attractive to customers who are seeking more features or a more industry-specific solution.
  • Additionally, these products are not bundled with non-refrigeration solutions, which may give them a disadvantage against remote refrigeration monitoring products that are sold as integrated solutions.

Target Audience

  • Transducers Direct has one of the more broad target audiences, given that it seeks to sell its remote refrigeration monitoring products across a variety of industries as well as to customers worldwide.
  • Although the company appears to primarily conduct its sales activity in the US, it works with OEMs and distributors/resellers on an international basis.

Messaging

  • The company's messaging for its remote refrigeration monitoring solutions is somewhat unique (and potentially less effective) given that it is structured and reads like a dense article.
  • Although credible and helpful information is provided, no clear messaging or value proposition immediately stands out to a potential customer.
  • However, a closer inspection of product messaging reveals an emphasis on the fact that Trandsducers Direct's remote refrigeration monitoring solutions are versatile across a "wide range" of applications and can be integrated easily and without "all those hassles."
Part
04
of four
Part
04

Competitive Landscape - Spireon, Emerson Compressor's E2, Monnit, and Wellington Motors

As highlighted within the enclosed spreadsheet, Spireon, Emerson Compressor, Monnit and Wellington Motors have widely different strengths and weaknesses in terms of their remote monitoring refrigeration products.

Spireon

Strengths

  • Although Spireon appears to offer only one significant remote monitoring refrigeration solution (FleetLocate FL14), the product itself appears to have a significant strength in its wide variety of desirable temperature-related features, including temperature monitoring, temperature alerts, temperature reporting and other management tools.
  • Additionally, the company's relevant product is integrated with many other desirable non-temperature offerings, including GPS mileage tracking and landmark alerts.

Weaknesses

  • However, the fact that Spireon's sells only one remote monitoring refrigeration solution is an inherent weakness is its offerings for this category, given that customers may prefer to chose from more than a single product offering.
  • Additionally, the fact that the remote monitoring refrigeration solution is packaged with so many other features may make it less appealing for customers who are not interested in a broader system, or are looking to acquire only a remote monitoring refrigeration product.

Target Audience

  • Spireon's target audience is North American vehicle owners and servicers, including those who oversee fleets, sell/rent cars or even lend to the regional automotive industry.
  • Although the company offers retail solutions to individual consumers, they appear to represent a less significant focus for Spireon, and are not relevant to its remote monitoring refrigeration product line given that they focus on speed and battery monitoring solutions.

Messaging

  • Spieron's relevant product messaging is a bit bifurcated, with a few company resources highlighting the company's remote monitoring refrigeration product in great detail, while the majority of other communications only briefly reference temperature monitoring/control features.
  • Those advertisements or communications which focus on the company's remote monitoring refrigeration solution consistently emphasize that it is straightforward to use the company's product (it is a "simple package"), and that the offering is a more "affordable" option.
  • Additionally, these materials seek to present the product as a comprehensive solution, by offering significant space to detail the many features provided by Spieron's remote monitoring refrigeration product.


Emerson Compressor

Strengths

  • Emerson Compressor's two remote monitoring refrigeration solutions both share the strength of being integrated with more comprehensive features and benefits, either for building management or vehicle monitoring.
  • In particular, the company's E2 Facility Management System offers a more extensive facility monitoring system that includes other areas such as lighting, and which may represent a significant and attractive benefit for customers looking for remote refrigeration monitoring to be integrated into a comprehensive building management solution.

Weaknesses

  • However, the fact that both of Emerson Compressor's remote monitoring refrigeration products are bundled with so many other systems/features may also represent a weakness, given that they may not appeal to customers looking for a more tailored or limited product.
  • Additionally, the fact that Emerson Compressor offers very few relevant products in the refrigeration monitoring space also may represent a weakness for the company, in terms of appealing to different customers or industry segments with different remote monitoring refrigeration needs.

Target Audience

  • Emerson Compressor appears to target a wide swath of both commercial as well as residential customers.
  • Specifically within its commercial segment, the company targets a variety of industries, including food service and hospitality, energy and utilities, commercial buildings, construction and transportation.

Messaging

  • Emerson Compresor's messaging related to its remote monitoring refrigeration solutions generally highlights the many features/benefits of its more integrated products, as opposed to specifically detailing or emphasizing the value of its remote temperature monitoring and control capabilities.
  • In cases where there is more extensive communication related to remote refrigeration monitoring, messaging is highly technical and is often limited only to product specifications.


Monnit

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • However, the number of remote monitoring offerings also represents a weakness, in that navigating the company's many options to find the ideal solution may be perceived as confusing or overly complex.
  • In particular, Monnit has so many products and service offerings in industries like grocery / food refrigeration that it can be challenging to determine which solution is the best fit for a particular need.

Target Audience

Messaging

  • Monnit appears to recognize the strength of is diverse and tailored range remote monitoring refrigeration products and services, by emphasizing in its messaging that the company can help its customers "find exactly what you need."
  • Additionally, much of its relevant product messaging highlights that the use of its services is straightforward, with phrases such as "has never been easier" and "just got a whole lot easier."
  • Finally, an overarching message across the company's remote monitoring offerings is Monnit's reliability, highlighting that it has "10 years" of relevant experience and is a vendor that "industry leaders trust."


Wellington Motors

Strengths

  • Perhaps the greatest strength of Wellington Motors' remote monitoring refrigeration products is that they both appear to leverage the same underlying hardware and software.
  • Specifically, while the company offers relevant solutions for both food industry and fleet applications, it appears that the company is able to benefit from the use of the same core product for both of these markets.
  • Moreover, the remote monitoring refrigeration solutions appear to be tailored specifically for that purpose, and may be attractive to customers who are not looking for a more comprehensive monitoring solution.

Weaknesses

  • Wellington Motors' more limited solutions, however, may also represent a weakness, in that some customers may want a vendor who can provide remote refrigerator monitoring as part of a larger package of offerings.
  • Additionally, the fact that the company offers only one core hardware/software model may present a weakness given the lack of variety for customers who are looking to choose between different options.

Target Audience

Messaging

Sources
Sources

From Part 02
Quotes
  • "As a leader in the global refrigerated transportation market, some of the biggest companies trust ORBCOMM for complete end-to-end solutions for two-way wireless tracking and monitoring of reefers, containers and other assets involved in the cold chain—whether on land, rail or sea."
Quotes
  • "Eliwell™ by Schneider Electric offers a range of controllers that guarantee optimal preservation of fresh and frozen foods while providing the highest levels of energy efficiency."