SMS API used to monitor pharmaceutical research laboratory equipment

The University of Minnesota, College of Pharmacy ranks amongst the top three pharmaceutical sciences research and educational institutions in the USA. One of the primary roles of the College of Pharmacy is to continuously improve interdisciplinary pharmaceutical and healthcare education through various research programmes conducted at the College’s on-campus research laboratories.

Sean Hall, Infrastructure Analyst, responsible for all duties related to technology and infrastructure for the University of Minnesota - Duluth College of Pharmacy, was tasked with finding a freezer monitoring system for the bank of freezers in the research laboratory on the Duluth Campus. The freezers, primarily used for the storage of biological samples, either before or during research activities, are vital to the success of the research conducted at the college. Should the freezer fail to operate correctly, thousands of dollars in samples would be lost, and the experiments and research would need to be recommenced from the beginning. The loss of a single freezer would be disastrous to the research process and hence it is imperative that the freezers are equipped with the necessary programming to alert the responsible laboratory technicians in the event of a machine failure or when a temperature threshold is reached that would put research at risk.

To address this technical need, Hall installed a network monitor and a PRTG (Paessler Rout-er Traffic Grapher) application to continually monitor research laboratory freezers. The solution allows for the automated sending of both email and SMS notifications should any of the freezers fail or go above or below the desired temperature threshold.

According to Hall, “The use of the BulkSMS API has allowed us to implement a reliable system that could potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars in the event of a freezer failure. SMS allows for instant, succinct and reliable alerts which was exactly the requirement we had in mind when implementing this notification system.”

“This innovative use of our SMS API proves that SMS can be used for machine-to-machine messaging to monitor research laboratory equipment. The reliability and ubiquitous nature of SMS means that the alerts can be sent to designated personnel’s handsets, at any time, even when they are off site. SMS notifications are trusted solution for monitoring an event that may signal machine failure and allow laboratory staff to act swift to remedy the situation at hand,” says Dr Piet Streicher, managing director of