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Tracking systems dominate product introductions
The IQPC GDP & Temperature Management Logistics Global Forum, now in its 12th year, has become the centerpiece for activities related to temperature-controlled movement of life sciences and medical products in North America. Held on Sept. 29-Oct. 3 in Boston, the meeting attracted several hundred attendees and about 80 exhibitors, ranging from air carriers to providers of thermal blankets, and all manner of containers, insulation systems and electronics in between.
A dominant theme at this year's meeting is the proliferation of tracking systems (with or without the accompanying dataloggers and communication devices) offered by different parts of the cold chain system: datalogger manufacturers; logistics providers; air carriers and trucking companies; and then a handful of communication providers who position themselves, generally with a cloud-based offering, as "open" systems into which most equipment and service providers can link. A hallmark of the new generational of such services is to provide real-time monitoring and updates, as opposed to downloading a recorded event history after a shipment is completed.
Examples of the IT (or IT plus datalogger) offerings include:
With the proliferation of services, (especially those operating in real time), the question becomes, whose service to use? And, related to that is the question of whether data will be freely conveyed from one system to another. Some of the service providers at the Forum indicated that creating interfaces to other IT systems will be driven by customer demand; but there were also signs that some providers want to establish an proprietary position as the industry data provider to which others will need to link. Also--specific to the life sciences indsutry--somewhere along the way, one or more of these data providers will need to ensure the ability to comply with 21 CFR Part 11, FDA's set of requirements for data integrity and authenticity.