A cloud-based data services platform scheduled for launch in 2013 by Intelleflex Corp. has been providing temperature monitoring and traceability for several months during beta tests with three companies.

Intelleflex president Peter Mehring said the Zest 1.0 platform is coming online at the same time people in the produce industry are beginning to understand the value of data.

“The value of having data accessible anywhere anytime is a big deal,” Mehring said. “Our customers are demanding access to all of their data, not just one aspect.”

Mehring referred to an Intelleflex customer in South Africa who is tracking trucks and cases of produce as one example of a data-hungry industry.

Intelleflex plans 2013 rollout for Zest platformBut he doesn’t try to explain how it works.

“People don’t want to know how their data is being captured. They aren’t device savvy and don’t want to be,” said the president of the Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intelleflex.

“They just want their data, and Zest makes it really easy to access that data.”

The Zest cloud-based platform is designed for optimum use with the Intelleflex MCR-6100 cellular multiprotocol radio frequency identification tag reader.

The cellular readers can be installed at distribution centers so growers and shippers can monitor their produce remotely.

All that is needed is a power supply. Battery backup options also are available. Data is encrypted but can be shared with trading partners via password-protected software.

The Intelleflex cellular reader software suite also contains a built-in Web server so readers can be configured remotely.

The hardware has built-in detectors that continuously monitor the readers to make sure they are working and to allow for customized reporting.

A key benefit of the cellular-based RFID readers and Zest platform is the elimination of two layers of technology: middleware, which includes onsite-servers, software and information technology infrastructure, and proprietary database servers.

A grower can collect temperature data beginning in the harvest field and through distribution.

Data is stored on the Zest cloud-based platform. Information can then be shared with administrative offices for inventory management and quality control.

Specific components of the data can be made available to insurance companies, shipping carriers and other interested business partners.