The cloud. What once was only something that hovered above and brought rain is now something that businesses all over the world are using to be more efficient and effective every day. Cloud storage, or simply the cloud, is a massive data storage system that is spread out over multiple servers in many locations. The servers themselves are owned by a hosting company that leases space in the cloud for businesses to store data or even large processing mechanisms.
The cloud allows companies to pay only for the storage they use and frees them from investing in large, expensive servers and software, enabling companies to function more efficiently. And companies’ data is safe and accessible–it’s available only through proper security protocols a company creates, from anywhere with an internet connection. And because the servers are spread out, data is backed up in multiple locations to protect it from physical harm such as fires or natural disasters.
The concept of cloud storage has been around since the early days of computers but it has been in the last 15 years or so that host companies have offered the cloud to companies and they have adopted it as an efficient way to store their data. This relatively recent technology is helping all types of companies in all types of industries. Here, we will look at how the food industry specifically can use the cloud to be more efficient.
Analyzing Big Data
Cloud-based computing is making it easier than ever for companies to gather, analyze, and make better decisions with big data. Cloud computing allows companies to store massive amounts of data and harness powerful amounts of computing power without needing the giant servers and storage systems that this type of computer usage would usually take.
Using Big Data and analytics, food companies can gain deeper insight and understanding of their consumers’ wants and needs. Using data stored in the cloud and the right tools to process it, food companies can analyze information about consumer habits, track market size, develop new products, target specific groups of consumers, and track and analyze marketing campaigns.
The cloud allows companies to do these things in real-time which produces actionable intelligence that is much more useful than dealing with old data. This is huge for all types of food companies, but it’s proven to be a boon especially for small to medium-size businesses. The cloud has leveled the playing field and allowed them to analyze data and gain the same type of insights the major players have had for years.
More efficient monitoring practices
Monitoring the environmental conditions in spaces that manufacture, transport, and store food is critical. Being able to accurately monitor and adjust conditions such as temperature, humidity, and pressure allows food to be kept fresher longer and to ensure that the food is safe to eat and does not carry any foodborne illness.
In the past, these spaces had to be monitored by sensors which only displayed their data on the unit. This meant that someone involved in the food handling process had to physically check these monitors every so often and make adjustments as needed. If there was an emergency, such as a cooling system failure, it could go unnoticed for long periods of time until someone stopped by and checked in, leading to potentially disastrous consequences.
The food industry took a huge leap towards becoming more efficient with the advent of remote cloud-based monitoring. This new system of environmental monitoring using cloud technology allowed the food industry to do accurate and comprehensive environmental monitoring from a remote location. A cloud-based remote monitoring system leveraging wireless data loggers, according to Dickson, has many potential benefits for the food industry.
These benefits include things like saving on manpower now that spaces could be monitored from a single location by an individual or small team. Also, food companies can now respond to issues and outages faster and more efficiently and ensure that food is kept in the perfect conditions throughout every step in the supply chain. This increased efficiency that cloud-based environmental monitoring provides trickles down to the consumer and should give them peace of mind that they are consuming the freshest and safest food possible.
The cloud is not just for manufacturers and producers in the food industry. It helps food retail establishments as well. One of the biggest ways it does this is by helping restaurants and grocery stores with inventory management. This process has historically been very complicated and labor-intensive. And, when you get into dealing with larger restaurant franchises or grocery store chains, the issues only intensify.
There are a number of automated, cloud-based inventory management systems that allow stores and restaurants to simplify the inventory management process and add transparency to it. And, as with remote environmental monitoring, inventory can now be managed from a central hub by a single person or team instead of people in potentially many different locations.
Better inventory management through cloud-based technology has many benefits for these retail establishments as well as the clientele they serve. These systems save the businesses money by reducing waste and overstocked or out of stock items. It also makes the industry greener when less food has to be thrown away. And consumers get food in a timelier way which leads to the greater freshness and the longest shelf life possible.
The cloud is a game-changer that allows businesses in every industry to do things that once were either cost-prohibitive or downright impossible. Today, companies large and small are using the cloud in order to make their businesses run more efficiently.
The food industry is one such industry, and it’s using the cloud to do things like gather and analyze big data, engage in remote environmental monitoring, and establish better and more effective inventory management. This is just a small sampling of what the cloud can do for food. As more companies adopt the cloud and the technology advances even further, it will only make the food industry more and more efficient which is good for the industry and its customers.