Freezer Monitoring

The VP&S Office for Research has worked with CUIMC IT and Columbia Procurement to negotiate with a preferred vendor to provide remote, wireless freezer monitoring throughout the CUIMC campus at a reduced cost. The preferred freezer monitoring vendor will provide discounted pricing and technical support to all CUIMC affiliates. The VP&S Office for Research will work with CUIMC IT to ensure the security and overall reliability of the preferred monitoring system.

However, as CUIMC laboratories conduct a wide variety of research with different operational requirements, implementation (including purchase and installation of monitoring equipment, setup of the online system, payment of yearly service fees, and day-to-day monitoring) remains the responsibility of the individual PI.

Alert System

CUIMC is working with E-Control Systems (which provides the Lab Alert system for Panasonic/PHCbi freezers) to provide freezer monitoring across campus. E-Controls provides local, battery-powered sensors that record temperatures and wirelessly send this data to a gateway unit connected to the Columbia wired network, allowing flexibility in use of the monitoring system. Although the emphasis for monitoring has been placed on -80°C freezers, note that other systems such as -20°C freezers, 4°C refrigerators, incubators, and cold rooms can also be monitored with Lab Alert. Users can log into a cloud-based server via a computer or mobile app to view current temperatures, logs, and set alert criteria, which can include loss of power/communication with the freezer sensor and freezer temperature rising above specific thresholds. Monitoring and alert capability can be shared/delegated amongst members of a Principle Investigator’s (PI’s) lab, and recipients of the alert can acknowledge that they are taking action online.

Pricing and Setup Procedure

Details on pricing and how to set up the system for a laboratory are provided in these documents. You will need to login with your @cumc.columbia.edu email address and password to view:

Setup Information

Other Questions

Who is my certified IT group?

If your department does not have a certified IT group, then you are supported by CUIMC IT (5-HELP).  You can find a list of certified IT groups here.   

My freezer comes with an alarm system. Can I use this?

PHC freezers equipped with the LabAlert monitoring system should be compatible with the preferred vendor's monitoring system, and should be able to integrate into the campus system. Please contact the freezer vendor for more information.

Unfortunately, other freezer monitoring systems are generally not compatible with the preferred system or the WiFi network of the CUIMC campus.

I have an existing monitoring system. Do I need to change systems?

No. Users with existing monitoring systems can continue to use these systems, provided that the systems continue to meet all CUIMC IT security and network requirements.