As businesses find themselves navigating new and ongoing challenges when it comes to asset tracking, Internet of Things (IoT) technology has emerged as a key technology in bridging gaps that have led to costly inefficiencies in the past. Asset tracking is critical in allowing organizations to keep up with vital resources and ensure operational processes run effectively.
Cisco estimates that the logistics industry may generate up to 1.9 trillion over the next decade thanks to improved efficiencies brought about by IoT implementations. They’ve changed how companies communicate about where assets are and how they capture data related to their use.
What is IoT Asset Tracking?
Asset tracking, or asset monitoring, refers to the software and hardware used to log information about reusable assets owned by organizations. It helps companies keep up with any equipment they own and its status, including:
- Reusable containers
Having that information available helps businesses with essential functions like:
- Monitor the efficiency of asset use
- Collect data that helps companies track various trends around equipment usage
- Deter theft of valuable equipment
- Stay on top of how employees treat company assets
IoT technology also makes it possible to track the movements of company assets with sensors containing GPS chips. The sensors send coordinates to GPS satellites tied to wireless network technology. That way, organizations can execute real-time tracking of any asset from anywhere.
IoT Asset Tracking Technology
IoT expands upon traditional asset tracking capabilities by adding a new layer of technological sophistication. Employing an IoT-based asset tracking system makes it possible for companies to track assets over longer distances, even globally.
In addition to GPS tags, other technology often used for IoT asset tracking include:
- Radio-frequency identification (RFID) — Companies place tags on assets that send out a signal whenever it comes near an RFID reader. They’re among the least expensive options for IoT asset tracking and can last up to 20 years. However, they become ineffective if an asset gets moved beyond the range of a company’s RFID readers.
- Bluetooth low energy (BLE) — Good for keeping up with assets that typically remain in the same range of a tracking device capable of reading its signal. BLE tags bring a lower cost and come with a battery life of up to 10 years. They’re good for companies needing a way to keep up with a lot of assets within a tight infrastructure.
- Low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) — LPWAN options provide organizations with a long battery life and longer-range connectivity versus BLE devices. While they bring a higher cost, they’re helpful to businesses that don’t have a large physical infrastructure. LPWAN tags use cellular networks to track the movement of assets.
- Near Field Communication (NFC) — NFC devices come with built-in chips that activate whenever they come near other NFC chips that are within 20 centimeters. Businesses can attach NFC chips to any company asset. While they work similarly to RFID chips, they consume less power and help facilitate fast data transmissions, making them an excellent option for contact-free transactions.
- Light Fidelity (LiFi) — Light fidelity technology relies on a set of diodes that emit light, which facilitates a wireless form of high-speed communication called Visible Light Communication. It works by transmitting binary data to a photosensitive detector responsible for regulating the intensity of LED light.
Why IoT Asset Tracking is Important
Having real-time visibility into the location of company assets offers more transparency for company leaders. IoT asset technology provides businesses with a continuous stream of data. In addition, organizations gain the ability to monitor any high-valuable or perishable goods. That way, they can spot issues that might arise and work to ensure that those items make it to their destination without getting damaged or going bad.
Other benefits of IoT asset tracking include:
- Expanding the ability of companies to improve their inventory planning around time-sensitive logistics
- Helping organizations meet their service-level agreement standards and keep customers happy
- Detecting inefficiencies in operational processes before they become a full-blown supply-chain issue
- Using cloud connectivity to automate essential supply chain processes
Industry Use of IoT Asset Tracking
IoT asset tracking provides businesses with a more reliable way to track what’s happening with their assets throughout the entire lifecycle.
IOT sensors allow businesses to monitor the internal and external conditions of their refrigeration systems including temperature, humidity, power usage, and more. This data allows companies to analyze the condition of their assets in real-time and make adjustments as necessary. Having IOT sensors integrated with your refrigeration systems helps mitigate the risk of the unit going down for an extended period of time leading to disruption and potentially thousands of dollars in lost perishable products.
IOT technology in restrooms allows companies to create a smart restroom system that provides remote monitoring for IOT connected devices such as soap dispensers, paper towels, and tissues. This takes the guesswork out of restocking and allows the human workers to more efficiently use their time by taking care of more critical tasks such as disinfecting.
For facilities managers, IOT technology allows them to wirelessly control the temperature and humidity of the HVAC systems in their facilities. This technology also allows for detailed performance monitoring and the energy consumption of the unit.
RFID tracking gives retailers detailed insights about their inventory across the supply chain. In a digital age where customers can view an item online and then go in store to purchase this level of visibility allows for a better customer experience. Retailers are able to track their inventory from fulfillment centers to the physical stores, reducing human error and ensuring customers are getting an accurate picture of what is available to them.
Benefits of IoT Asset Tracking
By employing IoT asset tracking within their organization, businesses can streamline a lot of labor-intensive tasks and eliminate errors. They also improve their ability to collect real-time information around business equipment and how it’s used. In addition, it gives smaller companies the ability to compete alongside larger enterprises by increasing their ability to gather valuable industry intelligence.Reach out to ServiceChannel to set up a demo showing how we can deliver results through IOT-enabled asset management.