With over 10 billion devices worldwide connected to the internet, IoT asset tracking is more than just a buzzword. It refers to the use of connected devices combined with specific digital systems such as Asset Tracking Software to read and transmit real-time data.
IoT can be seen everywhere, from smart thermostats and fitness trackers to satellite navigation systems and smart speakers. In fact, the global IoT market is expected to exceed a total worth of $1.5 trillion by 2025.
With the potential to drastically cut business expenses and make more accurate data-driven decisions, while kick-starting a fourth industrial revolution, the Internet of Things has become an essential addition for organisations and their processes. Particularly when it comes to managing and tracking assets.
This article aims to highlight how IoT can be integrated alongside asset tracking solutions to help improve the tracking processes of mission-critical business assets. As well as identifying the different industries and organisations that benefit from IoT asset tracking.
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What Is an IoT Asset Tracking System?
IoT refers to the connection of related devices, machines, objects, and people, via the internet. It involves advanced computing capabilities and the sharing of data for intelligent analytics to extract meaningful information.
The Internet of Things is all around us, and as consumers, we use it in many aspects of daily life. Have a fitness watch that monitors your heart rate and calorie burn? Ever use Google Maps to plan the quickest route to your destination? What about controlling the heating in your home through your smartphone? These are all examples of IoT.
IoT works through various sensors and chips that send data to the cloud through a form of connectivity, such as Bluetooth, WiFi, cellular networks, LPWAN, RFID and satellite. The data is then processed using software, and insights are then relayed to the end-user, through some kind of alert.
Source: IHS, globalsources.com
The Internet of Things involves automation and no human interaction. It’s transformational for businesses, especially when used to support asset tracking – the process of tracking and managing physical assets as they move from one destination to another.
But, it’s the various forms of connectivity that amplify the use of IoT devices for asset tracking. By utilising tags such as Barcodes, GPS, and RFID, IoT technology can help to streamline and improve the effectiveness of tracking business assets by reducing the risk of theft, loss, or damage.
Key Benefits of Using IoT for Asset Tracking
Asset tracking is a necessary business process that can be substantially improved by utilising devices and the right software tools. IoT is evolving all the time and, used for asset tracking, it offers a range of benefits such as:
Real-Time Asset Tracking
Being able to monitor assets at any time of day or night and remotely through an asset tracking software tool.
Rich Data Insights
Utilising IoT means you’ll know much more than where your assets are located. Through useful data insights, you can make better strategic decisions and improve day-to-day operations.
Fewer Supply Chain Disruptions
You can see where assets are at every stage of the supply chain and use IoT data to ensure that goods arrive at their destination in their rightful condition.
Better Time-Management and Fewer Errors
IoT brings automation to asset tracking workflows, which saves many manual hours and reduces the risk of human error.
Reduction of Theft and Losses
Through IoT devices and asset tracking software, you can ensure your assets aren’t moved without authorisation. In the event of theft, IoT makes recovery much easier.
How Does IoT Asset Tracking Work?
IoT asset tracking involves three key elements: tracking devices, a connectivity method, and software that enables you to manage processes remotely.
To work effectively for asset tracking, IoT devices must tick several boxes. They need to be technologically sophisticated to capture useful analytics and small enough to attach securely to physical assets. The form of the device also depends on the use case for which it’s needed.
IoT devices also need to track long distances (sometimes globally) and, of course, be cost-effective enough to invest in. Power consumption is also an important consideration. With one-third of industrial asset tracking leaders and innovators need their devices’ battery life to last more than five years.
Many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) now offer bespoke IoT solutions as well as off-the-shelf devices, so there are numerous types to choose from. Typical devices used alongside asset tracking software solutions include:
- Bluetooth Low Energy transmitters
- GPS tracking tags
- Energy sensor trackers
- Smart locks
- CCTV systems
- Automatic lighting controls
- Smoke and monoxide detectors
- IT security solutions
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3 Examples of When to Use IoT for Tracking Assets
The Internet of Things devices can be used alongside asset tracking software for several different business types and industries. Such as:
1. Tracking Healthcare Assets
It’s essential for hospitals and health surgeries to track and control physical assets. Not just because they’re very costly, but also to ensure patients’ needs are being met. According to a survey conducted by the Nursing Times, one-third of nurses spend one hour per shift looking for equipment.
Wheelchairs, IV pumps, mobile x-ray machines, and ultrasound units are just some of the items that need monitoring at all times. RFID is an effective solution for tracking these types of assets, with items being assigned RFID tags that are scanned via a mobile reader or as they move past a scanning point. Radiofrequency waves and wireless technology is used to transfer data to an asset tracking software tool. There you can monitor each item’s location in real-time.
2. Transporting Chilled Foods
An IoT device with temperature and humidity sensors (as well as GPS tracking) is instrumental for any business that supplies or transports perishable food products. The device transmits the necessary data to the asset tracking solution whenever the temperature drops out of the required range.
As a result, trucks with spoiled goods can be diverted, and another one restocked and dispatched as quickly as possible. This helps to avoid supply chain delays and end-customer dissatisfaction.
3. Fire Health & Safety
Any business owner could benefit from IoT-connected smoke detectors on their premises, particularly those who own facilities. Through asset tracking software, it’s possible to check the location and condition of each device at any time.
In the case of fire, alerts are triggered in real-time by phone call, email, and SMS. Quick reaction times could save the lives of employees and customers and also reduce the number of fire-related insurance claims.