RFID: The Radio-Frequency Identification tag is one of the most commonly used today for tracking assets. RFID asset tracking tags can store data containing the name, status, and location of an asset. You can monitor this information from an asset management system.
Asset Tracking Solutions
IoT Devices For Asset Tracking
Asset tracking has the following features:
There are different purposes for tracking asset. It can be used to track inventory,manage fleet. It can be used to keep records of the use of equipment and allocation of resources.
Asset tracking technology is simple and easy to use. You don’t have to be an expert in anything before you can track your asset.
Because you may choose to track your asset for years, the technology uses durable materials.
Asset tracking can earn a business the following benefits:
Security of Asset
Assess tracking can prevent theft or misuse of assets. Remote monitoring and control of assets enable managers to know how assets are being used at any time.
Centralized Asset Management
Asset tracking helps business organizations to centralize the management of all their assets. This gives better control, better allocation of resources, and better supervision.
Improved Asset Management and Maintenance
With all assets being centralized, it is easier to manage the assets, choose better maintenance culture, and keep inventory.
Who Needs Asset Tracking?
The common use of asset tracking are warehouse management and production monitoring.
Hospitals and other health services can use asset tracking solutions to monitor medical equipment, high risk patients, and movement of medical samples.
Parking lots use real time asset tracking technology, if you have an asset tracking device in your vehicle and it is stolen, you can easily locate where the vehicle is.
The rental industry uses asset tracking to keep their eyes on the equipment that have been rented out till they are returned.
Military uses it to monitor their assets and allocate soldier efficienctly when there's emergency .
With asset tracking, manufacturing can track the location of source materials and product quckily so as to optimize the production lines.
What is Asset Tracking?
The primary reason companies track their assets is to know what they have. Asset tracking can also provide the status of an asset and its location in real-time. Yet, there are still more benefits of this technology. But first, what is asset tracking, who needs it, and how does it work? Assess tracking is a method of obtaining data on the status and location of a physical asset by scanning the barcode or processing broadcast by a tag attached to the asset. The information obtained through asset tracking is in real-time and is usually on the status and location of the asset. The tags usually use GPS for broadcast. However, the tags may also use Bluetooth Low Energy, LoRa, or RFID.
History of Asset Tracking
Asset tracking began when industrial workers started asking, where is this? And where is that? The time and cost of searching for a tool that is lost amid several other tools and equipment in a complex building led to the invention of methods to monitor the location of assets in real-time.
Asset Tracking Market
There are many bases to analyze the asset tracking market. The market includes the infrastructure, connection type, solution, mobility and location techniques, and other supporting technologies. The market can be broadly divided into fleet tracking and non-fleet tracking. Fleet tracking involves the tracking of vehicles and mobile equipment. It works majorly on GPS signals. The market was valued at over 17 billion dollars in 2020 and growing at a rate of 17.1 percent CAGR. It is projected to grow to $55 billion by 2026. Fleet tracking consists of more than 80 percent of the market, and it is also growing faster than the non-fleet asset market. Among the asset tracking solution, internet of things enabled solutions are the fastest growing. They are expected to represent more than 90 percent of the solutions by the end of this decade. Among the location methods, GPS asset tracking is leading while RFID is also rising. Barcode scanning is the most popular in the non-fleet market. With the fleet leading the industry, the asset tracking market is growing faster in North America than in the rest of the world.
How Does Asset Tracking Work?
Asset tracking provides remote monitoring and management of assets based on the Internet of Things by applying tracking devices, connection methods, and software. Tagging tools are designed to track fixed assets and assign a unique identifier to each asset.
There are different forms of asset marking tools. It could be a bar code scanner, bluetooth sensor, beacon or RFID tracking device. Thanks to the Iot connection, the data is automatically fed back to the server, which stores all the information on the cloud.
Bluetooth technology essentially uses radio waves to exchange information between devices over short distances.
And bluetooth beacon devices are mounted to permanent fixtures and continuously monitor the environment for beacons or other BLE signals. When a tagged asset is nearby, the BLE receiver broadcasts this information back to a cloud service via WiFi or cellular data.
Despite all the benefits of asset tracking, it has the following challenges:
Cost of Maintenance: Equipment used in asset management and asset management hardware may be expensive, hence small businesses may find it challenging.
Reliance on the Internet Services: Over 90 percent of asset tracking is based on the Internet of Things. This requires internet services which the company may have little control over.
Government Regulation: The asset tracking industry is being regulated by the government of each country. In some regions, the regulation may not be friendly.
IoT Technology Used in Asset Tracking
Barcodes: Barcodes are attached to the asset, and a handheld barcode reader is used to scan the code and get data stored by the code.
NFC: l Field Communication is a derivative of RFD tracking technology. It uses electromagnetic rays to transmit information between devices. The technology can be used to protect assets and prevent them from being taken out of an office building.
GPS: One of the major functions of asset tracking is to know the location of the asset in real-time. This location will need GPS technology to detect it.
WiFi: For asset tracking to work with the Internet of Things, there must be internet service. This may be provided by a Wifi covering the place the asset is located.
LoRa: LoRa technology provides information on the location, position, temperature, speed, and other properties of an asset on which it is tagged. This data may be obtained at a long-range and allows assets at different locations to be linked. It has a battery life that can last up to ten years.
Bluetooth Beacon: Bluetooth beacon uses Bluetooth low energy to transmit signals. If the beacon tag is installed on an asset and a locator is placed within the facility, it can receive signals from the Bluetooth beacon. This signal from BLE tracking can provide information, including the location of the asset.
Inventory Tracking vs Asset Tracking vs fixed asset management
Inventory tracking involves tracking goods to keep records of its quantity available and how it is being used or sold. The process ensures the business has the right amount of product in stock at all times. It is commonly practiced by retail shops. Inventory tracking will enable a retailer to know when to order more of a particular product.
Asset management tracking, on the other hand, targets the assets of a business. It is more interested in the movement of the asset and its condition. Fleet asset tracking focuses more on security and the proper use of vehicles and other mobile assets.
Fixed asset management is a form of asset tracking that is concerned with the management of fixed assets. Fixed asset tracking is more of an accounting procedure to keep a record and account for every fixed asset of the business. It may be used for preventive maintenance or to protect against thefts. The procedure may include putting tags that bear serial numbers on fixed assets of the business for easy identification, monitoring and referencing. Common assets that can be managed include buildings, machinery, heavy equipment, fixtures, and fittings.
IT Asset Tracking
IT asset tracking refers to the tracking of computers and other IT properties of a business organization. The IT properties may extend to mobile phones and tablets that belong to the company but are being used by the employees. The company needs to keep records of these assets, know their location at all times, and know their condition. IT asset tracking also includes software used on the company’s computers and mobile devices. The tracking will include tracking of the licensing of the software, their subscription status and their uses. Tags and codes can be installed on these assets and monitored remotely.
How to Choose the Right Asset Tracking Technology
Today, there are many technologies available for asset tracking. The choice of which one is the best for you depends on any conditions. Here are factors to consider before choosing asset tracking technology:
Nature of the Asset
The nature of your asset will go a long way to determine the technology that best suits it. What is suitable for a fleet asset is different from what you will need for a fixed asset. Hence, ensure the technology you choose fits your asset.
Your reason and expectation for tracking the asset will also be vital in determining the best technology for you. Hence, first, consult with your team and clarify your expectation before choosing your asset tracking technology.
You must consider the functionality of each of the assets you are considering. It must meet your demand and be compatible with the existing technology in your organization.
Ease of Use
Asset tracking must not be difficult to use. Hence make sure you choose a technology that anyone can use conveniently.
Choose a product with a track record. You can read reviews of other users to be sure the technology you are going for is reliable and had been used successfully by many other companies.
Pricing should also be considered before choosing an asset tracking technology. Whatever you choose must be within your budget.