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How does Asset tracking and Monitoring work and what are the benefits?

Updated: Jan 22

Consider all of your tangible assets. You may have more than you realised, and if so, you should improve your asset monitoring procedures. Keeping track of assets is an important aspect of workspace operations for enterprises. To successfully manage important assets, businesses must know where their equipment and assets are at all times, which can be a determining factor in protecting them from loss or extracting data from them for future use.

These assets include human resources, moving assets such as cranes and vehicle fleets, and non-moving assets such as industrial equipment, raw materials, and finished products. An asset can come in the form of a simple device or a complex structure with many sensors.

Maintenance is required on electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic assets for them to remain functional within a regulated framework. It takes into account the asset's entire lifecycle, from procurement to disposal. Keeping a tight eye on the entire asset lifetime lowers operational costs, boosts productivity, and extends the life of the asset.

Because the Internet of Things is a network of interconnected devices with sensors, software, and network connectivity, data gathering and interchange between many systems are enabled. When sensors are attached to equipment and systems, IoT technology gathers vital information regarding equipment performance, energy usage, defect detection, and predictive maintenance.

Asset tracking and visibility, often known as asset management, is the way of tracking your physical assets, whether you scan barcodes or QR Code labels attached to them or utilize GPS, BLE, NFC, or RFID tags that broadcast their whereabouts.

You need Asset tracking and visibility to determine the location, status, maintenance schedule, and other information regarding physical assets in your organization. Asset tracking is just as important as inventory management.

You are responsible for discovering and replacing both lost and missing physical assets, as well as those that have reached the end of their useful lives, so you need asset monitoring to make sure your firm's bottom line is increasing and its compliance is improving as well. This demonstrates how smart Asset tracking and visibility management solutions can definitely add value to your organization.

What does it mean for your Business?

Asset tracking and visibility refer to gathering and analyzing data collected after sensors and tags are attached to a company's assets. When you use asset-tracking software solutions, you can track the movements and locations of assets at any given time, which can lead to a substantial increase in revenue for your business.

A centralised system can efficiently and accurately track the use of each piece of machinery and equipment by registering when it is used. This will allow you to learn about the location of your essential assets, which can save you a lot of money.

With Asset tracking and visibility systems, business processes are streamlined and enhanced because all data is stored in one location and can be accessed by anyone in the organization at any time.

With digital technology, there are a variety of automated systems that track your highly valuable resources in real time, both inside and outside, under a variety of environmental conditions.

Asset tracking and visibility have grown dramatically as a result of improved and affordable IoT solutions and M2M communications. The IoT Asset tracking and visibility solution is part of all enterprise and industrial solutions.

Asset tracking and visibility have traditionally been used to track things related to fleets (trucks, trailers, vehicles, and so on). However, there are now many more ways for organizations in various industry sectors to benefit from the potential of non-vehicle-related assets. RFID tags can aid in inventory management in manufacturing, in tracking and managing HVAC systems in energy/utilities, and in tracking equipment and reducing wait time in healthcare. I will discuss those topics in more detail in the next section.

How do Asset Tracking and Visibility work?

Asset tracking and visibility systems are excellent options for improving the organisation's visibility into asset utilisation and maintenance since they allow you to monitor and control critical facts in real-time. Asset tracking and visibility use tracking devices, networking technologies, and software to allow IoT-based remote control and monitoring of assets.

Tagging software is used to keep track of assets and issue a unique identifying code to each one. Asset tagging tools come in a variety of shapes and sizes. What type of connection (IoT network) to choose is determined by your business needs and project criteria, including accuracy, the number of assets being tracked, scalability, range, data transfer rates, costs, and asset loss threats.

An IoT network is made up of devices that interact with the environment, a gateway that collects data and communicates with the cloud, and a cloud platform that stores, processes, and analyses the data.

Data is collected by sensors. They assist in measuring environmental characteristics such as temperature, light, and moisture, and, if required as a use case, transmitting this information to the device, which functions as a control unit for the sensor, and then sending it to the cloud via an intermediary device. The gadget filters, preprocess, and analyses the data before transmitting it to the cloud.

The cloud messaging service receives the data from the devices that are securely connected to the cloud once it has been transmitted. After the data has been processed, it is examined to generate actionable insights. To develop accurate data insights, the entire data, which includes historical data, real-time streaming data, and metadata, is merged. Data reporting and dashboarding solutions are the final steps in acquiring insight into occurrences after the extensive stages of data collecting, data processing, and data analysis. The information is transformed into personalised reports that are simple to read, share, and use for asset management.

Asset Tracking and Visibility Technologies

Tags with barcodes or QR code

Due to its unique identity, barcode technology is widely recognised and accepted across a wide range of industries. It is also economical and massively scalable. Barcode tags, or QR codes, are connected to equipment items to enable quick scanning with a smartphone or scanner, which updates the software records. However, barcodes must be scanned individually or in a straight line with scanning devices to read and extract information. For low-value assets, a barcode is an excellent choice.

RIFD - Radio-Frequency Identification

Despite its age, radio-frequency identification is still widely used by a variety of businesses. RFID is based on the use of electromagnetic readers and tags that hold identification information. Hand-held RFID Readers or fixed readers can read this data. The tags are scanned throughout the reading process and can give data. For security checks or inventory management operations, RFID systems are ideal.

RFID tags are classified as low-frequency, high-frequency, or ultra-frequency. Due to their ability to read tags across great distances, ultra-frequency RFID devices are used in most Asset tracking and visibility applications but that would depend on the use case. A high-range active RFID tag with a range of up to 5-9 million square feet could reach the reader's location. As a result, the price varies.

GPS - Global Positioning System

GPS tracking solutions give fleet owners complete visibility and control over their vehicles. GPS technology is noted for its precise positioning and reliability, as it is based on a network of in-orbit satellites that broadcast signals to receivers, synchronising their clocks correctly.

Despite the inexpensive cost of GPS infrastructure, most GPS devices consume a lot of power due to the need to be connected all the time, however, the signal output can be customised. Although GPS technology has limitations in terms of precision, it can be adequate for navigating outdoors.

GPS opens up even more options because it reflects satellite signals and transmits them to software anywhere in the world as quickly as possible, whereas RFID technology requires a hand-held reader to transfer data.

Bluetooth Low Energy ( BLE)

BLE stands out from other technologies like Wi-Fi or GPS because of its low power consumption and is commonly employed for indoor locating applications. BLE's most significant flaws are latency and signal interference, which can result in lost coverage, missing data points, and slower system performance.

Because of the large number of networked devices required, BLE systems may be pricey. Even though BLE connects with a wide range of consumer products, which is a significant benefit, it confronts difficulties in properly functioning in some situations, such as metal or reflecting surfaces. The monitoring is now continuous and real-time. To read from them, no expensive scanners are required. As a result, they are some of the most cost-effective and energy-efficient tags for an Asset.

NFC - Near Field Communication

NFC is a technology that works similarly to RFID. It varies from RFID in that the NFC tag must be in close contact with the reader; nevertheless, a scanner must be focused on the tag, which can be found on any side of the item.

When compared to barcode or QR code scanning, the main benefit is speed, which means inventory managers don't have to stop and carefully scan each item; they can do so while on the go. Furthermore, there is no need to purchase specific gear to install an NFC solution because it can be integrated with users' smartphones to scan or read the object.

Monitoring your most valuable assets will allow you to keep track of them in real time and manage them more effectively. Implementing asset tracking systems necessitates the interconnection of assets and sensors. Sensors can read RFID tags, barcodes, NFC tags, and other types of tags to transmit data to software management systems.

What are the Benefits of Asset Tracking and Visibility?

Asset downtime, time-consuming asset management in complex supply chains, thefts, high administrative costs, and other issues are all possible if you don't know where your assets are and how they're used. Let's look at how asset tracking can help with these issues.

Increase accuracy

Data insights driven by the Internet of Things can assist increase accuracy. The use of IoT solutions can empower your systems to extract more detailed data, allowing you to realise the full potential of asset tracking. This information can be used to make better business strategic decisions, and forecasts, and have a better handle on your company's assets. Asset tracking solutions, rather than error-prone spreadsheets, will ensure the high level of accuracy required to compile inventory reports for budgeting, compliance, and insurance purposes.

Real-time Visibility

The use of IoT-based monitoring improves the real-time visibility of physical assets. You must maintain tight track of your physical assets as they move about the workplace to ensure efficient operation. IoT devices can provide precise insights into who and how is using the equipment, when you need to change your leasing arrangement, and what asset needs to be replaced or mended utilising real-time data collecting.

Increased Efficiency

Data tracking aids in the streamlining of company processes. That is to say, increased efficiency can be obtained through asset usage optimization. IoT-based tracking systems, for example, can ensure a high level of equipment management that is used and maintained, so that it is automatically locked on or switched off when needed.

Cut Cost

Asset tracking makes it easier to cut costs connected with theft. Businesses might get lost in the numbers and whereabouts of their inventory if they don't keep track of stock, replacement parts, equipment and tools, and any other vital assets that need to be closely monitored. Effective asset tracking systems help staff spend less time looking for assets, increase component oversight, and lower the chance of assets going missing.

Transparent Processes

Asset downtime can be avoided with the use of tags and sensors. IoT sensors and devices are deployed to assets to gain enough knowledge into how they are used, maximising asset availability. As a result, with improved predicted procedures and real-time monitoring, an unexpected equipment breakdown or a complete machine shutdown can be avoided.

Let’s Wrap Up.

The traditional method of asset management and monitoring, which is time-consuming, expensive, and tiresome, is being replaced by IoT-enabled asset management and monitoring. The Internet of Things gives asset managers the ability to be proactive and gives them a holistic view of their assets. The information and insights gained allow for better planning, monitoring, and tracking, resulting in increased production, higher profits, and lower operational expenses.

The prospects created by the Internet of Things are vast, and it promises to be a new technology edge that industries can take advantage of. The use of IoT in asset management is the gateway to a better future for enterprises willing to embrace change.

However, this technology is rapidly evolving with each passing day and throughout time, making it possible to monitor and manage smaller and less expensive assets in the future.

DXSolution provides IoT asset management solutions to a variety of clients. Our expertise help businesses acquire real-time Asset tracking and visibility, develop a solid maintenance strategy, and enable asset monitoring services to improve asset uptime and ROI.

Please connect with our specialists for a full consultation session if you want to learn more about how you can use IoT technology in asset management.

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