IoT Asset Tracking: Benefits, Technology, Use-Cases1
Internet of Things

IoT Asset Tracking: Benefits, Technology, Use-Cases

IoT asset tracking has enormous potential. Whether you use trackers for agriculture, supply chain, construction, mining, or to locate containers, trace stolen goods, detect environmental changes, IoT asset tracking can improve the overall efficiency. No wonder it’s expected that there will be 267 million asset trackers by 2027. To stay competitive, businesses would leverage IoT for tracking and managing assets on the whole. 

Before we start talking more about IoT-enabled asset tracking, let me tell you, the IoT asset tracking market will triple from 20 million to 70 million by 2022, a study by mobile experts.

Keep reading to see the full potential of the IoT asset tracking system.

Asset Tracking: A Shift Towards IoT?

As we know, supply chains are now more widely distributed, complex, and growing to deal with the intricacies of the complexity. They are heading towards technology-driven solutions, specifically IoT to track assets accurately.

“Supply chains are becoming more global by nature and you can’t wait until someone arrives to know what condition the asset is in, or if something went wrong on the way”, said Thomas Fuerst, head of WING marketing at Nokia

Data collected from IoT-based sensors on devices can bring a real-time understanding of the asset. Still, to do so, IoT devices should be well programmed, which means, along with location, they should be able to track every movement of the asset such that every action has defined accountability.

For example, your factory relies heavily on raw material deliveries, and delay in the shipment can hamper your business on a large scale. With IoT devices connected on the shipment, you can know the exact location and if it’s headed in the wrong direction. You can take appropriate actions such as – cancel the shipment, guide the shipment in the right direction, or buy it from another source and keep its supply chain schedule on track.

Not only will it help you track the shipment location, but multiple sensors on the packages, transport vehicles, and in the driver cabinet can also help you collect data. This data includes the shipment condition, how long the shipment remained in a particular truck or at the port, whether it’s tampered or moved in a way that violates handling instructions. All this data can then be used for invoice disputes, insurance claims, and to understand the process you need to change to improve business efficiency. 

So, got a gist of IoT?

Let’s see what more IoT can do for Asset tracking.

Advantages of IoT for Asset Tracking 

As we know, asset tracking is necessary for your business. IoT can offer a range of benefits such as:

  • Cost Reduction

By embedding trackers on assets, you can avoid asset loss. With IoT-driven asset tracking, you can ensure that your assets are not moved without authorization and even get the asset’s exact location if it’s stolen or lost. (Do you know that cargo theft costs more than $30 billion annually in the US alone. A slight improvement in reducing theft by using sensors and trackers can save billions.) Overall, the automation in tracking workflows reduces all the manual tasks, saves replacement costs and time required to track the asset using the phone or in-person. 

  • Faster Response Time

With IoT, you can set up alerts and notifications for major events and issues and respond instantly. Suppose, a tracking device notifies you that the shipment delivery is not possible at the given time. 

You can instantly contact the driver and work out a solution. Another scenario: a sensor on manufacturing equipment detects that the machine is not working properly. It can generate an alarm and alert the respected person about the asset fault, intending for an immediate asset check. The inbuilt-alerts can help managers take appropriate action whereas predictive analytics can forecast delays before they happen, thereby reducing any disruption in the business workflow. 

  • Streamlined Operations

With IoT-enabled asset tracking, you can manage thousands of assets from one location. You can re-route the fleet, recall damaged products or replenish supply chains through your smartphones from anywhere in the world. You can plan asset maintenance using predictive maintenance that will assist you whether your asset requires maintenance or is too damaged to be used. 

To streamline it further, you can automate the entire asset-related processes along with tracking. For instance, an asset, tracked in real-time detects that a part has failed and requires replacement. First, it will notify you about the failure, the system engineer about the replacement, and predicting the next step. It will check the availability of the part in stock. If it’s not available, it will automatically send a purchase request to the supplier so that when the system engineer comes up, they don’t have to wait for the part to arrive.

  • Rich Insights 

Tracking statistics such as – asset delivery time, the frequency with which customers use your product or service, common issues that lead to multiple asset failures, the machinery condition, etc., in real-time would be difficult. However, with IoT, you can automate it all. Valuable insights also have the potential to increase revenue streams. 79% of supply chain leaders using IoT for asset tracking record higher revenue growth than their counterparts.

  • Improve Customer Experience

Around 89% of companies today are competing over better customer experience. IoT-driven asset tracking allows collecting data, storing it on the cloud, and then providing insights. Edge computing requires less bandwidth, limits cloud processing, and thus provides accurate information instantly.

Now that you know about the potential of IoT asset tracking let’s see if it’s the right option for you.

Also Read About: IoT Asset Management

Is Asset Tracking the Right Solution for You?

“Always think twice before you make a decision”, said a wise man. Adding to it, I would say, “Ask yourself these 3 questions before deciding for IoT asset tracking.”

  • Does your organization have high-value items to protect? You can track every asset but if you have something valuable then go for IoT. Because tracking smaller items won’t provide the same ROI as big and valuable items.
  • Is lost equipment a costly problem for you? Maybe you are into a kind of cargo business where theft is more common. And the reason you’re looking into IoT tracking devices to find the lost items. The advice would be to first find how much time your team spends searching the asset and then based on analysis, figure out your options.
  • Would your business benefit from having real-time asset data? As you know, sensors can be configured to track location and monitor asset and environment conditions. For example, food in transit must be kept at certain temperatures; you can set alert notifications if those conditions are not met at any point during transportation.

So, what’s your answer?

If it’s a YES for all these three, let’s go further. 

Dig in to know the technological workflow.

Technologies Driving IoT Asset Tracking

Traditionally, businesses relied on different manual methods such as barcode or inventory for tracking assets. But currently, that’s not feasible considering the growing demand and complexity of the business. By combining IoT and other technologies, you can streamline the process and improve efficiency.

Different technologies can be used for asset tracking. The most commonly used are:

  • Beacon/BLE Bracelet
  • RFID tags

How Asset Tracking Technologies Work

  • Asset Tracking using Beacon/BLE Bracelet

The IoT-enabled asset tracking solution comprises transmitters, i.e Beacon/BLE Bracelet and receivers, and an IoT Hub. Here, the transmitter is a compact BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) device installed on an object. The device broadcasts a radio signal that’s readable by any smartphone, for example. At every instance, it provides a real-time signal to the IoT Hub that collects all the location information and transfers it to the IoT Platform, i.e. the cloud database. Beacons/BLE bracelets can be equipped with additional sensors like accelerometer or temperature for tracking sensitive objects.

  • Asset Tracking using RFID 

RFID tags use passive RFID (radio frequency identification) technology to track assets. Passive means that RFID tags don’t broadcast a signal on its own. The asset equipped with an RFID tag is detected using an RFID reader. The RFID reader then passes the information to the IoT Platform, i.e. cloud database updating the asset movement or any action related to the asset. RFID using IoT can provide more detailed information about the asset helping reduce failure and improve efficiency. 

Components of IoT Asset Tracking

No matter what technology you use – tag readers, blockchains, eSIMs, all IoT asset tracking systems must include these elements:

  • Tracking Devices

The shape, size, and form of the tracking device or sensor may vary based on the use case and the asset that needs to be tracked. Sometimes, it may serve one purpose such as tracking the location, or other times, it may have multiple functions such as monitoring asset conditions along with the location. 

  • Connectivity

Tracking devices that you integrate need to be connected. Thus, you need reliable network access everywhere you deploy tracking devices.

  • Management Platform

Along with device connection and data collection, you’ll also need a way to remotely manage connectivity, monitor device locations, and access device analytics, in short, an IoT platform.

Include all these and it’s done! 

Amazing! How these tiny sensors with wireless connectivity can do all the work.

Industry-Specific Use Cases for IoT enabled Asset Tracking

IoT asset tracking can benefit more than just fleet managers and asset tracking products including, but not limited to the following:

  • Manufacturing Companies
Robotized car factory cartoon concept Free Vector

In manufacturing industries, IoT-enabled Asset Tracking controls the overall manufacturing process and reduces workload by automatic and reliable tracking of assets during all the production phases. It also monitors all the complex functions in real-time so as to detect potential error and ensure that the entire process is streamlined. 

  • Hospitals

By attaching tags with doctors or staff, entry and exit can be recorded and instantly stored in the database. Along with that, administrators and facility managers can have accurate information about the location of doctors or staff in the hospital. Moreover, you can attach tags with highly valuable medicines and machinery to keep a track of it.

With automated alerts and notifications, it’s easy to dispatch the closet asset to the patient in need.

  • Logistics Companies
Warehouse isometric template Free Vector

As soon as a vehicle enters the warehouse, the shipment is identified and placed on the right platform. The same process applies to human resources and stillage. Forklifts used in the transfer are attached with sensors that direct them on the designated route with safety rules. The in-built navigation system provides current inventory and stock location data to shorten the searching process and ensure assets are placed properly.

  • Retail and Transportation

In the retail and transportation business, knowing the location of an asset is not enough; it’s also important to know the asset’s condition. For example, perishable food items might also have temperature and humidity equipped sensors in addition to location tracking tags.

  • Educational 
Documents library archive interior isometric illustration Free Vector

In libraries and institutes, assets such as documents, papers, books, lab items require proper organization and labeling. There’s no better example than a chemistry lab. Reactive chemicals are always the question of worry. Real-time tracking collects actual data of the asset and prevents them from being stolen, lost, or cause any hazard. In libraries, the tracking sensors collect the books’ data, organize them, and prevent them from being stolen or lost. Moreover, asset tracking in educational institutions improves borrow and return processes to shorten the waiting time and minimize the need for human interaction.

  • Maritime Shipping

For cargo shipments on high seas, IoT-enabled asset tracking tags can help inform distributors and customers about container status, condition of the items in the container, and when it arrives at the destination. It can also help track down the stolen shipment.

  • Rentable Bikes
Vector bike rental map background

We have seen the market for rental bikes and scooters is expanding in urban centers. By adding tracking tags, companies can prevent loss and theft, as well as manage inventory, maintenance, and local legal compliance issues. 

And the list goes on…

The applications for IoT-enabled asset tracking are as many as there are industries to apply.

Interested in IoT Asset Tracking?

Real-time information for asset management, tracking, and maintenance using IoT is becoming a must-have; IoT connects every dot as a whole. It will help you connect remotely, see asset status, institute security measures, and automate the entire business operations.

Need help with an IoT Asset Tracking solution for your business? Contact our experts, ask your questions, and get your tailored solution ready!