As the world becomes further globalised with millions of products being imported and exported between countries, digital asset tracking solutions have become a critical part of industrial markets. The amount of tracking devices out there number in the billions, but it’s not all about geo-tags.
In fact, nearly any type of asset can be tracked, and in this article, we’re going to explore how asset tracking solutions enhance industrial markets.
Types of asset tracking solutions
Numerous technologies exist for asset tracking. These technologies can involve barcodes and QR scanning, radio-frequency identification (RFID), near-field communication (NFC), IoT, GPS, and more.
Let’s examine some of the most useful technologies being used in industrial companies for asset tracking.
IoT (Internet of Things)
IoT technology provides a cost-effective solution to retrieving real-time data, typically from a cloud server that is connected to front-end apps. The type of data collected depends on the service, but as an example for equipment tracking, companies like Samsara provide interfaces for not only GPS-based tracking the physical location of machinery and tools, but also diagnostics and error-code monitoring for heavy machinery like backhoes and excavators.
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Global Positioning System tracking is incredibly useful for many different industrial markets. It can be used to track drivers in a trucking company, and plan routes to maximize fleet efficiency. In fact, GPS was originally started for fleet management, but GPS’ role has expanded to so many other markets as well.
GPS technology can easily be installed on vehicles, and since most smartphones have built-in GPS, asset management apps can easily be developed for integration.
Real-time tracking interfaces
In the past, fleet managers needed to rely on updates from drivers, and use spreadsheets to track data. Locally saved spreadsheets pose problems in a company network, and even spreadsheets in the cloud can be prone to human input error.
Asset management systems that utilize IoT and cloud-based technology can provide automatic, real-time updates for asset tracking, and the data can be shared automatically with all relevant people with software accounts, rather than needing to compile reports and send spreadsheets through emails.
Theft prevention and security
Asset theft is one of the biggest threats to industrial companies, and we’re not talking about paperclips and staplers being stolen from office rooms. Construction equipment theft is a huge problem globally, and there are many stories of construction equipment theft, such as backhoes being stolen right off of construction sites.
Tagging equipment with trackers is an easy way of minimizing theft, and significantly helps with asset recovery in the event machinery is stolen anyways.
QR and RFID
RFID technology is generally superior to QR for industrial use, but QR scanning has its applications as well, especially for consumers.
RFID tags can be “read-write” whereas QR is “read only”. This makes RFID the better solution for high-volume businesses that need to quickly implement bulk scanning, because RFID scanners use radio waves. This allows companies to quickly bulk scan entire shipments at once.
QR codes on the other hand are very useful for verifying the authenticity of items, which significantly helps both companies and consumers alike avoid counterfeit items. For example, a pair of branded headphones from Sony or Bose will typically have a QR code that will automatically open a dialogue box confirming the product’s authenticity.
With so many types of asset tracking solutions available, companies need to figure out the most cost-effective solution to their needs, and this may involve trying different vendors. Finding a reliable vendor is just as important as the solution, as you don’t want to be left holding the bag if a vendor goes out of business.