Advances in asset tracking technologies are revolutionising industrial manufacturing, logistics, supply chain management, and many others. But how can you make sure that your organisation is investing in the right IoT platform? After all, you need an offering that can deliver the full spectrum of asset tracking capabilities and serve as the long-term foundation for your industrial use cases. We have looked into the details so that you can make the most of your IoT investment.
The ability to locate your assets at any time and trace their movements can make all the difference in mission-critical situations that call for fast decision-making. Once a viable asset tracking system is in place, organisations can begin to reap the benefits of improved supply chain operations, better transparency on the shop floor, or a comprehensive overview of the flow of goods in storage facilities.
To get there, however, the first step is to select an IoT platform that can cover all the critical capabilities that make a successful asset tracking solution. Further, to stay on top of changing technologies and the shifting demands of your own business, you will need a solution that is open-ended and allows you to build multiple use cases on top of the existing platform infrastructure.
What to Look for When You Need Asset Tracking
So the goal is to explore carefully and weigh in all the risks and benefits before opting in. The ideal platform for asset tracking may not be the typical easy-to-use plug-and-play offering. The latter may lack the needed flexibility to allow for advanced customisation. Nor would it be the most affordable platform solution as you may find out you are missing some core features along the way or have ended up with an IoT platform that is not doing so well when it comes to scaling.
Apart from needing a reliable, high-quality service, our recommendation is to also look for scope.
This is not about solving a short-term problem now but creating a long-term basis for an expanding array of needs and application scenarios as you move forward. So in what follows, we give you an overview of the capabilities you may want to consider before diving into a fully-fledged asset tracking use case.
Asset Tracking Capabilities: The Basics
A viable asset tracking solution will have to be able to monitor the whereabouts of machines, equipment, or goods at all times and do so reliably, continually delivering status updates and reporting on key parameters. But geolocation and movement are just one tiny aspect of asset tracking. AI-powered IoT technologies are making it possible to have a fully-rounded overview of your asset’s environments and can deliver fast insight into the state of your asset:
- weather conditions
- road conditions, where applicable
But how do you combine asset tracking and more advanced capabilities? The answer is: IoT apps.
Enhancing your basic asset tracking solution with IoT apps to track vibration, voltage, or weather conditions, to name a few, can give you a fuller picture. So it is not just that you know the whereabouts of your assets. You want to be informed about the conditions under which they are being transported, the environmental variables, and, in the case of sensitive equipment, the asset’s current state.
Check out asset-tracking IoT apps.
By installing IoT apps on strategically positioned edge devices such as IoT cameras or AR equipment, you are on the way to improving asset-related decision-making, implementing critical changes where needed, enhancing supply chain efficiency, and speeding up processes within your organisation.
Asset Tracking Should be Open-ended and Fully Customisable
High levels of customisation are the key to a viable, flexible, and long-term asset tracking solution. So you need an IoT platform that allows you to do just that. You cover the basics while providing a variety of services and ongoing support for use case customisation. Here is a list of what you need to look out for when considering which IoT platform can best serve you:
This is really one of the basics. Geolocation mapping will allow you to track asset location in real-time and trace the asset’s movements on the map.
Logging of Asset Location Histories
Another basic requirement is the ability to check the device logs at any time. You get an overview of the devices’ historic locations, and inspect the IoT apps running on the device. This way, you can not only set the foundation for an auditable iterative process within your organisation but can also increase ROI by coming up with optimised routes for mobile assets or better asset allocation.
Grouping and Labeling Mechanisms for Assets
Getting on top of edge device management is tricky. Your solution needs to come with strategies for grouping devices, tagging, labeling, and distributing user privileges on different levels with different grades of granularity. Added to this should be the ability to roll out software or grant privileges on the group level. This will allow you to perform bulk deployments and facilitate scalability across manufacturing sites.
Updating IoT apps over the air, remote bug fixing, and testing new features on live devices are indispensable additions to asset tracking. They allow you to set the ground for new use cases faster than before. Being able to push instant OTA updates to individual edge devices or device groups can give you the necessary edge when it comes to implementing and maintaining large-scale deployments.
Test the IoT studio and build your first swarm.
IoT Apps for Asset Monitoring and Condition Tracking
To expand on existing use cases or add extra capabilities to your industrial assets, you may need even more IoT apps on your devices. This way, you can monitor different variables across device fleets or customize the way data is being extracted from assets. To get there, your asset tracking solution has to come with IoT app building and support services.
Make sure that your asset tracking solution can work with any device and standard protocol. Also, it should allow you to adapt or modify existing hardware to suit your use case.
This one cannot be emphasised enough. It is essential to opt for an asset tracking solution that is scalable and allows for seamless growth. You do not want to have to change systems midway through building your use case. Nor do you want to run into difficulties the moment you start adding more devices to your fleet.
IoT integrations are a must so you will need an IoT platform that comes with API access. This is how you can accommodate ever newer technologies and business demands. Allowing your asset tracking solution to remain open-ended in this way is a prerequisite for future readiness.
And finally, you need a solution that comes with solid after-sales support. So it is best to work with a vendor that offers hands-on guidance on how to build your use case. Plus, you will need ongoing developer support and extensive buyer’s resources.
Once these are in place, you are well on your way to building a viable and future-ready asset tracking solution. This is how you increase transparency on the shop floor, align with business objectives, and deliver a high ROI yield.
About Record Evolution
We are a data science and IoT team based in Frankfurt, Germany, that helps companies of all sizes innovate at scale. That’s why we’ve developed an easy-to-use industrial IoT platform that enables fast development cycles and allows everyone to benefit from the possibilities of IoT and AI.