Asset tracking is when you manage and keep a track of your company’s physical assets and its information either by scanning barcodes, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) or GPS. These physical assets can include tools, IT devices, equipment (small & large), vehicles etc. and many more assets depending upon the type of business.
Asset tracking is a pivotal aspect of Smart Connected Operations. Smart Connected Operations (SCO) which can be defined as the integration of the assets, operations and business systems, with the help of IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) platform. Asset tracking helps save time and money when done accurately and improves operational efficiency. It is also used for Predictive Analysis and Maintenance and Anomaly Detection as it provides valuable data about the usage, maintenance, re-calibration and location of these assets. It also intimates if new assets need to be purchased or if old and used assets need to be discarded.
Various forward-thinking industries are taking a step towards the creation of Smart Enterprise. Smart Enterprise creates an environment where employees are provided with the freedom to do their job with any devices which are readily available or by any mode and have direct access to reliable information from anywhere and anytime. Smart Connected Operations are also used for Industrial Automation and Smart Manufacturing for the creation of a Smart Enterprise. Smart Manufacturing is also known as “Industries 4.0” in Europe and “Made in China 2025” in China.
Smart Enterprises are created with Smart Connected Operations (SCO) with the help of IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) platform as its base. IIOT is a sub-category of a broader platform called IOT (Internet of Things). IIOT is concerned with increasing operational efficiency and improvement of safety standards. On the other hand, IOT is associated with creating better user experiences. IOT is a set of homogeneous software capabilities which help in improving the asset management decision making, operational visibility and control of these assets within manufacturing facilities, plants and depots.
With IIOT as the base of Smart Connected Operations, operational efficiency becomes inevitable. This platform is devised to support safety, security and technological requirements within operating environments. IIOT platform consists of various technological functions:
- Asset Management and tracking
- Device management
- Data Management
- Application management &
With the introduction of IIOT & SCO, a whole new dimension of Asset Management and tracking is introduced. Asset management or asset tracking is a vital and continual process for any business. For e.g., in a manufacturing business, the asset’s life-cycle starts from the purchase of an asset and continues until the end of its utility life. Asset management also includes improving operational efficiency. Through asset management, tracking of the assets is done with the help of various systems viz., desktop software, barcode scanners, barcode labels and mobile devices to streamline asset tracking (i.e. tools, equipment etc). Asset tracking can be for a small business or for multiple facilities of a large business spread across various locations in the country.
IIoT-enabled asset tracking can benefit various industries who have adopted Smart Connected Operations. Many industries have successfully done asset tracking and are also continually innovating and adding new applications for sake of improving its accuracy. Some of the industries who were able to successfully adapt asset tracking are:
- Transportation – managing fleets and consignments
- Manufacturing – tracking devices, tools, equipment and various other small and large assets
- Agriculture – tracking live-stock
- FMCG, Supply chain & Logistics – tracking parcels, freights etc.
- Power & Utilities – tracking devices, tools, service equipment etc.
- Government agencies – tracking of human resources and government-provided equipment
- Automotive – Tracking the automobile’s diagnostics
Though these industries use different tracking solutions, the commonality is that they use wireless technology to obtain reliable data from these assets. When these industries gather unique data from these assets, they can leverage this data and gain a competitive advantage for their business. This helps them in making rapid and efficient business decisions, thus improving business efficiency and providing high customer satisfaction.