Modern information technology is now the innovative hotbed of asset tracking technologies. While the concept of asset tracking doesn’t come top of mind when a business is starting out, it is actually one of the primary concerns of enterprises around the world. Why? Asset drives business. Modern business is heavily reliant on physical assets to sustain themselves effectively. Therefore, it is critical for businesses and organizations to adapt to changes in the evolution of asset tracking solution for greater visibility and control of assets.
What does asset tracking mean
Asset tracking, in its simple definition, refers to the process of tracing physical assets an organization owns and having real-time information about their location, condition, and status. Assets can be physical or intangible – equipment, inventory, vehicles, brand value, intellectual property – anything you invest in to achieve your purpose.
Asset tracking management system is applicable to all enterprises, institutions and government agencies, helping administrative departments and financial departments to grasp the dynamic information of assets at any time, carry out daily asset management and accounting, and easily complete the asset inventory tasks. It’s crucial to understand what assets a company owns, how the assets are being used, and what is necessary to make those assets a relevant part of a company’s success.
What are the available asset tracking technologies
Footprints of asset tracking aren’t hard to find in modern life. Apart from the primitive pen & paper and spreadsheet approach, there are several asset tracking techniques available for you. Each asset tracking technology has its own advantages and limitations, and the best depends on your specific needs. Below will show you some of the most common real-time asset tracking technologies.
Barcode technology is an automatic symbol identification technology based on contemporary information technology. It integrates symbol coding, data collection, automatic identification, input, storage information and other functions, which can effectively solve the problem of large amount of data collection and automatic input in the process of logistics. The adaptability of Barcode technology has been widely demonstrated by global traction in numerous industries, including retail, warehousing, logistic, manufacturing, public transportation, and many more.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
RFID is a kind of automatic identification technology that uses specific frequencies to send and receive signals from asset tracking tags. Due to the fact that RFID needs no manual scans as Barcode systems, there is a wide range of applications of RFID tags from large objects like vehicles and heavy machines to small embedded assets like hand tools.
In terms of its utilization, RFID has advantages in updating data in real-time, storing information, long service life, improved work efficiency, enhanced security, and many other aspects, which is perfect to cater to the needs of industries and related fields.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
Bluetooth Low Energy is often considered an upgrade to Bluetooth Classic, which is designed to maintain the same communication range as Bluetooth Classic while significantly reducing power consumption and cost. Like NFC, BLE systems require no manual scanning but rely on Bluetooth-enabled devices such as a smartphone to connect tags attached to your assets. Once paired the tag with your device, signals can be monitored in real-time as it moves. Bluetooth beacons can be applied to boost the accuracy of asset tracking.
Similar to traditional transistor radios, WiFi networks use radio waves, a type of electromagnetic radiation with a longer wavelength in the electromagnetic spectrum than that in infrared light, to transmit information through the air. Since WiFi relies on radio waves, its networks can be disrupted by interference from other WiFi networks or various electronic devices, including microwave ovens, cordless phones, refrigerators, televisions, transistor radios, or Bluetooth devices.
Global Positioning System (GPS)
Based on artificial earth satellites, GPS is a high-precision radio navigation positioning system, which can provide accurate positioning, velocity measurement, and high precision time standard for the vast majority of the earth’s surface(98%). With the further development of GPS technology, GPS applications have entered our daily lives and are changing the way we live. Almost all means of delivery rely on GPS.
Though GPS is a fantastic option for outdoor tracking, power consumption is a challenge that many people are concerned about, and it doesn’t work properly within indoor spaces where GPS signals are not strong enough.
Long Range (LoRa) wireless
The past few years have seen a huge growth in Long Range of technology asset tracking applications. As a wireless-based technology, LoRa focuses on low throughput and remote communication, which coincides with the needs of asset tracking networks in most cases. Like WiFi, LoRa uses unlicensed frequencies in the lower megahertz range, so it can be transmitted over long distances. Lora is ideal for deployment in low-tech warehouses, manufacturing plants, and outdoors on farms, vineyards, and corporate campuses.
Considerations when choosing an asset tracking solution
When it comes to the best asset tracking solution, it depends on your plans for specific use cases and needs. In choosing the most suitable strategies, you should ask yourself a few questions such as the ‘five-Ws’: what, who, where, when, and why. Regardless of your use case, some of the parameters listed below can help you make a smart choice:
- the type and number of assets being tracked
- assets value
- costs and risks associated with asset loss
- the accuracy of location data
- the physical environment of asset tracking
- the costs you plan to maintain an asset tracking system
- the ease of deployment of the solution
Why choose LoRa asset tracking solution
While there is a wide variety of options to choose from, each comes with its own pros and cons, the two technologies that have found great application with businesses include BLE and LoRa, and of course, other solutions also have their place. Why are more and more businesses turning to LoRa asset tracking solution? Its distinct features definitely cannot be ignored:
- long range and low power. Lora enables deconnection up to 15km in rural areas and requires minimal energy.
- Low-cost connectivity. Lora supports seamless interoperability without complex installations.
- Security. Lora provides high security and integrity protection.
- Geolocation. LoRa enables GPS-free applications.
- High capacity. Each base station of LoRa includes supports millions of messages.
- Portable and mobile. LoRa supports communications with motion devices.
To show the differences between LoRa asset tracking solution and other technologies more specifically, the comparison chart below will break down some of the parameters.
|Accuracy||Scalability||Range||Data transfer rates||Summary|
|Barcode||accurate to scanning location||scalable within limits of manual scanning||very short||N/A||effective for identification but not for asset location|
|RFID||varies widely||scalable||up to 100m||N/A||effective for asset detection but not true organization|
|BLE||＜5m||limited||up to 100m||Up to 2Mbps||effective for localized zone-based tracking|
|WiFi||5-15m||very limited||up to 50m||Up to 1Gbps||effective for zone-based tracking at a small scale|
|GPS||5-10m||scalable outdoors||global access within satellite line-of -sight||N/A||effective for tracking large assets outdoors|
|LoRa||20-200m||very scalable||up to 5 km in urban areas, and 15km in rural areas||300bps – 37.5 kbps||effective tracking options depending on region|
What are the advantages of LoRa asset tracking solution
Pretty much benefits can be found in asset tracking and management solutions, all of which contribute to an improved bottom line for organizations that properly implement effective asset management processes. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most beneficial advantages of employing asset tracking.
Loss prevention is perhaps the most obvious benefit, which scares the theft away and keeps all your high-value assets closely monitored. Businesses can lose millions of dollars a year due to asset losses. A proper asset management solution gives companies the ability to get the up-to-the-minute information of their fixed and non-fixed assets, as well as a detailed history of each item.
Centralized asset management
Asset tracking helps business organizations centralize the management of all their assets, giving better control and supervision of resource allocation and equipment utilization. With all data stored in a centralized database, it would be easier for managers to monitor not only the volume of assets but also their location and condition at all times – all through their desktop dashboard, or even a mobile app.
Improved efficiency, accuracy, and productivity
With the right asset tracking solution, companies are accessible to accurate, real-time information about each asset, including location, quality, maintenance schedule, lifespan, and more. Besides, new asset tracking solution technology allows firms to access all of this real-time reporting at the click of a button, simplifying internal audits and proving regulatory compliance. All of this combines to improve business efficiency, accuracy and productivity.
Prolonged asset lifespan
Assets inevitably undergo wear-and-tear over time, changing their productivity levels. Asset tracking system not only gives you visibility into the condition and performance of each asset, but also offers insight into whether it needs to be repaired or replaced, thereby extending the life of your asset. Companies with considerable asset investment know how crucial it is to keep those assets running – and running well – in the coming years.
Real-life examples of using LoRa asset tracking practices
Asset Tracking Market was valued approximately at USD 17.14 billion in 2020 and is estimated to reach USD 34.82 billion by 2026 with a healthy CAGR of 13.45%. It’s certain that asset tracking technology is constantly advancing. The following part will introduce you to several major industries where LoRa asset tracking solution technology is applied.
Transportation, and logistics: There is no doubt that the transport and logistics sectors are the two major implementing sectors for asset tracking solution, driven primarily by the gradual improvement of the transport system and the growth of e-commerce.
Healthcare: LoRa technology is commonly used in the healthcare industry to track and locate important assets, improve patient care, and monitor the condition of newborns and special care patients.
Manufacturing: LoRa helps manufacturers keep track of the latest work progress and related components and tools on the production line to better solve problems related to bulk storage and product lookup, thus improving productivity and efficiency.
Military: LoRa has been widely used in the field of military logistics, such as material visibility systems during transportation, individual electronic medical record card, physiological status monitor and clothing distribution device, which has greatly reformed the traditional logistics tracking method.
Construction: The adoption of LoRa technology has given construction companies an edge over the competition for equipment maintenance. Expensive equipment, big or small, can be prevented from theft on construction sites.
Choosing the proper asset tracking solution with MOKOLoRa
A proper asset tracking solution opens up a whole new world of gathering real-time information about assets for your company. The benefits of asset tracking solution will be reflected in high operational efficiencies and low sunk costs in your business. If you have questions about which asset tracking technology is suitable for you, please do not hesitate to talk to an expert of MOKOLoRa.