From keys and computer screens to warehouse machinery, most businesses rely on various tools and equipment to get the job done.
So, companies need to track where their assets are, who is using them and what condition they are in — as this can directly impact their bottom line and security. But just the thought of keeping an eye on dozens — if not hundreds — of company assets can be overwhelming.
Although some still rely on the pen-and-paper method or compiling extensive spreadsheets, there may be an easier way…
Introducing: IoT asset tracking
Thanks to the advancement of the internet of things (IoT), real-time asset tracking applications can now be conducted remotely at the touch of a button, allowing for 24/7 monitoring of anything from equipment and tools to employees and vehicles. So, what are the benefits for businesses?
Improved asset visibility
Whether a business employs 10 people or a thousand, a reliable asset tracking system makes it much easier for all stakeholders to know exactly where company assets are at all times — improving security standards.
The right asset tracking devices can improve visibility by offering a comprehensive, visual view of inventory without requiring employees to have actual eyes on it.
Decreased supply chain disruptions
With IoT asset tracking and monitoring, businesses can see where assets are at each stage of the supply chain, using data to ensure equipment gets to its destination in a good condition.
Enhanced supply chain visibility
IoT asset tracking and monitoring offers end-to-end visibility across the entire supply chain, providing real-time data on product movement, delays and potential disruptions. This transparency can improve business decision-making and risk management, boosting customer satisfaction.
Once companies have their IoT tracking systems in place, businesses can save time on tedious inventory checks — without compromising the safety and security of their valued equipment.
Different solutions for businesses
So, there are many advantages to implementing asset tracking and monitoring systems within a business. But when investing in this technology, companies should be aware of the different IoT solutions…
Barcode asset tracking
Barcode asset tracking is an easy to use and cost-effective way for businesses of all sizes to manage and track their physical assets.
Once data has been assigned to a unique barcode, it is printed and affixed to an asset. The barcode is scanned using a scanner or mobile device that extracts the data, which is sent to a computer in binary form to be decoded and stored in an asset-tracking database.
RFID asset tracking
In its simplest form, radio frequency identification (RFID) asset tracking is a way of automating physical asset management and locating processes.
It loads an RFID tag with data — which can include anything from name, condition, amount and location — and attaches it to the business equipment. As the RFID tag sends out radio waves, the RFID reader can capture the stored data — collecting it in an asset tracking system where it can be monitored and actioned.
GPS-based asset tracking
A small GPS device is attached to the asset. This electronic device can be self-powered with batteries or connected to the asset’s power supply. Once switched on, the device transmits data through the network and back to the GPS asset tracking system.
The benefit of this system is that it can communicate across distances and keep accurate, up-to-date logs for everyone using it.
Considerations for manufacturers
One of the first considerations for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) looking to produce hardware is where the asset will be tracked, as this tends to dictate the kind of communications link the tracking device will require…
For example, a system tracking outdoor movement in transit will likely require a combination of communication links (and, potentially, more complex PCB and cable assemblies).
The precision required for location information is another matter that affects the choice of communications link. For ultimate accuracy, ranging based on time-of-flight or time-of-arrival information from multiple beacons will be needed.
Plus, any electronic devices connected to the internet, such as asset-tracking devices, are common targets for hackers.
These hackers can implant malware, steal data or wreak havoc that disrupts business operations. So, every IoT-connected device should be equipped with cyber security features to prevent this from happening.
As such, OEMs must also consider installing security software onto devices, and both the software and hardware in electronic security devices should undergo thorough testing and vulnerability assessments.
How EC Electronics can help your project
Real-time asset tracking is becoming an increasingly in many sectors, such as the security industry. Now, thanks to advancements in IoT, these security applications can now be carried out instantly and remotely.
With the internet of things set to be bigger than the mobile revolution, it is IoT hardware that will allow OEMs to get a slice of the action. That is where EC Electronics comes in…
We are dedicated to supporting your IoT product from concept to reality — bringing it into market competitively through our product realisation service.
With almost 40 years’ experience in electronics manufacturing services — from PCB assembly to full electronics box builds — we have been involved in a wide range of exciting commercial projects within the IoT industry, offering a range of best-in-class electronics manufacturing services to OEMs.
We only manufacture electronics to the highest quality levels, including IPC-A-610 standards for PCB assemblies and IPC/WHMA-A-620 for cable assemblies, to ensure optimal performance and reliability every time.