Leveraging IoT for Outdoor/Indoor Asset Tracking

Assets, both physical as well as personnel, are critical for any business operations and are necessary to be tracked to ensure uninterrupted service delivery. With the growth of businesses and increasing count of assets, it is becoming challenging to keep a track of the location and health of the assets. As a result; the demand for asset tracking a plummeted in the last decade and has accelerated rapidly.

Going back to the history of asset management and asset tracking methodologies, manual approach of counting assets and recording them on hand, maintaining various excel spread-sheets for asset audits and tracking prevailed. This approach was not only tedious, prone to errors, but was also labor-intensive. As businesses grew and count of assets multiplied, it became imperative to invent a scalable solution that could be scaled up or down as per the business environment.

Early 1970s saw the advent of more sophisticated solution to this challenge and barcodes started dominating the asset management and asset tracking systems. Coupled with seamless scanning technologies, these barcodes eliminated human-error and with the help of scanning devices, asset records were maintained in databases, making it more secure and reliable. As information technology grew and provided more options, software engineers and designers helped business managers with data visualization tools that could help them in auditing, monitoring and taking control of their assets.

Digital technology has been advancing rapidly and with the advent of ‘Internet’ of things it is now becoming increasingly easy to connect millions and billions of small as well as large assets, devices and objects, in ways which were previously unimaginable. These ever improving, cost and resource efficient, location tracking technologies have continuously eradicated the need to rely on manual data input. On the contrary, cloud based IoT solutions are now device-location dependent which has changed the ways and means of locating and tracking indoor and outdoor assets.

So real time location tracking solutions, such as VX-BLS and Beacons, work in tandem with the environment your assets are moving in. Be it Indoor, within premises or it is Outdoor, across geographies, Viaanix’s asset tracking system offers a solution. Indoors, this system utilizes BLE/LoRa anchors that can track BLE beacons attached to your equipment, sending that data to a LoRa/cellular, Wi-Fi, or Ethernet Gateway. Outdoors, LoRa/GPS beacons send information to LoRa cellular Gateways.

These beacons are low energy, long range, and inexpensive devices that can be “set and forget,” with batteries that can last up to two or more years. They can be installed on small equipment, like tools, and larger machinery as well.

These beacons gather information from the assets and send it to the cloud, via the interim gateway, for review by the end user. This review can be done through any industry renowned IoT Portal or more sophisticated VX Locate, our own web portal. The complete ecosystem deployed by Viaanix for asset tracking is flexible, scalable, and cost-effective. The bi-directional communication capability offered by our solution allows the end user to control how often they wish the device to update, and gives a better control of all the associated assets and devices.

The 3-point strategy to choose the right Asset Tracking Solution

There is absolutely no one-size-fits-all strategy for choosing the right indoor/outdoor asset tracking system. Every business is unique and has its own ‘specific’ requirements. The right fit for your business requirement needs to be evaluated based on the below three considerations.

Your goals for deploying an asset tracking solution: This primarily deals with specific, achievable, time-based goals you plan to achieve. These goals will have to be stitched to your key business processes driving your need to have an asset tracking solution in place.

Methodology for measuring ROI: It is by-far understood that all technology enabled solutions are cost-effective, efficient, improve operational efficiencies and provide you peace-of-mind. A metrics is always required to help you gauge your investment and yield business-oriented results on your investments.

Alignment with future needs and changes: All businesses operate in a dynamic environment. Often it is impossible to predict the market forces and your needs may changeover-time. Mapping of your requirements with the changing environment is critical for consideration.

Bruce Fritz
Director of Partnerships