Asset tracking, also known as asset management, is the practice of tracking physical assets as they move throughout the supply chain to monitor operations and prevent loss. Traditionally, businesses have relied on manual methods to keep track of high-value items, such as scanning barcodes or conducting inventories. With an IoT-enabled asset tracking system, you can streamline this process and make it much more effective.
Components of IoT asset tracking
While details vary depending on the industry and the use case, all IoT asset management systems must include these elements:
- Tracking devices. The form factor varies depending on the use case and the object that needs to be tracked. They may serve one purpose, such as straightforward tracking tags, or they may have multifunctional uses, like vehicle dash cameras.
- Connectivity. How are those devices connected? You’ll need reliable network access everywhere your tracking devices may be deployed. Many commercial and industrial IoT applications leverage cellular networks to accomplish this.
- Management platform. You’ll also need a way to remotely manage connectivity, monitor device locations, and access device analytics. These roles are performed through your IoT platform.
How are eSIMs used now?
While eSIMs will eventually replace standard SIMs in consumer products like watches and phones, they are the go-to solution for cellular M2M/IoT applications.
In terms of current active eSIM connections, the automotive industry leads the pack in both volume and revenue. Since eSIMs can swap networks automatically, they’re the ideal choice for uses where the devices must pass through borders and coverage zones. For example:
- Smart cars: OEMs use eSIMs to add connected services to automobiles, or to meet regulatory safety requirements, such as the European Union’s mandate on eCall facility.
- Vehicle tracking: Vehicle tracking companies use eSIMs to track fleets over borders and coverage areas.
- Dash cams and other devices: Aftermarket auto accessories such as the Compass Asset Protection Dash Cam add connected services to cars; Classic Tracker uses vehicle tracking to protect against loss and theft.
These components usually need some degree of customisation for each use case. If you’re looking for hardware and software solutions for your next deployment, make sure that the total package is flexible enough to meet your needs.
Benefits of IoT asset tracking
How does IoT asset management differ from other asset tracking systems?
- Less time-consuming asset management. Typical processes rely on some degree of manual work, which takes time and opens up the door to human error.
- Real-time tracking. When your system is connected 24/7, you can use the IoT platform to check in on a device’s location and status in real-time. This is crucial for certain time-sensitive applications such as personal safety or theft recovery.
- More automated processes. Using an IoT-based asset tracking system lets you automate related processes throughout the supply chain.
- A recovery plan. In the event of loss of theft, IoT gives you a way to locate the lost asset.
IoT asset tracking use cases
IoT asset management takes many different forms, including but not limited to the following.
Devices that track GPS location data are heavily utilised in transportation asset management. IoT enables the smart tracking of fleets, vehicles or even micro-transport like e-scooters and bikes, over borders and through different coverage zones.
- Case Study: Compass Asset Protection Vehicle Tracking
- Case Study: Smart City Taxi Fleet Management
- Read more about Transportation & Logistics IoT
IoT for Health & Safety
In the healthcare and medical fields, IoT systems are often used to track equipment or other high-value assets. Sometimes the asset being tracked is not a physical object, but a person. People tracking could be considered an extension of asset tracking, especially when the system plays a role in health or safety.
Manufacturing & Fixed Systems IoT
In manufacturing environments, IoT asset tracking is frequently utilised to monitor warehouse inventory and/or supply materials. It can also be put to work to monitor your equipment and other fixed systems. In that case, you’ll use the IoT platform to view analytics and notifications regarding usage, downtime, maintenance, and more.
- Read more about Fixed System IoT
Commercial Asset Tracking Services
While asset tracking is frequently discussed in terms of its industrial applications, IoT asset management also has promising uses for direct-to-consumer products.
For example, Classic Tracker LTD is a subscription service for owners of classic cars. The company uses JT IoT’s IoT platform to provide location tracking services to protect and help recover vintage automobiles from theft. A similar approach could be used for devices like pet trackers, safety wearables and other peace-of-mind-focused services.
Is cellular-connected asset tracking right for you?
If you’re in the early stages of a global IoT deployment, you’ll need to decide on your connectivity type early on. Many of the above mentioned use cases are built on cellular IoT, which uses the same network technology as smartphones, but there are several subcategories of cellular connectivity types. It’s important to choose an option that aligns with your data transmission objectives and budget.
Instead of the standard SIM cards that phones use, IoT projects utilise M2M SIM cards, which facilitate machine-to-machine communication remote management functions. After you’ve settled on which type of cellular connectivity is necessary, you’ll also need to pick an IoT SIM form factor to fit your tracked devices.
Finally, the IoT platform is the management software that ties everything together. Your platform will help you manage connectivity remotely, institute deployment-wide security measures, see a device’s current status, or set up an easy-to-use portal for customers.
Need help deciding if cellular IoT is right for your asset tracking project? Contact our experts to ask questions and even request a free starter kit for some hands-on testing.