Editor’s note: This article focuses on asset monitoring as a way to manage tangible assets, discusses the benefits of asset monitoring systems and describes technologies at the heart of asset tracking solutions. If you are looking for an option to better control your assets, ScienceSoft will develop and implement a solution tailored to your business needs as part of our software development services.
Asset monitoring is the process of tracking physical assets remotely using special hardware and software. Asset monitoring solutions based on IoT technology provide accurate real-time information on an asset’s name, location, and status, help schedule maintenance, and notify managers about asset failures. These systems are used in manufacturing, construction, logistics, healthcare, mining, and other industries.
Major benefits of asset monitoring
- Extended asset life. Asset monitoring software tracks an asset’s location, condition, and performance via IoT sensors to enable managers to see whether the asset is operating properly or needs repairing. With this knowledge, equipment downtime can be reduced and the asset’s lifespan can be extended.
- Theft prevention. It is important to thoroughly monitor high-value assets to discourage theft. Asset monitoring solutions improve asset visibility by providing accurate location details.
- Employee behavior tracking. Asset monitoring systems can also track employee behavior like travel times, geographic locations, driving styles, and more.
- Asset handling control. This feature helps ensure that employees treat high-value assets properly and within authorization. If they fail to do so, a manager alert can be triggered.
- Maintenance scheduling and tracking. Asset monitoring software can help schedule maintenance based on the latest check-up time or performance metrics like mileage or service life. E-mail or SMS notifications can be set up as reminders.
- Asset failure prediction. Timely preventive actions are critical to reducing production and asset maintenance costs and improving asset efficiency. Asset monitoring solutions can measure asset KPIs, analyze operation patterns, detect anomalies, and predict equipment failure. This information can be used to schedule preventive maintenance and keep equipment running without unplanned downtime.
- Ticketing system. Asset monitoring software can have ticketing capabilities. An asset-related issue reported by the staff or identified automatically is immediately recorded, assigned to an appropriate technician, and resolved according to the predefined action plan.
- Asset data analytics. Managers can produce asset reports and analyze equipment performance to reduce unplanned downtime, optimize work and staff schedules, and more.
Technologies behind asset monitoring
Below we provide the most popular technologies that can power modern asset monitoring solutions via enabling asset data transmission. Each option has its own distinctive features and is designed to meet specific requirements and track different types of assets.
Barcodes / QR Codes
These are tags affixed to an item that require an electronic scanning device to read them. Although barcodes and QR codes are related, they differ in capacity and flexibility. Barcodes are one-dimensional and should be scanned horizontally. QR codes are two-dimensional and can be read from any angle and transmit more information. These technologies are used for low-volume manual scanning.
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags are commonly used in warehousing or retail facilities to monitor large high-value assets. An RFID system uses radio frequency signals to exchange messages with asset tracking tags of two types: passive and active. Battery-free passive tags have readers that transmit signals to antennas that send them back to the readers. This technology can provide near real-time asset visibility and theft protection. Active RFID systems use battery-powered tags and rely on Bluetooth beacons to broadcast and read data in real time. These tags are more expensive than their passive counterparts but have a bigger read range.
WiFi monitoring solutions use local wireless networks and radio waves to broadcast asset data from WiFi tags and keep track of assets in real time. Since the network infrastructure is standardized, these whole systems are inexpensive and easy to install, but also less secure and out of service without WiFi coverage.
GPS asset tracking systems use receivers that automatically collect asset data transmitted by satellites. Satellites define specific features of these systems: they are great for outdoor tracking (latitude and longitude identification) in open terrain and less effective in areas with a lot of tall buildings, forested and enclosed areas. Since this technology provides accurate location data, among other things, it is widely used for tracking vehicles and/or high-value assets stored outdoors in remote areas. Also, GPS technology is used as an element of telematics devices to transmit such vehicle data as mileage, speed, fuel consumption, and more.
Control your assets properly with an asset monitoring solution
Asset monitoring is widely used across a number of industries to manage, protect, and pin down assets remotely. Would you like to know what asset monitoring system your business can benefit from? ScienceSoft will help you choose the most suitable technologies and implement a tailored asset tracking solution, just let us know.
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