It cannot be emphasized enough that technology can enhance the asset tracking from what it is today. With technological advancement in internet and IoT devices and sensors, asset tracking is a fairly easy work now. Various technologies like RFID, BLE, GPS tracking, UWB, LoRaWAN etc. you can track all your assets in real-time with 100% accuracy.
Businesses in retail, warehouse and logistics management, supply chain, manufacturing and healthcare, education, etc. depend on asset management and asset tracking processes to run day-to-day operations. It not only optimizes the business process but enhances the accuracy, helps with auditing, prevents thefts and reduces risks and losses.
It was the retail giant WalMart, back in 2007 that started using RFID (radio frequency identification) to monitor its delivery consignments and fast track the inventory reconciliation. It mandated suppliers to use RFID tags on product boxes so that its inventory shrinkage is reduced and it can track delivery packages in real time. Somehow that didn’t work out at that year since RFID tag prices were high and suppliers weren’t provided with enough data on the impacts of RFID tagging the boxes and that led WalMart to take back the RFID mandate. Now again in September 2022, WalMart started its ambitious RFID project, mandating suppliers to tag home goods, sports goods, electronics and toys with RFID tags.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The idea of Internet of Things or ‘IoT’ evolved from the RFID technology itself. The term IoT was coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999 and since then it has evolved from Internet of Things into Internet of everything with 15B connected devices at present.
IoT enables interconnectivity of physical devices over the internet through various wireless technologies available such as Wi-Fi, RFID, BLE, Bluetooth, ZigBee, LoRa etc.
The future of IoT is very bright and the total no. of internet of things devices is projected to be at 29 billion by 2030. From our smartphone to smartwatch and fitness tracker, to smart kitchen, smart shower and smart manufacturing, smart warehouse management and inventory control, IoT has become ubiquitous.
IoT Asset tracking and future
IoT technology enables asset tracking and tracing, making data collection on the performance and health aspects of numerous subsystems easier. IoT devices such as smart sensors, cameras and devices are collecting and sharing rich pools of data about the condition and behavior of all sorts of assets. With the rise of IoT, big data can be made sense of with AI and machine learning.
IoT-based asset management systems offer several benefits such as improved performance, increased security, and reduced costs.
When it comes to using IoT in warehouses, it has been transforming warehouse operations in many ways. Automation using conveyor belts equipped with IoT sensors can help move and track goods between stations and autonomous technologies such as automated guided vehicles can calculate the shortest route to any aisle and restock the inventory with no human supervision at all. IoT, thus enables a huge degree of automation that wasn’t possible before.
IoT equipped robotic units cannot only just assemble orders but also collect tons of data, track and monitor processes, optimize storage and retrieval systems, improve productivity and safety. Connected sensors track each asset and inventory in a warehouse. Drones can check stock levels and monitor security in large warehouses.
Modernizing warehouses and equipping them with IoT connectivity will create change in other industries, such as trucking. In next few years we’ll see electric trucks being charged while inventory loading or unloading is carried out which will reduce carbon emissions. IoT is the future of asset tracking and asset management for many businesses including retail (biggest user of RFID), inventory management, healthcare, logistics and supply chain, etc.
Benefits of IoT-based Asset Tracking
Asset tracking is an important aspect of many businesses and accurate and real-time asset tracking enables a great degree of efficiency and business process optimization leading to growth. Here’re some of the benefits of using IoT in asset tracking:
a) IoT solutions in asset tracking offer a wide range of benefits such as increased efficiency, reduced costs, and improved customer satisfaction.
b) By integrating IoT sensors into warehousing processes, organizations can make warehouse operations more efficient, improve safety, reduce costs, and reduce environmental impact.
c) IoT equipped robotic unit can assemble orders and collect tons of data about assets and inventory as well.
d) IoT technologies like RFID and BLE can help monitor operations such as receiving, inventory management, order fulfillment, and shipping with a high degree of accuracy and efficiency that leads to growth and value creation.