The Role of IoT in Asset Tracking and Asset Management

Advancement in maintenance automation

In recent decades, business assets have diversified compared to yesteryears. Machinery automate human functions of manufacturing, packaging, processing, etc. Maintenance automation reinforces production automation for further reduction in human involvement

As the next advancement in automation, the Internet of Things(IoT) has set in to smarten facilities by leveraging technologies such as QR codes, BLE, RFID, NFC, GPS, etc. It greatly simplifies the challenges in the day-to-day operations of asset-centric industries. 

Market Size of IoT

According to a forecast by Globe News Wire news agency headquartered in Los Angeles, California, the United States, the global IoT market size valued at USD 478.36 billion in 2022 will soar to USD 2,465.26 billion by 2029 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of over 26%. Investing in IoT Asset Management solutions will let you see amazing results on a day-to-day basis. 

What Is IoT Asset Management?

IoT Asset management is the process of tracking, monitoring, & managing assets efficiently by mounting tiny sensors over assets or in the facility to track real-time movements of an asset, asset working condition, energy consumption to minute levels of precision, etc. 

The applications of Big Data and IoT are diverse and can work with basically any type of asset. Varieties of sensors are available in the market for measuring temperature, pressure, humidity, acceleration, proximity, etc., that can apply to different use cases. 

You can track the usage hours of an asset using sensors and receive notifications upon asset breakdown or has reached threshold values. IoT technologies incline businesses toward AI-enabled prescriptive maintenance as advocated by Industry 4.0 standards. It’s application can go far and deep into optimizing asset performance and bringing down maintenance expenses. It doesn’t end there, IoT asset tracking offers a host of other value-added benefits as well!

Asset tracking techniques

A QR code-based asset tracking is associated with low running costs and is convenient as every smartphone has a QR code scanning mobile app. If security matters, NFC tags can be prefered that operate only at high frequencies. 

RFID tags can operate in small, high, and ultra-high frequency ranges. They score over NFC when it comes to effectiveness in asset tracking. 

As a viable alternative to these techniques, Bluetooth Low Energy beacons can be used for IoT-powered asset tracking as they are associated with long-range and exact location precision. The tiny devices release signals for every second. A reader detects the signals, within a range of 300 feet, and transmits it to the EAM software or cloud servers. 

BLE is an affordable, mobile battery-friendly technology with a lifespan of up to three years. It is wrapped in water-resistant cases and has the flexibility of being screwed to various assets. It fits for indoor and outdoor use. 

Why is precise asset tracking essential?

Few manufacturing assets like trolleys, stretchers, transport systems, etc., are frequently used. Knowledge on current location of these assets is essential for effective delivery of core business service and customer satisfaction.

With IoT asset management, you can get periodic updates for understanding asset performance which helps in arriving at accurate business decisions and quicker identification of inventory items. By this way, you can shield assets from threats, misplacement and ensure timely availability. So you need not over-purchase the concerned assets avoiding needless expenditures in an organization. Doing away with unnecessary expenses and error-free asset operation is an intrinsic part of business growth, isn’t it? 

Is IoT technology expensive?

IoT technology might have been expensive in the past, but not now. It is becoming more affordable with increase in adoption and usage. You can choose the technology matching your requirements and budget. 

Sensors can store data and possess computing power. New sensor models possess improved computing abilities. Many businesses plan to invest considerably in IoT technology to benefit from groundbreaking innovations. 

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a relatively new technology, compared to RFID, that has well understood the modern-day requirements of people in the industry. Hence it is enriched with all the necessary functionalities. The range of the BLE reader is 20 feet(the RFID reader range is 1-5 feet). The cost of a BLE reader is much cheaper, starting from $10, with easier integration and smartphone compatibility than its predecessor. 

Quick ROI with accurate business decisions

Since IoT-based asset tracking lets you know the asset condition, you are saved from sudden breakdowns that handicap your operations. You can regulate energy consumption and arrive at informed and accurate business decisions with the valuable analytics information. 

Automated asset management is the need of the hour. The return on investment increases when an asset is best used and maintained well throughout its life cycle. One of the main goals of effective IoT asset management is to optimize the ROI. 

Use Case for IoT-enabled Asset Management – Hospitals

People working in the Health care sector know very well that missing equipment and over-purchasing assets are very common. A 300-bedded hospital loses a shockingly high $7M per year owing to over-purchase. Put an end to this practice with sophisticated asset tracking abilities. 

Health care institutions save 10% of nursing shift hours squandered towards frantic searches for physiotherapy equipment. They can raise the engagement time of biomedical technicians to 208 hrs/year. Misplaced equipment is no more a reason for missing out on the timeliness of patient care. 

Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) tags can be attached to medical devices such as stretchers, portable X-ray machines, and other valuables for real-time monitoring to benefit a maximum number of patients. Hospitals can also attach these tags to the uniform of staff too for tracking their movements. The work nature of health care professionals mandates them to be on the move within the premises.

Hospital management can ensure high-quality disinfection by attaching metal embedded tags to surgery instruments for tracking them along the autoclave process. They can better secure delicate assets such as tissue samples(to be sent for biopsy), donated blood, vaccines, etc., and maintain in optimal storage conditions with the help of an RFID hospital asset tracking system

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