IoT-Driven Asset Tracking: Improving Inventory Management and Asset Utilisation

Last Updated: November, 2023

In 2027, the IoT asset tracking market is projected to reach a substantial value of USD 6.6 billion. However, the profound impact and value that IoT asset tracking offers to various industries might render this figure seemingly modest in the grander scheme of revenue and profits. An array of industries stands to benefit significantly from your IoT asset-tracking solutions and expertise.

To tap into the immense potential of this market, it’s essential that you gain a comprehensive understanding of IoT asset tracking in its entirety.

Current outlook on asset tracking

Asset tracking encompasses a variety of use cases and applications; therefore, any provider should consider the diverse industries and essential technologies associated with IoT asset tracking.

Technologies & industries for IoT-driven asset tracking

Various technical concepts play a crucial role in asset detection, connectivity, and presentation to end users. To start, one must navigate a spectrum of communication networks in the realm of IoT solutions, spanning short-range options like Wi-Fi, RFID, UWB, and Bluetooth, as well as long-range alternatives such as Cellular, LoRa, SigFox, and NB-IoT for IoT applications.

The paramount question that any design manufacturer must address is the choice of the IoT communication network. The pivotal factor in shaping your IoT infrastructure lies in tailoring it to your target industry and the demands of your customer base. Let’s delve into several sectors where your IoT asset-tracking solution can offer significant advantages:

  • Manufacturing:

Manufacturing and production is the industry where asset utilization can directly result in better financial returns. The entire manufacturing unit can be equipped with an IoT asset tracking network to trace the efficiency of the plant. However, such an IoT infrastructure can not afford any downtime, or else it can impact the business directly.

Manufacturing plants need some easy and effortless asset utilization techniques to be effective for all businesses without interfering with production capabilities.

  • Supply-chain & logistics:

The integration of smart warehouse management and improved logistics visibility holds the potential to revolutionize traditional businesses entrenched in supply chain operations. Such companies can serve as high-value, scalable, and long-term customers for IoT device manufacturers.

Solution architects have a toolbox of diverse IoT technologies to offer businesses indoor and outdoor visibility solutions. Among these, real-time asset monitoring via RFID technology takes the lead in indoor asset tracking.

Similarly, for external traceability, the combination of GPS and GNSS with a cellular IoT connectivity solution offers robust capabilities. This technology can be applied to track specific shipments, cargo, vehicle fleets, or even delivery personnel, presenting valuable applications within the logistics sector.

The deployment of a cellular IoT network stands out as a straightforward option, as it doesn’t require any middleware solutions and can provide extensive coverage, even crossing international borders, when partnered with the right provider.

  • Retail:

The retail industry can also unlock a high-value potential through IoT solution implementations. Smart inventory systems are growing in demand as retailers are realizing the ease of one-time IoT asset tracking implementation and the value it adds to their operational efficiency.

Specifically, the combination of RFID technology and cellular connectivity gateways represents the favored approach among retail brands. Well-known global fashion giants such as Zara and H&M have already embraced IoT inventory solutions built on RFID technology.

  • Automotive:

Asset tracking extends beyond indoor settings and is applicable to various industries, including automotive, where cellular connectivity can be employed to monitor vehicles and valuable assets. When designing such a solution, it’s crucial to prioritize IoT mobility as the primary criterion.

Cellular IoT network connectivity solutions are the only viable and reliable solution for tracking needs in the automotive industry. 

  • Consumer:

IoT asset-tracking solutions need to cater to a diverse range of consumer expectations. Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) should take into account solutions designed for various use cases, including wearable pet trackers, kid trackers, and even detectable key fobs.

These different IoT devices might still require unique communication mediums such as BLE, UWB, or Wi-Fi. Design manufacturers need to establish a sound architecture for data collection via gateways and seamless synchronization with cloud infrastructure for various IoT applications.

While these industries are among the most prominent, it’s worth noting that well-designed asset-tracking solutions can find utility in a multitude of other sectors. An economical and dependable IoT solution can be of assistance in scenarios ranging from cryotherapy transports to the tracking of lab specimens and beyond.

Key elements of effective asset tracking solutions

When companies and businesses implement an asset-tracking solution, they anticipate substantial returns. They seek numerous significant advantages, including better efficiency, reduced turnaround times, increased revenue, higher profits, and an improved customer experience. For ODMs (Original Design Manufacturers) and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), meeting these expectations is of utmost importance.

Here are some of the key things to keep in mind as you market your IoT asset-tracking solution:

  • Securing asset information:

Securing asset information during tracking is important, especially if valuable items are in transit. It is crucial to safeguard this information with encryption and encoding, particularly when assets are moving from one location to another. In addition to protecting the data, the network itself must also be fortified to ensure the security of these data transactions.

  • Real-time asset tracking:

Some of the asset tracking applications, like those in the healthcare sector, might be time-sensitive, where real-time connectivity is non-negotiable. For such cases, having a dependable and consistent IoT network provider is an absolute necessity.

  • Scalable to track a fleet of assets:

Asset tracking solutions must be scalable in terms of hardware availability, network bandwidth, and cost feasibility. When designing a solution, it’s essential to closely monitor these factors to ensure effective market positioning.

Choosing the right IoT connectivity partner can be a game-changer for your business as well as your customer. The flexibility as per the number of devices, frequency of data reads, and target mobility are some of the things you should look for in your IoT solution provider.  

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