Asset tracking is an imperative aspect of managing global logistics. Ensuring that your goods being transported, whether it be on the back of a truck or in a container on a ship, arrive at their destination safely and in a timely manner, is an essential part of domestic and international business. At a basic level, having end to end tracking allows you to know the location of assets end to end - from their shipment from the supplier to your business, from your business to your customers. A relatively simple GPS device with a cellular connection allows tracking of all of that inventory. Additional IoT devices that can monitor environmental conditions can allow you to confirm that any perishable or otherwise delicate goods are appropriately shipped and maintained.
At a deeper level, unfortunately it is not quite that simple. It is a process to vet out devices that can operate in potentially harsh environments, operate with a stable cellular connection with antennas that are powerful enough to transmit data and work around any potential faraday cage effects that could occur within a shipping container or truck. On top of identifying a possible hardware solution, another consideration is where are those data points going to be stored and monitored? Finding a cloud service provider would be the next step in the development process. You need to be able to monitor your inventory, track the connection status of each device, collect the points of data and make business decisions based on this data.
Ensuring smooth transportation of goods is an important factor, but mitigating loss of goods due to loss and theft is also an important factor in asset tracking. While some loss may be unavoidable, taking steps to track assets, making sure they are where they are supposed to be and to make sure that anything delicate or perishable is transported properly so as to not risk losing the shipment.
Cellular connectivity is just one of the potential connections that could be used. Bluetooth is possible, however only practical for short range with a localized network. LPWAN, or low-power wide area networks can provide a long range connectivity option, but utilize small intermittent outputs of data and are not realistic for real time monitoring.
What other ways could asset and fleet tracking help drive your business and maximize efficiency and profits?