5 modern & trending technologies for fixed asset tracking

Tracking of fixed assets is one of the most important aspects of a business. It sounds simple, but many businesses suffer from not capitalizing on the new age asset tracking technologies for this. Scaling up a business requires an incredible investment in purchase of fixed assets. These assets need to be tracked, with accurate recordings along with easy access to asset data.

Before we get acquainted with the Asset tracking technology approach, it’s good to understand why the traditional methods are no longer as efficient. Following are some major drawbacks of using tools like spreadsheets, logbooks, registers etc. to track fixed assets:

  • Unreliable / impossible to maintain data accurately
  • No real-time asset data, lack of up-to-date asset information
  • No audit trail causing major financial problems
  • Vulnerability to human errors and duplication
  • Limited user access; lack of multi-user support
  • Limits quick data analysis, etc.

Every investment in the business should yield its ROI, the fixed assets are no exception. Cutting down unnecessary time and labor spent on tracking fixed assets by opting for a modern asset tracking technology approach is the route to efficiency.

Choosing the right fixed asset tracking technology

Some considerations have to be made before deciding on the right asset tracking technology. Below is a list of factors to consider:

  • Asset mobility
  • Indoor or outdoor tracking requirement
  • Location accuracy
  • Tracking frequency
  • Deployment etc.

Fixed Asset tracking Technologies are vast and present options for every business. These technologies are primarily divided into two; Passive Asset Tracking and Active Asset Tracking. Within the two there are various asset tracking technologies like:

  1. Barcodes and QR codes
  2. Asset tracking RFID technologies/ Asset tracking IOT RFID technology
  3. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)/ Bluetooth asset tracking
  4. GPS Asset Tracking and hybrid technologies
  5. Wi-Fi Tracking

Passive asset tracking

Barcodes and QR codes

The simplest and most commonly used fixed asset tracking technology is the barcode labelling and QR codes. Barcodes have been around since the 70s, and have made way for the new and high-tech QR codes. They truly make it efficient for the company to not just track, but also organize all the data in an accessible format. You can print barcode & QR code labels in different sizes and affix them to the assets that need to be tracked. You may also opt to print the barcode or QR code directly on the asset. The codes provide a unique serial identification to each asset. You can easily scan these codes via a simple handheld scanning device or a mobile, to access the information specific to an asset or automatically reconcile the assets. Barcodes and QR tags provide multiple benefits including faster scanning of assets, higher accuracy, low maintenance cost, affordable implementation etc. Barcodes have been able to modernize inventory control across many industries and become a go-to fixed asset tracking method.

Read more on Barcode and QR code:
Advantages and disadvantages of Barcode and QR code
Use Cases & Application of Barcode & QR codes for Asset Tracking
Pricing and Cost of Barcode and QR code technologies

Active asset tracking

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)

The asset tracking RFID technology tags are an advanced version of the barcode and QR code labels. They offer benefits like; multiple assets scans, wider scan range, and can also withstand severe weather and environmental conditions. The striking feature of the asset tracking IOT RFID technology tags is that they enable non-contact reading and recording of data. They are interchangeably called electronic tags. They basically use radio waves to emit asset data to a reader, which makes it perfect for tracking IT assets and other fixed assets which are remote. Another notable feature is that RFID tracking can scan multiple assets at once, thereby speeding the process of data recording. Key features of RFID:

  • Unique ID
  • Automatic recognition
  • Passive RFID (no need for batteries)
  • Multiple tags can be read at once
  • Rugged and weatherproof
Passive RFID

One version of the asset tracking RFID technologies is the passive RFID system, which comprises an RFID reader / interrogator, an RFID antenna, & RFID tags. No batteries are used in this version and they virtually last a lifetime. These passive RFID systems use high-power readers which send out radio-frequency signals to battery-free tags. The downside of them is that they have a relatively short read range (about 17 feet), hence they are best used as an indoor asset tracking technology. They are also rugged and can withstand extreme weather conditions, making them great for indoors or outdoors. The passive RFID is a versatile asset tracking technology. The RFID reader can be a handheld scanner or be a fixed scanner, like in the case of entry/exit points.

Active RFID

The second version of the asset tracking RFID technologies is the active asset tracking RFID technology. These use batteries as a source of power for operating the tags, and since batteries don’t last too long, they would need replacement. Similar to the passive asset tracking RFID, the active RFID tracking also has a reader/ interrogator, antenna and a tag. Active RFID tags have a wider range and make it possible to scan assets over hundreds of feet. Their memory is also vast, enabling them to hold large amounts of asset data. Active RFID scanners can run multiple scans at one time and use various forms. This technology is good if you’re looking for multiple forms of asset location tracking and management.

Read more on RFID:
Advantages and disadvantages of Active & Passive RFID
Use Cases & Applications of RFID for Asset Tracking
Pricing and Cost of RFID technology

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

Bluetooth asset tracking tags aka Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or popularly known as Bluetooth Smart are the latest fixed asset tracking technologies. If you’re looking for a simple, less bulky method of tracking, this is the option for you. The BLE beacon is a low power, wireless technology which uses radio waves for short-range communications. Because it consumes such less power, it surpasses other technologies in its advantages like Wi-Fi & GPS. All Bluetooth compatible devices can have the technology integrated in them like smartphones and tablets. The Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) scanners exchange information on short intervals to save power. They also remain in sleep mode in between data exchanges. The BLE technology comprises BLE tags, BLE readers and the tracking application. Key Features of BLE Asset Tracking Real-time tracking within premises

  • Cloud-based & Secure
  • Alarms & Alerts
  • Productivity monitoring
  • Timetable
  • SMS/Email Notification

Read more on Bluetooth BLE technology :
Advantages and disadvantages of Bluetooth BLE technology
Use Cases & Applications of Bluetooth BLE for Asset Tracking
Pricing and Cost of Bluetooth BLE technology

Wi-fi tracking

For Real-Time Location System tracking needs, Wi-Fi location and asset tracking is the best option. The reason being, Wi-Fi tracking is more standardised when compared to other asset tracking technologies. This also means, implementation of tracking via Wi-Fi will be far easier. The Wi-Fi asset tracking tags have a Wi-Fi radio that transfers data out to multiple receivers. These sensor receivers use the time difference of arrival (TDOA) along with the strength signals in order to process the exact position of the asset. This information is then sent to the cloud where it can be accessed as per need. Asset tracking can easily be integrated with all Wi-Fi compatible handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets. Key features of Wi-Fi tracking technology

  • Indoor as well as Outdoor coverage possible
  • Scalability
  • Existing network access
  • Real-time tracking within premises
  • Cloud-based & Secure
  • Notifications

Read more on Wi-Fi Tracking:
Advantages and disadvantages of Wi-Fi technology
Use Cases & Applications of Wi-Fi technology for Asset Tracking
Pricing and Cost of Wi-Fi technology

GPS location and Tracking

Businesses with outdoor tracking requirements should opt for the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) or GPS asset tracking system. This method allows tracking assets that are in transit like fleet/ vehicle management. GPS asset tracking offers real time tracking, though this is dependent on knowing the locations of the in-orbit satellite & matching the clocks accurately. Receivers monitor this signal and facilitate relative movement tracking, and hence are able to provide real time information of where the asset is. If your business deals with assets that are in transit like fleet/ vehicle management then this is the tracking technology best suited for you. The GPS location tracking is reliable and accurate. This asset tracking solution consists of a GPS tracker, a data transmission system, and a GPS asset tracking software. Key features of GPS tracking

  • Real-time mapping
  • Cloud-based & Secure
  • Maintenance alerts
  • Mobile tracking

The Modern trending technologies for fixed asset tracking are a way forward for your business. Being proactive and implementing it can help save time in the future, but it’s never too late to organize your companies’ assets. Systematic utilization, low wastage and high ROS requires efficient tracking of fixed assets in the business. Reduce the stress of manual tracking by opting for solutions that have been created specifically for fixed asset tracking.

Read more on GPS tracking technology :
Advantages and disadvantages of GPS tracking technology
Use Cases & Applications of GPS for Asset Tracking
Pricing and Cost of GPS tracking technology

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