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Why Fleet Managers Need An IoT Asset Tracking System

Accurate and up-to-date asset tracking information is critical to fleet managers. From determining how to deploy assets for peak efficiency or to address ongoing events, fleet managers need to know exactly where their vehicles or equipment are to properly utilize them. Internet of Things (IoT) solutions offer a cost effective and comprehensive asset tracking system that provides all the information that fleet managers need, and none that they don’t. In this article, we’ll outline the ways that an IoT fleet tracking solution can be used to track mobile and fixed assets, as well as monitor the deployment of your resources in real-time. Vehicles, equipment, structures, and human assets can all be tracked using IoT sensors to give a full field view of exactly where your assets are and how they are deployed. With the data collected from IoT asset tracking devices, managers can proactively address personnel or equipment shortages, misallocation of resources, or changes in the field that require immediate attention.

Mobile Assets

Currently, one of the most difficult aspects of fleet management is tracking mobile assets.  An IoT based asset tracking system is the most accurate, cost-effective, and customizable fleet tracking system on the market. IoT asset tracking systems function through the placement of sensors on equipment, vehicles, or other assets. These asset tracking devices collect environmental and geolocation data and transmit it in real-time to cloud-based analytical software where it is rendered into a readable format and pushed to a data dashboard. So how does this type of system work for tracking mobile assets, and what makes it so effective?

For mobile tracking, asset tracking devices are placed on any piece of mobile equipment in your fleet. This can include any variety of vehicles or equipment, from trucks and cars to planes, helicopters, tractors or other heavy equipment. IoT asset tracking devices collect a variety of locational data, including vehicle location, speed, elevation, and trajectory. This data is constantly uploaded in real-time to cloud based software, where it is then parsed and rendered, and then transmitted to your data dashboard network. From there, fleet managers can see exactly where their mobile assets are, where they are going, and how quickly they are going to get there.

The power of an IoT asset tracking system for mobile equipment, devices, and vehicles, is to provide large amounts of constantly streaming data about where your assets are in real-time. However, an IoT asset tracking system also provides an enormous amount of other data in addition to geolocational information.  Not only does it tell you the location and speed with which assets are moving, but it can also be configured to deliver environmental conditions where your assets are located, from which you can interpret hyper-local road conditions. Inclement weather conditions that can affect your assets deployment can be assessed and acted upon quickly and efficiently. This type of data can be a powerful tool in ensuring your assets are properly deployed, your drivers are safe, and your operations are still running smoothly and efficiently regardless of the local road conditions. Assets that have been bogged down in traffic or are experiencing slowing can give you the warning you need to divert vehicles further down the road.

Fixed Assets

The flexibility of an IoT system allows you to fix sensor nodes to nearly any object imaginable that you want to track. While tracking mobile assets has been a primary application of this technology, attaching sensors to fixed assets can be beneficial as well. Fixed asset tracking can encompass buildings, such as storage facilities or stops for your vehicles, as well as structures or poles that you place along routes solely to place more sensor nodes. The benefits of fixed asset tracking are numerous. An IoT asset tracking system that utilizes asset tracking devices placed on both fixed and mobile points will give greater breadth of coverage for your entire network. Fixed sensors at points along common routes for your vehicles will allow you to gather information about local weather and road conditions at that point. This can allow fleet managers to determine if a route is safe or even open for travel. For municipal governments in areas with inclement weather, the positioning of sensors on fixed points along roadways will allow them to determine how best to deploy their vehicles or road clearing crews where they are needed most. This will give them the information they need to keep roads open for their citizens, while avoiding costly miscalculations in resource allocation and manpower.

Fixed asset tracking gives greater power to management teams by enlarging both the scope of their network, and consequently giving them greater amounts of data to work with.  Nearly any type of data that can be imagined that you deem critical to your organization can be monitored with fixed asset tracking devices.  As mentioned, fixed assets can provide hyper-local weather data in real-time. This can also include things such as local wind speeds, which can be critical in mountainous terrain or areas that experience high wind speeds and subsequent wind damage.  Fixed asset tracking can monitor precipitation amounts, allowing managers to see if critical thresholds have been met that can result in local flooding of rivers and streams. A fixed asset tracking system can be used in storage facilities to monitor internal temperatures and humidity, to ensure that optimal levels are being kept. This can be particularly important in storage facilities that contain volatile or sensitive materials that require a specific storage environment. Facilities such as archives and server rooms can have sensor nodes placed at multiple points throughout, allowing managers to monitor humidity, temperature, or the presence of light to ensure that discrepancies can be quickly detected and addressed.

Customizable Alerts and Geofencing

The ability of IoT asset tracking systems to generate customized alerts truly transforms this technology into a revolutionary means to maintain knowledge of your operations at all times. IoT systems can be configured to push alerts once certain thresholds are met in the data that your asset tracking devices are collecting.  If you need to know the moment when a facility that houses your server stack raises one degree, you can set up your asset tracking system to generate a critical alert and push it to the mobile devices of your on-call staff or management team. In this case, fluctuations in temperature could indicate that your HVAC system is experiencing a malfunction, and need for maintenance. You could quickly assess the problem on your data dashboard and dispatch a maintenance technician within minutes, allowing your company to avoid a critical equipment failure or costly repairs down the line. As a second example, a fixed asset tracking device located on a stream or river could generate an alert once precipitation amounts reach high enough levels to cause flooding. Once your IoT asset tracking system determines that the threshold you set has been met, it would push an alert to your water management team which could then quickly dispatch an engineer to determine if preventative action needs to be taken or warnings to structures or residents downstream need to be sent.

For fleet tracking and mobile asset tracking, the use of customizable alerts in conjunction with geofencing gives management teams greater control over the vehicles or mobile equipment within their organization at all times. Asset management teams could create geolocational boundaries that trigger an alert once an asset has passed beyond them. This can be extremely beneficial for determining if a vehicle is widely off course, or if a mobile asset has had an equipment failure. Additionally, geofencing in conjunction with mobile alerts allows you to determine the moment an asset has been compromised or stolen. If heavy industrial or construction equipment is affixed with asset tracking devices and suddenly is moved out of a storage facility or construction area, management staff will be able to immediately receive a notice, whereupon they can quickly determine if their equipment was mistakenly moved to an incorrect location, or even stolen, in which case they can notify authorities with the exact location of their equipment. In this way, organizations can utilize a discretely placed asset tracking device to aid in loss prevention or the misallocation of critical equipment.

Expandable and Adaptable

For large companies with a variety of different resources to track, or smaller companies that are rapidly expanding, IoT asset tracking systems have the inherent flexibility to adapt to different applications and environments. This allows large companies to track multiple different types of resources at the same time. From fixed assets to mobile assets, your equipment, vehicles, or storage facilities can all be monitored throughout one streamlined platform. As equipment is decommissioned, or new equipment is added, they can easily be integrated into your asset tracking system, giving you complete and continuous coverage. For both large and small companies, as you expand into different markets or fields, you can integrate new equipment or vehicles into your network as they are deployed.

Not only are IoT asset tracking systems able to be expanded with growth or adapted to new fields, they are also able to track your assets anywhere in the world. Through your data dashboard you can quickly move between regions where your assets are deployed. After selecting the region you wish to monitor, you can look at individual asset tracking devices to determine the health of your network and operational deployment of your resources. For organizations that have both mobile and fixed assets spread out over large geographic areas, this gives you the flexibility to monitor every single piece of equipment or structure within your organization from anywhere with your mobile device.

For organizations that need to maintain awareness of equipment, vehicle, or personnel deployment, as well as organizations that need to monitor structures or specific locations, IoT based asset tracking systems can meet their needs. Using asset tracking devices on your mobile equipment and vehicles, fleet managers or large organizations can determine not only the location of their staff and resources, but also gain critical insights into the local conditions of those assets.  Rapid changes in weather, road conditions, speed or movement can be seen and quickly acted upon. For organizations that need to monitor specific structures or locations, an asset tracking system gives them the comprehensive, full-field view of important fixed assets that need constant monitoring. For both mobile and fixed asset tracking, the use of customizable alerts allows management teams to maintain an unprecedented amount of insight into their organization. Alerts give your team the ability to proactively address fluctuations or deviations that might otherwise be missed. When these types of events that affect mission, critical assets go unnoticed, greater costs can be incurred or avoidable dangerous conditions can go unseen and unaddressed. With a properly configured IoT asset tracking system in place, costly oversights and preventable issues can be easily avoided. Lastly, the real strength of an IoT asset tracking system lies in its ability to provide you with an unprecedented amount of real-time actionable data. Using this data, managers can generate impactful changes to operational deployments to decrease risk and costs, and increase the efficiency and profitability of their operations.

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