Business activities are closely linked to an organization’s revenue stream. However, during this pandemic, these activities are paused, and with minimal contact being permissible across the world. It is quite a task for industries such as Logistics, Manufacturing and even Healthcare, where inspection and monitoring of beneficiary, product or equipment is absolutely essential, without having a closer look at the inventory.
From locating a file to tracking an individual or an asset, there is a need for a robust solution that enables tracking of assets and personnel, and that too with minimal contact and maximal supervision.
This is where Asset Tracking becomes critical.
Asset tracking is the process of keeping track of your company’s physical assets and their location, so you always know their whereabouts. Your assets can be IT devices, tools or even a person.
Find technology that fits your business needs
There are various technologies available to cater to the need for asset tracking solutions, namely, RFID, BLE, Wi-Fi, Ultra-Wide Band, 2G, LPWA, 5G, NB-IoT, ultrasound, infrared. You can determine the right technology for your use case based on the following considerations:
Apart from this, you might need to consider the cost, infrastructure, inoperability, location and deployment constraints as well.
Components Required for IoT-based Asset Tracking
We all know that AI can leverage our data and can recall everything which we might find difficult. However, AI and bots might not be able to perceive or understand human psychology without a context in place and won’t have an option to delineate human across multiple contexts.
Factors to consider while installation
There are many factors which lead to false signal strength leading to poor accuracy of the system like fluctuations, biases, metal, water bodies. These are the attenuations in the signal dispersion within buildings for BLE beacons. Corresponding characteristics are considered when installing and during parameterization.
Use of BLE technology can be used to track the assets
Bluetooth Low Energy is a power-conserving variant of Bluetooth personal area network (PAN) technology, designed for use by Internet-connected machines and appliances. The indoor positioning relies on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons mounted on objects, walls, ceilings, and other places from where they emit radio signals at predetermined intervals. Devices within the emission area can then detect the signals and this helps to establish if the two (emitter and receiver) are within the range of each other.
Beacons are attached to the object that needs to be tracked. Positioning takes place via the network of Gateways. The Gateway then receives the Bluetooth Signal and transmit data to the IOT Platform, where the position is calculated and provided via web services. The received RSSI or this signal value is measured in decibels from 0 (zero) to -120 (minus 120). The closer the value to 0 (zero), the stronger the signal will be.
We use RSSI to calculate distance using the formula mentioned below:
Distance = 10 ^ ((Measured Power * RSSI) / (10 * N))
where n is the Environmental Factor and Measured Power is a factory-calibrated, read-only constant which indicates what’s the expected RSSI at a distance of 1 meter to the beacon.
As mentioned above there are certain factors that can lead to poor signal strength, leading to wrong distance calculation. We have listed down certain methods that can help you overcome the challenge, namely:
Asset tracking enables the real-time identification of equipment and devices, making it easier to locate the devices. By implementing an asset tracking system with beacons, you would always know where your equipment is. This ensures that there are fewer misplaced assets, reduced purchase of repeat equipment and shorter wait time for patients.
Although the need for Asset Tracking has grown during the period of Covid-19, the need will remain the same even after the pandemic ends. With the tremendous advantages of Asset Tracking, Manufacturing and Logistics organizations can reap huge benefits with investment in the right technology.
Written by Arkita Toshniwal, Senior System Executive at Eternus Solutions