The beautiful thing about technology is that it’s constantly moving forward. Once a new innovation is introduced, the race is on for developers and engineers to make it more efficient. For technology companies like RedBeam, the trick is being able to innovate and improve technology offerings for our clients without compromising the quality, efficiency, and consistency of our products and services. We keep our finger on the pulse of advancements in asset tracking so that we can bring the best solutions to you. Here are four asset tracking software trends that we believe will definitely be sticking around for a while.
1. Sensor Technology
The term “sensor technology” is relatively broad and can refer to many things, including heat and moisture sensors. In the context of asset tracking, however, sensor technology indicates using asset tags that are “sensed” or read automatically, as opposed to barcode labels that have to be scanned manually. Asset tracking sensor technologies include RFID and beacons.
RFID tracking systems require tags or labels to be placed on all items you want to identify. RFID readers can then read these items — multiple items simultaneously — to obtain a large amount of information quickly and efficiently. RFID technology offers the advantage of being able to collect data from tags that aren’t within a direct line of sight of the reader.
Beacons are another innovative sensor technology. Beacons themselves come in many form factors — from small round buttons around the size of a thick coin to wearable bands — and can also include additional sensors for conveying things like motion detection, temperature changes, moisture levels, etc., of the items to which they’re attached. Beacon technology is also included in many of the latest Bluetooth-enabled smartphone operating systems, which means that your phone can act as a beacon, too. Where RFID is used to identify and detect the presence of an item as it passes by a reader, beacons can also indicate proximity. As an item gets closer to the beacon, the signal gets stronger; as it moves away, the signal gets weaker.
Despite their different functionalities, RFID and beacons can both be used to see where assets and resources are as they move through a space such as a warehouse or yard.
2. Web-based Software
Another trend is asset tracking software is that it’s becoming increasingly web-based. Web-based software doesn’t require you to install the application on your own server; instead, the application is hosted by your service provider, who gives you access through a browser-based interface. Because you aren’t limited by the need for a connection to your internal network, you can log in to the application from any device with a browser and an active connection, updating your assets and accessing your information almost anywhere. Additionally, with web-based software, it’s the software provider, rather than the end-user, who handles maintenance and repairs to the system.
Another advantage of web-based software is that, when handheld devices are connected to the online network, you can update data in real time. If a wireless connection is not available, you will receive a batch update once you re-establish a connection, to ensure that nothing is missed. This capability enables you to access the most accurate, up-to-date information immediately so that you can make informed decisions and take action on the spot.
3. Device Agnostic Software
In the software realm, “agnostic” refers to something that is generally compatible with more than one operating system. Software that isn’t limited to being used with just one operating system is said to be “device agnostic.” This essentially means that the software can work on Apple, Android, or Windows Mobile devices, without any special adaptations.
Device agnostic software is an attractive option for large companies that use multiple types of devices, as well as companies that are transitioning from Windows Mobile devices or undergoing a hardware refresh. For companies making the most of today’s mobile workforce, device agnostic software makes it possible for employees to use their own cell phones or mobile devices (a system known as “bring your own device” or BYOD) to access the business applications required for them to do their jobs. Asset tracking software that works across a variety of devices and operating systems means more options and flexibility to fit your company’s needs and budget.
4. Accessible Asset Tracking Solutions
Do you know the current location of every chair your company owns? How much would you really want to pay to be able to answer that question?
Because of the investment traditionally required to implement an asset tracking system, for many organizations it has only made sense to invest in tracking their most expensive assets, such as vehicles and computers.
However, due to relatively recent advancements in asset tracking technology (such as RFID and beacons), asset tracking can be more efficient and less expensive than ever before. Asset tracking isn’t just for the expensive stuff anymore. Organizations are increasingly taking advantage of asset tracking software for managing less expensive assets and resources and are realizing additional insights about how all of their assets are used.
Asset tracking software trends indicate people are tracking everything from hand tools in workshops to pallets in warehouses. Advances in asset tracking technology make it possible to have a real-time, aerial view of your assets — you can know where they are, what condition they’re in, and what their use history is. This level of asset intelligence enables you to quickly and efficiently analyze the data to make informed decisions about your assets.
Moving Forward With Asset Tracking Software Trends
These trends forecast the future of asset tracking systems. From the affordability and flexibility that RFID and beacons offer, to the ease and accessibility of device-agnostic and web-based software, asset tracking systems have a lot to offer — and in today’s data-hungry business environment, asset tracking’s popularity and usefulness will only continue to grow.
RedBeam offers innovative asset tracking solutions. For more information, request a demo of our web-based, device-agnostic, RFID-enabled solution.