Fleet telematics is a tried-and-true Internet of Things (IoT) application that involves gathering the GPS location of a vehicle, reporting that location back via a cellular network, and compiling a comprehensive dashboard of location information. If you’re after vehicle tracking only, a GPS/cellular dongle from CalAmp plus any number of applications built on top of it would be sufficient. But while vehicle tracking offers a wealth of critical information, it’s only one data source. Mobile asset management systems, on the other hand, open up many more possibilities for a variety of use cases. By gathering real-time location data from tagged items and relaying that data to fixed readers in a vehicle, in a building, or on a phone, those involved in managing the supply chain or logistics can more thoroughly track both people and materials in and out of vehicles.

An Overview Of Today’s Mobile Asset Management Capabilities

If you want to track people and materials in and out of vehicles, traditional GPS and cellular technologies may not work. You need a clear view of the sky for GPS—and cellular can be prohibitively expensive. Instead, technologies like AirFinder—which uses inexpensive, open-source iBeacon tags and Bluetooth—drive more business value. Below are just a couple of the applications (that extend beyond vehicle tracking) that a complete mobile asset management solution allows for.

Monitoring assets to avoid erroneous assumptions and mitigate risk.

Knowing where all of your vehicles are at all times is important—but you have to be sure that you don’t use that information to make other assumptions. For example, if Joe is assigned to vehicle #54, you may automatically assume Joe is with vehicle #54. But, of course, that may not be true. Joe could have taken a different vehicle that day or parked and walked several blocks away from his vehicle. This shouldn’t be brushed off as a trivial issue, as it carries weight for both safety and compliance. By incorporating a real-time location system into IDs or visitor badges, you can track individuals as they move throughout their day.

Monitoring sensitive goods to avoid product damage or loss.

Beyond monitoring your fleet, real-time location systems allow you to track supplies all the way down to the box level. For example, if you have vehicles that carry temperature-sensitive food products, you can monitor the whereabouts of the truck, the movements of the driver, and the temperature of the product. If an issue in temperature arises that could ruin the cargo, the shipment and the driver can be located and notified immediately.

In Summary

Tracking vehicle location is critical—but it’s just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to mobile asset tracking. RTLS solutions allow you to move beyond a single use and build out your tracking capabilities. AirFinder is a simple, effective RTLS solution with a robust data management API. If you’re interested in moving beyond vehicle tracking, contact us.

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Written by Brian Ray

Brian is the Founder and CTO of Link Labs. As the chief technical innovator and leader of the company, Brian has led the creation and deployment of a new type of ultra long-range, low-power wireless networking which is transforming the Internet of Things and M2M space.

Before starting Link Labs, Brian led a team at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab that solved communications and geolocation problems for the national intelligence community. He was also the VP of Engineering at the network security company, Lookingglass, and served for eight years as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and received his Master’s Degree from Oxford University.