How the IoT is enabling smarter asset tracking

June 30, 2021

What can we learn from the Swiss Post Office?

Semtech's Marc Pégulu

Asset tracking has played a critical role in the supply chain and manufacturing industries for decades, allowing companies to effectively monitor resources and operations to improve overall efficiency. For years, asset tracking was operated by either cellular or satellite, which became expensive, lacked sophistication and ultimately failed to fully maximize asset-monitoring potential.

The recent evolution of Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled solutions is allowing asset tracking applications to be more ubiquitous, pervasive and sophisticated. With IoT, we are now able to communicate not only the position of the asset, but also key data related to it.

Here are three use cases that show the impact that IoT-enabled asset-tracking solutions are having on the manufacturing and supply chain industries.

Smart supply chain & logistics

Tracking highly valued assets on the move is essential to ensuring that products are safely and efficiently transferred from one location to the next. Long-range and low-power IoT technology is an optimal solution because it’s easy to deploy and affordable compared to other connectivity options. Some platforms include a modular and configurable chipset that seamlessly transition between outdoor and indoor activity, replacing the need to build different trackers for indoor or outdoor use.

Some platforms feature innovative battery-powered tracking devices for indoor and outdoor asset management. These devices can be leveraged in for a number of key applications including pallet and warehouse equipment tracking and inventory and shipment management.

Cloud-managed asset and facility monitoring 

Enterprise asset-management solutions are not typically pre-integrated with the underlying network within the facility, causing long deployment cycles and difficulties when scaling. However, having the ability to monitor high-value assets and environmental conditions in facilities and warehouses is mission critical for businesses.

To address this, business owners are turning to simple and secure all-in-one asset and facilities-management solutions based on the LoRaWAN standard, delivered as a cloud SaaS offer. Leveraging long-range and low-power sensors, this solution enables users to identify opportunities and issues that could affect operations, worker safety and revenue.

Smarter management of mail

We often think of asset-management technology for use cases in smart facilities and warehouses, but there are numerous benefits beyond those locations, even for delivering the mail. The Swiss Post, Switzerland’s national postal service, must ensure postal-service access to all users, which poses a significant challenge in rural areas. To combat connectivity roadblocks in these areas, the Swiss Post improved its range of services by collaborating with leading technology providers to create a battery-operated optical identification (OID) device that optimizes the postal service ordering process for business and consumers in the community. The devices allow users to order postal services as needed with the click of a button.

Asset tracking is becoming more popular as we all recognize the benefits in enhanced tracking of goods. By enabling IoT-based monitoring solutions, businesses will be able to optimally track high-value assets and ensure safety at an extremely low-price.

Marc Pégulu is vice president of IoT product marketing and strategy at Semtech