Today’s tracking technology is a lot more available for both commercial and personal users, and it has a wide array of uses. In addition, to make sure the privacy of individuals is not being trampled, the technology is heavily regulated by each state and country, so before deciding to use it, it’s best to check with local authorities.
In short, tracking devices are legal to use for commercial purposes such as monitoring commercial vehicles and shipment. In fact, specialists like Samsara develop all sorts of equipment tracking devices that allow companies to keep track of their property (whether it’s for rental or for in-company use). These devices allow for real-time GPS data and remote access to diagnostics, while also gaining insight from automated reports.
But still, how accurate is this technology and how much trust should we put in it? Is modern day equipment tracking technology the answer to the series of problems that logistics and equipment rental companies face?
The answer is that it depends on the type of system, technology, devices, and tracked items.
Choosing the Right Technology
When it comes to the effectiveness of an equipment management and tracking system, it’s crucial to use the correct technology to get accurate results. For this, it’s important to ask the right questions, such as:
- What type of equipment is being tracked and by whom?
- What type of tracking process you need (centralized, end-to-end, or a combination)?
- Do you have access to power and a wireless/wired network?
- Does the system require any changes to the existing IT infrastructure of the company?
- Do you need to track assets outdoors or indoors (or both)?
- What type of data do you need from the tracking system and why?
Once you have the answer to all these questions and more, it will be easy to identify your specific requirements. The next step is to identify the right technology for the most effective equipment tracking system that fits your needs.
While there are several different types of technologies one can use, the IoT (Internet of Things) devices seem to be the most accurate and easy to use. Moreover, IoT technology is also cost and resource-efficient, which is extremely attractive.
Still, even with IoT, there are a few different asset tracking technologies you should know about:
A QR code is a more advanced type of bar code that can be read with a regular smartphone, regardless of its position. In addition, it is still readable if 30% of its surface is damaged, which makes it the perfect tool for tracking inventory low-value items from different industries.
Of course, each QR code must be scanned individually and you can’t track them from a distance.
Passive RFID tags
Commonly used in warehousing, these devices are small, lightweight, and relatively cheap, passive RFID tags are great for theft protection and management. They can also include item-specific information (such as date of manufacture of time of shipment) and are easy to scan through packaging from around 10 feet.
On the con side, they need special readers, which are quite expensive.
Unlike passive RFID tags, BT Beacons can store a lot of data and integrate sensors that also log all sorts of information. They are extremely useful for real-time tracking of shipments in warehouses and do a great job at keeping expensive items safe from ill-intended actors.
While they are a bit more expensive, they don’t need special readers and can carry a lot more information.
Perfect for tracking outdoor equipment (especially in non-urban areas) and can transmit real-time data. However, GPS tracking also requires a reliable IT infrastructure and the costs for maintenance are rather steep.
At the end of the day, everyone has access to a wide range of tracking apps and systems, but commercial systems require a deep analysis of the type of items that need tracking and why. Otherwise, you won’t be able to collect data that matters for your business and even industry.