Your challenges when it comes to asset tracking
The areas of production and logistics pose a range of different challenges. This includes keeping an overview of materials, containers, tools, and vehicles. Frequently, you face insufficient quantities of parts, excess quantities of parts, or even the complete absence of a part you need. The time-consuming acquisition of information about the current situation delays production and increases costs.
Visualization options aren’t available and data about the current state of a factory, for example, is incomplete or simply not there. In addition, lots of production employees take their own initiative and hoard resources in order to deal with production peaks in their departments. In some cases, this results in incorrect information or no information at all being passed on for planning and to the management. Asset tracking provides the solutions to all of these problems!
The benefits of using asset tracking
Lots of advantages can be derived from the functions of asset tracking:
- Improved planning of stock and resources such as containers, tools, and vehicles.
- Increased availability of resources – prevention of production stops due to missing materials, containers, tools etc., since at all times, the location of each object is known.
- Faster, more consistent data acquisition: Until now, combinations of ERP entries and the verbal communications of employees have had to be used for the determination of resources. This method results in lost resources, takes a lot of time, and often returns imprecise information. The digitalization and automation of this process for the acquisition of information result in significant time savings and better quality information.
- Resources are used efficiently, since a much better information basis is available for availability planning.
- The excessive stockpiling of resources is prevented: It is counteracted by the significantly improved data situation.
How asset tracking works
At present, we must distinguish between two concepts for the purposes of localization. We can talk of “indoor tracking” on the one hand and “outdoor tracking” on the other. The main difference lies in the technology used, the covered localization space, and the precision.
Indoor localization is restricted to the determination of the location of a resource at the production site. A resource is given a marker that acts as an anchoring point. To determine the position of a marker, at least three satellites (gateways) are required. A travel-time measurement with ultra wideband is used to determine a position with a precision of up to 5 cm. The satellite forwards the data to the cloud for further processing.
In the case of outdoor localization, resources are located outside the production facilities. For example, a resource is equipped with a sensor that sends a message via Bluetooth every 15 to 30 seconds. A gateway activates its integrated Bluetooth at intervals of 30 seconds for 15 seconds at a time, and receives the messages from the sensors during this period. These messages are initially saved in the internal memory of the gateway. Every three to 10 minutes depending on the configuration, the gateway then sends the saved messages with the corresponding time stamp, GPS specification, and sensor data to the cloud via a mobile network connection. This makes the specification of a position possible with a precision of between five and 50 meters anywhere around the world. This allows for a range of possible applications such as route tracking, live position monitoring, and resource management. A more precise position cannot be determined using this concept. If, for example, a number of containers in a defined area of a production site are of interest, both outdoor and indoor localization can be used for this.
Once data has been collected by the two concepts and sent to a cloud, this information must be further processed. To save the data and to be able to access and display it quickly, scalable systems are established. This enables, for example, the development of mobile and Web applications that serve as a platform for displaying and analyzing the received data in a sensible way. Among other things, depictions in the form of a map of the production site, a global map, or even augmented reality visualizations are conceivable. One application scenario here is the localization of resources at a production site. This allows people present at the site to be precisely directed to the required resources using AR and an indoor navigation solution. Thanks to modern sensor technology and software, no further beacons and markers are required – the smartphone or tablet of the user is enough.
The data of the resources is evaluated and is displayed in a mobile or Web app with the help of graphs, diagrams, and tables, as described. This makes quantities, positions, and conditions available in real time.
Our asset tracking services
We can help you to select the hardware for the development of an indoor and outdoor localization solution and to choose platforms and management systems that fit in with your infrastructure and are perfect for your application scenario.
In addition, we will support you during the development process and, in addition to consulting services, can offer the option of a proprietary development, too:
- Selection of suitable hardware, software, or holistic systems
- Platform selection with focus on relevant properties
- Prototype construction and demonstration of capabilities
- Implementation processes in all areas
Do you want to add an indoor navigation solution based on augmented reality to your asset tracking system? Not a problem for us!
What are you waiting for? We’ll show you how to use asset tracking in the right way so that your processes are optimized.