Learn more about technology that helps you keep track of your valuables.
Suppose you’re a company looking to keep track of your fleet vehicles, laptops, or expensive specialist equipment. Or you just need to track your own personal belongings such as a bicycle or your dog. Either way, there’s a large range of asset-tracking devices on the market today.
Asset tracking has become more sophisticated in recent years. And technology that was once expensive, unreliable, and only reserved for businesses is now available to the general public — at a fair price and with excellent results.
Types of asset-tracking devices
There are many ways your assets can be tracked physically. Whether you’re a company or an individual, some of the most common ways to keep tabs on your possessions include:
GPS: This method uses orbiting satellites to pinpoint an object’s exact location. It’s one of the most common technologies used for navigation and asset tracking. Add GPS tracking to large assets such as international shipping containers, or inside devices like smartwatches and phones. From there, a compatible software application monitors the asset.
BLE: Using a low frequency of around 2.4 gigahertz, Bluetooth Low Energy is an excellent option. It requires very little power, and it can send out a signal lasting for months.
Its low price point coupled with the fact it doesn’t need bulky device casing makes it a popular option. Pair it to modern smartphones and computers, and
RFID: Radio frequency identification (RFID) uses radio frequency to search, identify, track, and communicate with items and people. They work best with an already established network, and have a shorter range. But some devices are able to transmit just over 1 mile with the help of a strong battery. RFID is a dependable source for tracking a wide range of assets.
LoRa: This abbreviation stands for Long Range. Its technology tracks assets using relatively low power, but across a wide area. Devices using this technology can provide accurate geolocation.
And it’s trackable for months, as it consumes less electricity than other systems. LoRa mainly works by triangulated positioning based on local gateway timestamps.
NFC: Near-Field Communication allows two devices to connect with each other, albeit at a low speed. This technology applies when making mobile payments between machines without physical contact, like when you tap to checkout at point of sale. It transfers small data amounts quickly, and bolsters other connections, too.
Which devices are best for asset tracking?
To choose the right asset tracking device, consider the following factors:
- The size of the object you’re tracking
- How far it will travel
- What kind of signal would work for your application
Tracking personal objects
An Apple AirTag or Tile would perfectly suit tracking smaller objects like your wallet or your bicycle. These devices constantly send out signals using BLE and NFC to inform you of their location.
Take note that they’ll work less effectvely when they’re taken away from areas with connectivity. Also keep in mind that the Apple AirTag is only compatible with an iPhone or Apple Watch with watchOS 8.
Track pets like cats and smaller dogs with a specially designed collar incorporated with GPS tracking. The GPS collar emits a location beacon so you can retrieve them if the animal travels far from home.
Some of the best devices for pet tracking using GPS include the Whistle GO Explore, the Fi Series 2, and SPOT Trace. These connect to an app on your phone to lead you straight to your furry friend.
A stolen vehicle can cause major disruption to daily life and work. I can also mean paying out more to get a replacement. But with vehicle trackers, there’s no need to wonder where your stolen vehicle or boat ended up.
Built-in trackers can be placed in a hard-to-access area within the vehicle so they can’t be removed or disabled easily. Such devices include Amacam, Rewire Security, Americaloc GL300 MXW, and TrackPort.
Tracking large assets
Large asset tracking devices need to be powerful yet discreet. This applies to machinery you need to leave on a building site overnight or a container that’s traveling across continents. In either case, GPS works anywhere in the world, making it the most useful way to monitor large assets.
Place these devices into the assets themselves for removal upon delivery. Some of the best asset trackers for this task include TRAAKit, Geotab, TS10, and Samsara.
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Last Updated on February 3, 2022
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