What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
The Internet of Things or IoT is the network of physical things connected to the internet by sensor devices that collect data on objects and exchange information without requiring human interaction. IoT involves internet-enabling devices beyond your standard computer and smartphone. This technology provides the ability to digitize a variety of mixed assets, which allows for them to be tracked online.
How does IoT work?
For a device to be IoT-enabled, it needs to have its own unique address and the ability to connect to the Internet. Some tracking solutions, such as the fleet tracker, connect directly to the Internet. Others connect via a proxy device, such as when a smartphone is used to capture BLE beacons. The BLE beacon gives the asset a unique address and the app translates additional sensor information, such as the time of scan and location.
IoT-Enabled Physical Assets
IoT leverages Internet-enabled trackers and wireless technologies such as Bluetooth and 4G cellular networks to connect assets to the Internet of Things. IoT enables physical assets to be tracked and managed virtually from anywhere online. A contractor can use a BLE Beacon on a cement mixer, a QR code on small tools, a fleet tracker on pickup trucks, and a GPS tracker plug-in on a piece of heavy equipment and connect them all to the internet using IoT technology.
Items can be located on a virtual map, assigned to jobs, or scheduled for maintenance. Once online, additional information such as pictures, past usage, and maintenance history can easily be associated with each asset to help prevent loss, promote efficient utilization, and extend asset lifetime. Unlike on a spreadsheet, these IoT-enabled assets are now digitally managed and automatically updated with tracking information without manual data entry.
Making Sense of IoT Data
Collecting information from an IoT network is useless without the ability to analyze it. IoT monitoring solutions are typically paired with a mobile or web interface to interpret the data for human use. This comprehensive set of IoT analysis tools can include asset inventory and location tracking, fleet telematics, driver compliance, and maintenance tracking for customizable and meaningful reports to make better decisions.
Ways to Manage Mixed Assets with IoT Technology
|Typical Asset Types (Things)||Tracker Technology||Sensor Data Capture
Vehicles and Trucks
|Cellular GPS||Location and speed (GPS), Engine Control Unit (ECU) sensors||Direct to network via Cellular 3G or IoT optimized 4G|
|Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)||Location and time taken from a scanner app or hub||Proxied via a smartphone or hub device|
|Small to mid-sized
|QR code||Location and time taken from a scanner app||Proxied via a smartphone|