Asset tracking is certainly one of the most well-established applications on the IoT market. So far, however, IoT solutions have mainly been used to monitor high valuable goods or critical supply chains. But as prices for sensors and other hardware elements continue to fall, companies are increasingly using them to track and trace less valuable objects such as cylinders or cable drums. But there’s still a big hurdle to overcome on the way to what I call ‘micro-asset tracking’ – and that’s the price of connectivity.
Beware the TCO
Especially in the transport and logistics sector there is a high pressure on price and efficiency. It is the same for IoT applications in this sector particularly if the assets to be connected are small and worth less than 500 EUR. So, it is more than obvious that the IoT solution cannot have a TCO (Total Coast Ownership) of more than that. This is why smaller companies in particular have often shrunk from such investments in the past. Imagine for example a construction company whose concrete mixers are regularly stolen from construction sites. Since each of the machines costs less than 500 euros, it was in most cases cheaper to buy a new mixer than to monitor the existing ones with an IoT solution charging more than 50 euros in the past.
Transforming the asset tracking landscape
But with new connectivity options such as NB-IoT or LTE-M coming up as well as new pricing models such as the 1NCE Lifetime Fee, IoT connectivity has not only become cheaper but easier to deploy than ever before. All these optimizations lower the barrier to use IoT connectivity and enable enhanced business processes. As in the case of the construction company, for example by matching the availability of equipment with the requirements at the construction sites and thus optimizing their inventory management.
Once the cost/benefit threshold is reduced, any kind of assets can become valuable to warrant IoT connectivity. Licensed low power wide area (LPWA) such as NB-IoT and LTE-M is one such connectivity option to enable more assets to become ‘valuable’.
You have everything in place to start your smart asset tracking solution but you struggle finding the right connectivity to match it? Find out what is important when making your decision and what type of connection best fit your application in the free Playbook “Enhancing the Internet of Valuable Assets” powered by Beecham Research.