Img Source - Josh Warren
Optimizing the asset management process is becoming a top priority for companies in various industries today. In the current fast-paced and competitive environment, businesses are relentlessly seeking innovative solutions to improve business processes, reduce costs, and increase productivity. One of those solutions is beacon tracking. The system is based on Bluetooth® Low Energy technology and can be successfully used in many business areas.
What are beacons (iBeacons) for asset tracking?
Beacons are miniature sensors (about 4 inches in length) that are placed indoors or on monitored objects. At certain intervals, they generate radio signals that are picked up by reading devices and transmitted to the server. The processed data from the beacons is subsequently used by various applications on smartphones or tablets that support the Bluetooth® LE protocol.
Using beacons allows you to determine the location of any object with high accuracy. They can be used to track equipment, vehicles, and other assets.
In most cases, the sensors are powered by a coin-cell battery, which ensures trouble-free operation for up to 5 years. Low power consumption and affordable cost of beacons make Bluetooth® LE technology one of the most cost-effective and profitable for organizing asset tracking.
Recently Bluetooth® beacon tracking has seen extensive utilization across various domains. In 2019, the beacon market was estimated to be worth $2 billion. Experts anticipate a continuous and robust expansion, projecting that by 2030, it could surge to $69.2 billion, with an average annual growth rate of 36.9%.
More detailed information on beacons can be found in our article at https://navigine.com/blog/what-is-the-bluetooth-beacon/.
How does a beacon-based asset tracking system work and why is it important for companies?
Beacon tracking provides users with many advantages over traditional tracking systems (RFID, etc.). To organize the system, special readers are used, which are installed on stationary surfaces and constantly monitor their surroundings. Once the receiver picks up the signals from the beacons, it receives them and sends them to the cloud. Data transmission is carried out continuously, which allows you to monitor the movement of objects in real-time.
As of 2022, the global asset tracking market was valued at $15.4 billion. According to forecasts, from 2023 to 2028 its growth rate will reach 12.7%, and by the end of this period, the total market volume will reach $33.5 billion. The reason for this success lies in the benefits that beacon-based tracking brings to companies, such as:
- tracking assets at companies in real time;
- preventing theft and removal of expensive equipment from the territory;
- increasing the safety of staff and visitors;
- managing inventory more efficiently;
- improving the quality of customer service.
5 examples of industries that benefit from asset tracking using beacons
A tracking system for manufacturing is a digital platform that allows you to automatically identify objects and determine their location. It’s used to track vehicles, various assets, mobile equipment, and staff. Thanks to the system, you can quickly find lost assets, build routes for moving equipment, and control the entry of staff into restricted areas.
Example of Navigine tracking platform interface for industry
Benefits of using the system include:
- increasing staff safety by monitoring their location;
- increasing labor discipline;
- continuous assessment of working conditions;
- instantly receiving information about emergencies;
- ensuring timely maintenance and repair of equipment.
Logistics and warehousing
Bluetooth® beacon tracking in warehousing and logistics ensures timely delivery of products, allows staff to quickly find a particular product, and simplifies the search for forklifts and other equipment in the warehouse area. With it, you can build the shortest paths to shelves and racks, as well as successfully manage warehouse inventory.
An example of how a tracking platform works for warehouses is the solution that Navigine developed together with equipment suppliers MOKOSmart. The business was faced with a lack of notification of staff about emergencies, difficult product searches, and low efficiency of employees. After introducing beacon tracking, the warehouse management was able to optimize space, and labor efficiency increased by 20%.
Asset tracking in hospitals aims to improve patient safety and optimize equipment management. Staff can easily locate diagnostic machines, wheelchairs, and other equipment, and monitor patient movements to ensure medical care.
A good example here is the digital platform implemented by Navigine for several hospitals. The equipment used was from our technology partner Minew. Installing beacons and implementing a tracking system reduced the search time for medical equipment by 20%, increasing the safety of visitors and staff.
Example of Navigine tracking platform interface for hospital
Convenient asset tracking in a shopping mall improves the quality of customer service. The system improves the coordination of internal processes and allows for:
- controlling the movement of commercial equipment (carts, etc.);
- monitoring the movement of staff to quickly respond to emergencies (security guards, managers).
Offices contain many valuable assets, such as computers, office equipment, and communication equipment. They can be lost or stolen, so to avoid these issues, you should use a beacon tracking system. The system allows you to control equipment, obtain information about its movement, and optimize its placement to improve work comfort.
Possible scenarios for using asset tracking beacons
Asset tracking beacons can be used in at least three different scenarios. Let's consider their features, advantages, and possible disadvantages.
Stationary beacons + smartphones
Combining stationary beacons and smartphones is one of the most common tracking scenarios. Beacons are mounted on the ceiling or walls, and mobile applications constantly scan them. As soon as the smartphone detects a beacon, it initiates some action that is performed based on the user's location.
- monitoring staff movements;
- sending useful information;
- warning users about entering a restricted area.
- easy implementation into the company's infrastructure;
- interaction with all smartphones nearby, even if the mobile application is running in the background.
- needing to install a mobile application on a smartphone.
Movable beacons + smartphones
Combining mobile devices and movable beacons helps determine the user's location near the asset. If you mark objects with beacons, this will allow you to launch the necessary processes right when a smartphone user is within the range of the sensor.
- providing useful information, adjusting the daily tasks of employees;
- monitoring the operation of equipment and vehicles;
- controlling the movement of assets.
- no need to install hardware infrastructure;
- automatically recording interactions between assets and the user;
- quickly determining the location of objects without scanning.
- needing to download a mobile application to a smartphone for each user;
- inability to determine location without additional beacons.
Receivers (gateways) + movable beacons
In this case, sensors are installed on moving assets (such as forklifts and other types of vehicles), and reading devices receive signals from them and send them to the server for further processing.
- real-time tracking of equipment, materials, and other assets;
- controlling vehicle entry or exit from the territory.
- optional use of the mobile application;
- reader independence from battery charge;
- automatically monitoring thousands of assets in real time.
- needing to have stable Wi-Fi or mobile network;
- higher implementation costs compared to other options.
If you’re looking to implement Bluetooth® beacon tracking for your business, Navigine managers can help you choose the right option and suitable equipment. You can consult us by booking a free Zoom demo call or filling out the form on our website.