AirTags for Equipment Tracking:
Understanding Their Capabilities and Limitations

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In recent years, Apple’s AirTags have taken the tracking market by storm. They have become the go-to choice for individuals looking to track their personal belongings- anything from keys to luggage, cars, devices and more. However, when it comes to tracking equipment, especially in a commercial context, the suitability of AirTags becomes a nuanced discussion. Through this post, we’ll explore the capabilities and limitations of utilizing AirTags for both personal and commercial tracking needs, providing clarity on why they may not be the ideal solution for commerical equipment tracking.

AirTags- Personal Use Versus Commercial Tracking

Can You Use AirTags to Track Equipment?

While AirTags can easily be attached to personal items and equipment to monitor their location, it’s important to recognize their design purpose: to help individuals locate lost items within a personal or home setting. For tracking trailers or larger pieces of equipment, particularly in a commercial context, AirTags may offer basic location services but lack the robustness and specificity required for such applications, including the server side platform used to run comprehensive reports and dashboards.

Tracking Trailers and Stolen Items with AirTags

AirTags can be used to track trailers or potentially recover stolen items within certain limitations. They rely on being within range of devices in the Apple Find My network to transmit their location. This means that in densely populated areas where many iPhones or iPads are present, tracking might be effective. However, in remote or less populated areas, tracking capabilities significantly diminish.

Vulnerability to Detection and Interference by Thieves

Thieves today are well aware of the use of AirTags and know how to use smartphones to detect an unfamiliar AirTag moving with them, a feature designed to prevent unwanted tracking. This makes it simple for thieves to discover and dispose of the AirTag, thereby negating its tracking utility. Furthermore, it’s theoretically possible for sophisticated thieves to use signal jammers to block the Bluetooth signal, although this would require a more advanced level of criminal intent and resources, and the same can be said of using GPS jammers to block the use of GPS trackers.

Range and Battery Life: Key Limitations for Commercial Use

The tracking range of an AirTag is technically global, thanks to the Find My network, but this is contingent upon the density of Apple devices in the area. For commercial equipment tracking, especially in less populated areas or internationally, this can be a significant limitation. Additionally, while the battery life of an AirTag is impressive, lasting about a year, commercial tracking solutions often require longer life spans and more durable hardware to withstand harsh conditions.

Commercial Alternatives to AirTags

Similar solutions exist, such as our Mini IoT Tags used for tracking tools and equipment. The Mini IoT Tags is a tailored to the needs of businesses needing to track tools, equipment, or assets in a comprehensive, secure, and scalable manner. The main difference between the Mini IoT solution is that it is part of a complete GPS tracking solutions which includes features like real-time GPS tracking, geofencing, and durable, weather-resistant designs, which go beyond the scope of what AirTags offer.

The Mini IoT Tags simply complement the total solution by allowing to tag specific items, but they should not be used for theft recovery but rather for inventory purposes.

 

What Works Better Than AirTags for Equipment Tracking?

GPS asset trackers are better suited for tracking trailers, large equipment, or fleets. These devices offer real-time tracking information, are designed to be more robust, and can operate independently of the proximity to consumer devices. They also provide detailed reporting useful for business operations, something AirTags do not offer.

Cost-Effective Tracking Solutions

For businesses looking for cost-effective tracking solutions, several cheaper alternatives to Apple AirTags exist, though with varying degrees of effectiveness and functionality. For commercial applications, however, investing in dedicated GPS tracking solutions offer better value over time, considering the enhanced features and reliability essential for business operations.

Conclusion

While AirTags are a revolutionary tool for personal item tracking, their limitations become apparent in the world of commercial equipment tracking. The necessity for durable, reliable, and scalable tracking solutions in commercial contexts cannot be overstated. Businesses should consider dedicated GPS tracking systems that are designed to meet the specific challenges of tracking commercial assets and equipment. Understanding these distinctions and requirements will guide organizations in selecting the most appropriate technology for their tracking needs, ensuring security, efficiency, and peace of mind.

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