How To Choose A Remote Asset Tracking System?

Choosing the right asset tracking device for your business needs can be the difference between seamless operational efficiency or costly, time-consuming asset mismanagement. As with any investment, you want to make sure you are doing the the research, understanding your operational needs and what the market has to offer. But with so many options on the market, the choice can seem overwhelming. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together this post on how to choose the solution that best fulfills your needs. So let’s dive in!

Step 1 : Identify your Unique Requirements

Having a clear understanding of what you actually need to track and how  before you shop for an asset tracking system will make your buying process more efficient. Start by asking yourself the following:

  • Do I need real-time GPS Tracking? 
  • How often are GPS updates required on move and stop?
  • Do I need to track a powered or unpowered asset? Is the asset of high value costing upwards of $10K?
  • Do I need to track trailers?
  • Are external sensors needed, such as temperature, weight, load, pressure sensors, etc. ?
  • Do I want to combine the asset tracker with a fleet management system?

If You Need To Track High Value, Unpowered Assets:

f your large, high value portable assets—like containers, drilling rigs, or even rail cars are left at public (construction) sites or expensive equipment is leased out for several years.

Look For: A Solar Powered GPS Tracker

Solar Powered GPS Tracker

Sure, a long-life battery powered asset tracker could do the job. But a solar powered gps tracker, like the Piccolo ATMS, is optimal for near zero maintenance. 

A solar powered GPS Asset Tracker has one main advantage- It’s capable of recharging it’s internal batteries, providing an indefinite power supply to the unit. This major benefit provides you with the security and extra peace of mind that your assets are safe and where they should be for as long as you need, without having to go through the trouble of maintaining and charging the devices periodically.

Key Features To Look For In A Solar Powered GPS Tracker
Be sure to choose a solution that is rugged, powerful, and self-sufficient.
  • Check for a unit that is packaged in an IP67 waterproof enclosure. This means that the unit can withstand extreme weather conditions- cold northeasters or sweltering southern summers.
  • Second, you want complete visibility on to the whereabouts of your assets. Make sure you get a clear understanding of the battery size and expected performance so you can make the right decision. Check for initial battery capacity for GPS check-ins per day, length of battery life before charge and the capacity for GPS check-ins once charged.
  • Most importantly, inquire what happens on unauthorized use or possible theft. A powerful solution will provide you with visibility and comfort that you are in control. It will send an alarm upon unauthorized vibration/movement and check-in alerts every few seconds while the asset is moving.
  • Lastly, look for a combined solution with fleet management. Keep your options open with a solution that can be standalone or as part of a complete integrated solution for fleet and asset tracking.

If You Need To Track Less Valuable, Unpowered Assets

If your smaller, less valuable unpowered portable assets—like dumpsters, roll-offs and even porta-potties, are left at public (construction) sites or leased out for several months at a time.

Look For: Wireless Active RFID Tags Integrated With A Telematics Device

Or Consider LoRa Trackers for Low Cost, Extended Range and Low Power Consumption For tracking assets in fixed yards or construction sites

Yard Asset Management

A wireless RFID solution will give you the most buck for your money. It will allow you to scale easily by simply attaching RFTags on all of your dumpster/roll-off/porta-potty/assets for a fraction of the cost of a stand-alone battery powered asset tracker. The main advantage of the Active RFID solution is the tight integration with your fleet management system. Not only do you get the asset tracking benefits of seamless trace-ability and reduced losses, you also receive supplemental data from the GPS telematics unit installed on your trucks, for instance:

  • Which asset was picked up
  • When and where was it dropped off
  • By what truck and/or driver

GPS Chassis Tracking

Key Features To Look For:

  • Make sure it is a complete, end-to-end solution that is easy to deploy and easy to maintain.
  • Verify the RF Tags are packaged in an IP67 waterproof enclosure designed to withstand natural elements, from sub-freezing cold temperatures to tropical heat, rain , heavy snow, and UV rays.

If You Need To Track Powered Assets Such as Trailers

If you want to monitor powered assets – trailers / refrigerated trailers, heavy equipment, or high-value mobile assets that are left at job sites for long periods of time. Ex: refrigerated trailers parked outside a grocery store waiting to be unloaded/re-loaded.

Look For: A ‘Hybrid’ Dual Mode device such as the Piccolo Hybrid
A trailer tracking device is designed specifically to operate as a real-time GPS tracker when the trailer is tethered to power (to the truck) and as an asset tracker once the trailer is detached from the truck, disconnected from external power. The main advantage of trailer tracking devices is that the device works as a real-time tracker when the trailer is externally powered while simultaneously recharging the battery of the tracker, removing maintenance and battery charging burdens. This will provide you with the security and assurance that trailers are safe and where they should be for as long as needed.

Key Features To Look For In A ‘Hybrid’ Dual Mode Device:

  • Check the specifications of the device: Make sure it will automatically switch from regular vehicle tracking mode to asset tracking mode when external power is disconnected.
  • If needed- check that the unit can provide engine diagnostics when connected to the trailer ECM for added streamlining and control.
  • If needed- check if the device provides optional external sensors such as temperature, weight and pressure sensors for your various application needs.
  • Some devices also offer support for wireless IoT Tags
  • Verify the unit operates as a full asset tracker with specifications as in scenario 1. (sending check-ins 1-2/day, waking up upon vibration, etc)
hybrid trailer tracking with temperature monitoring diagram

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