IoT Smart Tracking Streamlines Logistics Management End-to-End
In a world of constant flux, wireless communication revolutionizes inbound and outbound logistics by streamlining workflows, decision-making, costs, and overall efficiency.
The movement of goods and services from their source to the consumer involves numerous steps. Traditional practices like manual data recording, scheduled equipment maintenance, and extensive reliance on paper-based procedures can significantly impact cost-efficiency and overall productivity. Every bottleneck or disruption in the supply chain results in downtime, considerable delays, and substantial revenue losses.
Industry regulations are stringent, especially for sensitive goods like pharmaceuticals and perishables, mandating specific environmental quality standards for their storage and transportation. These operational processes, which encompass routine tasks and workflows, are ready for optimization and eventual automation. Monitoring and recording item location, quantity, and condition significantly improve inventory accuracy, preventing both excess stock and shortages.
Additionally, it is key to regularly inspect the machinery responsible for handling goods to identify and address potential issues before they escalate into breakdowns.
IoT-Driven Logistics Management
Digitization helps logistics managers stay on top of operations. By integrating wireless connectivity, teams can remotely track and monitor critical assets, such as cargo container location, as well as record various operational parameters like temperature, humidity levels, and impact measurements.
Wireless connectivity introduces a new dimension of real-time visibility, automation, and enhanced security. Moreover, it guarantees adherence to regulatory requirements.
Accurate end-to-end traceability with smart tags
By leaving behind manual data entry and reactive inventory management, asset tracking turns into a proactive and preventive approach. With the goal of improving the way businesses operate, smart tracking facilitates visibility and automation into large fleets of vehicles or teams of workers. It optimizes distribution routes and equipment usage, while mitigating theft and possible damage.
End-to-end traceability of goods and services requires different components, such as asset tags, sensors, robust software, and a cloud-based platform for the collection and analysis of asset data. Tags like RFID tags or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons are attached to returnable assets such as pallets and containers, to return accurate location data, creating the so-called “digital twin” of an asset.
A new trend in asset tracking involves harnessing Wi-Fi Access Points as a cost-effective alternative to cellular networks. By strategically utilizing existing Wi-Fi infrastructure, businesses are now able to pinpoint the location of assets with precision.
Data Loggers for Environmental Data
Environmental data loggers play a crucial role in keeping track of asset conditions in real-time or near-real-time. They achieve this by continuously measuring various factors like pressure, acceleration, humidity, and temperature. These data loggers come equipped with sensors and are designed to operate independently, meaning they can gather data even when there's no network connection available. They are energy-efficient and incorporate features that help prolong battery life. Later, when they come within Wi-Fi range (such as when in a vehicle or at their destination), the stored data can be uploaded to the cloud.
In current industry developments, there is a notable shift towards the adoption battery-less printed tags. These tags, characterized by their energy-efficient design, harvest power from sources such as radiofrequency (RF) signals or photovoltaic (PV) solar cells. This innovative approach ensures prolonged operational lifespans, reducing the need for frequent battery replacements. Beyond the sustainability benefits, it offers a cost-effective environmentally friendly solutions for long-term asset tracking requirements.
Outdoors to Indoors Asset Tracking
When it comes to asset tracking, IoT-enabled solutions offer two distinct methods: indoor tracking and outdoor to indoor tracking.
Large fleets of moving containers and pallets often involve extensive journeys and specific tracking requirements. Challenges can arise when dealing with thick, metal walls that can interfere with data transmission. Here, utilizing Bluetooth and Sub-GHz technology come into play, providing both short-range and long-range IoT capabilities for recording location and environmental data.
In cargo yards, ports, and rail stations, containers and pallets form an extensive mesh network. Bluetooth AoA and AoD technologies enhance location accuracy to sub-meter precision. In-vehicle gateways serve as efficient data aggregators for numerous nearby sensors, transmitting data to the cloud and receiving over-the-air (OTA) updates. Alternatively, data collected during the journey becomes accessible for upload once an access point becomes available at the destination.
Complete Solution for Your Smart Tracking Application
Each IoT-enabled smart tracking application simplifies asset management and condition monitoring. Optimizing the battery lifespan, reducing energy consumption, ensuring a small form factor design, and providing multiprotocol support are one of the main key design considerations for this space.
Learn more about how Silicon Labs supports leading industrial automation device makers by visiting our dedicated application page on Asset Tracking and Remote Monitoring.