Bluetooth Asset Tracking Options: Asset Tracking Automation With BLE Tags

Bluetooth low energy (BLE) technology gives you multiple asset tracking options - pick the right one for your needs and budget. Track assets tagged with the BLE beacons with a smartphone, or opt for a completely automated asset tracking system using BLE tags and Bluetooth IoT gateways. Use a smartphone with a mobile application running in the background for the real time GPS asset tracking.

Bluetooth Asset Tracking Option 1: Track Assets Using A Smartphone

Out of all IoT asset tracking technologies Bluetooth low energy (BLE) is the only one that allows for the direct communication with the smartphones and tablets. Therefore, you can skip dedicated IoT gateways, and use company employees with the smartphones for the efficient asset tracking, in the field and warehouse. Using a smartphone for tracking assets tagged with the BLE beacons, field employees can:

  • Record assets check in, check out, relocation and re-assignment, and submit data to the backend cloud software in real time.
  • Fill out mobile forms that may accompany assets transactions on a smartphone or tablet.
  • Look up equipment documentation, spec sheets, maintenance and service history, and other relevant information.
  • Request equipment on the job site, record equipment delivery and sign for it in the mobile application.
  • Fill out equipment maintenance, service and inspection forms, and other types of field paperwork on the smartphone using mobile forms.

BLE tags provide much better asset tracking automation than QR codes or NFC tags. The scanning speed and convenience progressively increase from QR codes to NFC to Bluetooth low energy tags:

  • QR codes or barcodes asset tracking. You need to locate a QR code label on each item and scan it with a smartphone.
  • NFC asset tracking. You need to scan each item, but you do not need to focus a smartphone camera for each scan. You just need to hold a smartphone within an inch of the NFC tag - so NFC tags scanning is faster than QR code scanning.
  • Bluetooth asset tracking. With the BLE beacon tags you do not need to scan individual items. You can bulk scan everything on a pallet, skid, or in a truck just by clicking a button in the asset tracking mobile application. BLE beacon tags do not need to be visible and can be inside the packaging or casing.

If you routinely move assets between locations and need to automate asset tracking, but do not have a budget or an option to use IoT gateways, Bluetooth asset tracking with the smartphones will be a good option for you.

Bluetooth Asset Tracking Option 2: Automated Asset Tracking Using IoT Gateways

If you do not want to rely on the company employees for processing assets transactions, or smartphone scanning is not feasible for your business workflow, an IoT asset tracking module of the QR Inventory software allows you to track assets automatically using Bluetooth IoT gateways.

For the automated Bluetooth asset tracking you need to install Bluetooth IoT gateways in the location(s) where you want to track assets. These can be warehouse zones, zones in the large facility or a smart building, job sites, yards, shop floor, etc. You can install Bluetooth IoT gateways at the entrance / exit to check what passes through each entrance / exit, when and on which truck. You can also have a gateway in the trucks to always know which assets are on each truck at any given time.

There are a variety of the Bluetooth IoT gateways that you can use. Depending on your exact situation and where the Bluetooth IoT gateway should be installed, you can opt for:

  • A pass through gateway or a gateway with the edge data processing capabilities
  • A gateway that is rugged, weather proof and dust proof for the outdoor environment
  • A gateway with Wi-Fi or cellular data connection
  • A dedicated Bluetooth gateway, or a gateway software installed on the computer or tablet

Regardless of what type of Bluetooth IoT gateway you will be using, a gateway will automatically detect assets tagged with the BLE tags. It can optionally filter and process asset information, and send data to the backend cloud software on the remote server for further processing and storage. Authorized Bluetooth asset tracking software users will be able to review assets locations, movement history, and receive automatic alerts on misplaced or missing assets. You can find more information on Bluetooth IoT asset tracking and how it works here.

In addition to the automated real time asset tracking, a Bluetooth IoT asset tracking module includes an optional remote IoT temperature and humidity monitoring. Use IoT temperature and humidity monitoring option to detect deteriorating conditions and performance early and avoid costly equipment breakdowns. If your assets require a specific temperature / humidity range, remote temperature / humidity monitoring 24/7 will ensure that there is no assets damage due to the adverse conditions. You will receive an immediate alert on any detected problems, and can act on the problems fast.

A Bluetooth IoT module of the QR Inventory software includes all components that you need for the automated assets tracking and remote asset conditions monitoring system:

Bluetooth Asset Tracking Option 3: GPS Asset Tracking With A Smartphone.

In addition to asset tracking in designated locations using Bluetooth IoT gateways or smartphones, you can track asset GPS location continuously using BLE tags. As long as assets are handled and moved by the company employees, an employee with a smartphone can serve as an IoT gateway which is always next to an asset.

An employee who handles company assets does not need to do any actions, such as asset scanning or data recording. He will, however, need to have a smartphone in his pocket, with an asset tracking mobile application running in the background. A mobile application will be monitoring assets tagged with the BLE beacons, and sending the GPS location of the found assets to the cloud software at preset time intervals. This asset tracking method is available in the mobile data collection module of the QR Inventory software.

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QR Inventory and QR Mobile Data are brand names of inventory management and mobile forms software by AHG -- a provider of mobile and cloud-based applications for business. Our unified mobile platform improves business operations efficiency by eliminating manual tasks and physical paperwork, while providing a secure cloud storage for the business records, real time access to business data for all stakeholders, comprehensive data reporting and analytics. Headquartered in beautiful Boise, Idaho, AHG software is used to manage hundreds of millions of dollars annually in inventory and assets.

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