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Asset visibility: it’s the Internet of Things at work

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05 December 2016

Neha Agarwal

Blogs by author: Neha Agarwal, Global Proposition Director, Asset visibility IoT Solutions, BT.

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As the Internet of Things comes to life, Neha Agarwal explores why asset visibility will be a game-changing application for a variety of industries.

It’s time to move beyond the hype. The Internet of Things (IoT) is going mainstream and reshaping the world around us. One powerful application is asset visibility, which, thanks to better networks and more affordable sensors, is becoming easier and more cost effective to deploy than ever before.

Why would you want better visibility of your assets? Plenty of reasons, for example, to maintain product quality and service levels, to maximise the use of equipment, vehicles (and even people), to protect goods from contamination, counterfeiting and theft, to comply with regulatory requirements- the benefits are many and varied.

Four areas that would benefit most from better visibility.

According to the customers we talk to, there are four specific areas where enterprises want much better visibility and control of assets.

Organisations need to track assets within their own facility.
It might be specialist equipment in a warehouse or roll cages in a distribution depot — even wheelchairs or IV drips in a hospital. You don’t want employees wasting time hunting for everyday items that are essential to the smooth running of the operation.

Tracking assets in transit helps enterprises to save costs and serve their customers better.
We’re doing this in Openreach, which looks after the network that keeps UK homes and businesses connected. By tracking thousands of pieces of vital telecoms equipment — from humble home hubs to massive drums of copper cable — Openreach is saving millions of pounds and improving customer service.

Then there’s our customer Domiberia, which uses asset visibility technology to comply with a European directive on food traceability. Domiberia can track the millions of tin cans it produces annually for companies such as Mars and Nestle throughout the supply chain.

Inaccurate inventory is still the Achilles heel of many businesses.
In particular, retailers and CPG companies desperately want more accurate inventory information.

Digital tags and fixed wireless readers can help them understand the reality of the stock situation moving through their supply chain in real time. It can also help prevent theft and counterfeiting of pharmaceuticals, or luxury goods.

Understanding the status of equipment enables businesses to take action.
Because, if you know how well something is performing, you can take preventative or remedial intervention.

For example, an ice cream manufacturer can remotely monitor the chiller cabinets it installs in retail outlets and make sure the product is stored at a safe temperature. Asset monitoring technologies can also check the status of equipment in remote places or hazardous environments such as mining or oil and gas exploration, reducing the need to place human beings in danger.

Why it’s time for Trace.

There is more to successful asset tracking and monitoring than simply installing sensors. You need integration with enterprise systems, appropriate security measures, great connectivity and advanced business analytics to make sense of all the incoming data. This is where BT Trace comes in. Trace brings together all the technologies and, importantly, the networking and integration skills that underpin any IoT solution, including asset visibility.

As IoT adoption accelerates, we can help you understand the operational and security implications, and make sure you maximise its potential. You can read more about our solutions and how we’re helping business get to grips with asset visibility on our website.