What Asset Tracking Solution Should You Choose

What Asset Tracking Solution Should You Choose
What Asset Tracking Solution Should You Choose

What comes to mind when you think of assets? Most people might think of houses and other assets. For businesses, it might be assets such as equipment or vehicles. But have you thought about how to effectively perform asset tracking when you own assets?

Almost everyone has seen asset tracking. If you’ve visited a well-organized warehouse, check out equipment at work, or scanned your groceries, then you’ve seen some form of asset tracking at work. So, what is asset tracking?

I. What is Asset Tracking?

Asset tracking sometimes referred to as asset management, is the technology you use to track physical assets. Asset tracking is defined as tracking a company’s physical assets through barcode scanning or GPS and RFID tags to confirm their location. It is an integral part of Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and is important to your organization. Asset tracking is just as important as asset management, as you need to know the location, status, maintenance schedules and other important information about your organization’s physical assets. Any organization with a large inventory has provisions and measures in place to monitor and track its assets. Assets can be physical assets, such as inventory, cash, equipment, vehicles, investments and property. Intangible assets are, for example, brand value, intellectual property and goodwill.

Many companies use the term “inventory” in exchange for “assets”. Asset tracking differs from inventory tracking in that the former involves monitoring the value of assets and recording all details such as location, maintenance history and ownership of each item. Inventory tracking, on the other hand, can only accurately record items in inventory for sale.

Now that we have a brief understanding of what asset tracking is, we will dive into some of the common techniques and benefits of asset tracking.

II. 6 Common Technologies Used in Tracking

Common Technologies Used in Tracking

You may find it difficult to choose a suitable asset-tracking solution since there are many different technologies used in asset-tracking. While there are many options, no single asset tracking technology is (currently) perfect for each individual use case.

Therefore, what asset tracking solution you choose depends on what your assets are and the purpose behind your tracking needs. The most common technologies used today include bar codes, RFID, Bluetooth Low Power (BLE), NFC, GPS and IoT (LPWAN) solutions.

1. Barcodes

This is the first technology used in asset tracking. Barcodes are cheap, reliable and extremely scalable because they provide a unique identifier. However, it cannot provide time or location information. It is difficult to remember the identifiers because of their uniqueness. So entering them manually is not only time-consuming but also error-prone. Scanning makes data extraction much easier and more accurate. While there are many benefits to using bar codes for asset tracking systems, there is a problem with its use. People need to align the barcode correctly with the scanning device in order to scan it and retrieve the information. If the bar code label is tampered with, the scanner will not be able to scan the bar code and will not retrieve the associated data.

2. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

Radio Frequency Identification, commonly referred to as RFID, has proven useful in a large number of applications and settings. RFID asset tracking is a method of sending and receiving signals from asset tracking tags using specific frequencies. It allows multiple products to be scanned at once, which is something bar codes cannot realize. In comparison, RFID is more efficient. It allows you to acquire data while maintaining a safe distance from the object. This is useful in situations where items are not easily accessible. The operators also save time by not having to reposition the scanner for each item.

3. NFC

NFC provides a simple, touch-based solution for asset tracking that allows users to exchange information and access content and services in a simple way. NFC-based tracking requires no specific scanning device to scan tags using NFC technology, only an NFC-enabled smartphone is enough. But it has a weakness: it only has a range of a few inches, making it more suitable for use in a mobile device environment.

4. GPS

Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking was originally used for fleet management. GPS-based asset tracking is primarily used to track items leaving the factory and being shipped to customer destinations, including those sent to distant countries. GPS tracking allows you to track your assets around the world with only a stable Internet connection. It can help you to monitor and track your asset and inventory effectively. However, there is a few disadvantages of GPS tracking. It requires a lot of energy and it is not effective in indoor tracking.

5. Bluetooth

BLE stands for Bluetooth Low Power. For the purpose of asset tracking, Bluetooth Low Power can be used in a variety of ways. You can install BLE beacons to pinpoint assets within your facility if you need very accurate tracking. BLE has been around for decades compared to WiFi and GPS. A coin cell battery can power a BLE tracker for years. Using a Bluetooth gateway, you can locate the beacon and determine its exact position. Bluetooth or BLE gateways can either be connected to a solution hosted in the cloud or installed locally on a device that can run an application.

6. IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) depicts a network of physical objects, in this case, we also say “things”. These objects or things are embedded with sensors, software and other technologies. The purpose of connectivity is to transact and exchange information with different gadgets and systems over the Internet. It always provides real-time asset information.

The adoption of LPWAN asset tracking has seen tremendous growth over the past few years. Some of the more well-known technologies in LPWAN asset tracking are LoRa (long range) technology, Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT), and LTE Advanced for Machine Type Communications (LTE-M). Each of these technologies is different and has its own characteristics, such as the higher bit rates of LTE-M and LoRa’s support for creating unique closed networks. These and many other LPWAN technologies also share some key features that place LPWAN technology in a unique middle ground between local asset tracking (such as RFID) and global tracking (such as Cellular or GPS).

The combination of low power consumption and high signal range is particularly beneficial for LPWAN solutions. While GPS and Cellular systems offer the greatest potential for truly global asset tracking, LPWANs can also operate over long distances without consuming too much power. Likewise, where BLE and WiFi are well suited for a variety of local asset tracking applications, LPWAN can more easily power track over very large areas (up to several miles in radius).

LPWAN systems also show great potential for scalability. Deploying and operating LPWAN systems is also typically more affordable, as many LPWAN technologies use existing and widely available infrastructure, such as cellular networks. This is with lower infrastructure costs compared to many other asset tracking systems. However, there is one thing we need to notice. LPWAN connectivity is often somewhat regional/geographical.

III. What are the Benefits of Asset Tracking

What are the Benefits of Asset Tracking

If you’re new to asset tracking, it’s important to understand why it matters and how these answers can benefit your own organization.

Terminal users often use asset tracking systems to streamline inventory processes and reduce the time it takes to find missing items. These technologies are suitable for whether you are employing asset tracking for a factory, office building, shipping center, hospital, or any other type of workplace. Everyone loses things, and lost inventory is unusable. Finding or replacing lost items also takes time and money – not to mention that any time spent looking for equipment or supplies can be spent on value-added and revenue-generating efforts. There are several benefits to implementing asset tracking:

  • Ensure the security of your assets
  • Reduce losses due to lost or damaged assets
  • Maximize asset utilization
  • Streamline inventory processes and improve operational efficiency
  • Prevent theft and simplify insurance claims
  • Limit shrinkage or damage losses to assets with expiration dates

How you realize these benefits will depend on your business, what you track, and how much damage asset loss causes to your company.

While asset tracking can help reduce risk in many cases, it is not a master key for all operational shortcomings. For example, asset tracking will not eliminate the need to physically move and manage critical items. Nor will it eliminate all human error in your daily work. It will, however, help identify problems in the process.


IV. How to Choose the Right Asset Tracker?

How to Choose the Right Asset Tracker

Simply put, asset tracking is tracking information about an asset. This includes expiration dates, collaboration documents, usage information, using time, which employee it is assigned to, and so on. But for some, asset tracking means tracking assets using their real-time location, while for some asset tracking is tracking the usage of their assets. When choosing the right technology for your business, consider the following key factors will help.

1. Indoor Location or Outdoor Activities

The first issue to consider is where to track the assets. This usually determines what kind of communication technology is needed for the tracking device. For example, a system that tracks goods in transit in a town requires different communications technology than a system that locates assets in a warehouse. Likewise, tracking on a global scale requires different communication technologies than tracking between cities within a country. Indoor tracking can use Wi-Fi, BLE, or UWB for connectivity. Outdoor tracking may require LPWAN technologies such as LoRa, LTE-M, or 5G cellular networks, which can provide the required coverage. If a system needs to track both indoor locations and outdoor activities, it may require a combination of multiple communication technologies.

2. Positioning Accuracy

Secondly, when choosing a communication technology, the accuracy of location is another key factor. If you need to track assets in transit with half-mile location accuracy, you can use LTE or 5G cell tower data for triangulation. To obtain position accuracy within 50 meters, GPS or 5G Polte may be required for positioning. And in indoor positioning, the BLE system provides an accuracy of about one meter, while UWB can achieve centimeter-level accuracy.

Communication technologies as well as positioning methods may limit positioning accuracy. Simple proximity measurements (signal strength measurements) can provide positioning accuracy of about three meters; triangulation using the angle of arrival signals from multiple beacons can provide an accuracy of one meter or less; to achieve an accuracy of less than one meter, developers need to use the time of flight or time interval of arrival information from multiple beacons for ranging. Communication technologies as well as positioning methods may limit positioning accuracy. Simple proximity measurements (signal strength measurements) can provide positioning accuracy of about three meters. Using the angle of the arrival signal from multiple beacons, triangulation can provide an accuracy of one meter or less. To achieve an accuracy of less than one meter, developers need to use the flight time or time interval of arrival information from multiple beacons for ranging.

3. Battery Life Span

Thirdly, you need to consider the battery life span. Most of the tracked assets cannot provide power for the trackers, so the life of the tracking device depends on the battery life. Most assets to be tracked cannot power the asset tracker. The longer the battery life the better. Of course, the length of battery life also depends on the type of device communication technology chosen. This is because different types of devices require different power, time, and frequency for a location update, which will affect the battery life.

4. Cost of Your Asset

Fourth, you need to consider the cost of each asset you want to track. Before choosing an asset tracking technology, you should take into account the cost and risk of individual asset losses.

5. Environmental Conditions

Finally, when selecting an asset tracker, you also need to consider the environmental conditions in which the object to be tracked is located, as well as the requirements for temperature and humidity.

As mentioned above, there are many asset-tracking technologies, each with its own working principle and benefits. Perhaps you can use RFID to manage individual items, UWB to track the pallet, and GPS to track the trucks carrying items on the pallet. In any case, your requirements for end-use will provide the most reliable direction for selecting the right asset tracking technology.

V. What Asset Tracking Solution can MOKO Provide?

High-Value Assets Monitoring of AT001 Asset Tracker
High-Value Assets Monitoring

MOKO A Series Asset Tracker belongs to cellular trackers. It is an intelligent hardware terminal that integrates CAT.1/CAT.M1/NBIOT, GNSS, Wi-Fi Bluetooth and a variety of sensors. It contains several variants covering different regions and networks around the world to track items globally. Cellular asset trackers do not use car power like most GPS, but are internally powered by batteries. However, they still combine the power of satellite technology, so users can view their inventory in real time from anywhere in the world.

This asset tracker is mainly used to monitor the real-time position and status of assets in the warehouse, during transportation and the entire logistics links, and realize automatic alarms for abnormal location and status, such as overspeeding, vibration, tampering, dwelling, delay, and abnormal lights. At the same time, data are packaged, encrypted and uploaded to the cloud in real-time. So asset transportation scheduling and analysis can be managed through the cloud platform visually, which improves transportation efficiency and reduces risks and costs.

This tracker also utilizes some sort of inventory database to keep a steady record of data, such as the location of assets and whether any assets are missing. With all the data provided to the user, the user can quickly complete organizing the warehouse or other storage space. You can keep track of what items are grouped together to create a more efficient filing, organization system, and reduce the time needed to locate items. If an asset is lost or moved around without consent, the inventory database will have that record to check for past errors. Its stable connectivity and flexible configuration are ideal for cost-sensitive asset management applications.


With the booming development of sensing, communication, platform and other IoT technologies, traditional asset management measures are gradually being replaced by smart asset management tools. One of the most promising applications of IoT is asset tracking. A professional report expects the market for asset tracking IoT devices to triple by 2022, with 267 million active asset trackers expected globally by 2027 for agriculture, supply chain, construction, mining and other markets. MOKO Asset Tracking solution will help you visualize and manage your assets all over the world with our reliable cellular trackers.