Tracking devices is a primary function of an IT Asset Management (ITAM) program. But as organizations become more dependent on mobile IT environments, how do practitioners find reliable ways to track those assets when they are literally on the move?

Several industries already are using a lesser-known feature of an evolving technology to chase down those traveling assets. The Internet of Things (IoT) gives asset managers an arsenal of powerful tools that can tell them more about their assets in transit than they’d ever thought possible.

They Have the Internet on…Everything Now

The IoT is a combination of computers, machines, and other devices that talk to each other over the Internet Protocol (IP). It’s the same technology that hosts the World Wide Web, but these devices aren’t meant to help a user send friend requests on Facebook. Instead, they use the IP to collect, store, and share data without the need of human intervention.

With the IoT, asset managers not only can track the location of assets, but also get information about their environment: temperature, light exposure, evidence of human or animal tampering, and even their interaction with other assets.

To get an idea of just how powerful the IoT tracking technology can be, take a look at these four industries that are using the IoT to keep up with their nomadic assets.

Here’s the First Scoop

As cool as it may be to have a dripping ice cream cone on a hot summer’s day, warm temperatures often leave dairy companies out in the cold. Transporting frozen treats across a hot terrain takes more than just a refrigerated van. The freezer systems need to be able to respond to changes in temperature to ensure the dairy delights stay stone cold. Using the IoT, companies can find out exactly when the temperature drops enough to start making the ice cream sweat – and precisely where that happened. With the right adjustments, the IoT helps those icy assets stay that way.

Taking Another Shot at It

Tracking mobile assets can be a headache, but not tracking them could cause a fever. Heat, light, and humidity are just some of the environmental factors that can make a good drug go bad. And while an IT Asset Manager might be worried about a cyber virus, catching the real kind can be fatal for some people. Prescription medications and vaccines need to be transported in stable environments and sometimes – depending on where they are going – under tight security. Pharmaceutical companies have begun using the IoT to find the exact location of these assets in transit in the event that something goes wrong. Plus, using the IoT can help prevent a drug meant to be delivered to a real physician from falling into the hands of Dr. Feel Good.

Let’s Put Our Hearts Into It

When it comes to saving a human life, you can’t skip a beat. People awaiting vital organs for a transplant don’t have the time to spare while their medical team looks for those assets. The tracking features of the IoT can help all of them breathe a little easier. With the IoT, medical staff can stay on the pulse of organ delivery and get an alert when the transport team gets close to the hospital and again as it arrives. This allows the doctors, nurses, and others involved in patient care to mobilize just in time to kick start that heart.

Testing the Theory

What do student exams have to do with IT Asset Management? They both have a lot of data at stake. Couriers sometimes get an F for losing entire bags of exam results. When that happens, an exam board can lose thousands of dollars per delivery. But this is one place you might want to look for the answers online. The IoT tracking device can locate a lost bag so students can get the credit they deserve. Meanwhile, if someone was trying to cheat by opening the package and looking inside, the IoT can record that information, too.

Netting Those Mobile Assets

With the IoT, the days of having to physically account for mobile IT assets that are outside the scope of a discovery tool could be numbered. Although eDiscovery tools can help find those assets when they are not on home base, the technology only goes so far. Mobile assets, such as smart phones, are also hard to tag. A bar code on the outside of an asset’s case is only good if the case is on the asset, and RFID devices have too many parts and pieces for something that’s made to go inside of a pocket. The IoT can help the mobile IT asset manager keep accurate inventory while also keeping tabs on where in the world that asset is.

References

[1] 5 Weird IoT Asset Tracking Use Cases. (2019, May 02). Retrieved from https://www.iotforall.com/5-weird-iot-asset-tracking-use-cases/

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