The Challenge: tracking location of assets using a single tag as they move between indoor and outdoor areas.
There are a number of technologies that track the location of assets indoors. Similarly satellite and cellular based systems track assets as they travel across the city or even the country. But there is a need to follow these indoor assets as they leave the building for areas around the facility like parking lots and laydown yards – a solution that facilitates indoor and outdoor tracking seamlessly.
- Car manufacturer wanted to extend their indoor asset tracking solution to outdoor areas, but the project never got off the ground because of the expense of deploying outdoor access points with limited options for cabling and power.
- Manufacturer of engineered-to-order fork trucks needs to locate specific vehicles in the outdoor finished goods lot quickly when delivery trucks arrive. In one case, a missing fork truck had to be delivered via air overnight at a cost nearly equal to the cost of the fork truck.
- Heavy equipment manufacturer pulls stock for daily production from outdoor semi-trailers. During snowstorms, it’s difficult to differentiate trailers in the predawn hours.
- Construction of offshore drilling platforms requires locating large parts which have been custom fabricated for each platform under construction. Finding the right part, or as importantly alerting when the wrong part is mistakenly used saves time and money.
- Car manufacturer parks finished cars in an outdoor lot. When rework is required, the vehicle is located and brought back indoors where the specific rework is performed. A single indoor/outdoor location tracking solution provides insight into the entire QA cycle.
In each case, a common view of asset location is needed across indoor and outdoor areas. The first challenge is finding a software platform that supports your use cases, and any future use cases. Next, consider the portfolio of tags supported relative to your need (accuracy, price, battery life), and the cost to deploy and maintain the system.
What to look for in a solution,
- Avoid islands of solutions. Invest in a location-based services platform that can track assets indoor and outdoor using a variety of wireless technologies to address the variety of use cases.
- Be careful of harsh outdoor conditions. Can the equipment stand up to the elements
- Support for tracking outdoor assets using a mobile device is a must
- Ensure the solution can deliver alerts when anomalies are detected: excessive dwell times, asset leaves/enters a zone it shouldn’t, theft detection, etc.
- How simple is the process to assign a tag to a new asset
- Does the system integrate with other systems in the plant like security cameras, stack lights, door locks, large flat panel displays, etc.
- What is the expected battery life and how easy it is to replace batteries
- Does the software platform support common APIs to integrate with MES, MRP, MRO and other enterprise applications
- Is there flexibility in the design to provide a variety of backhaul solutions (eg. BLE 5.X, Wi-Fi6, cellular, or even satellite).
indoor tag, the tag’s Wi-Fi and BLE radios are used to determine location leveraging the wireless access points. When tracking outdoors the A65 uses GPS technology to determine location. AiRISTA provides a variety of gateways to backhaul the GPS coordinates to the central software platform, Unified Vision Solution. From the UVS system events & alerts can be setup, dashboards show inventory of all tracked assets, and assets groups can be created to review utilization rates.