Could an asset tracking IoT app be a good move for your company?
Imagine a world where every asset owned by your business was connected at all times and you had full visibility of its location on your smartphone? Customers could know in real time when your service staff would arrive on their site or exactly when their goods would be delivered.
Supply chain issues would be massively simplified and pilferage would virtually disappear. Want to know where your valuable missing goods are? Simply look it up online. What about companies that maintain a network of devices for customers? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to remotely access a dashboard showing the status of all managed assets?
These are the possibilities promised by the Internet of Things, and all these and more are now available to Vodafone customers who make use of the company’s Application as a service offering called INVENT.
The idea is simple – Irish businesses of all sizes come up with a concept for how connecting up their business using IoT sensors could benefit them and Vodafone does the rest. The result is a bespoke IoT application finely tuned to the customer’s needs.
“The potential for this is really endless. It could be attaching sensors to pallets, vehicles, crates; items of any type -- the data generated can give you a competitive edge in house or a new service to roll out to customers,” said Debbie Power, IoT country manager for Vodafone.
“Connectivity is our bread and butter at Vodafone and it underpins everything we do. Layering additional service on top of connectivity just makes sense to us in Vodafone and more importantly to our customers, and that means finding new and important applications for these technologies.”
“Many companies have problems with their supply chains and can tell you that they lose x per cent of their shipments, but they can’t tell you where those items go or at what stage they go missing. It could be crates, it could be computers, it could be vehicles – it doesn’t matter what the item is, it’s now extremely cheap to equip your shipments with sensors and say good bye to the problem.”
Asset tracking is one of the most significant IoT applications, but just as important as having access to data is being able to act upon it. That’s where bespoke IoT apps come into the picture.
“Asset tracking is important but not just for the sake of it. It has to provide data that can be reacted to and which can trigger events that add value,” said Power.
In the case of missing property, that can mean maintaining oversight of its location to inform the authorities. But there is more to asset tracking than just this. Take the example of sensors that remotely monitor changing conditions in locations where it would otherwise be too difficult or expensive to send people.
“We delivered one proof of concept in the utility space recently with Scottish Power which was very interesting. It concerned remotely monitoring link boxes where cables connect which are installed into the ground. These can overheat and in extreme cases explode,” she said.
“To avoid this, we installed sensors that report back and send a message if they detect overheating. This can now be done using super small amounts of power and small chunks of connectivity. It’s basically practical using IoT technologies where it wasn’t before.”
The ‘INVENT’ platform allows for the rapid creation of IoT apps so businesses of all sizes can avail of the benefits such as the ability to connect assets, improve productivity, reduce costs, enhance customer experience and turn data into actionable insights without needing an in-house IoT specialist.
Irish customers in particular will benefit from quicker introduction of smart city technology as developers have access to well-tested and developed capabilities such as alerting, monitoring, dash boarding and device modelling. All of these tools placed into a development platform will reduce development time and cost significantly, meaning customisation for different sectors is now more accessible than ever.
All is fully integrated with Vodafone’s existing IoT managed connectivity platform, providing the speed and flexibility of a global IoT SIM, with industry-recognised security.
“We’ve been working with IoT technologies for a long time now, over 20 years, and it’s a massive growth area for Vodafone. This latest development offers companies a route to deploy IoT technology with less barriers to entry than ever before.”