IoT Business Case #1: Track & Report
In the first blog post of this IoT series we mentioned a series of common IoT business paradigms F3 Wireless has come across over the years. In this segment, we’ll talk in more detail about what we’re going to call “Track & Report”.
The fundamental basis of Track & Report is allowing a central information system to know the current, or most recently recorded, location and status of one or more targets. A target can be anything you want information from or about: a truck, a pet, a person, a shipping container, etc. Also, “Track” can mean knowing where the target is right now (live tracking) or knowing where the target was at specific times during its trip after the fact (track recording aka breadcrumbs). Often you are also measuring data such as temperature, shock and vibration, moisture, health, status condition, or other details of interest.
Tracking can be done using a number of technologies which break down into three main groups:
- No device on the target. Facial, gait or image recognition using cameras, fingerprint scanners, voice detection, voice or keypad entered pass codes. Detecting the target by external means.
- Minimal device on target. NFC, RFID, magnetic keycards, QR codes, OneWire tags. The target has some small/cheap provision for identification or tracking.
- Active device on target. GPS, BlueTooth beacon, radar with transponder, other active indoor or outdoor location solutions.
Example of minimal device on target tracking
These various technologies could have entire discussions of their own, but we’re going to focus on the business aspects of things rather than specific technology details.
Track & Report is often part of a vehicle telematics solution. Other common applications are pet trackers, offender tracking/house arrest, patients in nursing homes, home care or hospitals, package tracking, cold chain monitoring etc.
This is where the following business incentives cross paths with the new technology.
- Make money
- Save money
- Legal compliance
- Reputation protection
What resources or assets does your company use? What are your major risks and liabilities? What is the most profitable thing you do? What is the highest cost thing you do? Could you do more business with fewer resources because you can measure their usage?
Because each business is different, the opportunities vary widely. In general, anything that uses a lot of man-hours is a good thing to look at first. This is the sort of brainstorming we help customers with at F3. We know the technologies; you know your business.
Track & Report offers new ways to measure your business, allowing you to make sizable improvements. It can create competitive differentiation by letting you provide customers with more information. It can also help manage customer or vendor expectations to improve your reputation, and document compliance with regulations.