Asset management and data optimization are crucial tools for companies looking to managing multiple parts of their supply chains, says Peter Nilsson, chief marketing officer with Mobilogix.
SCB: In the areas of asset management and data optimization, what should one consider if one is looking for such a solution?
Nilsson: The most important thing for companies to consider is what exactly they’re looking to accomplish. What do they want an asset-management or data-optimization solution to do for them? It can be about location, motion, temperature, humidity, altitude, battery condition, or ambient light. And on the manufacturing plant floor, there are robotics and conveyor belts. When was the last time these things were serviced? Do they need to be serviced now? What is the health of every asset? It starts with a use case, because just about anything and everything can be tracked, monitored, or managed today.
SCB: What is the pain point that companies have that this particular technology is addressing?
Nilsson: It’s all about the need for data. A good asset-management solution will get pinpoint data, whether for location, temperature, motion, G shock, whatever. The value behind getting that data is that whether you're the CEO, CFO, CIO, CTO, product manager, or plant manager, you’re all needing data to make better decisions, run more efficient businesses and, as a result, be more profitable.
SCB: Carriers and logistics providers have claimed for years to have the ability to track and manage assets in this manner, whether they could or not. What has changed that makes it possible now?
Nilsson: It starts with a mindset — an understanding of, and belief in, technology. Historically, the technology hasn't always worked. But now, with the internet of things, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 5G, the capabilities are there to track an asset. There are different technologies that support each other and can coexist, where historically they could not.
There’s also geofencing. Historically, once a solution was inside of a geofence, it would try and jump out, and the user would get a bunch of false alerts. That's not what somebody wants when they wake up in the morning, to have 900 false alerts because a GPS or cellular solution was jumping outside the geofence to get a signal from a tower somewhere else. With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth beacons, that indoor/outdoor problem has been solved.
SCB: Can today’s systems distinguish between a flood of information that would just bury us, and the stuff we really need to know?
Nilsson: That’s the beauty of any good asset-management solution. The ones that have a viable platform are those where the hardware gathers the data, and it’s presented in an organized, digestible, and most importantly, a usable fashion. Some solutions are customizable, where you're able to set the parameters for exactly what you want to see and when. The data is presented to you via the platform.
SCB: Do these systems allow you to take appropriate action in response to the data that's coming down the pike?
Nilsson: That's what it's all about. By analyzing your data and presenting it against what you're trying to accomplish, you're able to make a much more informed decision, and therefore run a more efficient and profitable business.
SCB: Where are we today with regard to applying analytics to the data, and using it to create historical records that can help us in the future?
Nilsson: By creating that historical record, you can start to build predictive analytics, and with the coming of artificial intelligence, that's only going to get stronger. Is it here yet? I don't think so. Is it going there? Yes. Will we ever get there 100%? I don't know, but I do believe that based on historical data per asset, you’re much more able to make decisions that can better your future.
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