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  • David G

A Brief History of Asset Tracking: From Barcodes to Artificial Intelligence

Asset tracking has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the early 20th century. From the introduction of barcodes to the integration of cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, asset tracking has evolved significantly. Let's take a quick journey through its history and explore the key milestones that have shaped the field.

Barcodes were some of the first forms of asset tracking that is still used today.

  1. Barcodes: The Rise of Quick and Accurate Identification In the 1970s, barcodes revolutionized asset tracking with the introduction of the Universal Product Code (UPC) system. Barcoded labels allowed for easy and precise identification of assets, leading to improved inventory management and efficiency.

  2. RFID: Wireless Tracking Takes Center Stage The 1980s witnessed the emergence of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. RFID tags use radio waves to transmit data wirelessly, enabling automatic identification and tracking without line-of-sight scanning. This technology enhanced supply chains and offered real-time asset monitoring.

  3. GPS: Pinpointing Assets with Precision The commercial availability of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology in the 1990s revolutionized asset tracking. GPS utilizes satellite signals to determine the exact location of objects, enabling real-time tracking of mobile assets like vehicles, shipments, and equipment.

  4. IoT: Connecting Assets and Gathering Data The early 2000s saw the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), connecting devices and gathering valuable asset data. IoT sensors and devices enabled asset tracking with information on location, condition, and environmental factors. This led to enhanced visibility, predictive maintenance, and improved supply chain management.

  5. Cloud Computing and Big Data: Managing Asset Information The advent of cloud computing and big data analytics provided the infrastructure and tools to manage vast amounts of asset data efficiently. Cloud-based asset tracking systems facilitated real-time tracking, data storage, and analysis, empowering better decision-making and optimization of asset utilization.

  6. AI and Machine Learning: Smarter Asset Management Advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning made asset tracking systems smarter and more capable. Predictive analytics, anomaly detection, and optimization algorithms improved asset management strategies, reducing operational costs and enhancing efficiency.

  7. Blockchain: Transparency and Trust in Asset Tracking Blockchain technology found applications in asset tracking and supply chain management. With its secure, transparent, and tamper-proof records, blockchain enhanced traceability and fostered trust among stakeholders.

  8. AR and VR: Enhancing Maintenance and Training Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies have been integrated into asset tracking solutions. They empower technicians with real-time asset information, enabling remote troubleshooting, visualization of data, and improved maintenance and training processes.

AR has not only affected the asset tracking industry, but many apps and companies use it nowadays too.

From the advent of barcodes to the integration of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain, the history of asset tracking is a testament to continuous innovation. With each milestone, asset tracking has become more accurate, efficient, and interconnected. Today, businesses across various industries benefit from these advancements, improving asset management, supply chain optimization, and overall decision-making capabilities.

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