IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

The Joy of Cooking IoT: Page 2 of 4

You too can be a master Internet of Things chef with the help of these recipes for solutions that any channel pro can start cooking up today. By Rich Freeman

Recipe 2: Asset Tracking Solution

Trucking solutions like Alvarez’s are near and dear to Brad Taylor as well. Omnitracs LLC, the Dallas-based vendor he serves as vice president of data and IoT solutions, has been offering up what it sometimes calls “Interstate of Things” systems to vehicle operators for almost 30 years. That expertise turns out to have uses well beyond fleet management, however. “Keeping track of assets is not just about vehicles and trailers,” Taylor observes. “It’s about all kinds of assets.”

Indeed, pretty much any company that rents equipment to other companies needs to know where its property is located and how much revenue it’s bringing in. “Rather than selling somebody a trash can, they may put a trash can on-site for some period of time and charge the customer for that,” Taylor says. “That’s an asset that can be tracked and more effectively utilized.”

Creating solutions that automate that work is getting simpler all the time too, he adds, because the sensors involved continue to get smaller, cheaper, and easier to connect with back-end systems. “It becomes faster every year,” Taylor says of the development and integration process.

Ingredients

  • Wireless asset tags equipped with RFID or Bluetooth connectivity
  • IoT gateways for connecting the tags to the rest of the solution
  • Connectivity between the gateways and the cloud. Omnitracs’ clients use everything from cellular networks to Wi-Fi to satellites for this purpose.
  • An IoT platform that can collect and process data from the asset tags. Omnitracs offers one with specialized functionality for solutions like this, but more generic systems such as AWS IoT, from Amazon Web Services, or Microsoft Azure IoT Suite are options as well.

Preparation Summary

1. Affix the tags to the assets and deploy the gateways at the work sites where those assets are used.

2. Integrate the tags, gateways, and Internet of Things platform. Though simpler than it used to be, this process can still be time-consuming.

3. Develop the front-end interface and underlying business logic that turns data from the tags into actionable intelligence. There will be plenty of effort here, too, the first time you do it, but you can reuse most of what you build more quickly with future clients.

Additional Serving Suggestions

Building and deploying asset tracking solutions can yield rich project fees. Keeping those systems up and running can generate additional income as well, however. “This is a nice thing for the channel partners,” Taylor says. “If they get into a managed service, there’s recurring revenue associated with IoT normally, as well as one-time sales.”

About the Author

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Executive Editor

ChannelPro SMB Magazine
SUBSCRIBE FREE!

Get an edge on the competition

With each issue packed full of powerful news, reviews, analysis and advice targeting IT channel professionals, ChannelPro-SMB will help you cultivate your SMB customers and run your business more profitably.