Asset tracking makes a comeback

Asset tracking makes a comeback

By Andrew Tolve

Juniper Networks, one of the world’s largest providers of network infrastructure, software, and services, selected Fluensee to track its high-value assets worldwide. Fluensee’s AssetTrack 4.0 is completely browser-based, so clients can use a single platform to locate, monitor, and manage their assets. The application is fully integrated into Google Maps and offers real-time updates about asset location, status, and condition.

“Most organizations that manage critical and expensive assets have the same issues,” says Chris Brumett, chief operating officer at Fluensee. “Manual processes; labor-intensive inventories; limited visibility, control, and utilization of assets.” AssetTrack not only solves these problems, but helps streamline operations and save money, he says.It’s a familiar refrain from the fleet and asset management industry but one that’s failed to attract new customers in recent years. A new study from ABI research shows that growth in the fleet and asset management industries stopped in 2009 and will remain flat in the wake of the global recession. The study forecasts that the industries will stage a return to healthy growth starting in 2012.“Initially, we set out to provide real-time visibility into the location of our high-value test equipment and receive alerts when these assets move from designated areas,” says Patrick Thurber, Juniper Networks’ director of lab management. “We quickly saw the value in Fluensee’s ability to provide a single asset management platform for all of our high-value assets and respective business processes.”

New Evigia asset tracking solution

Evigia introduced a new active-passive asset-tracking platform and solution set, the EV3-HHI-PAB. Despite its clunky name, the platform offers some exciting features, like the ability to add the performance, reliability, and extended wireless range of active tags to passive RFID networks. The end goal is to provide a cost-effective solution to enhance network management and increase operational efficiency.

Free navigation for everyone

Nokia’s free navigation service, Ovi Maps, became the first free app to achieve worldwide coverage. Ovi Maps provides free maps, updates, and directions, and is built on hybrid vector maps, which allow the app to work even in locations where cellular service isn’t available. The sophistication of the app and its ubiquity pose a significant threat to the PND industry. Similar free services from Google and Microsoft compound the problem.

New Garmin PND

Garmin unveiled the nüvi 3700 series, a new range of PNDs that look and feel much like an iPhone. They’re slim (less than 9mm) and feature bright screens with multi-touch display panels. New software improvements like trafficTrends, which recommends routes based on historical traffic data and recurring trends, and myTrends, which remembers and predicts frequent destinations, round out the new features. The models run from $349 to $449.

Chartaride offers location-based transportation

LBS start-up Chartaride went live with a ground transportation platform that harnesses social media and location-based technology to connect passengers with drivers, in real time and on demand. Passengers utilize a smartphone app, Chartaride fastbook, to plan, book, and organize trips on the fly, while service providers use a real-time Web platform to see where passengers are and who’s closest to dispatch. The program is presently available in the US Southeast (Chartaride is based in Atlanta, GA) but will be live throughout the US by the end of 2010.

Location-based Twitter

Twitter announced Points of Interest, a new feature that allows users to click on a place name in a tweet and see that location plotted on a map. User comments will be visible alongside the map. The announcement is part of a larger attempt to make Twitter a fully location-aware service. Last month, Twitter launched a new geolocation feature that allows users to attach their locations to tweets, including the precise coordinates of their location or just their neighborhood, town, or city.

Envision EVs

Envision Motor Company announced plans to release a suite of hardy, all-electric vehicles in June. These EVs will include a seven-passenger wagon, a utility van, and a pick-up truck, all available for less than $30,000. The company claims that the cars have a range of 200 miles, though that remains to be tested in real-life scenarios. The car will take six to eight hours to charge and includes standard features like power steering, power locks and windows, and anti-lock brakes.

Home Touch iPad app

Home Touch, a leader in intelligent home system technology, introduced a new iPad app that allows residents to control their home system technologies wherever they are, as long as they have their iPads in tow. Home Touch specializes in energy-efficient systems that allow residents to streamline building functions, like temperature control, lighting, security, keyless entry, media, and communications.Home Touch is one of thousands of companies racing to create new iPad apps. Media outlets and navigation nerds, gamers and IT specialists are all part of the movement. Industry analyst iSuppli projects iPad sales to reach 7.1 million units worldwide in 2010. That number will double in 2011 and nearly triple to 20.1 million by 2012, iSuppli forecasts.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

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