Track your stuff. All of it. With Wirepas Massive Tracking
When we initially started expanding into smart tracking, we dug into it: What’s the history, where do the technologies come from, what are the trends, where is it going, and what are the use cases? In this article, we’ll introduce the smart tracking scene and let you know how to choose the best technology for your project. It might not always be Wirepas. We’re not here to push our thing if it’s not the right fit for you.
The history of it all
We wanted to learn where and how we could help our customers build serious and sustainable value. Here are some of my key findings.
The history of tracking goods and assets is longer than we might even realize. Asset tags – used for sheep inventory – are as old as the earliest writings. Some inventory tags discovered in Egypt are over 5400 years old . Since then, most goods and assets have been tracked and counted similarly, manually, and reported on sheets of paper. With technological advances, there are considerable opportunities to improve the tracking and inventory process. Sometimes, it’s not just worth the investment. We get it. There are good reasons why many companies still employ staff to count and track their goods. This will continue as long as the efficiency gains brought by modern tracking technologies are not substantial and proven.
In many cases, the investments in the tracking technology do not bring the ROI to justify the investment. To toot our own horn: With Wirepas Massive Tracking, our customers have been able to translate the technology use into significant efficiency gains. Some of our customers deploying Wirepas Massive Tracking told us they saved more than $100M/year in operating costs.
We’re not the only technology out there - but it’s not about technology
Since the use of Egyptian asset tags and the invention of paper, many new technologies have been developed, including Barcode, RFID, GPS, BLE, Wifi and more recently AoA, UWB and Wirepas Massive Tracking.
We’d like to think this has been a linear process, where a new tracking technology is introduced, gains momentum, and replaces the old one. In practice, many of these technologies will continue to co-exist as they are solving specific problems in specific use cases:
How do you detect theft of clothes in a retail store?
How do you implement collision avoidance in a factory or a warehouse?
How about large-scale inventory and continuous goods tracking?
How to deploy a tracking system without disturbing the business operations?
How do we minimize the infrastructure cost and cabling?
It is not about demonstrating that your technology is better than others. It’s very much about understanding the tracking use case, the industrial problem to be solved and finding out how well your technology can solve it. It’s crucial to define classes of projects where your technology brings significant value to the customer, allowing them to scale without going through lengthy and painful POCs.
And, of course, technology is not enough. Customers need complete tracking systems and help to integrate them into their IT.
This is huge and getting bigger and faster.
Despite the fragmentation, the smart tracking market is experiencing double-digit growth (expected CAGR of 11.6% for the coming 5 years). Source IDC 2020
Bluetooth radios used by Wirepas Massive Tracking are dramatically reducing in cost and size.
The infrastructure cost required to deploy a Wirepas smart tracking is insignificant - a hundred times less than an RFID infrastructure and requires no human intervention.
References:  Mattessich, Richard. “THE OLDEST WRITINGS, AND INVENTORY TAGS OF EGYPT.” The Accounting Historians Journal, vol. 29, no. 1, 2002, pp. 195–208. JSTOR, THE OLDEST WRITINGS, AND INVENTORY TAGS OF EGYPT on JSTOR
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Youssef Kamel knows everything about Wirepas Smart Tracking.