How Unconnected Assets Challenge the Hype Around IoT in the Supply Chain

How Unconnected Assets Challenge the Hype Around IoT in the Supply Chain


Because Intelyt is responsible for monitoring more than $250 million in assets at any given moment, we think about security a lot — how it works, what threats our customers are facing, how we need to adapt to new risks in a changing world.

One of the major changes we’ve all experienced in recent years is that “smart” connected devices are now everywhere. Little more than 10 years ago, there were no iPhones. Now there are hundreds of millions—and billions of Android devices. But that’s just one of the most common examples of an exploding “Internet of Things” that already includes countless connected devices.

IoT-Enabled Asset Tracking Requires Intelligent Use of Battery Power

In business media, there is a huge amount of hype around potential uses for the IoT in the supply chain. In fact, a recent market research report found that production IoT-enabled asset tracking devices will triple by 2022, reaching $70 million in value.

Imagine, connected devices can now tell you everything you need to know about where a shipment is, where it’s been, how it’s been handled and what condition it’s in. While that’s a remarkable capability, there’s only one problem: shipping often takes a long time, and assets that are in transit or deployed in the field typically don’t have a steady connection to a power source. Again, think about our phones: they have a compass, GPS, and a million other capabilities, but to use those features you have to charge the phone almost every day.

The idea of recharging a tracking device every day for each asset in the distribution center of a logistics provider or sitting at a supply depot near an oil field is completely impractical. You need a solution that makes intelligent use of battery power to capture and transmit the right information, at the right time. After all, you only need certain pieces of critical data, such as when an asset has been moved, if it’s been separated from the rest of a shipment, or when it may have been exposed to damaging conditions.

For example, let’s say you have some critical parts being shipped to a U.S. facility from a factory in Asia. You want to know that everything was loaded onto the ship or aircraft correctly, without being exposed to any damaging conditions. But once this has been confirmed, you can be fairly confident that your shipment won’t be stolen while it’s at sea or in the air. You probably won’t need additional updates until the shipment has landed at its destination or the next trans-shipment point.

But at that point, you need certain details about the trip – say, ensuring that sensitive assets weren’t exposed to high temperatures or excessive moisture. The “security” of your assets depends on more than preventing theft. You also need to ensure that everything remains in working condition.

How Intelyt Solves the Problem of Tracking Unconnected Assets

Intelyt’s global asset tracking technology utilizes energy-efficient, battery-powered GPS components and a global ISO standard radio network to reliably track and monitor billions of dollars in assets traveling millions of miles every month. We use more than 500 million data points annually to provide this level of security and visibility.

With our global asset monitoring solutions you can troubleshoot shipping delays or track down missing items by viewing the locations of all your monitored assets on a global map at any time. You can also get real-time updates when shipments are departing, arriving, or passing through designated waypoints in the supply chain. This includes alerts when exceptions occur, such as delays, early arrivals, or partial-shipment separation. Equally importantly, you can receive environmental alerts for factors such as temperature, moisture, humidity, handling, and speed.

Intelyt provides the situational intelligence you need to keep your supply chain working properly, so you can avoid shipping delays, added costs, and lost revenue. And over the longer term, we provide the detailed historical data you need to minimize risk and optimize your supply chain.