Being Intelligent About Your Assets
By Samuel Greengard
The business world is about to pass through a one-way door that leads to a far more complex and sophisticated world of intelligent assets. For years, RFID, NFC and other technologies have bubbled just below the surface. Relatively few companies have put them to use to gain a greater understanding of machines, people and more.
But now, thanks to a confluence of factors—including connected devices, cloud computing, mobility and big data analytics—the concept is going mainstream. And it's likely to revolutionize business in a similar way as the personal computer and smartphone have done.
Kavi Associates, a Barrington, Ill., data analytics consulting firm, describes intelligent assets as devices and systems that are equipped with sensors, connected to the Internet, and able to communicate with other machines. Among other things, these intelligent systems provide parameter readings, usage information, and details about operator behavior, condition health, and monitoring. Click to view a presentation or to listen to an audio recording addressing the topic.
It's no small matter. Organizations that use intelligent asset tracking aren't only able to understand what assets they possess, but they can also identify where they're located, how they're being used, what their condition is and how well they're being maintained. This, in turn, can help organizations understand demand, supply chain issues and everything from optimal pricing to staffing. It can also help them understand product and machine lifecycles and financial issues, such as variable and fixed costs.
The key to success, according to Kavi Associates President Vijitha Kaduwela, is an ability to integrate these systems across silos—and even across entire companies—and combine this data with unstructured data. "The use of a holistic big data analytics approach translates into business value," Kaduwela says. For example, in the aviation industry, the technology might result in fuel and maintenance savings while in health-care it might reduce the amount of time spent searching for hospital equipment and managing it.
Make no mistake, as the real-time enterprise emerges and organizations look to respond to constant twists and turns in the marketplace, smart asset management will evolve from an attractive idea to a business necessity. Over the next decade, the concept will sweep through operations, marketing, finance and human resources. And it will forever change the way the enterprise views its assets.
About the Author
Samuel Greengard is a contributing writer for CIO Insight. To read his previous CIO Insight blog post, "Retailers Failing to Protect Consumer Data," click here.