How to Leverage IoT for Innovative Asset Management Solutions

Internet of things technology helps organizations keep better track of vehicles, devices and other assets in their operations.

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Everyone misplaces things. In large industrial environments, where even vehicles and aircraft parts can go missing, finding them takes time and money. To address this challenge, MSPs can introduce customers to internet of things (IoT) solutions capable of tracking and managing assets, whether large or small, to eliminate replacement costs and increase productivity.

Khali Henderson, senior partner at BuzzTheory and vice chair of CompTIA’s Emerging Technology Community, discusses the implementation and outcome of IoT solutions for asset tracking with Jonathan Weiss, head of worldwide smart manufacturing solutions at Amazon Web Services and member of CompTIA’s IoT Advisory Council, in this episode of CompTIA’s From Promise to Profit series.



An item doesn’t have to be small to go missing. When a facility or work location is bigger than a city block, large objects like forklifts, trucks and even aircraft wings may get misplaced. “Imagine not knowing where you put the wing of an airplane, right? This stuff happens,” said Weiss.

“It costs money when you lose these things, especially if you can't recover them. Now, if you're in your warehouse, and you can't find your forklift, chances are it's not gone forever, right? You've just introduced an efficiency challenge within your production process. Because now we have to spend some time and go find a forklift, for example.” The problem gets more complicated when items are shipped off premise. “You may never recover those,” Weiss said.

But keeping track of assets the traditional way—with pen and paper or even with spreadsheets—isn’t exactly efficient. These methods are time-consuming and prone to error. With an IoT solution that captures and transmits data in real time, asset tracking becomes more efficient and accurate.



Using IoT to keep track the movement of valuable objects increases productivity and helps companies save money on asset management and replacement. “We're using IoT technology to track and trace assets and parts down to, you know, very, very specific measurements,” Weiss said.

For example, Amazon fulfillment centers use IoT, automation and analytics solutions working in tandem to manage the entire fulfillment process. Automated guided vehicles deliver racks of inventory to pickers and sorters for packing and shipping. In essence, Weiss said, Amazon is like a giant proof of concept demonstrating how the technology works for its own operations and how it can deliver results for other organizations.



In a vast operation such as Amazon, tracking all the moving parts is essential. The company can track assets to within a few feet of their location by leveraging automation and IoT, Weiss said. “That's how we make things like make Amazon Prime delivery happen, right? In some markets, within hours, in most markets within days.”

Inventory management at Amazon is almost fully automated, he said. “I'm not sure anybody manages inventory at the scale that we do. We've got over 250 million products in our warehouses, and those are represented at over 450 million SKUs. So the volume is huge, the scale is huge.” Without IoT and automation, keeping track of all assets would be much more challenging.


“Have a clear business objective in mind of what it is that you're trying to solve or resolve from a business process challenge. ” – Jonathan Weiss



As MSPs consider what technology investments to make, Weiss said it’s important to recognize your own strengths in order to set clear objectives and find the right partners. “Even at our scale, we don't do everything. We work very closely with many different types of partners—hardware partners, folks that manufacture gateways and sensors, folks that implement this stuff.”

When investing in a technology such as IoT asset tracking avoid the trap of adopting technology because it’s cool, Weiss added. “Do it with a purposeful lens. Have a clear business objective in mind of what it is that you're trying to solve or resolve from a business process challenge.” Identify the need, start small, and then scale from there, he said.


Now It's Your Turn

Watch the From Promise to Profit episode now to learn more about:

  • Examples of how IoT can help your customer better manage assets.
  • How internet of things technologies can help MSPs and solution providers differentiate themselves.
  • How to get started integrating IoT functionality into your current solutions portfolio.

Additional Resources

How to Become a Trusted Business Partner: An IoT Use Case

2019 Trends in Internet of Things

Business Opportunities in Emerging Technologies: Internet of Things

2020 Emerging Technology Top 10 List

10 Emerging Technologies Making an Impact in 2020

4 Things to Know About Emerging Technology


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