How the Smartphone can Transform Asset Management Systems and Tracking

Today we’re going to discuss another usage scenario which explores how smartphone-based barcode scanning is being used in the enterprise.  To continue the discussion, we’ll look at how smartphones can be utilized as barcode scanners for asset management and tracking.

Barcode Scanning for Asset Management and Tracking

Assets can range from product components to buildings to IT hardware, and enterprise companies have always had to design systems to track of these assets. There are many reasons why companies track assets including financial, accounting, and regulatory reasons, and also to prevent theft. Barcodes are frequently used to streamline the process of cataloging and counting these assets, and they can conveniently connect users to metadata such as the asset’s location, status, history and other details. Until recently, mobile computers and dedicated handheld barcode scanners were used to manage and track assets, but with the saturation of smartphones within today’s enterprise it’s only a matter of time before these outdated hardware peripherals become extinct. A rugged smartphone app-based solution can help companies cut hardware and maintenance costs associated with traditional ruggedized scanners.

Here are some typical uses for an asset management app:

– Check in to identify the asset’s location and user

– Locate a hard to find asset

– Monitoring the movement of assets and staff

– Identify and store asset details

– Identify past users who worked with the asset

Enterprise asset management systems (EAM systems) address several types of asset management, including IT asset management, fixed asset management, physical asset management and digital asset management. Smartphone-based barcode scanning can add the most value to fixed asset management and IT asset management processes, and to a slightly lesser extent to physical asset management. Both fixed asset management and IT asset management systems provide barcode-based solutions for tracking objects and materials as they travel throughout a company (for financial or decision making purposes), whereas digital asset management exists strictly in digital form. Physical asset management manages the life cycle of physical and infrastructure assets including buildings, facilities, vehicles, and utilizes barcode scanning in some processes (for instance for VIN scanning on vehicles). Next we’ll look at total cost of ownership considerations and just how much value smartphone-based barcode scanning can bring to the enterprise.

Replacing Scanners and Leveraging the Bring-Your-Own-Device Trend

Recently we put together a scanner comparison which took a look at the total cost of ownership of popular mobile computers, dedicated barcode scanners and smartphone devices. The scanner comparison revealed that replacing barcode scanner hardware with a smartphone-based mobile app (using a Samsung Galaxy SIII) can save companies upwards of 73% of the total cost of ownership of a traditional mobile computer (Intermec CN4). Check out this blog post for the full scoop.

As an alternative to providing company-issued smartphone devices, enterprise companies expand their savings even more by capitalizing on the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend by providing their entire workforce with an app that can downloaded to their personal devices. Such an app can enable “occasional scanners,” those employees in your workforce who wouldn’t have otherwise have access to barcode scanner but still could use one from time to time to access information.

Adding Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK to an Asset Management App

Scandit’s unique Barcode Scanner SDK can scan most symbologies used in asset management use cases including extremely small barcodes with ease (as small as 4x4mm datamatrix codes). The Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK also delivers the speed and accuracy required to bring true enterprise-grade barcode scanning to smartphones and tablets.  Our scanner will scan barcodes at astonishing speed and delivers the best user experience and reliability on the market. For those companies capitalizing on the BYOD trend, Scandit’s cross-platform capabilities and ability to capture accurate readings even on devices lacking autofocus make it an indispensable addition to any asset management app.  Watch the video to get a sense of the user experience.

Developing an Asset Managment App

So you’re convinced, it’s time to build app what needs to happen next?

1)      Decide if you want to build the app in house or hire a solution provider to build one.

2)      Decided which platforms you’d like the app to run on. If you are considering implementing a BYOD ecosystem plan on having your app support both the Android and iOS platforms.

3)      Assess which systems you need the app to work with. What type of EAM system (enterprise asset management system) do you use? How will the app connect to your database?

4)      Identify the features you need, and find the best software components for the job.
(Our Barcode Scanner SDK is perfect for providing enterprise-grade barcode scanning).

5)      Build and test your app (or watch it being built).

6)      Deploy and Enjoy.

Need help making a decision? Our sales staff is here to help. Contact us for more information.

Stay tuned for cool performance stats and reflections from the past year in our next post!