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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk


Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

New Tech Tuesdays: Asset-Tracking Means More Than Keeping an Accurate Count Tommy Cummings

New Tech Tuesdays

Join journalist Tommy Cummings for a weekly look at all things interesting, new, and noteworthy for design engineers.

Companies have so much to keep track of these days.

It was tough enough to track the location of physical assets on a corporate campus. As the workforce continues to transition to remote work, tracking assets—such as company-owned laptops and other devices—has gotten more challenging.

That's why designers need to stay ahead of asset-tracking trends. They must develop the best digital strategies for tracking assets to help avoid theft, manage loss, and keep business operations running smoothly.

In the past, it was the quaint matter of listing assets with pen and paper. But the digital age has upped the game tremendously.

Companies can deploy global positioning systems to track assets in real-time. This strategy works on an industrial scale and even with cattle barons keeping up with their tagged livestock.

Companies can also use Near Field Communication (NFC) as a short-range strategy that can be accessed with a smartphone within the office space. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is another asset-tracking device that's popular with retailers to keep tabs on their inventories. Attaching bar codes to assets is another tracking method.

In this week's New Tech Tuesday, we'll look at asset-tracking development kits from STMicroelectronics and onsemi and satellite system patches from Taoglas.

Two Evaluation Kits and Satellite Patches

STMicroelectronics STEVAL-ASTRA1B Development Kit simplifies the prototyping, testing, and evaluation of advanced asset-tracking applications such as livestock monitoring, fleet management, and logistics. The multi-connectivity asset-tracking reference design is based on STM32WB5MMG and STM32WL55JC wireless system-on-chips. The kit is packed in a plastic case with comprehensive software, firmware libraries, tools, and a battery. The kit embeds a complete set of environmental and motion sensors (LIS2DTW12, LSM6DSO32X, HTS221, STTS22H, LPS22HH). The Teseo-LIV3F GNSS module also provides outdoor positioning.

The onsemi SECO-RSL10-TAG-GEVB Asset Tag Evaluation Kit is a development platform to track assets and monitor applications based on the RSL10 System-on-Chip (SoC). The kit includes environmental sensors, a 3-axis accelerometer, and support for BLE connectivity. The Quuppa Intelligent Locating System provides Real-Time Localization Services (RTLS), which enables the Asset Tag to be used to generate data and insights into an asset’s state of being and location. The device features an extended battery life of up to five years because of the ultra-low power consumption of the RSL10 SoC, low-power environmental sensors, and optimized firmware.

The Taoglas ASGGB Active GNSS SMD 18mm or 25mm Patches are single-band active global navigation satellite system patches covering GPS/GLONASS/BeiDou/Galileo bands. Designers can mount these patches directly onto their device's printed circuit board. They're easy to assemble. Embedding the circuitry between the patch and PCB base eliminates the need for using a cable and connector. They're small, too. ASGGB components measure 18mm x 18mm x 6.45mm (ASGGB184.A) or 25mm x 25mm x 6.45mm (ASGGB254.A) and are optimized for a 70mm x 70mm ground plane.

Tuesday's Takeaway

Maintaining a well-tuned asset-tracking strategy is the goal of companies for a multitude of reasons, including reducing loss, improving workspaces, simplifying record-keeping, and even making tax season easier. This means it's incumbent upon designers to develop effective asset-tracking strategies, whether it's keeping tabs on cattle or staplers.

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Tommy Cummings is a freelance writer/editor based in Texas. He's had a journalism career that has spanned more than 40 years. He contributes to Texas Monthly and Oklahoma Today magazines. He's also worked at The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. Tommy covered the dot-com boom in Silicon Valley and has been a digital content and audience engagement editor at news outlets. Tommy worked at Mouser Electronics from 2018 to 2021 as a technical content and product content specialist.

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