The Ultimate Guide to Asset Tracking: Asset tracking technologies demystified

Asset tracking
Asset Management

The Ultimate Guide to Asset Tracking: Asset tracking technologies demystified

Asset tracking simply refers to a process that enables you to keep up with where your assets are located. Whether you use barcode labels attached to assets, GPS or RFID tags that broadcast their location, asset tracking enables you to know the location, status, maintenance, and other important information related to your organization’s physical assets. 

A variety of benefits can be reaped from asset tracking, the most notable one being increased customer satisfaction. When your operation runs optimally, your customers will have a much better experience resulting in brand loyalty. An effective asset tracking system can also help you improve productivity, efficiency, and safety. 

By knowing where your assets are located 24×7, you can protect them from theft, loss, and unsafe conditions. In addition, a robust asset tracking system helps ensure regulatory compliance. This is the first article of a blog series dedicated to asset tracking technologies. In this blog, we’ll explore the wide variety of spectacular technologies used for asset tracking!

Technologies used for asset tracking 

1. Barcodes/QR codes

Barcodes and QR codes have revolutionized inventory control, particularly in industries that track multiple low-value items. They are easily affixable and affordable: You can literally find them printed on almost every retail item. 

Although both these tags relay product information with the help of electronic scanning devices, they are quite different when it comes to capacity and flexibility. Barcodes are one-dimensional and must be scanned horizontally in line with the code.

QR codes, on the other hand, can be ready from any angle. They are also much smaller than barcodes and can transmit way more information than just price or sell-by dates. These codes have a read range of around 1 meter and must be scanned using handheld electronic devices.

Any damage to these codes renders them unreadable. Typically used in construction and leasing, QR codes are particularly useful for tracking assets in situations where you:

  • wish to maintain an up-to-date record of your assets’ information
  • have a low volume of assets to track
  • don’t need to track assets automatically and in real-time
               To read more: Asset Management with IoT 


RFID is a type of tracking technology that uses radiofrequency to search, identify, track, and communicate with items and people. Essentially, RFID tags are smart labels that can store a range of information from serial numbers, to a short description, and even pages of data. 

Some RFID tags include cryptographic security features for a high level of verification and authentication. They are usually identified by their radio frequencies: low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF), and ultra-high frequency (UHF).

RFID tags used in asset tracking come in two varieties: active and passive. Commonly used in warehousing, the battery-free passive variety transmits signals to an antenna that bounces them back to a reader located at a specified “choke point.”

These tags can be configured to sound an alarm when passing through choke points and are highly effective for theft protection. Compact and light in design, these tags are relatively cheap and can be used to scan large volumes of items every second. 

The disadvantage of passive RFID tags is their short read range. In addition, the scanners required to read these tags can burn a hole in your pocket. These tags are ideal for tracking large volumes of assets.

Battery-powered active tags work in tandem with Bluetooth beacons to continuously transmit an abundance of data, including variables like environmental temperature and humidity. This cutting-edge technology is fuelling the growth of the IoT asset tracking market for real-time indoor positioning solutions.  

Although these tags are more expensive than the passive RFID variety, they have a much longer read range, eliminating the need for expensive scanners. They can store a great deal of data compared to their passive counterparts and are perfect for tracking large and highly valuable assets in difficult environments.

              Case study: Product traceability App using RFID tags

3. GPS

GPS is the most commonly used technology for outdoor asset tracking and employs receivers to collect radio signals that are transmitted through a collection of satellites that circle the Earth. They then use these signals to accurately calculate and identify an outdoor location that is expressed as latitude and longitude.

The benefit of this system is that it can communicate across distances and keep accurate, up-to-date logs for everyone using it. There are mobile GPS asset tracking devices, which can be hardwired into a piece of equipment. You can also set up alerts in a geofence to keep track of large items. 

In addition, GPS asset tracking software enables you to track assets from an intuitive and centralized dashboard. 

The downside is that GPS is an energy-intensive technology and GPS devices have significantly short battery lives. GPS devices are also quite big and expensive. This technology is not optimal for tracking smaller movements or indoor positioning. 

Use GPS for asset tracking if you:

  • need to continuously and automatically track assets’ geographical position
  • are dealing with very expensive equipment
  • wish to ensure that assets stay within a set boundary (geofencing)


After reading this blog, we hope you have a basic idea of the most common asset tracking technologies and their use cases. With a little creativity, it’s possible to combine these technologies into one holistic asset tracking solution and derive maximum value.

However, this blog only covers the most commonly used asset tracking technologies. There are a lot more options to explore for your asset tracking requirements.

If you wish to implement the best possible solution for your business, talk to us! With over 16 years of experience in developing custom asset management solutions, Hakuna Matata’s experts can help you streamline asset tracking and keep perfect track of your assets.