Before the age of mobile technology, asset management was both difficult and cumbersome, today that doesn’t have to be the case; thanks to BLE and asset inspection management. BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) technology has ventured into both consumer and business sectors, with innovative and highly beneficial use cases. Mobile technology in the form of smartphones and tablets can now be paired and used with BLE devices to capture information about any asset.
Similar to barcodes, QR codes and RFID tags, bluetooth uses a similar technology but a higher level. Instead of acting as passive devices that would normally require a user to be very close to the item to connect, BLE has a much larger range. By utilising a low energy beacon transmitting to nearby devices, the range can be extended from cm’s to hundreds of metres. Commonly available for use with iOS and Android devices, the bluetooth technology can truly transform the way that assets are inspected and managed; instead of having to effectively tap the RFID with a phone or scan a QR code at a close distance, the inspector can be at a further distance. Whilst this may seem like a trivial difference, there are profound changes into how an inspection can be carried out when there are numerous devices out of normal reach. If we consider anything that could be visually inspected from over an arm’s length away, BLE energy would allow data and information capture where normal RFID or barcodes may not be as quick/work at all.
Just like barcodes and QR codes, tags are often designed to withstand rugged environments, with a small size, low weight, and long battery life. This means that any digital inspection can rely on these tags to be functioning no matter the physical environment or facility they may be being used in. If each BLE tag is attached to a specific asset, several data points could be captured simply by being in range and having the checklist ready. Information such as the location, condition, status, total exposure time, inspection history etc., can all be recorded using the pairing of a tag and a mobile device. If an inspector has several assets to inspect that are the same, the official could for example generate a list of all the tags within the vicinity and compare the status or inspection history of each one. Without having to go searching for the barcode or RFID location on each asset, it becomes much quicker and easier to carry out any form of inspection. This includes any routine daily inspection, compliance check or quality assurance audit.