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Telstra has introduced Track and Monitor at Telstra Vantage 2018 – a new low-cost and scalable asset-tracking solution for Australian businesses that’s set to launch on October 16.

“When I look back on my career, I’m optimistic that I’ll see this day as the day when IoT came of age in the Australian marketplace,” began Telstra executive Mark Chapman during the product launch presentation at Vantage 2018.

Billions of dollars of assets go missing each year, and when this happens businesses are faced with a choice between two bad options: increase the cost to customers to cover the loss, or suffer from reduced margins.

Either way they lose, and regardless of their choice the missing assets can throw out schedules with horrible cascading effects — imagine a generator stolen from a building site, for instance, which then prevents concreters from doing their work in the two-day window they’d set aside for the job and thereby delays construction, throwing everyone else’s schedules out too.

In another example, Chapman mentioned a construction company that had been spending $750,000 per year just to hire replacements for things that they’d bought and that had gone missing.

Track and Monitor promises to leverage IoT to fix these sorts of problems. It aims to transform asset tracking for businesses of all sizes, fixing problems with supply chains before they turn disastrous and making it economically viable to track the things that used to be too hard or too expensive to monitor. It does this with three different types of tracking technology: Bluetooth, WiFi and Cat M1 IoT.

The Bluetooth tracker attaches to small objects like keys and wallets and schoolbags, and it’s available in both consumer and enterprise versions, with a Bluetooth-finding relay network built on the back of Telstra’s 14 million mobile phone customers — who can opt-in to join this network through Telstra’s 24×7 app. The WiFi tracker is suited to tracking larger objects like shopping trolleys and transport pallets and the Cat M1 tracker is designed for use on shipping containers, with a solar battery that lasts about six months from just a couple of hours charging time.

Visibility at a glance, detail at a click

These trackers hook up to a cloud-based monitoring and management platform that scales easily from just a handful of assets — which you can follow using an app — all the way up to thousands.

The platform portal has been designed and tested at every stage of development in conjunction with customers. It allows businesses to set up geozones around key work sites and warehouses to make it easier to check whether an asset is in use, missing or just misplaced, and also to group or filter assets using self-managed tags and other parameters.

Automated tracking can save time and frustration by putting asset locations at your fingertips. A business that urgently needs to use one of its trailers for a job, for instance, could check the portal and see that while none are sitting in the depot there happens to be one nearby that’s been stationary all day and so is probably unloaded and available for use — ready to be shared with the new job.

Driver schedules can be optimised, too. If, for instance, they were previously driving to multiple set locations every week to check for new pallets, they can now use the Track and Monitor portal to check remotely in advance and plan a more efficient schedule.

And that’s what it’s all about. “If you exploit the power of where,” Chapman said, “you can deliver better customer experience, optimise your business operations and deliver better margins for your business.”