Tracking depends on technology. For example, electro-mechanical cargo lock from Lexington, Ky.-based Kaba Mas combines radio-frequency identification sealing with a secure locking system for tracking trailers and cargo containers.

Enterprise security executives are seeking asset tracking technology. Leading edge solutions often deliver real-time business intelligence, enabling organizations to monitor the location, status and condition of their mobile assets. They can combine global positioning system (GPS) vehicle tracking, wireless networks and M2M (machine to machine) technology to maximize the performance of mobile assets.

Here are important tips before buying.

1. Before you evaluate providers, complete an internal needs assessment. Understand what is most important to you. This will help you in your selection process as you evaluate vendors.

2. Make sure that your data will be available to you easily and readily. You may not realize that an event has occurred until well after the fact.

3. Look for a flexible solution. Some vendors manufacture hardware. They will want to steer you towards their hardware regardless of whether it is the right solution for you. By working with a company that is hardware agnostic, you’re more likely to end up with a solution that suits your needs. For instance, will your assets always have line of sight to a satellite? If not, you may want a solution that uses cellular technology to determine position.

4. Make sure you can try before you buy. Within a 60-day trial period, you should be able to determine if the system will deliver the results you expect.

5. Make sure you understand your state’s laws and regulations. Do you need to notify anyone that they are being tracked? Do you want to notify your staff?

6. Think about the total cost of ownership of the solution you choose. Will you need to update software? Do you need to buy servers? All of these factors will impact your cost of running the application.

7. Make sure the technology you use is future-proof. Some systems run on old analog communications networks, which will soon be obsolete. Make sure your devices will be using digital networks for communication and are easily upgraded. V

Using robotics, a computer command and control display can track assets but also provide visitor guidance. Click image for larger view.

SIDEBAR: Can a Robot Track Assets?

MobileEyes is a standard robot command screen for robotic applications from remote surveillance to visitor guidance, materials handling, remote sensing and asset tracking. MobileEyes runs on all service robots and automated guided vehicles with “ARCS inside”, including over 2,000 MobileRobots systems in leading organizations such as Intel, Microsoft, HP, the U.S. Army and Pfizer.