The Age of Assets: Keeping Tabs On What You Have

Enterprise asset management isn't just for heavy industry anymore. Today, CIOs in many sectors can combine software, wireless networks and sensors to keep tabs on all kinds of assets.

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An Application Sampler

Here are examples of ways that networks of wireless sensors can be used in various industries.
•  Track the location and condition of goods traveling on the nations 1.6 million rail cars.•  Analyze real-time data from sensors located on city buses to predict equipment failures before they occur. The sensor data is transmitted via satellite.•  Monitor the location of IV machines and wheelchairs in a hospital.•  Check a commercial buildings temperature and energy usage via a remote handheld device.

Such monitoring could improve public safety, too, says Smith. In the not-so-distant future, she says, it may be possible to monitor trucks or storage facilities for the presence of bacteria and other undesirable organisms. Growers might be able to prevent problems like E.coli outbreaks.

The telecommunications industry is the second-biggest EAM user behind manufacturing, according to Connaughton. “They use it to track the light poles, the telecom infrastructure that is underground,” he says. “They integrate the systems with [geographic information systems] so they can map out what the infrastructure looks like.”

Asset management systems can also help maintenance crews do triage to identify the biggest problems.

The Clark County School District in Las Vegas went live last summer with an implementation of MRO Software’s Maximo EAM package. The district uses Maximo to track building assets at 326 school facilities housing more than 300,000 students in 8,000 square feet of space. Public safety was the most pressing driver for buying the technology, according to Randy Shingleton, director of maintenance.

“If we have a fire or a major power outage, that is a critical outage. If the air conditioning shuts down in the middle of June when it’s 120 degrees, the health department will shut us down. You want to fix that more than the backed-up toilet 20 miles away,” says Shingleton. The district’s previous homegrown mainframe system had no way to prioritize work orders. The old system also allowed a work order to go unnoticed if the person to whom it was assigned happened to be out of the office.

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