The Gretzky Lesson: Get the asset tracking advantage

Anish Verma
March 25, 2020

Win with smart connections: Track your assets the way Gretzky tracks a puck.

One day at work a colleague shared a story about Wayne Gretzky, one of the greatest hockey players of all time. Even though Gretzky was not the fastest or strongest player, he was known for always being in the right place at right time.

According to the story — when Wayne was a kid he would track the movement of a puck on a piece of paper as he watched a game — without ever taking his eyes off the game. When the game was over the scrawls on the paper showed him where the puck flow was concentrated and where the pencil barely touched the paper. This activity helped him anticipate and predict where the puck might go, giving him an edge over the competition.

Hockey heat map for blog postHockey heat map for blog post

As my colleague recounted the story it reminded me of the location analytics provided by our Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise OmniAccess® Stellar Asset Tracking solution. What Gretzky did was essentially create a heat map of the puck location, not unlike the heat map created by our ALE asset tracking solution. For Gretzky, knowing the concentrated location of the puck made him more efficient and effective at scoring goals. For enterprises, knowing the location of assets can improve operational efficiency, safety and even security. Knowing where assets are and how they are used provides the intelligence missing from traditional asset management.

Asset heat map for blog post

The proliferation of assets has increased across enterprises. However, even assets that are supposed to help improve productivity can also create challenges, bottlenecks and pain points for organizations.

Some key asset tracking challenges that enterprises face include:

• Large numbers of assets with no real-time info about the assets or their location

• Underutilized assets with no visibility on how and when the assets are used

• Over-purchasing in an attempt to solve the issue of not being able to locate assets

• Reduced staff productivity and job satisfaction when employees spend, 30 minutes per day, on average, looking for assets

• Loss and theft

• Staff and patient/customer safety. Some cities have laws in the hospital industry where client facing employees must be provided with a safety button or notification device

• Asset maintenance where large numbers of assets such as IV pumps, or fire extinguishers require regular maintenance to meet industry-specific standards

Most of the issues above can directly impact an enterprise’s bottom line, make employees’ lives difficult and impact their productivity. Millions of dollars are wasted each year on assets that are lost or misplaced. One such example is in Canada where $1.2 million of medical equipment was stolen from the Toronto Western Hospital.

Smart connections for your assets

The OmniAccess Stellar Asset Tracking solution provides a cost efficient solution required in healthcare and other industries. Based on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, OmniAccess Stellar Asset Tracking uses the latest cloud technologies to deliver a real-time, high-accuracy, low-latency solution.

The OmniAccess Stellar Asset Tracking Solution is comprised of the following components:

- Stellar BLE infrastructure

- OmniVista® Cirrus Asset Tracking

- Stellar Asset Tracking mobile app

Stellar BLE infrastructure

- BLE tags (asset tag, card tag): BLE tags with built-in sensors such as temperature and accelerometer which can be leveraged to address enterprise use cases. Accelerometers ensure optimized battery life by reducing communication when assets are not moving. These tags are attached to the assets.

- OmniAccess Stellar AP1201BG – BLE/IOT gateway: The AP1201BG receives signals from BLE tags and forwards them to the Stellar Asset Tracking cloud using existing WLAN and LAN infrastructure to identify the location of the tags. The Stellar AP1201BG supports technologies including BLE and ZigBee to provide enterprise IoT deployment and is an ideal gateway for most IoT needs.

- Autocalibration tags: Autocalibration tags improve the location accuracy of the solution without requiring manual fingerprinting.

The BLE infrastructure can also be used for Location-based Services (LBS) such as way-finding, geofencing and geonotification to improve customer engagement.

OmniVista Cirrus Asset Tracking

OmniVista Cirrus is a cloud-based management system that provides asset tracking configuration, BLE infrastructure status, geofence, geonotification and asset search. It provides an analytics dashboard and management reporting tools. And, it has a built-in location engine that provides high-accuracy location based on the Stellar BLE infrastructure.

OmniVista Cirrus securely communicates with the AP1201BG to receive location frames from the BLE tags, which is then used to identify the location of the asset. The location is shown on a map. Employees can also search any asset based on name or category to locate assets in real-time.

Stellar Asset Tracking mobile app

Stellar Asset tracking mobile app provides asset tracking services essential for mobile workers. These services include Asset provisioning, Asset Search, and tags Inventory management. Mobile workers such as nurses and hotel operations managers can provision BLE tags and associate them with assets by scanning the BLE tag QR code. They can search assets while on the go and assets that are available near them will be visible on a map showing the precise location.

Just as Gretzky used location analytics (albeit using paper and pencil) to make smart connections on ice, your organization can benefit from the smart connections that asset tracking can bring to your business.

Learn more about how the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise OmniAccess Stellar Access Tracking solution can optimize your enterprise and improve security and safety.

Anish Verma

Anish Verma

Director, Product Management for WLAN and Location Services

Anish Verma, Director, Product Management for WLAN and Location Services, is responsible for driving the WLAN, Asset Tracking and Location based- Services product portfolio. Anish has 11 years of experience in managing various networking product portfolios including Routers, WLAN and Location Services. In the past he has managed the engineering team developing various routing protocols including MPLS, OSPF, BGP, RIP, and Multicast.

About the author

Latest Blogs

a group of people working on a project

Cybersecurity: From A to Z on campus

Institutions need to adopt a ‘trust no one’ cybersecurity strategy that addresses all users, devices and applications.

Energy and utilities OT and IT convergence blog image
Energy & Utilities

Trend watch: OT-IT convergence in energy and utilities

Operational and Information technology convergence is changing how energy and utilities manage their business going forward.

A man working on a computer

Five steps to ZTNA cybersecurity on campus

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) cybersecurity allows academic institutions to realise important benefits across all operations.

A group of young people

Education under siege

A rise in cyberattacks - particularly ransomware - is impacting academic institutions, putting educational goals at risk.