In an effort to combat construction site theft and increase visibility, Ctrack by Inseego has launched a new asset tracking range with supporting web and mobile applications.
In late February 2020, work on a $10.6 million project to strengthen and widen the Eunony Bridge in Wagga came to a standstill.
Construction equipment vital to the project was stolen from the worksite overnight, preventing further construction.
The theft forced the local council to temporarily restrict access to the Murrumbidgee River on either side of the bridge.
City of Wagga Wagga Council’s Director of Commercial Operations Caroline Angel said in a statement that construction was held up less than a week into the full closure of the bridge.
“As a direct consequence of this theft, costs incurred by additional security measures and the equipment replacement will all roll into the project. They’re additional costs that are unnecessary and they impact on the project,” Ms. Angel said.
“It is frustrating for everybody to have to stop work when we had made such a good start to this important project.”
Due to the open locations of many construction sites, restricting access can be a challenge when running infrastructure projects. This means theft can be a significant risk as the tools may not be well protected.
It is also often difficult to secure battery-powered or non-electronic assets such as ladders, toolboxes or drills as these can be small and have no way of connecting to the internet.
These small but crucial assets can be hard to track so, if stolen, they must be replaced.
To keep projects moving forward, Ctrack has created a solution to track small and large assets on construction sites.
Ctrack designs specialised fleet management and telematics solutions for a wide range of road-based applications.
Its latest release, Ctrack Asset, focuses on simple, real-time tracking of smaller assets. Well suited to construction sites, Ctrack Asset has seven different devices that can be mounted on an array of equipment to track its location and movement.
If a piece of equipment moves out of a designated area or at an unspecified time, Ctrack Asset will notify the owner through its app, via email or with mobile notifications.
Dale Kingston, Ctrack Technical and Product Lead, says the Ctrack Asset platform has a clean and easy-to-use interface via the web or mobile app for Android and iOS operating systems.
“Ctrack Asset is really focusing on the asset tracking side of things: managing the battery on the device and enabling a recovery mode in case the application gets stolen,” Mr. Kingston says.
He says it also provides dynamic reporting with movement alerts if an asset has an unplanned movement.
“Key to Ctrack Asset is the system’s ability to monitor battery levels in certain devices to provide battery life expectancy as well as location reporting at specified intervals,” Mr. Kingston says.
Ctrack Asset is suitable for businesses that don’t need all the features of a full tracking device. Instead, it gives straightforward updates for specific assets.
“Being able to locate all of the assets on site if anything gets stolen is so important. With Ctrack Asset, there are options to do periodic location updates, for example, every 12 or 24 hours,” Mr. Kingston says.
“We can also set the system up so that if you have an asset that moves at 11pm, when it shouldn’t be moving, you are able to quickly click through the mobile app and put it into recovery mode. The application will then track the asset location every minute until the asset is recovered.”
If an application stays stationary, the Ctrack Asset device could last five years when reporting one location each day. If the asset is moved, it will update every minute, but the key objective of the device is to conserve battery, so while the asset is stationary, it will only report at the specified time interval.
“The recommendation for mostly stationary devices would be to report on them once a day. You can also choose to do start and stop location tracking, and this won’t exert the battery either,” Mr. Kingston says.
“It involves a customer consultation to find out the customers’ needs whether they want the device for visibility or theft. Ctrack would go through an overview of the solution with a potential customer to ensure the system suits individual requirements.”
Ctrack Asset can, for instance, send notifications if an asset moves more than 250 metres or it could track the running hours of the asset.
One of the devices, the AT-06, can also provide additional sensory data such as cold chain temperature and vibration.
The AT-06 can be set so that if the temperature drops five degrees below standard in an asset for longer than 10 seconds, the user will be notified with an alarm.
“Further to that, from within the platform, you can record the asset expenses as well. This gives the customer the opportunity to track fuel fill-ups or maintenance on the asset, tracking cost over a period of time,” Mr. Kingston says.
The devices are self-installable. They are shipped out to the business and can simply be attached to the required device with screws, which enables for easy transfer between devices.
However, if a user moves the device from one asset and needs another configuration for the new asset, Ctrack can simply reconfigure the device remotely.
The batteries in the tracking devices are also standard models available at hardware stores so there are no delays when replacing batteries. These can be fitted on-site by the customer as required.
Accurate battery readings are provided on the application as a percentage. When the battery level is low, it will send the user an alert via email.
In addition, all location data from the application is stored locally in Australia.
As a new solution for the company, Ctrack Asset will aim to resolve issues around theft and asset location for construction companies across Australia, enabling projects to move forward smoothly and reduce delays.