Full Stack vs. Enterprise Asset Tracking Solutions

 

Introduction

In our literature we often discuss the subject of a “full stack solution” vs. an “enterprise solution”.  The intent of this article is to bring clarity to these terms for those who are not yet familiar.

In the software industry it is common practice to have various “layers” of software.  The layers represent varying functions that are necessary to complete the end objective.  A layer might be the operating system, server software, multiple databases and programming languages.  Each layer has a unique function in the overall solution and the various layers interact with each other through integrations.

Similarly, the NimbeLink Asset Tracking solutions require various layers of software to function.  The core functionality of our Asset Tracking solution is managed by software that is proprietary to NimbeLink.  This is the software that runs each unique asset tracker, passes location and sensor data to the cloud and controls the specific attributes of the devices.  Examples of attributes include reporting frequency, sample rates and the usage of various sensors.  This core, proprietary software also enables software updates to be pushed to the individual devices while they are deployed.

Once the raw data is in the cloud, the next obvious question is “how would you prefer to use it?” The answer to this question is the driver behind the decision between full-stack and enterprise solutions.

With the experience of evaluating thousands of Asset Tracking applications, we have learned that the end-solution varies widely by industry and company. There is no “one size fits all” solution.  With that in mind, the NimbeLink family of Asset Tracking devices have been designed to be flexible, with varying sensors, location detection techniques, power strategies and sizes. Our asset trackers are also flexible with respect to where individual device data is sent.

The proprietary software system that NimbeLink developed to manage individual devices and receive field data is called NLink. This software has open APIs that enable the seamless transfer of data to the destination of choice. For some companies, the destination of choice is their own enterprise software, such as SAP, Microsoft Dynamics or others. In this case, location and condition data is easily accessible to other software functions of the business.  For instance, location data can be associated with inventory and condition data can be associated with enterprise-level alerts. In supply chain management, location data can be associated with manufacturing workflows and even tied to personnel scheduling.

The drawback to enterprise solutions is of course the software development that is necessary WITHIN the enterprise software.  While open APIs make the transfer of data seamless, the issue of USING the data in the enterprise software requires development work. Dashboards must be created and algorithms developed to use the asset tracker data to solve the intended issue(s).

This is why a “Full Stack Solution” is very often the solution of choice.  Full Stack solutions mean that a third part has already developed the software layer(s) on top of NLink to provide the user interface, notifications and algorithms to solve common industry problems. These third parties often develop platforms that are intended for a specific industry, solving common problems that are unique to that particular vertical. NimbeLink partners with these third-party companies to develop robust solutions that will function “out of the box”, enabling fast and dependable deployment.

As our name suggests, NimbeLink is known for our flexible business model.  Whether considering a full stack or an enterprise model, you’ll discover how easy we have made it to adopt asset tracking as a means toward operational efficiencies and cost savings.  As you research how asset tracking will benefit your organization, consider these questions while you contemplate a full stack vs. enterprise solution:

·        How fast do I want to enable tracking?

·        Is there a full stack solution already developed for my industry?

·        How valuable is having the data housed in my enterprise system?  What efficiencies and economies can be gained?

·        How unique are the necessary computations and analyses needed with condition and location data? I.e., how much development would be necessary in my enterprise software?

·        Do you want to grant third party access to the information without granting access to your enterprise software?

NimbeLink is regularly adding new partners to our ecosystem, each with a unique value proposition for how our Asset Trackers are used to solve business problems.  We have a Partners Page where many of these relationships are listed.  If you do not find what you are looking for, or you want to explore an Enterprise Integration, feel free to Contact Us for more information!

 

Read the White Paper – Lighting Up the Supply Chain with Cellular Based Asset Tracking

Lighting up the supply chain with cellular based asset tracking

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About NimbeLink

NimbeLink offers a portfolio of cellular based Asset Tracking devices that are deployed globally and tracking thousands of unique applications.  Our Asset Trackers include a variety of environmental sensors and have a battery life that can be extended to as long as 14 years.  With open APIs, our trackers can move data seamlessly into your existing enterprise software or full stack solutions are available through our channel partners which are listed on our website.  For more information, please visit our website at www.NimbeLink.com.