Mobile Asset Tracking: A Challenging Checklist

Sep 10, 2017

The North American mobile asset tracking (MAT) market continues to evolve in terms of capabilities and target customers, presenting an interesting set of challenges to MAT providers and their channels.

Frost & Sullivan defines mobile asset tracking offerings as solutions that use wireless tracking devices and cellular, location and sensor technologies to remotely locate and monitor moveable assets that are outside the four walls.  (This category does not include fleet management solutions.)

One of the three major MAT use cases focuses on monitoring company-owned equipment and machinery that is located out in the field.  These assets can be deployed for long periods of time in the same general location or be shifted from place to place on a regular basis. Think generators, containers, drilling equipment, etc. The MAT capabilities used to address this particular use case are stratifying into three layers of value:

  • Basic GPS location tracking—which tends to focus on theft prevention and includes location pings, geofencing, and basic reports.
  • Monitoring and measurement of conditions—which focuses on diagnostics and analysis, and provides a real opportunity to differentiate solutions based on sensors, alerts, battery life, and more sophisticated analytics.
  • Planning—which uses location and sensor intelligence to plan preventive management and maintenance.  Integration with other of the customer’s field processes offers even higher levels of efficiency, productivity, and customer value-add.

Satisfaction among current MAT users continues to be high, with almost two-thirds of users planning to expand their MAT deployments over the near term.  According to our annual business survey, mobile asset tracking is one of the highest-growth categories among today’s more complex mobile enterprise software solutions.

However, challenges remain for MAT providers, including:

  • Convincing prospective customers that the MAT solution is affordable. Potential users remain very price sensitive, with perceived cost and unclear return on investment (ROI) emerging in our survey as two top adoption barriers.
  • Partnering with optimal channels. There are multiple components to a MAT solution—including hardware, software, data network service, a Web-based administrative portal, and select support services—and customers prefer a one-stop-shop experience for all of it. MAT providers simply can’t do that on their own.
  • Recognizing adjacent sales opportunities. For example, mobile asset tracking solutions are a natural add-on to a fleet management solution sale.  Treating MAT as a silo solution is an extremely short-sighted move.
  • Helping users harvest and leverage actionable data. Moving current customers up the MAT value chain, from simple tracking to more sophisticated measurement and proactive planning, requires an easy-to-scale, modular portfolio and a high-touch relationship with customers.
  • Thinking strategically.  Providers need to define and plan for additional MAT revenue opportunities, including penetrating the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) segment and creating more vertical-specific solutions.

Leading providers and channels have identified – and are addressing – these and other challenges as they compete for market share and competitive differentiation in a very dynamic North American market.

More of our thinking around the Mobile Asset Tracking (MAT) sector and potential growth opportunities can be found in the Frost & Sullivan study, “The North American Mobile Asset Tracking Market: Monitoring On-the-Move Cargo, Equipment and Machinery,” 9ABE/2F-65, July 2017 at

Jeanine Sterling


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