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Why IPWEA is launching guidance material and a new training program in asset tracking and monitoring

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IPWEA will soon widen its Asset Management Pathway to incorporate a comprehensive set of guidance materials and a training program in asset tracking and monitoring that will result in a digital credential. We believe it’s a significant and timely step.

To date, the uptake of asset tracking solutions by local government and other providers of public infrastructure has been relatively limited. But present-day challenges are prompting many in this sector to take a closer look. It’s IPWEA’s responsibility to make sure engineers at these organisations know what to do next.

We’ve seen major advances in asset tracking and monitoring technology in recent years. Asset tracking and monitoring systems are now more responsive, more fully featured and – importantly – more affordable than ever. IPWEA believes it’s time to embrace them.

Then there’s the issue of the skills shortage we currently face. Australia can’t rely on skilled migrants in the way we once did – we need to upskill our own people. IPWEA’s asset tracking credential will help do just that.  

Delivering effective asset management

In the coming months, we will be speaking with our members about the importance of asset tracking and monitoring to answer a fundamental question: what exactly is asset tracking and monitoring designed to achieve?

The answer, put simply, is this: asset tracking and monitoring’s purpose is to deliver more effective and cost-efficient asset management. In this era of stretched budgets, climate change and population growth, these are certainly worthy goals.

The asset tracking function is made up of three constituent technologies: an asset tracking or monitoring device, a communications network and a central management system. When deployed together, these technologies can facilitate superior asset management.  

They can save organisations money, too. This technology provides the data you need to be more efficient with your assets, deliver better services and minimise waste.

In fact, the growing awareness of the commercial benefits of asset tracking is making it one of the most widely adopted applications in smart cities.

In practice, asset tracking could mean monitoring whether a key water pump is working properly, receiving an alert when a stormwater cover is dislodged, measuring vibration patterns on rural bridges to detect abnormalities or tracking the stresses a section of pavement is subjected to.

In the past, municipal engineers had to conduct these sorts of inspections themselves. Asset tracking and monitoring frees up their time while also providing more frequent and accurate measurements.

The fleet tracking revolution

Another manifestation of asset tracking worth getting excited about is fleet tracking, often called fleet telematics. It’s no exaggeration to say that fleet tracking has the potential to revolutionise vehicle fleets for local government and other providers of public infrastructure.

Fleet tracking can keep track of how often specialist vehicles are being used and help you decide whether your fleet is too large or too small. It can also tell you whether a driver is exceeding safe work hours or driving dangerously or too quickly.

The logistics industry has already embraced asset tracking, using it first for fleet vehicles and now for individual pallets. Many in local government have already looked to logistics for excellent examples of fleet tracking in practice. There is lot more opportunity to deploy fleet telematics, with solid precedents among early leaders in local government and other providers of public infrastructure that have taken up this technology.

There’s another important reason we should collectively consider implementing asset tracking: it can help us engage the engineers of the future.

Today’s young people are technology-focused, and they are gravitating towards careers that incorporate the latest developments in tech.

If we can make asset tracking and monitoring the norm within local government, we’ll be more likely to attract the best and brightest engineers of tomorrow.

Article by David Jenkins, CEO IPWEA Australasia, Graham Mawer, Director Next Energy and Merrick Spain, CEO, Civic Analytica.