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Samsara set to connect even more of the world’s physical environments with launch of Asset Tags

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez June 27, 2024
Summary:
Connected operations vendor Samsara has announced new lightweight Asset Tags to connect even more physical items to its cloud environment, with the aim of driving insights and action.

An image of a network connecting many things via the internet, such as planes and tools
(Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay)

Connected Operations Cloud vendor Samsara has launched a number of new products at its annual user conference in Chicago today, including new enterprise-grade, albeit lightweight, Asset Tags. Whilst Samsara has been connecting industrial-grade assets - such as vehicles and machines - for a decade now, the new Asset Tags are intended to allow organizations with physical operations to connect much smaller items to the cloud too, to enable location tracking and to optimize utilization. 

Samsara’s been on an interesting journey over the past few years. The company recently hit $1 billion in ARR as it set out to become the system of record for organizations with large physical operations. It started out in fleet management solutions for trucking, using cameras and sensors to improve driver safety and fuel efficiency, but has since expanded out to a variety of industries that include construction, food and beverage, utilities, government and field services. 

The key step change for the vendor was the introduction of workflow tools that are used in conjunction with the data collected from sensors and video equipment. For example, if a driver has an accident, Samsara’s sensors and video platform will notify the organizations’ safety managers, who can then be provided with forms and documentation around how to progress an insurance claim. Or if a machine breaks, workers can take photos on site using a mobile device, fill in a repair request form there and then, to feed that information back to HQ. 

Speaking on stage in Chicago today, Samsara CEO Sanjit Biswas said: 

The idea behind Samsara is to connect your entire operations, all of your assets, your teams, all of your other systems, all together in one place, so you can start to see all of that data, see everything that's going on. 

And in that cloud, have computers working behind the scenes, to go and find insights and surface insights as applications, so that you can take action, so you can figure out what to do differently in those operations to be safer, to be more efficient, more sustainable. That is what we're building.

New product releases

As mentioned, the new Asset Tags are aimed at organizations that may want to track and manage smaller, but high value assets. The new device, which is approximately the size of half a small chocolate bar, has a battery life of four years and uses ‘supercharged Bluetooth’ capabilities, which connect to the Samsara Network (an industrial network that is enabled by Samsara’s existing connected devices on the ground - the Asset Tags essentially pick up signal from other Samsara gateway devices nearby). 

Samsara says that the devices offer increased visibility into the location of equipment and tools, allowing organizations to minimize downtime spent searching for lost or stolen items, reduce associate costs, and simplify inventory management. Industries such as transportation, oil and gas, and construction rely on expensive tools and assets that often end up lost or stolen due to manual processes, which Samsara says can cost millions of dollars a year. Equally, Biswas added: 

You can really understand risk at a deep level. Many of you are operating at such a scale that you have a balance sheet with $1 billion of assets. And that means that if you can go figure out the 5% or 10% of assets that are underutilized, sell them off, remarket them, you can unlock that capital and reinvest in the business in entirely new and different ways. That's way more productive. We can now figure that out, using all this sensor data, using all this geographic data. 

Samsara said that with the Asset Tags, organizations can expect to: 

  • Prevent loss and recover stolen assets: with advanced location tracking technology powered by Samsara’s vast network of gateways.
  • Reduce downtime and boost productivity: by sharing asset locations with technicians in the field via the Samsara Driver App and avoid service disruptions with Inventory Filtering, which pulls a summary of assets and applies filters to identify which tools are in close proximity.
  • Better manage inventory: and increase operational efficiency with a consolidated dashboard and easy-to-use reporting.

Expanding workflows and training

In addition to the Asset Tags announcement, Samsara also today expanded its product set to include two new solutions that include: 

  • Connected Training: aimed at the transportation sector, where drivers often face dangerous roads and sometimes accident-prone conditions, Connected Training will allow customers to have a data-driven training experience designed for continuous, remote learning via the Samsara Driver App. Samsara says that managers can upskill their workforce by consolidating all training within the Samsara platform and connecting with existing workflows for a seamless employee experience.
  • Connected Workflows: Last year, Samsara introduced Connected Forms to digitize paper processes for physical operations. Today, the company announced Connected Workflows, which goes beyond form digitization to orchestrating multi-step workflows. Connected Workflows claims to automatically assign forms, manage approvals, and create tasks based on contextual insights, like entering a geofence or detecting a vehicle crash. 

The workflow piece is particularly interesting as it takes Samsara further down the path of becoming the system of record for how companies operate their physical environments. Rather than systems being focused solely on the workers in the field or at the edge, the introduction of Connected Workflows pushes Samsara deeper into an organization that is looking to manage its physical environments with a centralized platform. Biswas added: 

We can go even deeper on workflows, we can help make your operations way more efficient, and figure out, is it possible to trigger a workflow when someone drives on site? Can we find new ways to simplify all that paperwork and really make it digital? And then on the asset side, you'll have millions and millions of assets, all different kinds - but we're starting to see them in aggregate. 

We're starting to see patterns in that data. So can we figure out better ways to maintain those assets, so you're not just doing it based on how many years it's been out there? But really based on what's breaking. That’s truly transformative, that's really exciting. And it's all powered by data. And all of this is about using data to operate smarter. 

My take

It’s been an interesting day with Samsara and there’s plenty more content to come - having both interviewed Biswas and other members of the leadership team. But what’s clear is that there’s an interesting interplay happening between the data being delivered by sensors and devices and then the workflow applications being created on the open platform. Information and data being collected is being pushed to trigger workflows that can further prompt action from workers who are being gently nudged by the system to become more efficient and run their operations more smoothly. And that’s before Samsara starts tagging smaller assets that have long been out in the wild. We will dive into this further over the coming days, including some customer insights. 

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