Category Archives: Technology

Big Breakthroughs are Transforming the Way Distributors Do Business

This article originally appeared in the January 2016 issue of CryoGas International. It is reprinted with permission.


Doug O'Dell Vice President of Sales, TrackAbout

Doug O’Dell

Award-winning author Thomas Friedman said, “Big breakthroughs happen when what is suddenly possible meets what is desperately necessary.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/opinion/friedman-come-the-revolution.html) Friedman was referring to the “college education revolution” where advancements in technology made it easier for more people to receive a college degree for a lower cost via an online platform. But history is full of big breakthroughs resulting from innovations that filled a desperate need. The printing press gave greater access to information and set the stage for a transformation of social literacy. The steam engine enabled growth of the railroad and boosted intercontinental trade. Electricity sparked a host of other inventions that account for most of our modern life. And now, cloud technology and mobile computing are changing the way compressed gas distributors operate.

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The History (and Future) of Cylinder Tracking

I was very honored to be asked to write an article on the history of cylinder tracking for the 25th Anniversary Issue of CryoGas International Magazine. I’m proud that TrackAbout has been a leader in developing asset tracking technology for the industrial gas industry for the past 15 years. That experience has given me a chance to watch this technology grow from its infancy.

I am especially excited that TrackAbout, together with our affiliate company Lockhouse, is helping to build the future industrial supply chain. So the article is also about the future of cylinder tracking, and how technology in use now both creates and solves the increasing demands for better information in real time, all along the supply chain.

This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of gasworld. It is reprinted with permission.

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In focus… Tracking, scheduling and telemonitoring

gas cylinder tracking with a smartphoneThis article was written by Stuart Radnedge of gasworld and originally appeared in the May 2015 issue. It is reprinted with permission.

Technology, and the advancement of it, propels innovation – influencing changes for a better, more efficient mode of conducting everyday life. The late, great, co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, once stated, “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.”

This couldn’t be more true a description than that of the humble telephone – or its development into what we now know as the smartphone. Once the wired telephone lost its cabled connectors, boundaries were broken – and a tool for long distance communication between humans suddenly became limitless. It’s only over the last 15 or so years that the smartphone has become the fully integrated companion to our lives.

And in this In Focus… we look into the positive effect that smartphones – and technology as a whole – has had on the tracking, scheduling and telemonitoring sector of industrial gases.

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Honeywell Completes Acquisition Of Datamax-O’Neil for $185M

Our customer community might be interested to know that another big acquisition in the mobile device industry occurred the other day. A Honeywell press release announced it has completed its acquisition of Datamax-O’Neil, a global manufacturer of fixed and mobile printers used in a variety of retail, warehouse and distribution, and health care applications.

In a statement emailed to its partners, Honeywell president John Waldron said, “The new combined Datamax-O’Neil and Honeywell portfolios are highly complementary and together enable us to provide a broader array of printing solutions. Together, we will be able to provide unmatched opportunities to drive value for our customers.”

He continued, “Datamax-O’Neil and Honeywell share a focus on innovation and customer service, making this combination a truly exciting event for the industry. Datamax-O’Neil is now part of a global Fortune 100 company with 140,000 employees in over 100 countries and can benefit from the processes and expertise that Honeywell will provide.”

 

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Asset Management – The Smartphone Revolution

This article originally appeared in the December 2014 issue of gasworld.

Smartphone scanning a gas cylinder for asset tracking

Smartphones and other sophisticated mobile devices have taken the world by storm – fundamentally changing the way many of us interact and work every day. People can now carry a small, relatively inexpensive powerful computing device with internet connectivity with them wherever they go. This has meant that, for better or worse, more people find themselves ‘always connected’. However for businesses, especially industries that manage lots of assets, these devices are nothing short of a positive game changing force.

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Found in the Cloud – Asset Management

This article was written by Helen Carmichael of gasworld and originally appeared in the December 2014 issue. It is reprinted with permission.

Lockhouse asset management and registry


Cylinder tracking is an essential tool for managing a company’s prized assets. Now by deploying cloud data storage and mobile devices, Lockhouse has created another level of asset management for end-users. Helen Carmichael reports.


Recent years have seen an inexorable move towards electronic and bar code tagging and tracking of cylinders among many distribution companies. Although these strategies have saved a lot of time and paperwork, they have also revealed a few problems along the way. Companies have reported trying a number of bar coding strategies before finding the right one, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging is expensive, may have reliability issues, and also may not be totally future-proof as technology moves forward.

According to Tim Fusco, CEO of asset tracking software company TrackAbout, “for customers who are using RFID, it is expensive, and they are locked into a single track. Barcodes or QR codes are more flexible.”

QR codes (Quick Response Codes) are a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) originating in the Japanese automotive industry, and now cropping up increasingly on our products – which we can scan for more information using our mobile phones. By its choice of QR codes attached on a coated label, Lockhouse intends to use the devices already in everyone’s pockets to find and recover lost assets, says Lockhouse Head of Marketing and Strategy, Cassie Glessner. “Lockhouse is an internet web application,” she told gasworld. “The user scans the code on an asset with their mobile device, and brings up a specific page on that asset. Simultaneously, the location from the GPS on the user’s phone or other handheld device is paired with that asset.”

Lockhouse, then, provides a registry for gas cylinders and other assets that connects different data systems to create a more efficient information exchange between the industry and its users.

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Living in an Age of Connectivity: What does it mean for gas distributors?

Originally published in CryoGas International.

TrackAbout and Lockhouse are revolutionizing the way gas distributors think about their cylinders.

Like it or not, we live in an age of connectivity.  It seems like everyone has a smartphone and soon every thing will have some way of communicating through the Internet.  Technology is taking us places people only imagined a few short years ago.  The Internet is no longer only something we log on to for work or for play or to find a good deal.

The Internet of Things (IoT), where objects are equipped with identifying devices or machine-readable tags like barcodes or RFID chips, is transforming daily life.  This smart technology tracks aging family members’ routines and issues an alert if disruptions occur.  Smart thermostats use sensors, real-time weather forecasts and the activity in your home to reduce monthly energy usage.  Smart machines avoid downtime with embedded sensors that enable maintenance to be scheduled ahead of a failure.

Across every industry, companies are discovering new ways to use smart technology.  TrackAbout and its affiliate company Lockhouse are revolutionizing the way industrial gas suppliers and distributors think about their assets.

Read the full story.

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What You Need to Know About Asset Tracking Software

Asset tracking software works on smartphones and tablets as well as rugged handhelds.

Originally published in HomeCare magazine.

As your reimbursement, regulatory and business environments continue to evolve, you’ve probably looked at how to reduce costs on multiple occasions. You’ve had to make some difficult 
decisions. One thing is for sure, you don’t want to incur additional expenses. But, what if an expense could yield new cost savings and efficiencies and pay for itself in less than a year? Asset management software can do exactly that. 

Read the full story.

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Automating Asset Management Workflows is as Simple as Pushing the Easy Button

Automating asset management workflows is easyAsset tracking software helps companies streamline and simplify asset management processes by automating workflows. Employees using handheld mobile devices follow step-by-step screens that lead them through a predetermined sequence of tasks. It’s impossible to skip a step as the mobile device screen won’t advance until the employee enters the appropriate information on the current screen. This eliminates unnecessary steps, increases worker compliance with defined operating procedures, standardizes workflows and improves process control.

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