Asset Tracking System Features & Benefits

Why should you select the CG4 asset tracking system? The asset software we offer is the result of offering asset tracking software for years to some of the smartest customers on the planet. Through the years customers gave us suggestions, complaints, and have collaborated with us. The result of this effort is that we are able to offer an off-the-shelf asset tracking solution that should meet your needs. The following are a few of the features. We welcome your questions and suggestions.

Patented Synchronization Technology
Web-based Server
User Profiles
Password and Security
Flexible Handhelds can Sync from Anywhere
Rules and Exceptions
Configurable Data Fields
Handheld Modules to Fit your Needs
Interface ATS to Other Systems
Location Location Location
Documentation
Hardware Independent
Browser Independent
SQL Database
Populate Your Data Into ATS
Reports
Assign Users to Assets
Server and Workstation Operating System Flexibility
Scalable
Users Review Work Before Sending to Server
Handheld Tells You Which Assets are Not Found
Searching the Handheld
Preload Data onto the Handheld
Check In and Check Out / Assign or Un-assign
Radio Frequency Identification Handheld Scanners
Parent Child Relationships
Audit History
Same Features as Large Customers
Migration between Professional (Stand Alone) and Enterprise
Monitor Maintenance Contracts, Costs, and Leases
Transfer Assets

Patented Synchronization Technology

1. We built our own means of communicating between the web server and the handhelds. It allows us to have great control over what goes back and forth from the handheld, improves the power administrators have over their users, and gives users more flexibility.
2. With our patented sync technology, we have not lost any data as a result of an interruption to the sync process. We have millions of asset records traveling through our sync technology and it is solid.

Web-based Server

The architecture of CG4s Asset Tracking System (ATS) has a web-based server as the hub. Each user account created by the administrator may access the server using the ATS web interface from any web browser or may also access the same information using a handheld. The user can access either or both of these interchangeably and as it makes sense. The web interface is more commonly used by ATS customers in the Professional Edition. Enterprise Edition customers typically only have users access the handheld devices.

User Profiles

1. The profile settings that the administrator gives to a particular user are enforced regardless of the user working through the web interface or the handhelds.
2. The administrator is able to specify by user which locations of assets to include in the profile. This allows a technician in Miami to only see assets for Miami. You can go as detailed as you would like when assigning locations to a user. You can assign as many locations to a user profile as you like.
3. The administrator is able to use a secondary assignment to further define which assets are to be available within a particular user profile. When used as the default Category grouping, it allows an administrator to say that I only want this particular user to have access to the laptops in Miami rather than all assets in Miami. You can assign as many secondary assignments as you like to each profile.
4. The administrator can indicate whether a user should be able to edit assets, create assets, and have access to modules on the handheld. These are all part of the CG4s robust tools that allow an administrator to give access to only the assets and functions needed for a user to get their tasks accomplished.
5. The administrator can optionally grant administrative privileges to a profile.
6. Once the administrator creates the user profile, the handheld user from her handheld can select all location and category groupings for her or she can select a subset from within those assignments. If her profile includes all of Miami, may be today she is only going to be in three of the building in Miami so she selects to bring down only those three buildings of assets. This helps minimize sync times and keeps the user as efficient as possible. See Asset Tracking Basics.
7. In the Professional Edition, when a user logs into the web interface, they only have access to those assets that are included in their profile – the same access to asset data as if they were using their handheld.

Password and Security

The administrator can select what password rules to have in place for users. You can require passwords be changed periodically, allow or require alphabetic, numeric, or special characters. You can require upper and lower case, minimum number of characters, maximum number of characters, and how many days until the password expires.

Flexible Handhelds can Sync from Anywhere

1. Any user can pick up and use any handheld device and sync from any cradle or from any hot spot (if using a wireless enabled handheld) in the corporate network .
2. Handhelds can sync from anywhere in the corporate network just as long as the IP address where the CG4•Central server software is installed is available. The ATS software will sync to the server regardless of whether it is through the cradle or wirelessly. Most customers use the cradle option for cost, convenience, and may be they do not have the wireless handheld or infrastructure available.

Rules and Exceptions

The Rules and Exceptions functionality allows an administrator to set rules to allow her to review asset data as it is updated in the web interface, or modified on the handhelds.  These rules can work at the module level or at the server level.  These rules help an administrator maintain the integrity of her asset data. This feature is available in the Professional Edition in the Enterprise Edition.

Configurable Data Fields

We have all the basics set up for you to be able to effectively track your assets. We also offer you the ability to control the naming and usage of our data fields. Invariably, each customer has needs that are specific to their business or environment. It might be as simple as renaming a field. We give the administrator the ability to rename and reuse all our fields to fit your needs. If you are the administrator, you can pick and choose which fields are displayed, which ones are read-only or mandatory, the position of the field on the screen, which ones are free text, which ones must use a dropdown list and what the values for the dropdown list will be. By providing you flexibility like this, our hope is that you can implement at your business without even needing to consider having us customize our software for you. We do not recommend customizing our software; it just slows things down in the future when you want a new release of the ATS software. Refer to our services.  If we do add a new feature, we add it to the general release software so that all CG4 customers can benefit.

Handheld Modules to Fit your Needs

1. On the handheld, you can create many types of modules to help get your work done.  CG4 customers create modules for each step in their asset life cycle where they would like to use a scanner to keep the asset data accurate.  Here are a few examples of modules:
2. Asset Tracking. This is the most robust module and the one most customers use to get their work done. Use this module to do your verification inventory, moves, adds, and changes. For this module, you preload assets, locations, models, employees, and other data for any dropdowns you want available on the handheld. You can actually accomplish all your tasks with this module, but some times these other modules just fit the bill a little better.
3. Receiving. This is the module to use if you have purchase order lines that you would like to receive onto. You preload the open purchase order lines and the stock locations. This is available in the Enterprise Edition.
4. QuickScan. If you are doing a simple, quick, baseline inventory to “touch” all your assets. This module is what you may want to use. You preload locations for this module and then everything you scan goes into that location with a time and date inventoried. Optionally, you have a couple of additional fields (such as status) you can have automatically populated with each scan.
5. QuickScanPlus. If you want the benefits of QuickScan, but instead of scanning only the Barcode you want to scan the Barcode and Serial Number for each record, then use this module.
6. Retirement. If you would like to use a handheld to gather the assets together as you are retiring them or shipping them out the door, then this module is what you may want to use. You preload with stock locations and then scan away. This module is available in the Enterprise Edition. In the Professional Edition, there is a retirement function that is available in the Asset Tracking module and the web interface.
7. User Assignment. If you have assets that should be issued to new employees or perhaps you would like to do an inventory by user, then you would use this type of module to do the work.  
8. Create your Own.  Customers may create their own modules based on the module templates CG4 offers.  

Interface ATS to Other Systems

1. If you would like to use our existing web and handheld architecture to interface into your system, it should not be too difficult. You would be using the Enterprise Edition. We use the standard interface tools and programming provided by systems such as Hewlett Packard, Oracle PeopleSoft, ServiceNow, Cherwell, and others, but we also have many customers who interface our ATS with their existing legacy system or some other system. If there is a good interface tool or integration programming provided, then customers may use tab or CSV files to move data back and forth between CG4 and the customer's system. Sometimes customers do this type of work without involving CG4, just using the out-of-the-box CG4 functionality.  
2. In the Enterprise Edition, we offer automatic imports and exports. In the Professional Edition, we have similar capabilities, but the export functionality is not typically used because the CG4 ATS software is the your repository of asset data.
3. Because our SQL database is open, you have the ability to take data directly from our database and pull it into your system if desired.  Consult with your CG4 representative on this.

Location Location Location

Just as in real estate, location is very important. When doing your asset tracking work, if you supply a complete location list to ATS regardless of whether there are assets currently there or not, it helps your handheld users be accurate with respect to the location. The more detailed you go with your locations and sub-locations, the better. It is much easier to find an asset in room 213 than it is to find the asset if you have it just listed as being on the second floor. We offer up to eight location nodes. Some people start at the highest node with a country and work their way down through state, city, building, floor, sector, room. Others prefer to keep the nodes more simple. Make sure and include all warehouse and stock room locations as part of your location list.

Documentation

“They” say that you should write at a sixth grade level so that all easily understand what is being presented. To go along with that, we take the time to put a lot of pictures into our documentation. Our internal goal is to make the documentation pleasing enough that you can get installed without scratching your head and calling us to help clear up the confusion. Our documentation is not like a standard technical document which commonly has a lot of information that will bore you to death and make your eyes immediately gloss over. Our Beginner’s Guide is a good place for you to start evaluating our documentation. We welcome any feedback.

Hardware Independent

1. We support Microsoft, Android, and Apple operating systems. We support many hardware manufacturers using these operating systems. Our goal is to allow you to select the best handheld to fit your needs. We also strive to support older operating systems so that if you have handhelds you purchased a few years ago, you can use them with CG4′s ATS.
2. Some handhelds do not have an integrated scanner. You can use those handhelds with ATS, but you will need to use the handheld screen to do your work. It is less efficient than scanning, but it is an option for you.
3. Plug in scanners are available for handhelds, but most customers end up purchasing integrated ruggedized scanners.
4. If you are using the Professional Edition, you may decide that you do not even want to buy any handhelds and just use the web interface. You could use the web interface with a wand attached to your workstation. It is all up to you.
5. You can have different models of handhelds (or different operating systems if needed) syncing to the server at the same time. This allows you to gradually migrate your handhelds from one model to another if you cannot upgrade all of your handhelds at once.

Browser Independent

The CG4 Asset Tracking software works with many browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome. Whether you are running Apple or Windows computers, the browsers allow you to use the web-based CG4 Asset Tracking software.

SQL Database

1. CG4 ATS uses a single SQL database. You can use the latest versions of SQL or SQL Express.  We only need one database for each implementation of ATS because everything syncs and connects to this one instance no matter where in the world the handheld is syncing from. If you have distinct implementations of ATS for different functional groups with their own requirements, then you would need an additional database for that. All of these database options work well with CG4 ATS. Check with your IT people to see what they prefer. If you do not have a preference, you could use MSDE or SQL Express because these do not require a license from Microsoft.
2. All the tables in our database are open for your use. You may use any type of reporting tool you are familiar with to create custom reports.

Populate Your Data Into ATS

Initial population of the database can be done via import files, via the web pages, via web services, via APIs, or via the handhelds. From there going forward, the data maintenance can be done via incremental imports from external systems, from web pages, or from the handhelds.

Reports

1. If you are using the Enterprise Edition, you have a Review Changes report that compares the before and after values of each asset edit that is coming back from the handhelds. This is an optional report. Many customers just let the updates pass into the processes to update the enterprise asset management system and then have business rules and reconciliation functions happen there.  The Remediation page also offers the ability to review the data received from the field technicians.  CG4 also offers many pre-written reports in CG4 Central Server.  CG4 also offers a custom report writer for you to create, edit, and delete custom reports.
2. If you are using the Professional Edition, you have many reports that will help you do an excellent job of tracking your assets. We provide all the reports you need to evaluate and reconcile during your regular day-to-day functions and your inventory efforts. You can drill down in these reports and export them to Excel or save the report results to a file. We continue to add to our reports, so we welcome your suggestions. We use Crystal Reports for our preprogrammed reports.
3. Our SQL database is open, so you are free to write your own reports to meet your specific needs.

Assign Users to Assets

Most of our customers have taken the time to assign users to their assets. It helps with cost allocation, accountability, and just knowing where your assets are. When populating the ATS database with your list of employees, make sure it only includes active employees. We had one customer who was taxing their system and handhelds by including hundreds of thousands of employee records who were no longer active with the company. We can step you through data optimization techniques if you are running into these types of issues.

Server and Workstation Operating System Flexibility

1. The server software can be installed in the latest Windows Server versions.  You can also install CG4 in Windows 7, Windows 10, etc. if desired.  You will need to have the Windows component IIS (Internet Information Services) on to whichever machine you install the server software.
2. The CG4 software does not need anything installed on the local workstations.  If you have questions, check with your CG4 representative.  
3. Hardware requirements depend on the size of your implementation. Please contact us regarding our minimum server and workstation hardware requirements for your implementation.

Scalable

1. With our web-based architecture and our patented synchronization technology, ATS can handle your needs whether you are the only user or whether you manage hundreds of users.
2. If needed, you can have hundreds of simultaneous handhelds synchronizing with the server. You can have a thousand users created as long as you never have more than a couple of hundred synching at the same time to the server.
3. You can have hundreds of people using the web interface to access the server. In the Enterprise Edition most users do not need to access the web. In the Professional Edition, you could have all your users accessing the web and using the handhelds interchangeably.
4. We are confident scalability will not be an issue for your implementation.  We support customers with hundreds of licenses and we support customers with a handful of licenses.

Users Review Work Before Sending to Server

On the handheld the users can review all the changes, new assets, inventoried assets before synchronizing and sending the updates to the server. If the user made a mistake, he can delete his update record on the handheld before sending it to the server, which saves you or your administrator time resolving unnecessary items.

Handheld Tells You Which Assets are Not Found

After you have scanned all the assets in a given area, you can look on the handheld to see which assets have not been found in that location. It helps the technicians do as thorough of a job as possible before transmitting to the server.

Searching the Handheld

You can search the records on the handheld with the search capabilities in the Asset Tracking module. You can do full or partial string searches on several fields such as Barcode and Serial Number.

Preload Data onto the Handheld

By preloading assets, models, brands, categories, employees, locations, and many other tables of information to the handheld, all the functions related to deploying, installing, moving, changing, and adding new assets are done accurately and easily while maintaining data integrity and consistency.

Check In and Check Out / Assign or Un-assign

Check in and check out functions are easily accomplished with either handheld scanners or wedge scanners (at a workstation). If you have a fixed location and need to check assets into or out of an area, the handheld scanners and the web pages can both be used to make the appropriate updates.

RFID Handheld Scanners

CG4 Asset Tracking products are compatible with scanners that are multifunctional to include barcode and RFID scanning. With RFID scanners, the challenge may be to narrow down the exact location of an asset. Also with RFID, you will need to get near the asset to determine its condition or who the assigned user is or should be so that you can update the asset record. Talk with us about what your objectives are and we will help guide you.

Parent Child Relationships

You are able to associate assets with each other in a parent child relationship. In the Enterprise Edition, your enterprise asset management system allows you to optimize and report on these relationships. In the Professional Edition, you can make these relationships in the web interface or by using the handhelds. Reporting is available to help you manage these relationships. A child asset could be a monitor with the parent asset being a workstation. A software license could be a child asset to a workstation parent asset.

Audit History

We have several features built into our system that allow for a clean audit trail. We keep copies of all records imported in or exported from ATS. The updated records coming from the handhelds include who did the changes and whether they scanned a barcode or picked the value with the handheld. The Review Changes report in the Enterprise Edition shows the before and after values of assets as the changes come up from the handhelds. In the Professional Edition, we show all changes made from all sources including the web interface.

Same Features as Large Customers

The nice thing for our customers is that regardless of whether you are using one handheld or hundreds, you are using the same software and have the same features and functionality. Regardless of the customer size, both small and large customers benefit by the suggestions and features made by each other.

Migration between Professional Edition (Stand Alone) and Enterprise is Easy

Some customers have plans to integrate into their enterprise asset management system in the future, but they want to start collecting asset information now in preparation for the move. Our Professional Edition is a great way to accomplish this. All the data collected while using the Professional Edition can very easily be migrated into the Enterprise Edition of our Asset Tracking System. To help make it painless, you can migrate your licenses from the Professional Edition to the Enterprise Edition without incurring any additional licensing charges as long as you are current with your maintenance. The handheld functionality is very similar between the two versions so it will be almost transparent to your handheld technicians which helps eliminate the need for additional training.

Monitor Maintenance Contracts, Costs, and Leases

We have standard fields that allow you to track the financial aspects of the asset and whether it is under maintenance contracts or lease. Whether you are using Enterprise or Professional Editions, these bits of information may be useful to you.

Transfer Assets

The Asset Tracking or QuickScan modules can help you handle transferring of assets from one location to another.