Defining Assets, Asset Types and how to differentiate between them

Assets and Asset Types

Understanding Assets vs. Asset Types

The distinction between Assets and Asset Types are important in Sky Ledge. They provide you with the understanding you need to describe your asset structure within Sky Ledge effectively.

What you'll learn

  • What is an Asset

  • What is an Asset Type

  • What it means for your organization

What is the difference between an Asset and an Asset Type?

An asset refers to something that exists. It could be a particular person, a specific machine, sensor or a given record (e.g. an online transaction).

For example, your car is an Asset. It exists. It is also identifiable in some way, perhaps by its registration number, let's assume XYZ-123.

On the other hand, an Asset Type describes the type or class of a given asset. Your car with registration number XYZ-123 belongs to a 'Car' Asset Type.

In Sky Ledge, any Asset within an Asset Type will have the same metadata fields associated with them. For example, all assets within the 'Car Asset Type' might have the following metadata:

  • Registration Number,

  • Manufacture Date and

  • Car Model

On the other hand, an 'Employee' Asset Type might have the following metadata associated with them:

  • First Name

  • Last Name

  • Date of Birth

It is impossible (and strange) for a given car Asset to be part of the Employee Asset Type because it has different metadata associated with it. Similarly, an employee (e.g. Eva Williams) would never be considered to be part of the Car Asset Type.

If in doubt, remember that Asset Type asks the question: "what type of asset is this".

How can my organization use Assets and Asset Types?

Asset Types are a fundamental building block within Sky Ledge. Asset Types help you model an organization's entire Asset Portfolio. For example, HP Inc has a diverse assert estate, to name a few:

  • 4 Ships that transport potion ingredients from Hogwarts to their factory in New York

  • 1,000 Delivery Trucks that transport potions to their pharmacy customers

  • 3 Potion product lines (Flight, Memory and Speed).

  • Dozens of manufacturing equipment

  • HP Customers: 100k+ pharmacies whose stock levels need to be tracked to trigger automatic refill requests

HP Inc represents each of these as a separate Asset Types. Some of these can even be broken out further into multiple Asset Types.

How do I decide whether I need one or more Asset Types for a class of assets?

Start with listing out the metadata you need to capture about any given asset. Once you've done this, group assets that share metadata under an Asset Type where it makes sense to do so. Let's take a look at an example:

Modelling Asset Types Example

For example, HP Inc decided on their structure by asking "what information do we need to store and analyse about each of these assets?" This question led to an interesting discovery:

HP Ships 🚢

HP needs to capture the following metadata about each of their ships:

  • Ship ID

  • Captain

  • Departure Date

  • Arrival Date

So HP has decided to group all four of their ships under a single 'Ship' asset type in Sky Ledge.

Delivery Trucks 🚚

HP need to capture the following metadata about each Delivery Truck vehicle:

  • Driver Name

  • Model

  • Odometer Reading

Similar to ships, HP has decided to group all one thousand of their trucks under the one 'Delivery Truck' asset type.

Potions 🧙‍♀️

Even though they all seem to be the same 'asset type' on the surface, it turns out HP require different metadata for different potion products. Let's take a look:

Flying Potion:

  • Max Flight Duration

  • Manufacture Date

  • Use by date

Speed Potion:

  • Max Speed Duration

  • Manufacture Date

Memory Potion:

  • Potion memory quality

  • Manufacture date

In this case, HP chose to model each product line as a different asset type. Breaking potions out into three different asset types makes sense as they require specific metadata to be captured depending on the potion type.

Key takeaways

As a rule of thumb, assets within an Asset Type share common metadata. Sometimes you will have good reason to create separate asset types even though assets share the same metadata on the surface.

Looking at HP Inc, they later realized that although the 1,000 trucks have common metadata, 300 of these trucks are leased from a fleet rental company. To make reporting easier, and to also allow for future flexibility, HP decided to create a new 'Rental Truck' asset type and store 300 of the delivery trucks in that category, and have the other 700 trucks inside of the 'HP Delivery Truck' asset type.

This way it's easier to distinguish rental trucks from HP-owned ones, and it would open possibilities to store additional metadata against rental fleets down the track (e.g. lease expiration date).

How you organize Asset Types very much depends on the outcomes you expect. If in doubt, you can always join our Slack community and ask all the questions your heart desires. You also get the opportunity to ask other Sky Ledge users how they went about assigning Asset Types.

Asset Metrics and Attributes

In the previous article, we agreed that Assets within an Asset Type share the same metadata. But what do we mean by metadata?

Metadata is a set of fields or labels that gives more information about any given or asset type.

What you'll learn:

  • Default asset metadata

  • What asset metrics are

  • What asset attributes mean

Asset Type Metadata

Asset Types describe the type of asset stored in a collection. They include the following metadata by default:

  • Name

  • Description

  • Identifier

Suppose HP Inc need to create an Asset Type to store our "Invisibility Machines", we could describe it using the following metadata:

Asset Type PropertyExample


Invisibility Machine


HP Inc's top secret invisibility machines



Asset Metadata

Quick recap: Assets refer to specific things. Specific machines, people or entities that fall under a given 'Asset Type'.

By default, Assets can contain the following metadata:

Asset PropertyDescriptionExample


Automatically generated by Sky Ledge to identify this asset


Asset Identifier

An optional way for you to reference this asset without having to remember or use Sky Ledge's ID



An optional user friendly name for your asset.

Invisibility Machine


An optional description for your asset.

Super secret invisibility machine


A set of coordinates. Sky Ledge can translate these into an address.



A valid date.

Today's date

External URLs

Any links you would like to include (e.g. to a manual, intranet or external device or control system)


Attributes related to your asset.

More on attributes next.


Metrics related to your asset.

More on metrics below.


An Asset can include both attributes and metrics.

Attributes are properties of an Asset that change infrequently or not at all. Examples include name, model number and age.

Metrics are numeric values that change over time — metrics store historical information which you can query historically. Examples of metrics include speed, temperature or rotations per minute.

Note: Enterprise customers can store non-numerical information as well. Reach out to your Customer Success Manager for further details.


Last updated