“We believe that accurate location combined with LPWA networks are a game-changer in the logistics sector, delivering a revolution in precision and efficiency of resource and supply chain management.” explains Actility CEO Mike Mulica. “Geolocation and tracking could possibly be the biggest use case in the whole of the internet of things, based on the amount of interest we’re seeing in our location service portfolio. We are making asset tracking accessible to the global supply chain at very compelling cost and very long battery life for tracked devices, and of course with fine location granularity, all combined into a market-ready package with easy integration into existing enterprise management platforms and network solutions.”
Visitors to Actility’s booth at Mobile World Congress (8.C03) will be able to see the network based location solution in action, tracking vehicles and containers in the nearby Port of Barcelona. The system does not rely on dedicated tracking sensors. The signal from any LoRaWAN enabled device in the Port is received by several of the Cisco Interface Modules for LoRaWAN mounted throughout the facility. By precisely measuring the time it takes for that signal to reach each of the modules, the network is able to compute the distance to the device from each gateway and then “triangulate” its position. Since this solution does not require the connected device to be fitted with GPS, and the location calculation is done in the cloud, network-based geolocation carries no power penalty, and the lifetime of the device in the field is unaffected. Trackers capable of up to ten years in the field without maintenance are possible.
For many applications, the ability to locate an asset with minimal power usage is more critical than high precision accuracy – for theft prevention, for example, it is important to be sure that an asset is within a specific depot or site area, but not exactly where it is. For other live tracking applications, though, the exact location precision offered by GPS is necessary. To meet these high precision use cases, Actilty also integrates LoRa assisted GPS in its ThingPark Location Service. Dedicated tracking devices select relevant GPS signals to determine their location, and use energy-efficient LoRaWAN communication to pass location information to tracking applications. LoRA enabled GPS offers much longer battery life than comparable GPS trackers using mobile cellular modems.
“KPN believes localization is an important feature for a wide variety of LPWA use cases. Actility’s Thingpark Location Platform is as a very promising solution enabling geolocation, tracking and geofencing of assets in many industries,” comments Jacob Groote, EVP of Service Platforms at Actility customer KPN.
The complete Location Service will be available through a single ThingPark X API, which, coupled with the bidirectional capability of the LoRaWAN link, will allow developers to manage geolocation according to the needs of their application. For example, in an asset tracking and theft prevention scenario, the application may use low-power consumption network-based location to geo-fence a vehicle, raising an alert only when it strays outside a defined area. But if the vehicle breaks through that geo-fence, then the application can request regular GPS-based location updates to enable the vehicle to be traced in real time and recovered.
“We’re delighted to be pioneering this next evolution of IoT technology,” says Actility CEO Mike Mulica. “We believe that this capability is a game changer for many industries, including logistics, supply chain management, precision agriculture, utilities and mining. It’s the “killer app” for industrial IoT