Actility signs agreement with Pittsburgh International Airport

Pittsburgh International Airport

The Actility Newsroom

Actility signs agreement with Pittsburgh International Airport

Pittsburgh International Airport
Actility, the industry leader in Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Pittsburgh International Airport in a move that will greatly expand the airport’s IoT capability and position it among the most technologically advanced airports in the world.

By 2023, a high-tech $1Bn terminal will be built at Pittsburgh International Airport with plans for the best IoT technology embedded from the outset of the design phase, in order to provide the most up to date offering in a world-class facility.

Under the MOU, the airport will establish an LPWAN IoT Lab with Actility to enable different use cases to be deployed and tested to identify the best candidate devices and application partners for the overall new terminal design. Targeted areas will include asset movement, people movement and building management.

Actility CEO and co-founder Olivier Hersent said: “We are delighted to sign this MOU with Pittsburgh International Airport to undertake the first phases of the IoT Lab using our ThingPark Business Accelerator Program. We will supply the airport with the tools, knowledge, and techniques to make their IoT services successful and to demonstrate the benefits of LoRaWAN technology. We look forward to bringing the airport and its visionary management team through the critical first steps of a commercially successful IoT service.”

“Technology innovation is critical for us,” said Pittsburgh International Airport CEO Christina Cassotis. “This is one step toward our goal of building the ‘smartest’ airport in the world. Building an ecosystem of technology leaders and advanced thinking partners will enable us to learn and adapt to be the leading airport in meeting passenger and airline needs while continuing to increase efficiencies.

Actility’s Business Accelerator Program (BAP) consultative service is the first step in IoT service and business case definition. It sets the goals for client projects, tests assumptions, and establishes high-level go-forward plans for launch.

“The expected growth of IoT is exponential, and therefore, as part of our transformation to a smart airport, we need to understand how impactful and valuable this wave of technology can be to our airport and the industry,” said Katherine Karolick, Senior Vice President of Information Technology at Pittsburgh International. “We will work with Actility and the IoT ecosystem to first learn and test the value in our existing airside terminal and then refine and perfect it. When our new landside terminal opens in 2023, we will have deployed proven, reliable, secure, and innovative systems.”

Actility was launched by IoT industry and LoRaWAN experts in 2010 to accelerate low power global connectivity. Actility co-founded the LoRa Alliance and continues to pioneer low power wide area (LPWA) networking technology.


For further information:
Actility: Anne van Gemert / +33 6 47 37 30 21

Notes to editors:
Actility connects the industrial internet of things. Our IoT connectivity platform, tools, and fast-growing ecosystem enable our customers to create IoT solutions that transform business, industries and processes. The ThingPark LPWA platform connects sensors gathering data to cloud applications on any scale, from global or national networks to secure on-campus enterprise solutions, managing devices, data flows and monetization. Our value-added applications and business services enable roaming, device software update, geolocation and smart grid. Actility is at the heart of a thriving customer ecosystem, connecting solutions partners, supporting developers and device makers preparing their LPWA product for market, and providing an e-commerce Marketplace offering global distribution to solution providers. Actility co-founded the LoRa Alliance and continues to pioneer LPWA networking technology.

GEFCO partners with Actility and Wakeo to develop a new track and trace solution for motorcycles cradles

Gefco truck with mountain landscape

The Actility Newsroom

GEFCO partners with Actility and Wakeo to develop a new track and trace solution for motorcycles cradles

This partnership with Actility and Wakeo allows GEFCO to provide an innovative, tailor-made solution to streamline cradle management processes in Europe, reinforcing its leading position in automotive logistics.

This latest development also demonstrates the unique added value brought to customers by GEFCO’s innovation strategy, which last year led to the start of another key partnership, with accelerator Techstars.

An innovative, tailor-made solution bringing added value to customers

Once motorcycles leave the factory, they are stored and transported to dealers’ facilities on cradles. A shortage of cradles generates additional costs and production management problems. Cradles are not easy to track and are sometimes lost or stolen, which reduces manufacturers’ fleets and leads to delivery delays. GEFCO has developed a unique tailor-made solution to solve operational issues and streamline cradle management processes in Europe by partnering with Actility, a leading LoRaWAN solution provider, and Wakeo, the provider of a real-time visibility platform.

  • Actility is a global leader in LoRaWAN solutions. LoRaWAN is a low power wireless protocol for wide area networks that allows devices to communicate with IoT applications over long-range wireless connections (up to 15 kilometers) with extended battery life (up to 10 years). Actility powers more than 50 public LoRaWAN service providers in over 30 countries, along with managed enterprise networks for dedicated vertical IoT solutions. Actility also enables multi-country geolocation solutions through its LoRaWAN roaming hub and Abeeway, its subsidiary that makes low power, long-life trackers.
  • Wakeo provides a SaaS platform to bring real-time visibility on B2B multimodal transport flows. The software aggregates transport providers’ data and guarantees data quality by enriching it with independent information (IoT data from hardware partners, AIS and satellite data). Using in-house algorithms, Wakeo predicts times of arrival and sends proactive alerts to enable operational teams to anticipate delays.

A collective intelligence solution to meet customers’ needs

Smart trackers have been provided by Actility and installed on the cradles to provide positions with an accuracy up to three meters and a battery lifetime of more than seven years. Tracker data is then collected via the LoRaWAN networks and analyzed on the Wakeo platform. This platform updates the motorcycles’ estimated arrival time at the dealer’s facility in real time. The platform also allows the user to locate the cradles, showing if and when they have been delayed. Automated alerts are sent to operational teams about delays. Thanks to this system, motorcycle manufacturers can make sure the initial transport plan is being followed, while being informed of possible delivery delays and the cradles’ return.

“The integration of these two innovative solutions will give GEFCO customers a comprehensive overview of their flows. They will benefit from real-time, predictive, cost-effective, energy-efficient and sustainable solutions for managing logistics resources and complex supply chains. This demonstrates the effectiveness of our innovation strategy and confirms the added value that our partnership with Techstars can bring to our customers,” commented Emmanuel Cheremetinski, Executive Vice-President Inland at GEFCO.

Last year, GEFCO also initiated another key partnership, with Techstars, as part of its innovation strategy to explore and invent new business lines. This strategy has three priorities: detecting new ideas and opportunities with the Innovation Watch and Business Intelligence teams, testing new ideas proposed by internal teams at the GEFCO Innovation Factory, and investing in specific projects with Innovation Funding.

IoT geolocation enables asset tracking for logistics

IoT asset tracking

The Actility Blog

IoT geolocation enables asset tracking for logistics

IoT asset tracking

Railway cars, truck trailers, containers: tracking valuable assets on the move is a pain point for most large distributed organizations involved in logistics and supply chain, typically relying on partners such as distributors to correctly register check-in and check-out events. This registration process at specific checkpoints is usually manual, intermittent and subject to human errors. To tackle this issue, an IoT low power asset tracking system using LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) trackers brings a “timeless” checkpoint solution. Specifically, LoRaWAN™-based trackers, because of their low power, low cost and lightweight infrastructure, provide a first truly reliable tracking solution allowing to reduce downtime during transportation. 

The challenges involved

In the logistics sector, many business cases involve additional costs due to inefficient utilization of assets. Transport companies need to invest in freight railway cars, car logistics companies need to invest in truck trailers, and of course there are the standard containers and pallets.

“The profitability of these business cases directly depends on the minimization of asset downtime: every day or hour lost in a warehouse, parking or rail station reduces the number of times the moving asset will generate profit in a year.”

However, measuring this downtime is also a challenge. Traditional solutions involved cellular or satellite trackers, which require significant CAPEX, but perhaps more importantly also ongoing OPEX due to battery replacements and connectivity costs. In some cases, trackers are located in hard to reach areas especially when mounted on railroad cars, or in oil and gas rigs, which makes it very costly to replace batteries especially if there are several hundreds of thousands of trackers deployed in the field. The battery replacement is done by humans and is one of the dominating OPEX factors in overall Total Cost of Ownership ( TCO) of the whole solution. These replacement costs actually made it difficult to justify the mass adoption of conventional geolocation solutions in the logistics sector.

LPWAN trackers: a game changer 

LoRaWAN  is a very recent development leveraged by Actility, the industry leader in LPWAN connectivity, to create disruption in both the technology and business models. On the technology front, the main impact is on drastic reduction of power consumption, which reduces battery usage and ultimately also OPEX related to ongoing maintenance. It also creates new opportunities for more dynamic tracking, as communication events are less costly. On the business model side, logistics companies can now trade off between CAPEX and OPEX: most LPWAN systems operate on an unlicensed band, for example the leading LoRaWAN™  technology operates in the 915MHz band in the US, the 868MHz band in Europe and equivalent ISM bands in other parts of the world. This means that logistics companies can invest in their own wireless networks to reduce or eliminate variable connectivity costs.

“The cost of LPWAN radio network gateways has decreased due to higher production volumes and are now affordable even to very small logistic centers, such as a car distributor. “

Next generation LPWAN trackers

The potential of LPWAN-enabled tracking requires a new generation of hardware. The lower radio frequency power consumption is only a part of a massive effort to decrease overall power consumption of the whole system. And rather than focusing on geolocation technology, Abeeway, Actility’s subsidiary,  took the path of developing a smart multi-technology geolocation system fully optimized for LoRaWAN™. Ultra-low power technologies such as TDoA LoRaWAN network triangulation, WiFi sniffing, or BLE beacons, will be used whenever possible, along with the classic GPS optimized through techniques such as Low power GPS and D-AGPS (learn more about our Low power GPS technology here). Trackers from Abeeway were the first to reach sufficient maturity to be deployed in a use case requiring tens of thousands of units, with relatively low-cost assets (such as scooters), which means that reliability, low cost and low power were an absolute must. In the case of asset tracking, dedicated modes such as Start/Stop reporting have been developed: logistic application developers, can trigger the reporting events only when motion stops or starts, but also periodically to increase resiliency.

LoRaWAN and LP-GPS (AGPS/GPS) significantly increases battery lifetime

LPWAN LoRa low power geolocation

Merging an IoT network solution such as LoRaWAN with  multi-mode geolocation technologies for outdoor and indoor positioning increase by at least a factor of 10 the battery lifetime compared to the standard cellular solution using GSM/AGPS. Source: Actility

Designing LPWAN-based asset tracking: a system view

  1. The first step in designing a mobile asset monitoring system is to list all potential stop points for the asset, e.g. for railway cars, these would be freight railway stations and triage/transit centers, or in the case of car distribution companies these would be the distributors.
  2. The second step is to deploy a wide area wireless data collection system: each stop point will be equipped with one, and rarely two or three, radio base stations connected to the internet, usually leveraging existing on-site connectivity or cellular modems. All base stations are coordinated by a central network server, hosted by a service company or owned by the logistics company.
  3. The last step is to equip all moving assets with a LPWAN tracker, typically with a long-lasting primary battery, like the ones offered by Abeeway. These trackers will report stop and start events, so that downtime may be measured, but may also periodically report at rest or in transit to maintain continuous tracking.
  4. In some countries, roaming agreements with public LPWAN networks also allow precise monitoring during transit. Any large or small businesses can deploy a hybrid LoRaWAN™ private/public model using Actility’s ThingPark platform.  And even more, in order to enable new multi-country use cases, Actility partners with network operators worldwide to launch ThingPark Exchange, the first LoRaWAN™ international roaming hub for instant packet roaming between their networks (click here to learn how it works).

If you are interested in experiencing low power tracking devices for your use cases, you can test Abeeway trackers using one of our Low Power Location Trial Packages here. 

HERE partners with Actility to locate assets in indoor and outdoor environments


The Actility Newsroom

HERE partners with LoRaWAN leader Actility to locate assets in indoor and outdoor environments

Actility and HERE Technologies announce a partnership that will improve the location capabilities of IoT solutions by pinpointing the position of assets accurately, seamlessly and continuously in both indoor and outdoor environments. Combining Actility’s LoRaWAN connectivity management platform and HERE positioning capabilities, this integration will give Actility customers more cost-effective, energy efficient and sustainable solutions for asset management in logistics and supply chain applications across industries.

The combined solution can locate any asset, such as a tool or piece of equipment, with minimal energy consumption and low cost of ownership, bringing plant-to-store goods tracking or industrial supply chain transparency to life.

Actility is a global leader in LoRaWAN connectivity solutions. LoRaWAN is a low-power wireless protocol for wide area networks that allows devices to communicate with IoT applications over long-range wireless connections and with an extended battery life.Actility powers more than 50 service providers in over 30 countries and enables managed enterprise networks for dedicated vertical IoT solutions. As a result, Actility can enable multi-country geolocation solutions using its LoRaWAN roaming hub and Abeeway, its subsidiary that makes low-power, long-life trackers.

Through its partnership with HERE, Actility brings a complete low-power location solution to the market that combines GPS, A-GPS and Wi-Fi positioning. HERE venue mapping and “fingerprinting” (information about the current set of Wi-Fi signals and signal strengths available to a mobile device at a given moment) capabilities significantly improve indoor positioning precision, with an accuracy of five to seven meters.

“Through our new partnership with Actility, we continue to increase our capabilities and presence in the IoT market,” said Francois Fortun, Head of Business Development of IoT Partner Ecosystem at HERE. “HERE is a worldwide leader in mapping and location services, providing the highest levels of accuracy and global coverage, and our ongoing growth in this market underscores our position as the go-to location services provider for IoT technology.”

“Asset tracking is a strategic market for Actility, especially since our acquisition of Abeeway last year, which strengthened our solution portfolio with a LoRaWAN tracking device,” said Olivier Hersent, CEO of Actility. “Today, we are very enthusiastic to join forces with HERE to fill what we believe to be a gap in the market: multi-country, low-power geolocation solutions with increased accuracy in almost every situation and a compelling business case based on low TCO.”

Low power GPS: The power of LPWAN harnessed for location and tracking

The power of LPWAN harnessed for location and tracking

The Actility Blog

Actility’s IoT geolocation helps to protect workers and assets

The power of LPWAN harnessed for location and tracking

The energy consumption factor

In 2015, the Abeeway founders observed that there were no tracking and location devices in the market offering decent autonomy without oversized batteries or infringed precision of location.

We have to remember that GPS works with a constellation of satellites continuously broadcasting a radio signal that a receiver intercepts to determine the ephemeris as well as the distance to each visible satellite, allowing to calculate the receiver’s position. Translated to an IoT sensor, it means that all the processing is made by the chipset, which requires a lot of processing time and therefore energy.

It became clear that reducing the sensors’ energy consumption would be instrumental to enable large-scale IoT location and tracking.

“When I joined as CTO, I committed with my team to improving GPS efficiency to overcome this technical hurdle.” Stéphane Boudaud, Actility

Focus on GPS processing and connectivity 

Based on extensive field tests starting in 2016, we decided to tackle the power consumption of the GPS positioning – knowing that it is the most energy-consuming element of a tracker.

The second reason for optimizing the GPS processing and connectivity was to accommodate the emerging LoRaWAN standard with specific data transfer requirements such as low data rate and limiting downlink packets. In addition, since low-cost IoT endpoints have limited processing power, GPS calculations had to take place outside the device, in the cloud.

“The technical challenge was to find the right way to transmit minimum information via LoRaWAN while enabling maximum results on the server.”

After half a year of intense development, we had a functional solution up and running! Abeeway registered a patent for Low Power GPS in July 2016, an optimized GPS location process, designed for LPWA networks, and more specifically for LoRaWAN.  In the meantime, the team continued to improve the precision of location, power consumption and time to first fix.

A-GPS optimized for LPWA networks

The satellite data collected by the GPS device (the ephemeris and the almanac) are already preloaded on the server. In that case, the GPS receiver only collects raw data from satellites, then transmits it to Abeeway location assistance server via the LoRaWAN network.

The server combines this information with known satellites trajectories and calculates the final position. The whole process is made in the cloud, which is much faster than inside the device and does not waste its energy for calculation.

“As a result, Low Power GPS allows reducing energy consumption up to 10 times while maintaining high location accuracy.”

High speed, power-efficiency, and precision

When a standalone GPS receiver has to get its first position (its “first fix”), it needs a signal strong enough to do it. LP GPS allows overturning this acquisition sensitivity constraint with the ability to extract raw data and calculate a position on the cloud.

  • In good conditions, a Low Power GPS device can have a first fix under 10 seconds instead of 1 minute for a standard GPS device. The latter has no clue about the time, the location nor the satellite position; it has to start from scratch. The former saves time and status of the satellite constellation allowing a fast Time to First Fix (TTFF).
  • Under poor signal, a regular GPS receiver spends a lot of energy struggling to collect the ephemeris. As these data are already available on the server, LP GPS works.

“Where GPS fails, LP GPS will still provide a position, with an accuracy depending on a number of satellites in reach.”  

In a nutshell, Low Power GPS devices offer:

  • Higher speed: Time To First Fix in 10 seconds vs 1 minute for a regular GPS
  • Energy-efficiency: battery life increased up to 10 times
  • Higher precision in extreme conditions

Test packages for Low Power Location are soon available, book yours!