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!

TEKTELIC Communications and Actility deliver an end-to-end carrier-grade LPWAN solution for the North American IoT Market

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The Actility Newsroom

TEKTELIC Communications and Actility deliver an end-to-end carrier-grade LPWAN solution for the North American IoT Market

North American public and private network operators can now leverage a world-class fully integrated LoRaWAN IoT solution to accelerate their network and service rollout. 

Actility, the industry leader in Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) and TEKTELIC Communications, a major provider of industrial grade LoRaWAN IoT gateways, today announced that TEKTELIC’s industry-leading Kona Macro IOT Gateway is now fully integrated with Actility’s ThingPark™ Platform.  The combination of these two powerful solutions creates a highly differentiated end-to-end platform that provides significant and immediate benefits to network operators, including day-one scalability, carrier grade resiliency and rapid deployment, reducing the time required to on-board vertical IOT applications.

The Kona Macro is an advanced implementation of a 72 channel LoRaWAN gateway for the North American ISM band.  It supports a number of unique features that significantly improve RF performance.  It is the first LoRaWAN gateway on the market that supports Full Duplex operation which permits continuous reception on all 72 uplink channels, while allowing simultaneous transmission on all 8 of the downlink channels. 

By supporting two LoRa Antennas the Kona Macro can utilize antenna diversity to improve receiver performance in the presence of multipath fading and on the transmit side, multiple transmit channels can be utilized simultaneously resulting in much higher system downlink capacity. To mitigate out-of-band interference, the Kona Macro comes with built-in bandpass filters which reject the adjacent frequency bands (Paging, Cellular and others) resulting in superior performance of the overall system and network.

“The TEKTELIC Kona Macro, is an outstanding complement to our ThingPark Platform as it drives the type of scalability our solution was built to support.  This combination offers a superior solution for public and private service providers that need to deploy massive scalability,” says Boris Lacroix, EVP Products at Actility.

Actility’s ThingPark Suite enables scalable LPWA networks and interoperable IoT applications and services. ThingPark Wireless is a core network management and supervision solution for LPWA connectivity designed from the beginning for carrier-grade solutions, and already deployed in over half the national LPWA network rollouts globally. ThingPark OS is a central IoT management service to connect sensors to applications with bidirectional interactions. ThingPark X is a data analytics and control framework which exposes data from connected things to applications and connects with cloud platforms, and also offers off the shelf IoT industrial applications. ThingPark Market is a B2B ecommerce platform aggregating, distributing and connecting IoT devices and applications to the ThingPark platform.

“ThingPark offers a compelling platform with the most comprehensive suite of IoT software and applications. The class-leading features of the Kona Macro Gateway integrated on the ThingPark platform will make it quick and straightforward for our customers to deploy, manage, and monetise their LPWA Networks,” says Tektelic CTO David Tholl.

Actility announces new investors in $75 Million Series D Funding round: Cisco Investments joins as investor

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The Actility Newsroom

Actility announces new investors in $75 Million Series D Funding round:
Cisco Investments joins as investor

Actility, the industry leader in Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) for Internet of Things (IoT), announced today at the LoRa Alliance™ All Members’ Meeting that Cisco Investments has taken a stake in the company’s $75 million Series D funding round, joining BNP Paribas and alongside existing investors including Creadev, Orange, Inmarsat and Robert Bosch Venture Capital. The funding will enable Actility to roll out industrial IoT solutions with its partners for key verticals such as logistics and supply chain, smart buildings and energy and utilities; to accelerate its global growth; and to make strategic investments to enhance its technology portfolio.

Since 2010, Actility has been pioneering the fundamental technology that led to the operating framework of LoRaWAN™ and was a founding member at the launch of the LoRa Alliance in 2015. Today, Actility is the driving force behind a full suite of LPWA IoT software that serves the world’s largest service providers, solution providers and enterprises in capturing the full benefit of IoT’s explosive growth potential.

“Cisco’s strategic investment in Actility further enhances the collaboration of two complementary IoT solution providers with big plans for the connected world,” comments Mike Mulica, CEO of Actility.

“Cisco is focused on enabling the rapid proliferation of IoT through LPWA technologies, including LoRaWAN gateways and geolocation services,” said Amit Chaturvedy, Head of IoT Investments and Acquisitions at Cisco. “We invest in companies that share our passion for helping customers and are leaders in their technologies. Actility is dedicated to a great customer experience through the LPWA IoT on-boarding, operating and monetisation experience. We are pleased that Actility intends to use the proceeds of this investment round to scale their business faster and more reliably all around the world.”

Actility speaker at the LPWAN Conference

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The Actility Newsroom

Actility speaker at the LPWAN Conference

From 18 to 20 May will be held at Paris CDG the LPWAN Conference, the 1st international conference on IoT and M2M wireless LPWA technologies.

From 18 to 20 May will be held at Paris CDG the LPWAN Conference, the 1st international conference on IoT and M2M wireless LPWA technologies. Actility is speaker in the conference on the deployment of country-wide LoRa networks in Belgium and the Netherlands, starting at 11h45.
Proximus and KPN have selected Actility to roll out a LoRa (Long Range) network based on Actility’s ThingPark Wireless solution. On KPN’s side, the roll-out has been accelerated and will be ready by the second quarter of 2016. First returns on experience and use cases will be presented.
For more informations click here