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. 

Cisco Live in the city of lights!

Real Cisco live! logo small

The Actility Blog

Cisco Live in the city of lights!

Real Cisco live! logo

Cisco Live is Cisco’s premier education and training destination for IT professionals worldwide. This year, Actility sent two hands full of their crew to support its very own booth at the edition in Las Vegas, running from 25-29 June. Over 28000 partners and customers attended the event and benefited from a curriculum of more than 1,000 sessions offering unique opportunities to acquire cutting-edge knowledge and skills on innovative technologies.  Cisco Live is a five-day immersion in sessions and specialty programs on numerous topics including, of course, IoT. It is a chance to see and be seen by suppliers and customers, to see and deliver demos, to explore and assess the latest solutions from all markets and meet the industry’s top vendors.

For Actility, this event was a tremendous success. The LPWA market in the US is just getting traction and now is a fantastic time for us to position ThingPark™ as the leading Network Server in that space. We come back fully energized and rich from the experience. We realized we were capable of grabbing real attention from visitors. The attendees interested in IoT and in connected objects were drawn to our booth, impressed with the possibilities Actility’s ThingPark delivers and the power of LoRaWan in the LPWA landscape.

Cisco live Las Vegas sign picture

We spent our days evangelizing. Our booth focused on Smart City solutions, as our market analysis tells us this is the ‘low hanging fruit’ in the US.  We had numerous devices to demo on our booth, such as a Smart Streetlight powered by Flashnet, a Smart Parking solution with our partner PNI, a SmartBin waste management solution, the ever-popular connected mousetrap and others focused on that vertical market. And our biggest hit was our live shuttle bus tracking demo, powered by Actilitys’ ThingPark and Abeeway™ tracking devices and using Cisco IXM gateways. 

Cisco used seven gateways, of which four deployed indoor covering the entire convention center and only three were necessary outdoors to cover the shuttle route on the entire southern part of the Las Vegas Strip. Cisco placed Actility’s Abeeway trackers inside the buses taking participants to and from the Convention Center and their hotels. And the demo was impressive! Shown on our booth as well as Cisco’s, and on the information desk in the lobby. We got people’s attention. Here is when we truly contribute to making people’s lives easier and smarter: using an app on their smartphone or public screen to determine the arrival time of the next shuttle bus between their hotel and the Mandalay Bay Convention Centre, attendees could wait for their shuttle inside, and avoid waiting in the Nevada heats they had to last year!

The general theme of the event was Calling all Super Heros, You’re IT.  I can tell you, we brought our Super Hero, and his name is Gabor Pop! Each day Gabor had a 15-minute presentation, in which he introduced Actility and explained a use case. We chose Smart Parking, Tracking, Smart Lighting and Smart building.  His presentations stopped traffic, and guided people to our stand afterwards.  We played our cards well. We found new channels to help us bring ThingPark to US market, we found new customers, some with immediate projects, others we need to develop. With a complete team based across the US, Actility is invested and betting the US LPWA market will catch up to the Europeans and Asia/Pac. Thank you Cisco Live! We enjoyed playing, meeting many superheros, and winning new relationships!

Countdown to Cisco Live US 2017! Come see how Actility will ignite your IoT projects!

Black and white light city picture

The Actility Blog

Countdown to Cisco Live US 2017! Come see how Actility will ignite your IoT projects!

Black and white light city picture

By Magali Mitaux: Our theme is Smart City and UtilitiesA few facts have guided us in choosing this theme. We know today that half of the world’s inhabitants—3.6 billion people—live in cities, and it is growing fast. By 2030, 60 percent of the population—5 billion people—will be city dwellers.

The solutions to manage growing cities in ways that drive sustainable economic growth, while reducing pollution and safeguarding resources, are all based on IoT.

It is that simple.  IoT is the answer; all analysts agree, all reports confirm, all studies explain! Once you understand this, the next question is: “which IoT?” quickly followed by “how?”

How do you cope with rapid urbanization, alongside with the demands for quality of life, whilst providing new services that are resource-efficient and drive economic growth?  The answer is by connecting smart devices to the LPWA network. That answers the “which IoT?” question! To know more about the strength of LoRaWAN, I invite you to read the article in NETMANIAS.

Cities are the main source of global economic growth and productivity, and they account for most resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Urban development, therefore, matters to the wellbeing of all the world’s occupants and explains why we are focusing on these solutions at Cisco Live US (CLUS). Today, many existing solutions address these pain points, and we will be showing many on our booth in the IoT and Industry District, booth 4201.

Smart lighting

This is probably the smartest of all choices! Gartner says that smart lighting has the potential to reduce energy cost by 90 %! All cities should start with this as it optimizes energy savings, safety, and comfort.  We will have a demo of our device maker partner Flashnet on our stand, come see it!

Smart Parking

Studies show that 20% of cars driving in cities are looking for a place to park! Imagine an app on your phone telling you where the nearest parking space from your destination is. You could reserve it. Park. Pay for the parking with the app. This reduces pollution, reduced traffic and congestion, and enhances the user experience. We will be showing, on our stand, the smart parking solution from our partner PNI connected to the LoRaWAN network with Actility ThingPark.

Tracking

Real-time urban travel solution – Navigate the city’s transit system with accurate real-time predictions, simple trip planning, service disruption notification at the most effective costs.  The Cisco Live attendees will experience this first hand.  Several shuttles, taking you to and from the event, will be equipped to enable the Cisco Events application, on your phone, to alert you when the shuttle is arriving. With LoRaWAN the ability to track at low cost is now possible. This solution is implemented with Abeeway trackers.

To find the response to the ‘how’ question, come see us! Actility can accelerate your Digital Transformation and ignite your IoT! Actility’s ThingPark Solution is at the heart of the LoRaWAN Cisco offer. Our experts are on our stand ready to wow you!

We are right next to the Cisco LoRaWAN booth! Come see us in the IoT and Industry District booth 4201!

Actility acquires Abeeway, creating a world-leading portfolio of location technologies

Actility acquires Abeeway

The Actility Newsroom

Actility acquires Abeeway, creating a world-leading portfolio of location technologies

Abeeway aquisition by Actility signature
Actility CTO Olivier Hersent (centre left) welcomes Abeeway founder Florian Sforza (centre right) to the Actility team (Photo: Éole – http://eole.me – for Actility)

Actility, the industry leader in Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) today announces that it has acquired Abeeway, the geolocation system specialist. By combining Abeeway’s patented location software and innovative products with the power of Actility’s ThingPark platform, the acquisition will give Actility a best in class portfolio of IoT location services to support service providers and IoT solution vendors across a wide range of industry sectors. The acquisition is Actility’s first following a $75m. fundraising round supported by new and existing investors, which is intended to enhance its technology portfolio and accelerate worldwide growth.

“We’re seeing massive demand for location-aware IoT solutions from industry,” says Actility CEO Mike Mulica. “We’ve been rapidly developing our ThingPark Location platform to deliver powerful tools to service providers and our customers in the tracking ecosystem. As a long-time partner with Abeeway, we saw great potential in adding their patented assisted GPS (A-GPS) technology and expertise in tracking to the capabilities of our ThingPark platform. This combination offers game-changing geolocation capabilities from an accuracy, speed, power consumption and TCO standpoint. We’re creating an IoT location platform that will enable a revolution in the logistics and supply chain sector. In fact, we think that geolocation and tracking are potentially the killer app for the whole of the Internet of Things.”

Abeeway is already a market leader in tracking devices offering on-demand geolocation, movement alerts or geofencing. These trackers use GPS signals to determine their location, but energy-efficient LoRaWAN communication to pass that location to a tracking application, so in comparison with trackers using cellular networks, they offer much longer battery life. 

Since the first LoRaWAN tracker was presented by Abeeway in 2015, Abeeway has continuously improved IoT tracking solutions, developing the first patented low power GPS (A-GPS for IOT) as well as data fusion to optimize localization & power consumption.

Major players have already selected Abeeway products such as the Master Tracker and Micro Tracker. Becoming part of Actility’s rapid growth will allow us to leverage their market leading LPWA platform and global reach to satisfy the massive market demand for IoT location use cases. Abeeway products will also continue to be available for every LPWAN network.

Florian Sforza

Abeeway Founder

Actility logo

The unique advantage of our platform is its ability to serve a huge variety of use cases by combining different location technologies including network-based TDoA location, GPS and A-GPS, Bluetooth beacons and wi-fi “sniffing."

Our customers can optimise their solutions to precisely match the requirements of their target use cases.

Olivier Hersent, Founder and CTO

Actility

The key innovation developed by Abeeway, providing a powerful competitive advantage to Actility location services, is an assisted GPS technology specifically optimized for LoRaWAN, which allows fewer satellites to be used for a fix and reduces the GPS lock time to a few seconds. The power required for both GPS signal acquisition and processing is reduced: this combination results in a dramatic increase in battery life, by an order of magnitude versus existing GPS location technology.

“We’re delighted to be bringing the Abeeway team and portfolio on board to pioneer this next evolution of IoT technology. Together we’re going to create a truly revolutionary global capability for the next generation of IoT solutions” concludes Actility CEO Mike Mulica.

ThingPark Location services will be accessible through APIs, 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 “geofence” a vehicle, raising an alert only when it strays outside a defined area. But if the vehicle breaks through that geofence, then the application can request regular GPS-based location updates to enable the vehicle to be traced in real time and recovered.