Actility, vendor of low power wide area networks (LPWAN), and Abeeway, the geolocation system company, announced Wednesday their alliance to develop and commercialize a flexible location solution for the IoT combining the precision of GPS with the low-power, long-range capability and low cost of LPWA networks enabled by Actility’s ThingPark IoT Platform.
Abeeway, a ThingPark Market seller, is a leader in tracking devices based on LoRaWAN, 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 tracking application.
Compared to trackers using cellular networks, they offer much longer battery life. The technology now being developed by Actility and Abeeway goes further, though. Innovative AGPS technology specifically optimized for LoRaWAN allows fewer satellites to be used for a fix and reduces the GPS lock time to a few seconds. The power required for both 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.
It’s not just the location technology that will be integrated. The 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 “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.
The combination of LoRa network location and GPS is the first step toward true multi-mode Abeeway trackers which also combine WiFi network detection and Bluetooth beacon technology to provide precise location indoors. All of these capabilities will be integrated and accessible via a single, powerful, location API delivered via the ThingPark X platform, which is also capable of passing the data to customer cloud platforms, including IBM Watson, Microsoft Azure and AWS.
“Geolocation and object tracking could possibly be the biggest use case for the internet of things given the amount of interest we’re seeing in our location service portfolio” explains Actility CEO Mike Mulica. “This is truly the best of both worlds. By working with Abeeway, we’ll be able to provide a best in class geolocation technology which will combine the network-based location capability offered within our ThingPark platform with device based GPS for high precision on demand.”
“The fast growth of public LPWAN network opens a new era of LoRa applications such as asset tracking and geolocation services” quotes Abeeway CEO Florian Sforza. “Abeeway was a precursor in developing multi-mode trackers for LoRa network to enable dynamic optimisation of the power /position accuracy trade off. Working closely with Actility and integrating our geolocation solution in their ThingPark platform allows a fast deployment of geolocation applications for the end users.”