In fact, tracking goods in the global supply chain can be considered one of the most important uses of the IoT. Asset tracking has traditionally been done with 2G wireless, which is not optimized for low power consumption, or Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which are not suitable for tracking because these short range technologies do not work well when the object being tracked is mobile—when the object goes out of range, the link breaks. But now that new narrowband LTE for IoT technologies are available, asset trackers of every kind can truly be part of the Internet of Things.
LTE-based asset tracking systems will transmit data from sensors on everything from warehouse pallets to pets and vehicles. These sensors will provide information on the location of assets and also how assets are being handled and stored during transport Now that LTE-M and NB-IoT are optimized for IoT and now cost-competitive, it will become viable to track even the lowest-value assets with tracking systems based on LTE, the only truly global mobile solution.
Pallet Tracking Use Case
Freight trucking company with nationwide operations
A freight trucking company delivering building materials nationwide wants to improve its operational efficiency by better managing its inventory, expand the tracking of its pallets, improve its fleet operations, reduce theft, and improve customer service. While the company has been using RFID for tracking pallets in the warehouse, it wishes to expand its pallet tracking capability for the wide area, by knowing where pallets are at every stage of the delivery process, including in the warehouse, on the truck, in-transit, or at the final destination. The company requires a versatile connectivity solution adaptable to varying requirements while being ultra power efficient in order for the battery-powered trackers to operate in the field for many years.
Asset trackers based on Sequans’ Monarch LTE-M/NB-IoT chip installed on pallets can provide the freight trucking company with global tracking capability of all pallets at any stage of delivery. Monarch-based pallet trackers can operate on inexpensive batteries for up to ten years. Monarch provides a highly reliable LTE connection with mobility, handover and low latency, so that the pallet being tracked never breaks its connection with the cloud or the freight company’s central operating system. The robust connection of LTE features enhanced coverage technology and integration of outdoor (GNSS-based) and indoor (LTE, BT, Wi-Fi based) positioning techniques that enables the pallet tracker to maintain its connection at all times, whether it is outdoors in the truck or trailer or while in the warehouse.
Monarch, with its optimized LTE-M/NB-IoT architecture, supports the Release 13 LTE Low Power Modes (PSM and eDRX) and enables unprecedented long battery life. These low power modes can be configured by the pallet tracker application according to how often it wants to be reachable and report data. Monarch has a unique “single SKU-multiband” capability, enabling devices to operate in the wide area on a network with scalability and assured longevity.
Monarch also supports A-GPS through an LTE link to help improve the power consumption of a GNSS solution. For applications not requiring GNSS, Monarch supports LTE-based location mechanisms: OTDOA and cell-id location.