Sigfox announced a new “GPS-free” IoT geolocation service which provides a highly economical way of tracking large numbers of assets around the world.
Enabled by Sigfox’s global network, now spanning 31 countries, Spot’it is a new asset-tracking service which enables any existing Sigfox module to become a geolocation device, without the need to perform retrofit or hardware or software upgrades. The key service benefits include:
- Lowest-cost IoT location service: Spot’it does not require any additional hardware or upgrade, and the device does not have to transmit more messages, meaning there is no impact on the solution operating cost for customers.
- Preserving low energy: Spot’it does not rely on energy intensive GPS technology, nor require additional processing or any more energy than what Sigfox-based devices already consume.
- Enabled through a planetary network: Spot’it is embedded in Sigfox’s global network footprint and represents the first global IoT geolocation offer. This allows the simplification of global supply chain management: once a device is registered into the Sigfox Cloud, the geolocation service is available in all territories where the network is present.
- Unlike traditional GPS-tracking, Spot’it works booth indoor and outdoor.
Spot’it has been specifically designed to unlock tracking capabilities for asset-intensive industries in markets such as supply chain and logistics (tracking of pallets, containers,…), agriculture, retail, construction. As Sigfox’s communication modules are as low as $2 and require very little energy consumption with batteries lasting for up to two decades, the service makes it highly economical to track any object.
Traditionally, companies have tracked their assets in transit by either scanning at points of contact, or through GPS tracking. However, scanning at points of contact is often prone to error and loss in between touch points. Additionally, aside from the high cost of GPS hardware, the energy intensive operation means there is a high maintenance cost associated in continually replacing batteries. As such, GPS tracking is reserved for tracking high value goods and is uneconomical for tracking mass freight or assets.
“Spot’it is not only set to transform the global freight industry, but we anticipate that new services will be developed,” said Laetitia Jay, Sigfox CMO. “Imagine a new service where shipping companies can be alerted when containers stray into regions that they aren’t supposed to be in. From fraud detection to new insurance and geo-marketing business models, the possibilities are endless.”
Technical box: how Spot’it works?
Sigfox is rolling out the first global IoT network to listen to billions of objects broadcasting data, without the need to establish and maintain network connections. This unique approach in the world of wireless connectivity, where there is no signaling overhead, a compact and optimized protocol, and where objects are not attached to the network, drastically reduces energy consumption and costs.
In addition, Sigfox is a software based communications solution, where all the network and computing complexity is managed in the Cloud, rather than on the devices. This enables Sigfox to constantly improve its network capacities, and offer a wide range of new services that can be made available to its worldwide fleet of connected devices, by simple software upgrade.
Spot’it is the first big data based Sigfox service, based on a Cloud intelligence, combining the signal strength indicators and deep learning programs. Resulting from two years of research and development, and thanks to the devices meta data available in the Sigfox Cloud, this development enables Sigfox to offer a geolocation service that does not require any hardware or software upgrades, and has no impact on the energy consumption.