IoT and the Future of Asset Tracking

The People's Network is Revolutionizing Asset Tracking

Keeping track of valuable objects is a vital part of many industries, whether that’s tracking a parcel in the mail or supply chain and inventory management. Yet it’s an activity that’s barely changed over the past decade – and one that’s ripe for innovation.

Currently, many organizations use inefficient and, let’s face it, outdated technology like GPS. While GPS is effective at tracking location down to the millimeter, it’s costly to set up and run due to its reliance on satellite or cellular networks. Not to mention its high energy usage.

Now there’s an alternative. Leveraging LoRaWAN technology with Helium’s revolutionary new network, any IoT device can act as a location tracker. This works by using Helium’s built-in geolocation protocol to triangulate the location of IoT devices using nearby Helium hotspots. And anyone can host one of these hotspots and be rewarded for supporting the network.

So what does IoT on the Helium network offer that GPS doesn’t?

First, these IoT devices communicate through long-range, low-power networks, like LoRaWAN. These are cheaper to run and much more energy-efficient than GPS. Their minimal battery usage means one charge can last for years, not weeks or months. Secondly, IoT devices can be used for much more than geolocation – such as monitoring temperature, status, and other item-specific data.

We’re already seeing some exciting applications of this technology in the real world. Take Lime bikes and scooters, for example. Their bikes use IoT sensors that regularly ‘ping’ the Helium network, letting Lime know their location, and customers their availability. By using the Helium network instead of GPS, Lime gets better battery life, which means more bikes on the road for longer with higher profitability.

Similar applications are being developed for shipping companies – think organizations like FedEx and UPS. At the moment, customers receive sporadic updates at key points of the supply chain, like when an item leaves a warehouse. By the time this data is sent, it is already out of date. With Helium, shipments can now be tagged and tracked in real-time, giving companies and customers confirmation of their location (as well as their security status).

Such advancements don’t just benefit companies, though. We’re also seeing broader applications for individuals with a range of incredible products that aim to make losing your most valuable possessions a thing of the past. One example is smart dog collars, which use a chip implanted in the collar to track the location of your pet at all times. So if your dog runs off, you can simply pull out your smartphone and instantly locate your furry friend.

Dog with asset tracker collar

A major barrier to the mainstream success of trackers such as these is battery life. Compared to GPS devices, the Helium network provides a massive leap forward by connecting devices with low-energy radio waves instead of battery draining satellite signals. Instead of improving the batteries themselves, Helium has revolutionized the way they are used – enabling devices like smart dog collars to be more energy-efficient and, crucially, more cost-effective. 

One day, trackers for laptops, keys, and other valuable items may well become the norm. And with Helium that day may be closer than you think…

Find out how we’re working to bring this technology to life at D-Web Technologies.

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