Asset tracking is arguably the lowest-hanging use case that enterprises can consider in testing the potential of the internet of things (IoT).
From airport operators to mining companies, the use of IoT to track vehicles and equipment has been instrumental in driving more pervasive use of IoT and securing executive buy-in for the technology.
So, it’s not surprising that Sigfox, a supplier of LPWAN (low-power wide area network) connectivity with a global footprint, has developed the Monarch service that lets enterprises track devices that run seamlessly in all parts of the world, by automatically recognising and adapting to local radio frequencies.
Such services are handy to multinational companies, such as global logistics players, that may want to track their fleet and assets across the world through a single platform.
Earlier this week, Sigfox said it has worked with consumer luxury group LVMH to develop a luggage tracker powered by the Monarch service, enabling travelers to track their Louis Vuitton bags in major airports, even while travelling between different countries, using the LV Pass mobile app.
For now, the service is available in the world’s major airports such as London’s Heathrow, New York’s JFK, Tokyo’s Narita and Hong Kong’s Chep Lap Kok.
Sigfox claims this project is the first commercialised application of its kind that will demonstrate its ability to offer a global network, combined with a simple technology based on cost efficiency (cheap sensors and low subscription charges) and low-energy consumption (the tracker has a battery life of six months).
As a showcase project, the luggage tracker will need to demonstrate its ability to withstand travel conditions, including potential extreme weather, and establish a connection to the Monarch service with minimal delay.
Sigfox will also need to fulfil its promise of ensuring high quality of service (QoS) standards, despite the use of unlicensed spectrum which is prone to interference from nearby devices, including equipment used at airports.
After all, asset tracking can be mission-critical in some cases and enterprises will be watching how the Monarch service pans out. Think of the impact on airport operations if a unit load device used to load luggage or cargo is lost. Or, an autonomous vehicle at a sprawling mine that slips out of control due to unforeseen circumstances.