Internet of Things

Cloud location service brings power autonomy to constrained IoT devices

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Offloading location calculations uses 90% less energy than onboard GNSS.

u-blox (SIX:UBXN), a leading global provider of positioning and wireless communication technologies and services, has introduced a service that offloads the position calculation from IoT devices into the cloud.

The CloudLocate service will enable accurate positioning of even the simplest IoT devices with the most constrained computing, communications, and energy resources. The service will be used to locate devices that track large assets such as containers, cargo, rental e-bikes and scooters, and small high value assets such as smart sensors and power tools. Typical applications include logistics, inventory, supply chain, production logistics, and cold-chain management.

CloudLocate is ideally suited for Industrial IoT tracking applications that must survive in the field for months or years without battery replacement and only need a few position updates per day. Therefore, many Industrial IoT solutions use low-power wide-area (LPWA) connectivity, which CloudLocate neatly complements without adding other restrictions. Furthermore, the service enables users to build enriched cloud services, grow their businesses, and expand to new markets.

“Our measurements confirm that, in nominal conditions, the energy and time required by CloudLocate to provide a location can be reduced by 90% compared to a stand-alone GNSS receiver undergoing a cold start without GNSS assistance,” says Franco de Lorenzo, Principal Product Manager, Product Strategy Services Team at u-blox. “The measurement length and update rate can be configured, so users can make trade-offs between location accuracy and energy consumption to meet most of the application requirements. The service only needs an uplink from the device since it works out the device’s location in the cloud. Furthermore, by using data packets of just 12 to 50 bytes, it is ideal for use in devices with very limited uplink connectivity and no downlink connectivity.”

CloudLocate is available through the u-blox Thingstream IoT service delivery platform, a cloud-based delivery platform and administration interface for enterprise IoT services. Thingstream offers IoT connectivity, security, an enterprise-grade MQTT broker, visual programming, simple enterprise integration, and support for ublox positioning chips and modules. u-blox stands behind the availability and delivery quality of CloudLocate by providing full warranty, support, and Quality of Service guarantees. The service is available worldwide.

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