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VTag: Revolutionising Logisitcs by Harnessing the Power of IoT

By June 17, 2019Blog

Introduction

 The logistics and transportation industry is faced with immense challenges as the global economy becomes increasingly complex and interconnected. Despite the fact that the supply chain ecosystem is diversifying dramatically, the industry has relied on the same limited RFID/Bluetooth/cellular technology to track assets – through multiple stages – before reaching (or not!) their final destination. The main issues with these technologies are that: the tags only provide limited information; expensive site-specific infrastructure is usually required; the network management and connectivity costs along with insufficient battery life make the business cases unfeasible. Considering all of this, it becomes

apparent that traditional tracking technologies are not fit for purpose. A more innovative solution is required to relieve the pain points of supply chains that are only as strong as their weakest links. By leveraging the power of IoT, VT smart logistics tracking is enabling a leaner, more agile supply chain.

The Challenge

The logistics industry needs real-time visibility over all assets at every point throughout their journeys. For example, the inability to monitor and track returnable transport units (RTUs) within the supply chain results in significant annual asset replacement costs due to loss and also theft. Another avoidable leak in the operational cost base of transportation businesses is caused by inefficient management of the flow of assets in the field and delays in turnaround times. The barriers to bypassing the headaches associated with traditional tracking technologies are generally associated with mobility, reliability, scale and cost.

The Solution

With the advance of revolutionary Internet of Things (IoT) technology, the logistics and transportation industry finally has the solution it needs to overcome the obstacles within the supply chain. Now businesses can monitor and track their assets with control tower visibility everywhere, even outside their own supply chain. Sigfox, the global communications service provider for IoT, has eliminated the barriers associated with traditional tracking technologies: price, battery life and coverage; by providing low cost, low power connectivity over a single global network.

VTag is an IoT tracking device that has been designed specifically to empower the logistics and transportation industry by harnessing the capacity of the Sigfox Low-Power Wide-Area Network. It provides a solution to the loss and inefficiencies due to the inability to manage, view and control supply chain assets.

VTag is a low-power consumption battery-operated tracker that is easily and securely attached to any asset. VTags are versatile and can be transferred from one asset to another as required.

Unlike most first-generation smart devices, VTag doesn’t rely on Wi-Fi or 4G. The device is plug and play. It connects with the Sigfox low-power network which is live and nationwide meaning there is no need for network set up, pairing or the deployment of infrastructure. The solution removes all the traditional inconveniences associated with gateways, readers, sim cards and beacons as the Sigfox network is already established and communicating with millions of devices across the world right now. Simply attach and track! The device uses GPS for outdoor tracking and Wi-Fi scanning and/or BLE scanning for indoor tracking. VTag works in any country worldwide which has Sigfox coverage.

Data from the tracker includes location, battery status, signal levels, motion and tampering status. The method and frequency of data is configurable and optimised to suit the particular type of asset being tracked. We always aim to match the battery life of the device with the operational life of the asset. Attach and track for the life of the asset!

Data is visualised on a web application which has been designed for control tower visibility over high volumes of supply chain assets. By linking asset location with points of interest such as depots or customer locations, logistics managers can monitor how long their assets have been in a location to reduce leakage and improve turnaround times.

Each device operates for 7-15 years on a single set of batteries without recharge. Battery life is a function of battery type/size, data transmission frequency and type of location tracking technology used (GPS/WiFi/Bluetooth).