I recently read an interesting story on CNN.com about conservationists in Kenya tracking lions roaming the savannah. What was so special about this article? Well, for one, instead of tracking the movements of lions with VHF collars that emit radio signals that required near-field communications (NFC) technologies, conservationists are now using GPS-enabled collars to map the lions’ whereabouts from one central location.
Whether or not you agree with putting tracking collars on wild animals, you have to admit that new advances in location-based services (LBS) are driving a plethora of new applications for both businesses and consumers alike. The lion-tracking application is yet another real-world example of the need for hybrid network (cellular and satellite) connectivity. After all, there aren’t very many wireless network towers in the savannah (and that’s a good thing!). Hybrid network connectivity is becoming more prevalent across a number of M2M use cases, from the expected commercial – global asset management and supply chain integrity – to the exotic and sometimes esoteric, such as this wildlife monitoring example.
Machine-to-Machine (M2M)-powered LBS’ operate in many industries, serving functions similar to tracking lions. Virtually anything that moves or can be moved or shouldn’t be moved, can be monitored and tracked. Business-to-business (B2B) and M2M network communications send wireless signals and data to and from receivers in the field, transmitting back valuable information. Advances in both network connectivity and price points for SIM cards and wireless chipsets and their related hardware are helping LBS drive efficiency and safety improvements in more applications across the globe.
In a previous blog, we discussed trends in tracking people with M2M, utilizing various technology forms including small wearable devices that blend in, disguised as items such as wrist watches. EmFinders specializes in these devices and caters to a large population of caregivers and parents looking to monitor their patients or children. This is a great example of how M2M is providing safety and peace of mind with a one little device.
Whether you’re tracking lions in the savannah or an elderly person missing from their care facility, LBS – whether using pure GPS or assisted GPS or cellular triangulation via enhanced cell ID -- work in a similar fashion. The difference being the technology used and the accuracy of the location result returned to the LBS application. When working remotely, tracking devices connect to satellites in the atmosphere to transmit data. But once back in range of network towers, the device automatically switches. The challenge here is to find a carrier that offers this service to prevent the device from driving up roaming costs. While costs have come down in recent years, satellite connectivity is still more expensive than cellular and the data payloads are typically smaller so the application on the back-end needs to be much more efficient.
At KORE, we offer cellular and satellite services for all of your tracking needs. Regardless of whether your device is in the middle of the savannah, out in the ocean or in the cargo hold of a Mack truck in Michigan, you will be given the connectivity and peace of mind needed to operate to full capacity.
I just wonder how Simba, the Lion King, would have felt about wearing a tracking collar and having his location broadcasted 24/7.
By Stein Soelberg, Director of Marketing
Stein leads a team whose responsibility is to own the branding, advertising, customer engagement, loyalty, partnership and public relations initiatives designed to propel KORE into the 21st century. With over 15 years of technology marketing experience in the business to business software, Internet services and telecommunications industries, Stein brings a proven track record of launching successful MVNOs and building those brands into leaders.