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How is Lat-Lon Connecting You to the IOT?

As interest grows in advancing technology for transportation, the latest developments show significant incentives, and many articles stress quick adaptation. Over the past few years, content pieces have featured a few common themes: robotics (and artificial intelligence), virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT). These technology developments have been influencing how different organizations operate and how they create products and services, individually and as a collective.  It is the IoT that has had some of the most practical applications and benefits.

The Internet of Things: An Introduction

Defined by Gartner, the IoT is a “network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal state or external environment.” [1] This simplified explanation addresses a complex, interconnected system by identifying the two key characteristics of an IoT system: a sensor and a method for communicating the sensor’s data. Basically, the IoT is composed of devices that gather information and the systems that make use of that data.

As a result of its many applications, the IoT takes a variety of forms – and has already been integrated into professional and personal functions. For some types of connected devices, the sensors simply collect data and analyze it through a software solution, such as my smartwatch sending pedometer data to an app. I then choose how to use that data, to increase my steps, or accept my activity for the day. For other systems, the analyzed data is incorporated into a system that automatically takes action, such as purchasing a needed product or scheduling a maintenance appointment.

The Internet of Things and Industry

The IoT is transforming business processes and efficiency in a wide range of fields. From smart agriculture using farming drones [2] to location- and behavior-based targeting in advertising [3], Internet-connected devices are making permanent changes in how these groups operate. Solutions provided by IoT devices and software are being used to create improvements in more industrial fields, such as manufacturing, construction and transportation.

In one case, a global manufacturer of trucks used the IoT to add a brand new, related revenue stream to their business. They have outfitted sensors to their vehicles that will transmit over 10,000 points of data for each truck every day — all focused on predicting the vehicle’s maintenance needs. Going beyond alerts to needed checks and replacements, this integrated system will also auto-schedule repair appointments and order any parts that the vehicle will need [4]. By employing the IoT, the truck manufacturer was able to add to their profits while providing more services to their clients, saving them money and time in the repair process.

On the production end, Internet-connected devices and analysis systems are being used to make improvements in manufacturing quality and efficiency. Harley-Davidson’s manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania uses the IoT to track both equipment and processes. With more detailed, data-backed insights into each step of their manufacturing system, the plant has seen huge benefits: productivity has increased by 2.4 percent and net margin received a 19 percent boost [5]. The advantages for decision-making and process efficiency can be translated to nearly any industry.

And service industries are not immune to the benefits of IoT for route optimization, better customer scheduling, and optimal inventory on hand for maximum utilization time on calls.

The Internet of Things and Lat-Lon

The benefits of the IoT, reaching far beyond what is mentioned above, is significant particularly when it comes to improving current processes and products. Internet-connected sensors and devices provide greater visibility into every system with more precise data that has real-time relevance. From tracking inventory to making processes more efficient, this information can help industrial businesses adopt leaner operations and make better decisions.

With the flexibility of Lat-Lon’s customizable solutions, the industrial IoT is attainable to all sizes of business and offers significant ROI catered to the particular enterprise.  The industrial Internet of Things can also be used to improve safety, reduce downtime for maintenance, and control costs.

At Lat-Lon, we embrace the technology that makes IoT fit your needs and help drive the industry forward. We want to pass on those advantages to each of our customers, allowing them to improve operations, make better informed decisions, and increase their bottom-line. Our solutions are designed to connect any industrial asset to the Internet, bringing that data together under one convenient platform. Specifically, our fleet and asset management solutions connect various sensors to turn their data points into reliable information that will improve fleet visibility. We also use IoT technology to offer tracking and monitoring devices as well as storage tank systems. Contact us today to learn more about how a partnership with Lat-Lon and BSM Technologies brings the advantages of the IoT to your firm.

 

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Smaller Unit, More Messages for Less

Lat-Lon is changing the cost and size of the tracking market, while offering more messages.  The new Micro Tracking Unit (MTU) is the smallest solar powered unit designed by Lat-Lon, measuring less than 4”x 4”x 2.5”.  The MTU eliminates the costly cellular data plan within typical telematics units.   The MTU transmits data via LoRa to a paired Gateway within a range of up to one mile or stores messages for later transmission.

LoRa, a proprietary radio modulation technology, offers low power, low cost, long range wireless technology specifically designed for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Data is communicated to a network of Gateways that are connected to the Internet.  This is known as a Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN).  Communication is secure and bi-directional using frequency hopping and variable data rates.  LoRa is considered a compliment to M2M technology best used for low power operations.

A LoRa Micro Tracking Unit (MTU) repackages the circuitry of the larger Solar Tracking Unit (STU) into a smaller, more focused, footprint.  It is intended for low-cost asset location applications such as construction equipment at a job site, tracking railcars within a yard, or creating delivery vehicle trips reports.  The Solar-Powered MTU is designed to collect solar energy from every sun angle.  It essentially receives a “fresh set of batteries” daily via direct or indirect sunlight, allowing for frequent messages without shortening the unit lifespan.

LoRa communications has the benefits of no data costs between the MTUs and the back haul gateway and will suffer no cellular protocol sunsets such as 2G, 3G etc.  Your LoRa fleet, once purchased, will operate indefinitely.  Reports, summaries and graphs of the data are available through Lat-Lon’s powerful website.  Other data delivery options are available as needed.

“LoRa vastly expands the market for GPS tracking and data collection by removing the recurring costs normally associated with such services.  Now, GPS tracking is a one-time capital acquisition instead of an operating expense.”  Notes Lat-Lon President David Baker.

Lat-Lon is a member of the LoRa alliance to help promote understanding and consistency for success in IoT and M2M applications.  While not stepping away from traditionally real-time cellular tracking technology, Lat-Lon is pursuing additional options for lower operating cost for real-time yard operations and non-real-time data logging when out of Gateway range.  Learn more at: https://www.lora-alliance.org/

About Lat-Lon: Lat-Lon, LLC was founded in 1999 in Denver, Colorado provides wireless GPS tracking and monitoring solutions for mobile or stationary assets.  Lat-Lon’s key products include a solar-powered GPS monitoring system (STU) for railcars and trailers and a locomotive monitoring unit (LMU) that allows fleet managers to know the condition and location of their assets at any given time.  For further information contact Lat-Lon at 877-300-6566 or visit www.lat-lon.com  Lat-Lon is owned by BSM Technologies Inc. (Toronto, ON) Stock Symbol: TSE:GPS.  For more information, please visit http://www.bsmtechnologies.com

 

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Lat-Lon Reduces the Cost of IoT

August 1st, 2017 Denver, CO: Lat-Lon announces that it has eliminated the monthly cellular service charge on its new version of Solar Tracking Unit.  Lat-Lon has replaced the standard cellular modem with a LoRa data modem.  The LoRa data modem can off load the data collected during a trip to a Gateway for no charge.

LoRa is an acronym for Long Range Radio.  LoRa is a proprietary radio modulation technology.  It is a low power, low cost, long range wireless technology specifically designed for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Data is communicated to a network of Gateways that are connected to the Internet.  This is known as a Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN).

LPWAN differs from a wireless WAN in that the LPWAN requires less power and has a low bit rate, ideal for small packet transmission of “things.”  LPWAN can be used to create a private network rather than “leasing” an existing network via modems with monthly/annual operating costs.  Communication is secure and bi-directional using frequency hopping and variable data rates.  LoRa is considered a compliment to M2M technology best used for low power operations.

The new LoRa Solar Tracking Unit (LoRa-STU) has all of the capabilities of its cellular based product including, but not limited to, impact detection and temperature monitoring.  With the LoRa-STU, fleet owners can significantly lower operating cost.  The same robust Lat-Lon website is used to review data, graphs, and photos.

“LoRa vastly expands the market for GPS tracking and data collection by removing the recurring costs normally associated with such services.  Now, GPS tracking is a one-time capital acquisition instead of an operating expense.”  Notes Lat-Lon President David Baker.

Lat-Lon has joined the LoRa alliance to help promote understanding and consistency for success in IoT and M2M applications.  While not stepping away from traditionally real-time cellular tracking technology, Lat-Lon is pursuing additional options for lower operating cost for real-time yard operations and non-real-time data logging when out of Gateway range.  Learn more at: https://www.lora-alliance.org/

About Lat-Lon: Lat-Lon, LLC was founded in 1999 in Denver, Colorado provides wireless GPS tracking and monitoring solutions for mobile or stationary assets.  Lat-Lon’s key products include a solar-powered GPS monitoring system (STU) for railcars and trailers and a locomotive monitoring unit (LMU) that allows fleet managers to know the condition and location of their assets at any given time.  For further information contact Lat-Lon at 877-300-6566 or visit www.lat-lon.com  Lat-Lon is owned by BSM Technologies Inc. (Toronto, ON) Stock Symbol: TSE:GPS.  For more information, please visit http://www.bsmwireless.com

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Compact Tracking Unit

February 29th, 2016 Denver, CO: Lat-Lon announces a new product, the Compact Tracking Unit. A new smaller Solar-Powered Tracking Device, the Compact Tracking Unit (CTU) product is designed to fit in small spots, even in the grooves of a container or any other non-powered asset. The unit collects data, GPS and from additional optional sensors, to send from nearly any location, worldwide to secure servers with multiple points for data access in near real-time.

The Compact Tracking Unit possesses many of the same capabilities of the larger Solar-Powered Tracking Unit (STU) commonly used by shippers around the globe. Both Lat-Lon tracking units incorporate lithium iron phosphate rechargeable cells delivering a long lifecycle product, averaging over 7 years, but with reports as frequent as every 10 minutes when moving. The solar panels, energy storage and power circuitry are optimized for lower voltage allowing the CTU to operate the GPS module 24/7 under typical conditions for location and speed awareness. And in less than ideal conditions, these developments allow for up to five days of messages with no direct or indirect sunlight.

“We were able to quickly redesign our workhorse STU into a smaller form to meet the needs of one of our rail customers.  We realized that the new smaller shape opens up new market opportunities and are excited about its potential.”  Notes Lat-Lon President David Baker

The Compact Tracking Unit has been designed with the most recent firmware from Solar-Powered Tracking Unit (STU) with over 15 years of success. As with the STU, the Compact Tracking Unit will continue Lat-Lon’s practice of supporting over the air firmware updates to improve performance and add features even after the equipment is deployed. With a secure website, desktop and mobile apps for Android and iOS, or direct software integration options, monitoring a fleet continues to get easier.

About Lat-Lon: Lat-Lon, LLC was founded in 1999 in Denver, Colorado provides wireless GPS tracking and monitoring solutions for mobile. Lat-Lon’s key products include a locomotive monitoring unit (LMU) and a solar-powered GPS monitoring system (STU) for railcars and trailers that allows fleet managers to know the condition and location of their assets at any given time. For further information contact Lat-Lon at 877-300-6566 or visit www.lat-lon.com Lat-Lon is owned by BSM Technologies Inc. (Toronto, ON) Stock Symbol: TSX-V:GPS. For more information, please visit http://www.bsmwireless.com

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Lat-Lon Next Generation: More Power; Less Draw

Lat-Lon, LLC. is pleased to announce the release of the 14K Solar Tracking Unit (STU).  The 14K STU incorporates power management improvements, plus upgrades to GPS and cellular technologies.  Modifying the prior patented power system from the 13K, the X14K incorporates lithium iron phosphate rechargeable cells now giving the STU four times longer life.  The solar panels, energy storage and power circuitry are optimized for lower voltage allowing the STU to operate the GPS module 24/7 under typical conditions for unprecedented location and speed awareness.

“It will almost seem like the 14K STU is plugged into a wall outlet.”  Notes Lat-Lon President David Baker.  “Once per minute live reporting is now an option using only solar power.”  The GPS utilizes the latest low-power modules from U-BLOX while cellular technology is advanced with your choice of either 1xRTT (Verizon) or HSPA+ (AT&T) 3G modems.  Both wired and wireless sensor options are also available including 2.4GHz mesh network sensors for superior data reliability.

The 14K STU has been carefully developed and tested over the past 18 months to ensure a mature design.  As with the 13K STU, the 14K STU will continue Lat-Lon’s practice of supporting over the air firmware updates to improve performance and add features even after the equipment is deployed.  With a secure website, desktop and mobile apps for Android and iOS, keeping track and collecting sensor data from your fleet of equipment has never been better or easier.

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