Qualcomm targets supply-chain visibility with Aware

  • March 1, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Qualcomm is initially targeting real-time supply-chain visibility and intelligence with its Aware platform. Among the critical use cases to be served are cold-chain distribution, utility asset monitoring, cargo shipment tracking, and warehouse and inventory management.

Qualcomm Aware helps developers and enterprises harness real-time information and data insights to accelerate their digital transformation.

Today, ecosystem fragmentation and system design complexity often prevent IoT deployments from meeting their potential. By combining silicon and an ecosystem of hardware and software partners with a developer-friendly cloud framework, Aware provides differentiated services for managing assets that require critical, accurate and time-sensitive decision making.

By providing global connectivity, intelligently optimising and fusing location technologies with sensor alerts and critical device management and control features, Aware aims to provide a baseline for IoT and help enterprises drive operational efficiencies.

More than 350m of Qualcomm’s IoT modem chipsets have been shipped to date and are being used across various industry segments, including the recently announced Qualcomm 216 IoT LTE modem, which is an integrated product designed to deliver IoT-optimised speeds of up to 10Mbit/s at low power, thereby prolonging battery life, critical for expanding a variety of high-performing IoT applications.

The Aware technology extends beyond just the silicon. Recent acquisitions of Skyhook Wireless and the assets of Polte have added proprietary positioning techniques and a global signal database consisting of approximately eight billion wireless mac addresses and hundreds of millions of cells.

Combined with Qualcomm’s existing location technology, these acquisitions help enable Aware to deliver intelligent and ubiquitous location capabilities in an always-on, low-power manner.

With the ability to work in the most difficult signal environments including indoors, underground and when devices are offline, this location technology provides awareness and condition monitoring context to enterprises, enabling end-to-end asset and operational visibility and helping businesses everywhere be more informed and prepared.

It includes cloud security tools and the encryption and mutual authentication of all device-to-cloud communications. It also delivers global cellular connectivity, device management and provisioning.

For IoT to scale, different methods are needed to address the varying needs of industry applications. Aware brings together an ecosystem of hardware and software partners to develop connections tailored to different use cases. Qualcomm is engaged with a growing list of hardware and software companies to develop Aware-ready products. 

The platform will include blueprints, which are individualised and scalable architectures customised for use cases. Working with independent software vendors and system integrators, these blueprints should help enterprises roll-out pre-designed products and services in a manner tailored for their needs.

Aware provides a customisable framework and implements standard APIs to provide seamless interoperability with private clouds, industry-specific application platforms, existing enterprise software tools for enterprise resource planning, supply-chain management, inventory management and more. One of the first of these integrations will be with Microsoft Dynamics 365. This framework allows users to design a way to meet their specific business needs.

“The interoperability of software and hardware systems is key to delivering IoT that enhances customer experiences,” said Ulrich Homann, corporate vice president at Microsoft. “Through the integration with Dynamics 365 supply-chain management, Qualcomm is providing a seamless way to track assets, manage inventories and improve operational efficiency.”

Leveraging these pillars, the initial launch of Aware will focus on businesses operating in supply chains and logistics. The pandemic exposed how business supply chains were prone to disruptions and the challenges in planning for unexpected shifts in supply and demand. The lack of visibility and tracking of goods result in delays, spoilage and lost revenues and can lead to severe environmental impact.

Aware should abstract the complexity of creating a digital twin in the cloud and provide the necessary tools for the logistics industry to manage its assets more efficiently. With delivery of accurate and precise location in a power-optimised manner, Aware can become a critical piece in the efficiency of supply-chain management.

Aware creates the opportunity for Qualcomm to offer and monetise services beyond the sale of chipsets in the form of recurring, subscription-based revenues. Through the continuous improvement of software, Aware will provide an array of expanded and improved features that should result in better services, security and performance for Aware managed devices.

“Qualcomm is rapidly diversifying with new opportunities powering the connected intelligent edge and today we are proud to unveil our latest IoT milestone – Qualcomm Aware,” said Jeff Torrance, senior vice president at Qualcomm. “Aware is designed to support organisations across industries with a scalable, cost-effective, capital efficient investment that delivers an accelerated time to market, simplifies digital transformation, and delivers transformative insights needed to mitigate risk, make more informed business decisions and navigate challenges across industries.”