U-Blox service calculates position of small IoT devices

  • April 19, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Swiss firm U-Blox has introduced a service that offloads the position calculation from IoT devices into the cloud.

The CloudLocate service should 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 suitable 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. Because of this, many industrial IoT products use low-power wide-area (LPWA) connectivity, which CloudLocate complements without adding other restrictions. Furthermore, the service lets users build enriched cloud services.

“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,” said Franco de Lorenzo, principal product manager 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 50byte, 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, enterprise-grade MQTT broker, visual programming, simple enterprise integration, and support for U-Blox positioning chips and modules.

The company provides full warranty, support and quality of service guarantees, and the service is available worldwide.

With headquarters in Thalwil, Switzerland, the company has offices in Europe, Asia and the USA.