Learn about the technology underpinning the Internet of Things (IoT) with a special focus on device positioning and location tracking. Demystify the IoT technology stack to drive maximum value from commercial and industrial device deployments.
The term IoT is broadly applicable to a wide range of devices and objects. It is used to describe virtually any type of physical object that is connected to the Internet in order to communicate with other devices or systems. From there, it’s possible to divide the IoT space into three main categories by end user:
This page explains the technological foundations of large-scale IoT deployments across all of these categories. It should be useful for businesses looking to create or improve IoT products or services, as well as those developing internal or proprietary IoT systems for asset tracking, fleet tracking, or any other specialized logistics application.
Regardless of the end user, all IoT systems have a set of core technical requirements. These requirements can be broadly grouped into the following categories, and each category could be fulfilled by a wide range of solutions.
Designing a cost-effective IoT solution is often a question of building a tech stack that meets the needs of the use case for the lowest cumulative cost.
Device positioning capabilities often play a key role in the utility and value of IoT systems. In some cases, they are central to the system’s core function, as is the case with asset tracking, fleet tracking, and personal safety devices. These devices are essentially useless if they can’t convey their location.
There are also instances where positioning adds value to the end user in the form of location-based services, which may be as simple as automatically setting a device’s clock or as complex as triggering specific notifications and activities when a device crosses a specific threshold. Location data can also be valuable to device manufacturers. For example, OEMs and leasing companies may be interested to confirm where products are being shipped and used.
Because some degree of positioning capabilities may be offered by other parts of the IoT tech stack, positioning needs can sometimes be an afterthought when considering an IoT project’s technical requirements. However, some circumstances exist where a system's connectivity, network, hardware, or software limitations don’t support the level of positioning that the use case calls for. In these cases, an additional positioning integration is useful.
Additionally, understanding positioning options can shed light on ways to reduce costs of an IoT deployment without sacrificing functionality. For instance, a software-based positioning solution can add positioning to low-resource devices without significantly impacting hardware costs or bandwidth requirements.
Evaluating an IoT system’s positioning needs can help determine software, hardware, and bandwidth requirements. It can also help keep costs low by ensuring that valuable resources aren’t wasted by delivering a higher level of device positioning than the use case calls for.
Not every device requires high-precision, real-time location tracking. Frequency, accuracy, and timing of location reporting are determined by the application. Questions to consider when adding location to an IoT device include:
Generally, higher frequency and precision requirements call for higher device and network resources, but even in these cases, certain implementation strategies can help reduce bandwidth and power demands. Access the white paper to learn more about IoT positioning techniques to preserve battery life and network resources.
Software-based hybrid Wi-Fi positioning technology can help optimize location capabilities with minimal BOM impact. This solution supports positioning needs for global IoT coverage, indoors and outdoors, whether devices are online and offline, effectively providing the benefits of Wi-Fi, cellular, and GPS/GNSS positioning technologies with the flexibility, ease of integration, and scalability benefits of software implementation.
Skyhook Precision Location hybrid positioning software can be used to bring smartphone-level IoT positioning to nearly any type of connected device. Skyhook is the leading independent location solutions provider and Precision Location technology is found on devices from leading brands worldwide. Advantages of Precision Location include:
Contact us to talk to a location expert about the best positioning options for your IoT application, or to start your next IoT project with Precision Location.