IoT Blog
IoT Blog

Ready-to-Connect LPWA IoT Solutions Enable iSwip’s Customers to Track Assets Around the World

Like other disruptive technologies before it, the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) has led to the emergence of start-ups delivering innovative products that enable companies to use the technology to transform their business.

One such company is iSwip. Founded in 2011 by Emmanuel Torchy and headquartered next to Lyon, France, the company focuses on developing low-cost IoT devices with long battery lives that make “business equipment intelligent.” iSwip partners with companies to help them build and deploy IoT applications -- from the development of the initial application business case through application design, prototyping, and commercialization.

The company has tens of thousands of connected sensors and other IoT devices in the field that help customers optimize their business processes. In an effort to further expand its business by using cellular connectivity to track equipment as it is installed or moves around the world, iSwip has partnered with Sierra Wireless to integrate its Ready-to-Connect AirPrime® HL7802 LPWA module, powered by Sony Semiconductor Israel's chipset, into its IoT devices.   

We sat down with Pascal Meyer, Marketing and Sales Manager at iSWIP, to discuss the types of assets his customers track using the IoT, why iSwip is working to integrate Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) cellular network technologies into its products, and why iSwip is partnering with Sierra Wireless as it seeks to use LPWA cellular connectivity technologies to grow its business.

What types of assets do companies want to track with your IoT devices? How do you differentiate your IoT tracking devices from the competition?

Our customers want to track and monitor practically any type of asset that moves. Outside, this includes trucks, cars, vans, campers, crates, shipping pallets, shipping containers, and even waste bins – anything that a company would want to track the location of. Inside buildings, our devices track and monitor industrial equipment, as well as medical equipment used by hospitals to monitor their patients.

Some of the key factors our customers consider when evaluating our IoT tracking devices is tracking accuracy and performance, power consumption (better energy efficiency means the tracking device’s battery can last longer) and overall total cost of ownership.

In particular, we are experts in minimizing the power used by our IoT tracking devices, which is very important for our customers. Many of our customers have vehicle fleets, shipping pallets, or other assets totaling in the thousands or tens of thousands. By increasing the life of the batteries in our IoT products by just one year, iSwip can save our customers a lot of money over the lifetime of our products. Further, when batteries do need to be replaced, with iSwip, companies can remove and replace the batteries of their tracking devices quickly and efficiently. This ensures that trackers do not need to be constantly replaced, resulting in substantial cost savings.

In addition to being a leader in maximizing the battery life of our IoT tracking devices, we also differentiate ourselves by delivering products that can be easily reconfigured with different or additional sensors to meet our customers’ particular use cases.

Another way we differentiate ourselves is by using a wide variety of connectivity technologies. We currently use GSM, SigFox, and LoRA for connectivity. We aim to be among the first companies in France to deliver LPWA IoT tracking devices. This will not just help us deliver global tracking capabilities and lower our IoT devices’ power consumption. It will also allow help us adapt these devices to new use cases over time, since unlike other connectivity technologies, LPWA provides enough bandwidth to deliver large firmware updates to the device.

You touched on it above, but can you expand on why you are working to integrate cellular LPWA connectivity into your IoT devices?

Perhaps the main reason we decided to add LPWA cellular connectivity to our IoT devices is that our customers want to be able to track their assets as they are installed or move around the world, and with its global coverage, LPWA enables us to deliver this capability. 

This global connectivity, combined with LPWA’s low energy consumption and its ability to deliver embedded software updates, will allow us to offer our customers IoT tracking devices that meet many of their most pressing asset tracking needs. 

As you evaluated various LPWA IoT connectivity solutions, what were you looking for? Why did you end up selecting Sierra Wireless’s Ready-to-Connect AirPrime® HL7802 LPWA module?

We wanted an LPWA IoT connectivity solution that could send several hundred bytes to an edge device located anywhere on the planet, so we could remotely update our IoT devices’ embedded software over-the-air. We also wanted a solution that would use little power, so it could perform without the need for a new battery for several years. Overall, we needed a highly functional, robust, easy-to-integrate LPWA IoT connectivity solution that would be cost-effective for both us and our customers.

To address these needs, we reviewed modules from a variety of manufacturers using the following criteria: support for various communications protocols, embedded functionality such as Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), price, form factor, design support, and, of course, power consumption. We also evaluated whether they offered a module solution that came packaged with cellular connectivity.

In addition, we were not just looking for a supplier, but a true partner who would be willing to work with us closely.

The AirPrime HL7802 LPWA module scored high marks in all of our criteria. It offers LTE-M, NB-IoT, and 2G fallback connectivity in a very compact form factor that includes GNSS functionality. The Ready-to-Connect HL7802 comes with an embedded SIM, pre-connected to global mobile networks through Sierra Wireless Smart Connectivity, allowing our customers to easily and securely connect to our IoT devices as they move around the world. On top of these benefits, the HL7802 had the lowest power consumption of any of the modules we evaluated.

All these advantages of the HL7802, combined with Sierra Wireless’s deep IoT expertise, worldwide presence, and willingness to work with us to grow our business, ended up making our decision to select Sierra Wireless as our LPWA IoT connectivity solution partner a simple one.

What has been your experience working with Sierra Wireless so far? How do you think this partnership will benefit your business?

We have already integrated the HL7802 into a fully operational IoT tracking device prototype and are testing the prototype internally. Before the end of the first half of the year, we hope to begin working with customers to test the product as well.

While it is still early to measure the benefits of our partnership with Sierra Wireless, we are confident that being able to deliver our customers an IoT tracking device with LPWA connectivity will allow us to deliver our customers products with both more functionality and a lower total cost of ownership. Adding LPWA connectivity to our devices is a natural next-step for iSwip, given our expertise in IoT communications protocols, networks, firmware and software, and we think working with Sierra Wireless to introduce a new LPWA IoT tracking device will help us grow our market share and revenues.

Start with Sierra to learn more about how our Ready-to-Connect and other IoT solutions empower you to use the IoT to expand your business into new markets.

Visit iSwip to find out more about their sensors and connected solutions.