Cool Stuff

Part I: Insights of Asset Tracking

Discover more insights of different attributes of our comparison of autonomous, battery-powered trackers.

Power source & battery life

Depending on the business case you can evaluate if you best choose trackers with non-rechargeable batteries, replaceable batteries or go for only rechargeable. Depending on your business case and operations you can decide what is the most convenient for you.

  • How many assets/ objects do you want to track?
  • Do they need to be maintained regularly and therefore you can replace the trackers easily?
  • Is the asset out of reach in a remote area and the battery life need to be 2-3 years plus?

Transmission frequency

How often do you need an actualization of the position and how often does the asset / object move? if you need to make sure that you know at all time the position of the asset than the modus of ‘transmitting while moving’ can be interesting. Which offers a higher frequency of datatransmission if the asset is moved. If you only want to have an overview on e.g. containers or machines you rent, and they are fixed for a certain period on a certain site you might have enough with once a day a position to issue a transparent invoice or accurate cost allocation.

Position technology and accuracy


Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is a collective term for several satellite constellations that enable autonomous geo-spatial positioning for the tracking device using satellite signals in a protected frequency band. As of October 2018, the United States' Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russia's GLONASS are fully operational as GNSSs. Accuracy lays between 1-15 meters.

GNSS-based geo-spatial positioning is a very power-hungry method of determining a position and its usage is avoided/minimized at all cost on battery-powered devices.


Positioning & triangulation by network

Some LoRaWAN operators offer a geo-location (LBS) service which determines the approximate location of devices on their network. The accuracy depends greatly on the density of the LoRaWAN gateway implementation. KPN in The Netherlands achieves quite good results with up to 50-meter accuracy in some areas. Proximus in Belgium does not currently accept new users to enable location services.  

Sigfox (Low Power Wide Area Network) also has a geo-location service which is internationally available. The geo-location service, called “ATLAS”, essentially calculates the location of a Sigfox modem by analyzing the signal strength of several instances of the same messages received by different base stations and triangulating it back to an approximate geo-location using a probability model (the location with the highest probability is selected). The location is therefore not real-time but is calculated after the data is received by several gateways. Accuracy can range from several kilometers to a few hundred meters depending on gateway density and signal quality. The Sigfox Geo-location service continues to increase its accuracy by using Machine Learning technology. Poor signal quality (eg. indoors or interference) results in inferior location accuracy.

GSM (2G/3G/4G) and (W)CDMA modems can also be located by scanning for nearby cells (receiving stations) and submitting the Cell ID’s (unique identifier of the cell) to a geo-location service such as Google’s Geo-location API which determines an approximate position derived from the cell’s known location. The accuracy of Google’s result is very variable depending on local conditions but ranges anywhere between a few kilometers down to a few hundred meters.

A major advantage of network positioning is that it allows approximate geo-positioning of an object without any additional power consumption. The device does not need to use battery power to enable sensors or use its processor to determine its own location. This can result in very significant autonomy gains and cost saving (smaller battery) when an approximate position is sufficient for the application.


Suivo IoT autonomous trackers can determine their own position using the (optional) on-board GPS-receiver or by detecting nearby Suivo Devices (proprietary BLE beacons). The accuracy of position varies between 5-10 or 50 meters. For optimal autonomy, the approximate position can also be determined by the network or Suivo platform after the data is received. No battery power is then used by the autonomous tracker to determine its own position, resulting in very low power consumption. However, accuracy is also lower – expect anywhere between a few hundred meters up to several kilometres.  


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