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Less is more in asset-tracking

Fastrax is a world leader in portable GPS Software Development Kits (SDKs) – thanks to its iSuite™ SDK software and iTrax OEM GPS receivers. These products enable customers to build devices with fewer components and at lower cost, while still beating aggressive time-to-market goals. Small size, long battery life, and fast time-to-first- fix performance are the most critical features of asset-tracking devices today, in addition to low cost.

Building on its industry-leading expertise in embedded SDKs and OEM GPS receivers, Fastrax has launched a major upgrade to iSuite™ SDK. The release of iSuite 3 SDK redefines the industry benchmark for the embedded programming of fleet management, asset-tracking, people-tracking, and geo-fencing devices.

The significantly shorter lead times, reduced bills of materials, lower power consumption, and the shortest time-to-first- fix performance in dynamic environments offered by Fastrax solutions help customers build market share-winning solutions.

Fighting costs and complexity

With traditional OEM GPS receivers, adding GPS features to a product means adding new components. This leads to increased complexity, higher power consumption, and higher total component costs – in other words, a more expensive end-product.

Using the innovations offered by Fastrax' iSuite 3 SDK and pr ogrammable iTrax OEM GPS receivers, products can be redesigned to minimise the total component count.

In addition to bringing savings in components, programmability helps simplify application architecture.

Using programmable OEM GPS receivers to operate some or all of the functionalities of an application makes it possible to manufacture small mobile devices with position-aware features at reasonable cost.

Fastrax' iSuite 3 SDK is a user-friendly software development kit for embedded locationaware applications.

No CPU?

The CPU is a significant cost factor and power drain in any design. Replacing a CPU with a programmable OEM GPS module, which can be customised with an easy-to-use software development kit, offers clear advantages.

Asset-tracking device developers have been looking for less costly and more easily integrated GPS systems to go with GSM modems for some time. A programmable OEM GPS module makes a controller CPU between a GPS receiver and a GSM modem unnecessary, and is more cost-effective than a standard non-programmable GPS receiver employing a traditional separate CPU.

Eliminating processor and memory components, along with various other components, can result in cost savings of more than USD10 per product. An integrated design also brings savings in space and power requirements.

Shorter design cycles

Programmable OEM GPS receivers signifi- cantly shorten the design cycle from idea to mass production. Programmability gives product designers a lot of room for modification, and enables them to make full use of the potential of OEM GPS receivers.

In addition to providing position data, a receiver can be programmed to operate an entire device, including display control, communication protocols, and external sensors, reducing the number of other components needed, and cutting both space needs and costs.

Fastrax' iTrax03 series OEM GPS r eceiver modules feature 8 or 16 Mbit of flash memory, offering sufficient memory and processor capacity to carry out a variety of tasks.

With the help of iSuite 3 SDK, they are an easy-to-use building block for new positionaware devices. Programming and interfacing is fast and efficient, and switching between operational and sleep modes on the power management side – a key factor in extended operating times in recreational and assettracking applications – is easy.

Small is beautiful

Customers around the world have benefited from Fastrax' innovative solutions, as these three examples show.

VascoTrack Ltd., based in Cheshir e in the UK, has utilised iSuit e SDK to build a cr edit card-sized, asset-tracking device only 15 mm thick. The V502, as it is known, is the smallest GSM/GRPS/GPS tracking device in the world, and can be used for tracking trailers and high-value cargoes and containers, providing security for employees working alone, and helping in the r ecovery of stolen vehicles. Using a W eb-based tracking systems, VascoTrack V502 users can easily locate their assets and receive alerts in emergency situations.

Based in Seoul, South Korea, Headline I&C Ltd. has utilized iSuite SDK to design the Hermes automotive navigation device. This contains an upgradeable database of locations requiring extra attention and slower speeds, such as fire stations, schools, speed cameras, and dangerous intersections. Hermes displays the precise speed of a car, sounds an alarm when approaching a dangerous section of road, and displays the distance to road hazards.

The LT100 miniaturised people- and asset-tracking device from Toronto-based Alltigo Inc. was developed with the help of an iTrax03 OEM GPS r eceiver. Very compact and weighing onl y 50 grams, the LT100 is ideal f or tracking children or disabled people, or in enterprise applications, for locating key personnel. The LT100 can also be used as a security measure for vehicles, enabling owners to locate their car or truck in the event of theft.

> Matti Räty
(Published in High Technology Finland )