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Lean and mean asset-tracking

iSuite™ SDK software and iTrax OEM GPS receivers have helped make Fastrax a world leader in portable GPS Software Development Kits (SDKs). The company’s products enable customers to build asset-tracking devices with fewer components and at lower cost, and still beat aggressive goals in terms of time-to-market.

Building on Fastrax’ industry-leading expertise in embedded SDKs and OEM GPS receivers, iSuite 3 SDK has redefined the industry benchmark for the embedded programming of fleet management, asset-tracking, people-tracking, and geo-fencing devices.

iSuite 3 SDK has further strengthened the reputation of Fastrax solutions for delivering significantly shorter lead times, reduced bills of materials, lower power consumption, and the shortest time-to-first-fix performance in dynamic environments.

The benefits of programmability

Using the innovations offered by Fastrax’ iSuite 3 SDK and programmable iTrax OEM GPS receivers, products can be redesigned to minimise the total component count. In addition to bringing savings in components, programmability also helps simplify application architecture.

This compares very favourably to traditional OEM GPS receivers, where building in GPS features to a product means adding new components, resulting in increased complexity, higher power consumption, and higher total component costs.

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.

Eliminating the need for a 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.

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 USD 10 per product.

An integrated design also brings savings in space and power requirements.

Fastrax’ user-friendly software

A shorter design cycle

Programmable OEM GPS receivers significantly shorten the design cycle and give product designers a lot of flexibility in terms of modification, enabling them to make full use of the potential of this type of receiver.

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 space requirements and costs.

Building blocks

With the help of iSuite 3 SDK, iTrax03 series OEM GPS receiver modules represent an easy-to-use building block for new position-aware devices. Featuring 8 or 16 MB of flash memory, they have sufficient memory and processor capacity to carry out a variety of tasks.

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 asset-tracking applications – is easy.

Wide-ranging versatility

Headline I&C Ltd. of South Korea used iSuite SDK to design the Hermes automotive navigation device.

  • Using 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 between a vehicle and upcoming hazards.

British-based VascoTrack Ltd. has used iSuite SDK to build a credit card-sized, asset-tracking device only 15 mm thick.

  • VascoTrack’s V502 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 recovery of stolen vehicles. Using a Web-based tracking system, VascoTrack V502 users can easily locate their assets and receive alerts in emergency situations.

Toronto-based Alltigo Inc. used the iTrax03 OEM GPS receiver to develop its LT100 miniaturised people- and asset-tracking device.

  • Very compact and weighing only 50 grams, the LT100 is ideal for 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 )