Active geolocation Trackers: A Comprehensive Guide


Many technologies create shipments, units, and people in today’s supply chain management world. One of the most popular technologies used for this purpose is GPS, which stands for Global Positioning System. However, traditional GPS devices have some limitations when it comes to tracking shipments in real-time.

This is where active GPS trackers come into play. An active GPS tracker constantly transmits its location and other data in real-time. This allows for better visibility and control of shipments, especially during the last mile of delivery.

Inventory tracking has always been an essential aspect of supply chain management. Effective inventory planning and management can ensure no shortages or service level defaults and maximize customer satisfaction. However, the traditional manual scans used by courier services are not always reliable. Active GPS trackers provide a solution by allowing companies to see the location of their shipments in real-time.

One of the most significant advantages of active GPS trackers is that they offer improved accuracy and reliability when compared to traditional GPS devices. They are also more energy-efficient, making them smaller and more portable, making them easy to attach to packages or units. Additionally, these trackers are easy to set up, and the data they collect can be easily integrated into existing supply chain management systems.

Another technology that is commonly used in conjunction with GPS tracking is geolocation sensors based on LTE technology (CAT-M/ NB-IoT). Unlike traditional GPS devices, geolocation sensors don’t rely on GPS technology to function. Instead, they use measurements, which allows them to locate the position of a shipment by measuring the distance to the nearby cell towers. This technology is less precise than GPS but is still effective in locating shipments during the last mile of delivery. The incredible benefit of this LTE technology is its very low power consumption in comparison to a GPS device.

One company that has made significant advancements in active LTE trackers is Sensors Label. Their flat labels are designed to track and monitor the conditions of shipments, including their geolocation. These labels don’t rely on GPS technology, making them small, portable, and energy-efficient. Instead, they use triangulation to locate the position of a shipment, making them ideal for tracking during the last mile of delivery. The labels could last for up until a year, depending on the frequency of transmissions. But it is truly revolutionary. 

Active GPS trackers and IoT LTE geolocation sensors are essential tools in modern supply chain management. These technologies do not rely on a specific infrastructure, like RFID tags, which makes their use broader. They provide real-time visibility and control over shipments, allowing companies to manage their inventory effectively and provide better customer service. With technological advancements, active GPS trackers and IoT sensors are becoming smaller, more efficient, and easier to use, making them accessible to businesses of all sizes.

What Are Active GPS Trackers and How Do They Work?

Active GPS trackers use Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to locate and track the movements of people, vehicles, and shipments. These trackers rely on satellites to transmit location data to the device, which then uses this data to calculate the device’s position on the planet’s surface. This technology has revolutionized the supply chain industry, making it easier and more affordable to track valuable shipments in real time.

The Downsides of Traditional Tracking based on Manual reporting 

Even though there are plenty of technologies like tags and RFID for intra-logistics and GPS or IOT sensors for distribution, the supply chain industry still relies heavily on manual scans and reporting.   , this method is not always reliable, as manual scans can be missed or inaccurate, human mistakes can occur easily, and the validation takes time. This can lead to shipment delays and increase the overcome costs, as companies may need to spend time and resources tracking down missing packages or sending a correct item again etc.

The Benefits of Active geolocation Trackers

Active geolocation trackers offer several benefits over traditional tracking methods. The courier companies usually scan each shipment in Hub locations, and during the transportation, they just track a vehicle using telematics in the best-case scenario. But what about the gap? Are you sure your parcel was loaded into the vehicle? Or was it just forgotten in a DC or on a warehouse ramp? You will know only retroactively.

So as for benefits, first, active geotags provide real-time location data, allowing companies to track shipments and vehicles in real time. This can help prevent delays and reduce the risk of lost or stolen shipments. Second, geotags are eyes on your shipment, each shipment, and not just a vehicle. They cover all the gaps in between. In these cases, the tags are much more accurate than manual scans, providing precise location data to help companies optimize their supply chain operations. Finally, geo trackers allow reducing the loss of inventory that is in transit or intermediate storage. 

Types of Active geolocation Trackers

Several types of active geo trackers are available on the market, each with its own features and capabilities. Some geolocation trackers are designed for vehicles, while others are designed for use in packages or on people. Some trackers require a power source, while others are battery-powered and can be easily attached to a package or vehicle.

The Limitations of Active geolocation Trackers

While GPS tracking technology has revolutionized the supply chain industry, it does have some limitations. One of the biggest limitations is that GPS signals are less reliable surrounded by solid objects, especially tall or thick,  such as buildings or tunnels. This can make it difficult to track shipments or indoor or underground vehicles.  

IOR LTE geotags, for example, are very efficient in areas covered by good cellular signals, like cities. But similar to its sister GPS, performing worse deep underground. Besides, there are still areas less covered with LTE technology, but the rollouts are very fast. 

Alternative Tracking Technologies

To overcome the limitations of GPS / or LTE tracking technology, some companies are turning to alternative tracking technologies. For example, some companies use radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, which can be attached to packages and transmit location data using radio waves. Other companies use Bluetooth beacons, which can be attached to packages or vehicles and transmit location data to nearby devices. These technologies, however, require high investments in infrastructure.

Overall, while LTE IOT tracking technology has some limitations, it has been revolutionizing the supply chain industry last few years and is making it easier and more affordable to track shipments and vehicles in real-time for longer periods without needing to charge/recharge the devices. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more innovative and affordable tracking solutions in the future.

Ucontrol™: active IoT LTE tag for full supply chain visibility

Ucontrol™ solution, based on the IoT label, is the perfect solution for tracking and monitoring packages during transit. With an Ingress Protection Rating of IP54, the label is designed to withstand harsh environments and ensure your packages arrive safely.

Equipped with a range of sensors, including an accelerometer, temperature sensor, seal sensor (cut to open), and barometer, the label provides real-time data on the condition of your package. The non-hazardous primary Zinc Manganese (Zn-MnO2) printed battery ensures long-lasting performance, while the wireless module with FCCID: HSW-TY1SCDM enables seamless communication and low energy consumption.

The label’s communication type is 3GPP LTE Release 13, with technology that supports CAT-M/NB-IoT. This technology ensures reliable and secure communication, even in areas with limited network coverage. With a pending use case, our label has a maximum lifetime of 12 months in optimal conditions, depending on the number of pins to be received. The label is designed to provide alerts for various scenarios, including package in motion/static, temperature tracking (report outside pre-defined thresholds), seal open (consumption), temperature logging, last mile alert, and ETA deviation. With these alerts, you can stay informed about the condition of your package and take action if necessary.

Ucontrol label is easy to use, stick it onto your package, and it’s ready to go. With its disposable design, you can use it for single or multiple shipments, depending on your needs. Ucontrol™ IoT LTE device S is the perfect solution for businesses looking to improve their logistics and ensure their goods arrive safely and in optimal condition.

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