In recent weeks you’ve hardly been able to open a newspaper, turn on the TV or scroll through your feed without seeing or hearing the term “track and trace” referenced in the media. Yet for many industries, location monitoring has been a valuable tool many years – long before the COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head. And while attempts to isolate Coronavirus sufferers have resulted in high profile track and trace failures, there are numerous examples of successful systems across a variety of different sectors and applications.
Here at Succorfish we’ve built our reputation (and client base) on developing the most sophisticated and reliable monitoring and communications devices for organisations that need insight when it matters most. Over the last decade it would be fair to say that our products and services have changed significantly. As technology and, in particular, connectivity has advanced, the scope and capabilities we’ve been able to build into our solutions have evolved dramatically.
A prime example of this would be the rapid acceleration of Bluetooth technology. As we enter into the fifth iteration of Bluetooth, the range and speed of connectivity is far beyond anything that could have been achieved when the technology first came to prominence. Nowhere is this incredible progress more evident than in the exponential improvements made from Bluetooth 4 to Bluetooth 5, where the maximum range has increased by 100x – from 30 metres to 3 km. If this weren’t enough, Bluetooth 5 is twice as fast and can transfer eight times as much data as its predecessor.
In practice, this improvement in bandwidth of 2Mbps has brought about a leap in the reliability of over-the-air connectivity, leading to faster firmware updates and data uploading. An additional benefit of Bluetooth 5’s use of broadcasting channels is what is known as richer connectionless, beacon-based Bluetooth solutions.
For the general public, improvements to wireless technology simply mean more freedom when it comes to wearables, as well as a giant leap in the capabilities of IoT devices. For Succorfish and our customers, these advances provide us with the opportunity to innovate and refine our solutions for the harshest environments and the most challenging scenarios. This applies to products such as our SC2 GEN2 asset-tracking device, where improved network capacity, communication capabilities and range will enable greater accuracy and reliability across the likes of fishing, transport and the military.
The last decade has also witnessed a huge leap in the accuracy of GPS technologies – improvements that have become integral to our own tracking products and solutions. Just a few years ago, using the term “pinpoint accuracy” in relation to GPS tools could be criticised for bending the truth somewhat. Today, however, high-precision positioning has made those claims a reality.
By combining Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), such as GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and BeiDou with Real Time Kinematics (RTK) technology, asset positioning and movements can now be tracked to centimetre-level accuracy through the new U-blox module. One clear benefit of this to our clients using the SC2 GEN2 is the enhanced accuracy of not only movement tracking but of geo fences.
Using our custom-built user interface platform, it is possible to set and store geofences – either as a predefined area with a set of boundaries, or as a radius around a point location. Any breach of this virtual perimeter will generate a notification that is communicated via the Succorfish app, email or mobile phone.
Geofences are particularly valuable to fishing vessels currently using Succorfish Inshore Vehicle Monitoring Systems (IVMS) where geofences are mapped to protected waters and frequently used in tandem with our Gear In Gear Out (GIGO) beacons. These Bluetooth-enabled beacons are built to withstand the harshest of marine environments and record location, time and duration of both mobile and static fishing activity.
Next generation communications
While 5G may have garnered a rather unusual reputation among conspiracy theorists in recent times, the truth is that the ever-increasing speed of connectivity and communication channels provides our team with valuable tools to improve data transfer and overcome communication constraints present in earlier iterations of cellular networks.
For Succorfish, this means the improved power and agility of our tracking and monitoring systems. The combination of higher peak data speeds, ultra low latency and improved reliability are hugely important to our clients, particularly in environments where a loss of contact can have disastrous consequences. In a world where data is a currency with ever-increasing value, 5G provides the bandwidth to farm huge volumes of information at lightning speed.
Once collected, our dedicated software enables detailed analysis using advanced statistical and visualisation techniques – whether it’s assessing the movements of a fishing fleet, haulage fleet or a special forces unit. All of our data retains the highest level of encryption – AES256 – protecting private communications from nefarious parties.
Our fit-and-forget devices also use Iridium satellite communications, utilising Short Burst Data (SBD) to provide users with a cost effective solution.
So, what next for track and trace
There’s no doubt that the last decade has seen huge advances in data transfer, communications and connectivity. If anything, the pace of innovation has only increased in the last couple of years, and this means that exciting times lie ahead for companies like Succorfish who specialise in track and trace.
As speed and reliability improve, the user experience is enhanced and the ability to gather meaningful data continually improves. We are always looking to harness the potential of these advancements so that we can provide our customers with the most powerful software and firmware solutions on the market.
Another key aspect of our work is to ensure that our tools can be integrated easily into a client’s preferred operating systems. Any HTTP client can integrate with our API and our data interchange capabilities cater for JSON, Matlab, Python and C++.
As our ability to track and trace with greater accuracy continues to improve, we can continue to provide our clients with peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that they are at the cutting edge of monitoring and communications.