18 March 2020
Alps Alpine Logistics Asset Tracker Deployed in Japan for First Time
A logistics asset tracking device developed and manufactured by Alps Alpine Co., Ltd. (Tokyo: 6770; President & CEO: Toshihiro Kuriyama) for use in logistics asset management has been deployed in Japan’s domestic market for the first time. AGC Inc. (Tokyo: 5201; President & CEO: Takuya Shimamura) officially started using the Logistics Asset Tracker in March 2020.
Alps Alpine has been developing products for the Internet of Things (IoT) domain, applying technologies built up over many years in the fields of sensing, wireless communication and packaging. This has involved tie-ups with many companies, even those in other industries, and local authorities, particularly relating to detection of positional data in a wide range of scenarios. Collaborative projects include a safety monitoring module that employs Bluetooth® and sub-GHz technology for positioning, and a lock/unlock system as an application of ranging technology. Another example is a logistics asset tracking device that entered mass production last year. The Logistics Asset Tracker is used in combination with the global LPWA network of Sigfox S.A. to enable seamless indoor and outdoor location management for more than 10 years. Recognizing the benefits for improving transportation efficiency, reducing instances of assets going missing and minimizing new asset purchasing costs, many corporations overseas, including a leading European firm, have adopted the tracker. So far more than 250,000 units have been deployed.
In March 2020, the Logistics Asset Tracker was officially deployed in the Japanese market for the first time, adopted by AGC, a global provider of unique materials and solutions developed using wide-ranging material and production technologies. AGC is in the process of building an efficient logistics system that involves ascertaining the whereabouts of special pallets used in the transportation of glass and other products. The company is looking to enhance the efficiency of pallet management by fitting the pallets with Alps Alpine’s Logistics Asset Tracker and is considering extending use of the tracking device to other products and overseas operations.
As a low-power wide area (LPWA) communication technology, Alps Alpine’s Logistics Asset Tracker employs Sigfox, enabling low-cost, low-power, long-range transmission. Wi-Fi® access points, located in specific positions and now in common use due to the spread of navigation apps for pedestrians, are used as position beacons to aid measurement of positional data, while unnecessary communication has been reduced by limiting measurement to instances when logistics assets move in a particular way and after each unit of a specified length of time (e.g. one day). This enables continuous operation of at least 10 years – the life of a logistics asset – without charging. Adding to the product’s excellent practicality as a tracking module is its enclosure in an IEC IP67 package that achieves the shock resistance demanded by logistics environments and which can be used both indoors and outdoors.
By supplying the Logistics Asset Tracker, Alps Alpine will help to minimize logistics asset wear and reduce energy consumption in transportation through efficient delivery. This will lead to lower consumption of forestry resources and fossil fuels like oil.