Tracking devices can be equipped with multiple sensors to monitor various environmental conditions to improve the quality of your supply chain.
This article shows differences between sensors of five popular trackers’ brands: Kizy, TrustedGlobal, LightBug, Cellocator and Logmore.
This is only a fragment of our new report: Independent tests of location tracking devices. If you want to know how IoT devices mentioned above perform on short, medium and long distances or what are their specifications, download the full version of the report from here.
But enough of marketing.
Let me tell you more about IoT sensors.
IoT sensors. What can they track?
Logistics is a very demanding industry. Thus, IoT sensors help a lot in maintaining a safe environment during the transportation phase.
And what does a safe environment mean? Sensors embedded in IoT devices collect and pass data on specific circumstances.
- Food or medicines may have specific storage temperature and humidity requirements in order to prevent spoilage.
- Detecting abnormal shocks or tilts may help preserve your fragile cargo untouched by alerting the driver to check its condition.
- For valuable goods, a light sensor could act as a parcel theft detector and notify the owner when an unauthorised person opens the package.
- Depending on what is being shipped, it might be useful to monitor barometric pressure, sound, radio waves, acceleration or orientation.
IoT sensors comparison
In the table below, you will find a quick comparison of the devices’ sensors. If it is sufficient for you, then great. However, if you want to learn more, e.g., which device is recommended for what activities, keep reading.
The brand is mainly oriented on providing end-to-end supply chain visibility in real-time, anywhere in the world.
Kizy has only one sensor embedded and it is a light sensor, which can communicate changes in light density. How can it help? For example, in the event of parcel opening it act as a parcel theft detection mechanism.
The tracker’s functionality is not limited though; it is extendable via the USB-C connector, which can be used to add additional sensors.
Currently, Kizy offers USB-C temperature sensor, which makes it the right solution for monitoring cold-chain logistics of medical supplies, food and other goods which must be shipped in a temperature-controlled environment.
The external sensor does not significantly increase the tracker’s size, as it has only 75mm in height and weighs 7 grams. The sensor is factory calibrated, according to ISO/IEC 17025, provides an accuracy of ± 0.3°C and can operate from -40°C to +85°C.
A good fit for: goods which must be shipped in a temperature-controlled environment.
TrustedGlobal’s series devices contain the same set of built-in sensors. The only difference between models is the battery size.
Sensors in a device allow measuring and tracking: motion, shock, light, tilt and temperature.
It is also possible to attach external “tags” to control temperature, humidity and radio frequency identification.
- Motion sensor measures acceleration due to gravity; it is based on movement, direction and speed by leveraging 3-axis accelerometer. User can be notified with an alert even when a very short motion happened, for example, to prevent theft.
- The accelerometer is also used by a tilt sensor to detect direction and inclination.
- A shock sensor, also known as impact recorder, can measure acceleration forces up to 8G along with X Y Z direction to tell in which direction the impact occurred. Shock sensor may protect the shipment by alerting if the goods are exposed to greater impact than allowed.
- A light sensor can measure light intensity and trigger an alarm, for example, when a parcel or container is opened. It might prevent unauthorised access to valuable goods.
The tracker can also be compliant with cold-chain shipments by incorporating a temperature sensor. User can be alerted when the temperature outside the configured range is detected.
TG device supports connecting external, wireless RHT and RFID tags. RHT stands for “relative humidity and temperature” and allows measuring parameters on high accuracy level. RFID tag communicates to the main device and serves as identification to ensure that all your goods are kept together.
A good fit for: fragile goods, cold-chain logistics, valuable goods, laboratory materials.
Cellocator’s Nano device is equipped with multiple internal sensors, such as: temperature, light, pressure and accelerometer. It can also record sound with a built-in microphone.
- Temperature sensor enables Nano tracker to be used in cold-chain solutions; it guarantees an accuracy of ± 0.3°C and a minimum resolution of 0.1°C.
- An ambient light sensor can trigger events if a significant change of light to which the device is exposed is detected, for example, when a package is opened or closed. The light sensor can detect light intensity up to 1024 lux, which is equivalent of daylight.
- A barometric pressure sensor might be useful to monitor the height location of the package inside the carrier vehicle when it is important. The pressure sensor can detect height changes of 1 meter and above.
- An accelerometer is used to detect movement, vibration or impact. Usage of accelerometer enables triggering various events like orientation change event, when the earth-gravity vector of the device changes more than the configured degrees threshold. Absolute orientation including x, y, z vectors is reported with all transmissions. Typical usage of the accelerometer is motion detection, and “idle” state detection after a period of time without any significant movement logged.
There are even more applications for Cellocator devices.
- Another application is impact and free-fall detection, which can be easily distinguished between ordinary movement events. It will detect dangerous incidents, i.e., crash, as well as loading/unloading movements.
- The built-in microphone can listen-in to surrounding noises, and it can also be used by calling the device from a whitelisted number or by typing the appropriate password to listen in real-time.
- Apart from built-in sensors, the device can detect tampering when attempts are made to remove the device from its cradle which comes with the unit or when the cradle is removed from the mounting surface along with the tracker.
The main Nano unit can be paired with up to 16 MultiSense devices via BLE communication to provide more precise environmental condition tracking of your consignment. External beacons are small with 58.5 x 46 x 15 mm dimensions and 26 grams of weight but are embedded with rich sensing capabilities containing temperature, humidity and light sensors, and accelerometer.
A good fit for: fragile goods, cold-chain logistics, valuable goods, laboratory materials.
Attention! The device looked very promising before the tests. Unfortunately, it has a few shortcomings that affect the overall quality of using the device. See the report for more information.
A key feature of LightBug’s devices is location tracking.
However, they also benefit from a built-in accelerometer, which allows detecting various movement events such as motion start, motion stop, rotation and fall. Even though the devices are focused on providing real-time position, the Pro device is equipped with a temperature sensor which can be used to determine the surrounding temperature.
A good fit for: real-time location tracking needs.
The main purpose of Logmore logger is passive data collection.
QR code scans transmit current scanner (mobile) location. However, the tracker is also equipped with various sensors to control environmental conditions between subsequent scans.
Sensors set is different depending on the device model.
The most powerful one, Logmore three, includes temperature, light, humidity, shock and tilt sensors to provide detailed information about consignment state during shipment.
- A precise temperature sensor measures temperature with an absolute accuracy of ± 0.5°C and a resolution of ± 0.1°C.
- Humidity is provided with an accuracy of 4% RH and a resolution of 1% RH.
- A shock sensor is capable of detecting impact from -16 to 16G; it can also provide interpolated estimation up to +- 50G, alongside with x, y, z vectors.
- Orientation is provided for full 360 degrees, with x, y, z vectors, to know the exact placement of your goods during the transport.
- An ambient light sensor provides relative values to detect whether a parcel is exposed to light or not.
All data is logged in internal memory which supports up to 20,000 measurements, which are synchronised and displayed after the QR code scan. Single QR code can include between 1,000 and 6,000 readings.
If the logger has been without scanning for a long time, all new measurements may not fit in a single code. In these situations, the device stores history of QR codes which can be easily accessed and scanned individually.
A scan can alert the user about any configured discrepancies in the fetched data, for example, if the temperature is outside the configured range.
A good fit for: passive data collection.
Location tracking is not the only thing which can support your supply chain.
- Measuring environmental data and alerting when your goods are exposed to harsh conditions can significantly improve your logistics solutions.
- Monitoring in real-time can help you save your valuable goods, evaluate the carriers and make sure that your consignment is stored properly.
- Alerting and early response to changing conditions will save you money and time if you are able to safely deliver your shipment instead or preparing a new one in case of damage.
- Predictive analysis of gathered data can help you optimise the routes, select the best courier company and make your shipments more effective.
- You can even incorporate AI and machine learning solutions to automate the whole process and reduce the amount of time needed to monitor the goods on your own.
At Skyrise.tech, we tested 5 popular brands of IoT tracking devices: Kizy, TrustedGlobal, LightBug, Cellocator and Logmore. Each of the devices has interesting application areas.
Kizy will be perfect for controlling temperature, TrustedGlobal is ideal for preventing unauthorised access, Cellocator is mostly oriented for motion-related events detection as well as LightBug; finally, Logmore produced passive data collector with a deep spectrum of stimulants detection.
If you feel lost in the IoT world and need some help in accelerating your growth, we are here to help with all of our knowledge.