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March 10, 2021

Alps Alpine Develops MonoTra™ Location Tracking Service Using Skyhook Precision Location System
Cloud Service Improves Wi-Fi® Access Point Position Data Accuracy and Simplifies System Development and Operation


 Alps Alpine Co., Ltd. has developed MonoTra™, a cloud service that improves the accuracy of Wi-Fi® access point position data and simplifies system development and operation by customers. It even allows accurate location of items that move both indoors and outdoors and are not always in a reliable communication environment. Location accuracy is improved using a Precision Location positioning solution1 provided by Skyhook Wireless, Inc. that obtains accurate data in all environments, including indoor settings and densely built-up urban areas. The service was launched in March 2021 for use with the Long-Lifetime Asset Tracker logistics asset tracking device.


 Alps Alpine views location data as useful for applications within the Internet of Things (IoT) and digital transformation (DX) fields and is collaborating with partners worldwide on wide-ranging technological development for diverse markets.

 Alps Alpine has now developed MonoTra™, a cloud service enabling accurate location of items that move both indoors and outdoors and are not always in a reliable communication environment. The service was launched in March 2021 for use with Alps Alpine’s Long-Lifetime Asset Tracker. Deployment of the service improves the accuracy of Long-Lifetime Asset Tracker location data and simplifies system development and operation as part of a logistics asset management solution providing enhanced quality and ease of use for customers.

 A Long-Lifetime Asset Tracker determines the location of a logistics asset using the MAC addresses2 of Wi-Fi® access points3 (see Fig.1). MonoTra™ improves the accuracy of location information using a Skyhook Precision Location solution, with access to Skyhook data on more than 5.4 billion Wi-Fi® access points worldwide. Customers also receive a private database for registering their own Wi-Fi® access point position information, allowing even greater accuracy improvements.

 Another benefit of MonoTra™ is it simplifies and streamlines the system development process for customers. Before, a customer needed to enter into a network contract, register devices and build a data acquisition system to be able to use the Long-Lifetime Asset Tracker. But MonoTra™ renders such cumbersome tasks unnecessary. An original application programming interface (API)4 providing already-processed data is also available, making it easier for customers to visualize information provided by the tracking devices.

 More than 250,000 units of the Long-Lifetime Asset Tracker have been deployed so far to a large number of corporations outside Japan, including one of Europe’s leading logistics firms, and domestically to AGC Inc. for tracking pallets used in the transportation of glass. Serving to expand the market further, the MonoTra™ service builds on the advantages of the Long-Lifetime Asset Tracker to deliver an accessible solution for addressing logistics issues. Besides use in combination with the Long-Lifetime Asset Tracker, Alps Alpine will be exploring other potential applications of the service that might benefit from highly accurate position information from Wi-Fi® access points.

1.
A system using Wi-Fi®, GNSS and cellular signals to locate devices in any environment (MonoTra™ uses only Wi-Fi® signals)
2.
Unique identifiers assigned to each network device
3.
Wireless devices serving as a connection point for Wi-Fi® devices to gain access to a network
4.
An interface enabling sharing of functionality among different software

Fig. 1. Using the Long-Lifetime Asset Tracker with MonoTra™ Alps Alpine Develops MonoTra™ Location Tracking Service Using Skyhook Precision Location System

(1)
Attach a Long-Lifetime Asset Tracker to each logistics asset.
(2)
Accelerometers and timers inside Long-Lifetime Asset Trackers detect specific patterns of movement by each logistics asset.
(3)
MAC addresses of two nearby Wi-Fi® access points are obtained.
(4)
The MAC addresses are sent to a Sigfox cloud via Sigfox base stations.
(5)
Sigfox base station information is used to estimate the location of each Long-Lifetime Asset Tracker.
(6)
Data received from each Long-Lifetime Asset Tracker and location estimations are sent to Alps Alpine’s cloud.
(7)
Using Skyhook’s Precision Location solution, MAC addresses obtained in (3) are referenced to make a better estimate of the location of each Long-Lifetime Asset Tracker.
(8)
Information (latitude, longitude, time, etc.) is obtained through access to the Alps Alpine’s cloud.
*The customer visualizes and analyzes data (e.g. time series map display, stagnation analysis)