Narrowband IoT for Consumer Goods Tracking

Tracking devices more and more play a helpful role in finding stolen or lost goods. In addition, they can support elderly or nursing care, looking after your kids or even having an eye on your pet. With Narrowband IoT technology (NB-IoT) all these use cases can be realized more effective than with current mobile network solutions.

In Germany, according to the official statistics, more than 300.000 bicycles get stolen every year. At the same time, the detection rate is declining: Less than ten percent of those theft cases are solved. We cannot forget that for many people a bicycle is not only a means of transport but also a status symbol and an expression of their personal lifestyle. Thus it has a high value to them – not to mention that a bicycle can be really expensive. Owners would be quite willing to spend a small amount for a tracking device that could help finding their precious bike when it has been stolen. The new technology NB-IoT provides just this low-cost quality due to cost-effective production and transmission.

An affordable way to find your bike and car

An NB-IoT tracking device with a GPS module and an M2M SIM card can be embedded into the bike’s frame to prevent the device to be removed. At specified intervals the module transmits its position to the owner’s smartphone app, where he can locate his bike on a map. Depending on the integrated sensors, the module can additionally report if the bike is moving or not. With NB-IoT having extremely low energy requirements, the device can run on a single battery for many years without the need to replace or charge it. And of course, such a tracking module can be used to retrofit your car or motorbike.

Track your luggage and locate your dog

Theft and loss of luggage is often a nightmare to travelers. A simple tracking device inside the suitcase or bag can easily calm their nerves by telling the owner whether their luggage is still inside the conveyor system at the airport – or already in someone else’s possession.
But tracking is not only about finding lost goods. Losing a pet can be a tragedy for its owner, be it a runaway or stolen dog or a cat that got lost or has been accidently locked up. An NB-IoT tracking device is small and lightweight enough to be attached or directly integrated into the collar. The pet’s GPS position can be transmitted via mobile network to a smartphone app or a computer to locate it in real time on a map. Moreover, a motion profile can be done to reconstruct where the pet wanders around all day long.

NB-IoT to feel more secure

These tracking features, along with other measurements e.g. of health or vital body functions, can be used in the elderly or nursing care, too. Shock sensors integrated into the device can register if a person falls and autonomously directly after send an alarm to an emergency call center. The same works also with outdoor sportspeople, be it runners and hikers, skiers and cyclists or sailors and surfers. Here, the wide range of the NB-IoT technology pays off.

The pipeline full of ideas

Some of the companies collaborating with Deutsche Telekom’s recently established NB-IoT Prototyping Hub already have some tracking solutions in development or on the market. Blue Oak, for example, has invented an emergency leash for employees.  In case of an accident they can send, by pressing just a button, their location information to the operator. Another example, HereO built a GPS watch for kids so parents can stay informed about their child’s whereabouts. A similar watch by Life Plus is designed for elderly care and people with chronic diseases. The device not only tracks the location, but also measures activity and health of the user.

All these great ideas and solutions can be realized even more cost-effective by using NB-IoT technology.

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