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OriginIoT - novel platform for increased utilization of GNSS constellations via outdoor IoT products

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - OriginIoT (OriginIoT - novel platform for increased utilization of GNSS constellations via outdoor IoT products)

Reporting period: 2018-02-01 to 2018-04-30

Not so long ago, Internet nodes were only in the context of personal computers. But, today mobile phones, industrial machines, vehicles and a host of other devices and equipment are connected to the Internet. And with the commoditization of wireless technology and the constant decline in module costs, we are on the verse of the next generation leap in computing - the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT generation is paving the way for new innovative applications and also for traditional products with additional smart embedded elements. In today’s consumer and industrial markets, every product seeks to be “smart”; providing the user added product value, and enabling the manufacturer to dramatically improve goods tracking and gain valuable actionable insights.
A significant portion of this ‘smart’ industry involves developing devices aimed to operate outdoors and remotely. Examples are numerous; from drones that deliver consumer goods or survey wide-spread areas, to asset and animal tracking; from consumer products for outdoor use, to telematics, smart city applications and mobile healthcare. This plethora of applications requires a valid positioning capability, connection to wireless Internet, and the ability to retrieve data from sensors and to operate equipment remotely.
OriginGPS is a small growing enterprise operating in the downstream GNSS market. It is the proud manufacturer of the Spider ORG440. Designed to support ultra-compact applications, the Spider measures a mere 4.1x4.1 mm and is the world’s smallest GPS module. OriginGPS develops a wide variation of small, highly accurate GPS/GNSS modules both with and without integrated antennas, and all with minimal sensitivity to noise. During its 11 years of operation, OriginGPS has strived to make GNSS constellations available for as many developers as possible, by enabling high quality GNSS utilization for any qualifying client. With over a decade of experience and a strong technical support team, OriginGPS is reputed to provide excellent support with its product presales process, including GNSS interference problems resolution for its customers during all stages of their development cycles.
[the unmet need] In 2016, the Company decided to take a step forward in GNSS utilization enablement and began developing a new line of products, the OriginIoT series. The Company identified a common need among its customers stemming from the challenge of placing GNSS modules in proximity to components that alter the electromagnetic field around them. The component causing the most interference in this environment is a cellular module used for transmitting and receiving data over cellular networks. With outdoor applications, cellular connectivity is almost always a must, especially when you cannot rely on WLAN or the availability of a smart phone near the tracked device. A cellular transmitted signal (Tx) gain is approximately 30dBm, whereas the typical received signal power from a GNSS satellite is approximately -160 dBm. This creates a huge difference of 190 dBm. As a result, many developers encounter interference problems while testing new IoT devices that include GNSS and GSM/LTE.
Moreover, with the rise of IoT products and different firmware embedded devices, there is a growing shortage of experienced embedded engineers. Development of IoT products from scratch is a great challenge, one that requires knowledge in the embedded development of microcontrollers in low-level computing environments. In addition, development of IoT firmware means working under limitations such as small code footprints and minimization of power consumption due to computing complexity. The deficiency in embedded programmers, and these inherent limitations make IoT development projects inevitably long and costly. For most of OriginGPS’ existing customers, it would take around one year and one million USD to develop and release a cellular IoT product.
OriginIoT™ is a novel, highly-integrated cellular IoT system designed to provide a platform to shorten development time and drastically reduce costs of IoT projects. The system facilitates increased utilization of GNSS constellations, such as GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, BeiDou and QZSS. This is achieved by integrating OriginGPS’ unique GNSS modules in the product, and overcoming GNSS/cellular integration challenges out-of-the-box. Additionally, the developer does not need to develop any additional embedded code, as the product encapsulates a unique method of sensor operation from a remote cloud. OriginIoT™ enables developing a complete location-aware, cellular IoT device in only six weeks, with ~85% cost savings.
OriginIoT™ is compatible with ahost of cellular communication standards, including the most advanced: 2G and 3G GSM, LTE Cat 1, CatM and Narrowband-IoT (NB). The system can also accommodate OriginGPS add-ons to accelerate development cycles even further. As OriginIoT™ delivers most of the hardware and ready-to-use embedded firmware, the developer only needs to design external packaging to complete the hardware and develop their cloud application and data analytics.
Through the OriginIoT project, we will deploy a certified solution and start working with customers on IoT applications in order to validate our business plan and expand the technical capabilities of the platform. The expected impact is a substantially quicker time to market among IoT developers resulting in added value to the economy, and the growth of both OriginGPS, and its customers.
Objectives: Two main technological objectives: 1. To assess the required knowledge needed to develop a complete product with OriginIoT™, and 2. To achieve a high GNSS SNR rate on the 18.8x27.6mm module. A key objective of the feasibility study is to evaluate the cost of the product when mass manufactured.
Achievements: through discussions with potential customers, we identified the specific needs of IoT device developers, and created a list for the required knowledge base for the system development. We also performed GNSS SNR testing with first prototypes, and reached satisfactory results from the miniature module. Lastly, we established connection with strategic suppliers to evaluate the device production cost when mass manufactured.
Objectives: Definition of commercial and dissemination policy in the EMEA, Americas and APAC. Develop education workshops for existing network of distributors and partners. Search for new distribution channels and OEM partners. Evaluate commercial risks and define mitigation strategies. Freedom-to-operate and IP management
Achievements: through the course of Phase 1, we defined our commercial and dissemination strategy to be evaluated and validated in phase 1. With the support of SME Instrument Coaching Services, we analysed the project SWOT, customers’ needs, the scope of the business opportunity, market entry strategies, 3P model, go-to-market plan, value chain analysis and product roadmap. Guidelines for product demonstration were developed and tested internally within OriginGPS.
Objectives: Evaluation of total investment, financial risks and mitigation strategies for the OriginIoT™ project; Perform 5-year analysis of cash flow and revenues; prepare a business plan for the implementation of phase 2. Evaluation of growth strategies post phase 2 implementation. A thorough evaluation of the company growth based on the technical and commercial viability. Incorporation of capital requirements and growth financing strategies.
Achievements: Through the combining of interviews with potential clients, with information gathered during coaching activities, we developed a meticulous business plan, including estimated project costs, expected project revenues and growth strategies past phase 2.
This publication summarises the Feasibility Study prepared during the last 3 months as an outcome of the SME Instrument Phase 1. We have evaluated the technical, commercial and financial viability of the OriginIoT project, and further developed a business plan. The outcome of this Feasibility Study is the decision to continue with the project. As the natural path after the Phase 1 project from the SME Instrument, OriginGPS considers the Phase 2 funding opportunity as the optimal option. Based on achievements from phase 1, the company set initial specific objectives for phase 2 under the general objective from phase 1 that remained unchanged. The outcomes of Phase 2 project will be hardware modules, complementary cloud based tools and a supporting ecosystem. These outcomes are expected to expedite IoT project development and deployment, and achieve higher outcomes in respective application fields. Enabling quick and resource-saving development will enable many innovators in the market to reach their development goals, succeed and grow.