- Exotic System
- Advanced Tracking
Exotic Systems: Connecting all Environments with Kinéis
From connected tractors and agricultural sensors to mining operations and global multimodal logistics tracking, smart electronics designer Exotic Systems relies on Kinéis to help it deliver custom solutions in some of the most complex environments. Exotic Systems CTO and co-founder Laurent Gineste explains.
How has Kinéis satellite connectivity contributed to your IoT business?
One of our areas of expertise is the design and development of connected objects for challenging contexts such as agriculture, mining and remote sites. Kinéis has enabled us to resolve the IoT issue in complex areas which include blank zones and require multiple operators spanning several different countries, with rates varying from twice to five times as much for the same data volume.
Satellite connectivity previously required expensive equipment, which was totally at odds with the low-cost philosophy of terrestrial IoT. So we reserved it for just a few specific cases. Kinéis makes satellite connectivity available to all.
In practical terms, which satellite IoT solutions have you been able to develop?
Continuous global coverage ensures things like reliable crop moisture monitoring and optimal plant growth data collection, thanks to sensors positioned in remotely located fields.
Kinéis is perfectly suited to such purposes, since its energy autonomy is far superior to that of cellular connected devices, which are highly battery intensive.
Satellite IoT also enables uninterrupted, multimodal and indoor/outdoor logistics tracking. Coupling a Kinéis solution with a Wirepas system, for instance, is a quick and cost-effective way to connect a warehouse and secure reliable coverage of an entire supply chain. Our KINETIC series of robust devices provides viable solutions for most of these scenarios.
Is it easy to achieve hybrid connectivity?
Yes, because Kinéis has its own frequency band, meaning guaranteed global coverage and zero interference with other used frequencies. Kinéis has also proved to be a first-rate partner, further enriching our ecosystem of electronics and antenna experts who all help to create solutions that incorporate satellite, LoRaWAN, Sigfox, Bluetooth and other connectivity into a single device. We have got together to develop solutions that are compact, efficient and cost effective.
Are Kinéis components easily integrable?
Absolutely. Kinéis produces a range of pre-certified components, chips and modules. This makes testing easier and enables the rapid development of certified custom industrial solutions. We have leveraged our expertise to integrate the module directly into an electronic sub-component so that we can start to work on and validate a solution within a few days. But Kinéis also produces a Development Kit, to facilitate the task for less expert integrators. Depending on circumstances, this chipset can also help to reduce cost price and optimize energy consumption. The next few months will see the release of new KINETIC products featuring these components, which will enable our customers to further reduce their capital and operating expenses.
Do these latest products open up new market prospects for you?
We have received requests in recent years from areas with zero connectivity, where we have had to overlap several solutions. This entails complex and costly methods, for fairly one-off markets. Kinéis has enabled us to rethink these needs and to access new markets, such as secure, round-the-clock multimodal logistics tracking for the space and military sectors. The technical and commercial support provided by Kinéis, combined with its expertise and reputation in the space industry, have played a crucial role in helping us to broach these markets.
Advanced Tracking expands its maritime services with Kinéis
Using the Kinéis constellation, Advanced Tracking has launched the first ever hybrid GSM/satellite multiservice tracking device for the geolocation of sea vessels and the continuous monitoring of onboard equipment.
Advanced Tracking is the leading provider of geolocation and satellite communication systems for the pleasure boat sector. Based in Hyères on the French Riviera, the company has joined forces with Kinéis to develop a particularly innovative new device: a hybrid GSM/satellite multiservice tracker known as SmartConnect.
Guaranteed global coverage
“The size and cost of the Kinéis chipset and the reliability of Kinéis’ satellite network, which will further expand to enable geolocation every five minutes from 2023, presented us with a unique opportunity”, says Advanced Tracking MD Christophe Allan. The key advantage of Kinéis’ satellite service being its “truly global coverage, even at the Earth’s poles”.
Continuous, reliable and autonomous connectivity
SmartConnect features a Kinéis chipset paired with a GSM chipset. As soon as there’s a break in the terrestrial network, Kinéis satellites take over, regardless of the boat’s location. “This enables us to provide more frequent and reliable geolocation data with, in particular, enhanced precision around coastal areas, even before a GSM network becomes accessible”, explains Christophe.
What’s more, Kinéis’ device uses so little energy that it remains operational even when the power supply fails, which is vital at sea.
SmartConnect is a single module featuring a GSM 3G or 4G unit, a Kinéis chipset plus a LoRaWAN transceiver to connect wireless sensors from up to 1,000 ft/300m away. This compact tracking device also contains all of the miniaturized antennas, including the Kinéis antenna, meaning it can easily be installed inside the boat.
Up to a hundred wireless sensors can be connected to the tracking device, from intruder, load and waterway sensors, to temperature and smoke sensors, to panic buttons. It is even possible to adapt an NMEA modem to receive engine temperature, engine speed, wind force, depth below keel and fuel level alerts or, as an option, to activate the wi-fi modem for onboard internet access.
Christophe explains : “Integrating so many systems was a major challenge. The support we received from Kinéis was excellent and we really worked together as partners, in association with BTESA which handled the development and production of our device.”
« Tracking the boat »
Georges Barbier is the owner of Balane V and among the first to have equipped his 48-foot monohull with a SmartConnect tracking device. Here he describes its installation.
“The SmartConnect device was extremely simple to install and, once configured via the Advanced Tracking service on the required date, worked perfectly straight away.
It’s an excellent product that is very simple and intuitive to use and is perfectly suited to basic needs. I use it all the time to send my location to friends and family (to keep in touch and for safety reasons), and I don’t even have to do anything because it’s automatic. I also have it for the onboard alert option and, not least, to track the boat in my absence in the event of theft or if I’ve entrusted it to another crew.”