LTE-M Smart IoT tracker for pallets now approved for use on Verizon

The majority of the world's 10 billion shipping pallets are made of wood, but a growing percentage are made of plastic, according to Beecham Research. (Pixabay)

Sequans Communications and Polymer Logistics announced that the Polymer Logistics Smart IoT Tracker is now approved for use on the LTE-M network of Verizon Wireless and is pending approval by other operators.

The device, which will be on display at CES 2019, is tailored specifically to fit onto Polymer Logistics’ CleanPal pallets, but it can be used as a standalone tracking device for other IoT applications.

In addition to the LTE-M connectivity provided by Sequans’ Monarch platform, the device includes a temperature sensor, an accelerometer and network-based geolocation.

The Smart IoT Tracker fits between the standard slats of a pallet without any overhang so that forklifts can’t damage it, according to a press release. It uses standard AA batteries and comes in an IP66 enclosure that makes it safe from extreme weather conditions, powerful seas or jets of water. And it doesn’t have to be removed from pallets prior to washing.

“We chose Sequans’ Monarch Platform for the LTE connectivity for our new Smart IoT Tracker, because Monarch is one of the most mature, reliable, and power-efficient LTE-M connectivity solutions in the industry,” said Ohad Perry, CTO, Polymer Logistics, in the press release. “Sequans also made it easy for us to bring this product to market because their total solution approach to IoT includes not just the hardware, but also the necessary software to reduce the complexity of IoT device development.”

Pallets appear to represent big business for IoT tracking. According to a Beecham Research report sponsored by Sierra Wireless, the majority of the world’s 10 billion shipping pallets are made of wood, but a growing percentage are made of plastic and are more valuable and reusable. Already, there are examples of these types of pallets being tracked using a range of technologies, but Beecham said Low Power Wide Area technologies like NB-IoT and LTE-M raise the prospect of dramatically increasing the addressable market at low cost.

Sequans' announcement with Polymer follows one Sequans made on Friday with GeoTraq, a cellular IoT module manufacturer and network operator. GeoTraq has adopted Sequans’ Monarch LTE-M/NB-IoT Platform for a new series of GeoTraq modules targeting LTE for IoT markets.

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The new GeoTraq NB-400 series includes the latest in LTE-based, low power positioning technology, delivering accurate indoor and outdoor positioning using only the LTE radio, thereby eliminating the cost and complexity of having to add GNSS or other radios. Sequans is using positioning technology provided by Polte.