Actility acquires Abeeway to create a best-in-class portfolio for IoT location services

Actility, a provider of Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) has acquired Abeeway, a geolocation system provider.

The acquisition is Actility’s first following a US$75 million fundraising round (see: Actility raises US$75m Series D funds to speed industrial IoT solutions globally, adds new backers) supported by new and existing investors intended to enhance its technology portfolio and accelerate worldwide growth.

By combining Abeeway’s patented location software and products with Actility’s ThingPark platform, the company says the acquisition will give it a “best-in-class portfolio” of IoT location services to support service providers and IoT solution vendors across a wide range of industry sectors.

“We’re seeing massive demand for location-aware IoT solutions from industry,” said Actility CEO Mike Mulica. “We’ve been rapidly developing our ThingPark Location platform to deliver powerful tools to service providers and our customers in the tracking ecosystem. As a long-time partner with Abeeway, we saw great potential in adding their patented assisted GPS (A-GPS) technology and expertise in tracking to the capabilities of our ThingPark platform.

This combination offers game-changing geolocation capabilities from an accuracy, speed, power consumption and TCO standpoint. We’re creating an IoT location platform that will enable a revolution in the logistics and supply chain sector. In fact, we think that geolocation and tracking are potentially the killer app for the whole of the Internet of Things.”

“Since the first LoRaWAN tracker was presented by Abeeway in 2015, Abeeway has continuously improved IoT tracking solutions, developing the first patented low power GPS (A-GPS for IoT) as well as data fusion to optimise localisation & power consumption,” explained Abeeway founder Florian Sforza.

“Major players have already selected Abeeway products such as the Master Tracker and Micro Tracker. Becoming part of Actility’s rapid growth will allow us to leverage their market leading LPWA platform and global reach to satisfy the massive market demand for IoT location use cases. Abeeway products will also continue to be available for every LPWAN network.”

Olivier Hersent

Abeeway is a provider of tracking devices offering on-demand geolocation, movement alerts or geofencing. These trackers use GPS signals to determine their location, but energy-efficient LoRaWAN communication to pass that location to a tracking application, so in comparison with trackers using cellular networks, they offer much longer battery life.

The key innovation developed by Abeeway, providing a powerful competitive advantage to Actility location services, is an assisted GPS technology specifically optimised for LoRaWAN, which allows fewer satellites to be used for a fix and reduces the GPS lock time to a few seconds. The power required for both GPS signal acquisition and processing is reduced: this combination results in a dramatic increase in battery life, by an order of magnitude versus existing GPS location technology.

“The unique advantage of our platform is its ability to serve a huge variety of use cases by combining different location technologies including network-based TDoA location, GPS and A-GPS, Bluetooth beacons and Wi-Fi “sniffing”, “explained Actility founder and CTO Olivier Hersent. “Our customers can optimise their solutions to precisely match the requirements of their target use cases.”

ThingPark Location services will be accessible through APIs, which, coupled with the bidirectional capability of the LoRaWAN link, will allow developers to manage geolocation according to the needs of their application.

For example, in an asset tracking and theft prevention scenario, the application may use low-power consumption network-based location to “geofence” a vehicle, raising an alert only when it strays outside a defined area. But if the vehicle breaks through that geofence, then the application can request regular GPS-based location updates to enable the vehicle to be traced in real time and recovered.

“We’re delighted to be bringing the Abeeway team and portfolio on board to pioneer this next evolution of IoT technology. Together we’re going to create a truly revolutionary global capability for the next generation of IoT solutions,” concluded Actility CEO Mike Mulica.

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