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Kizy Tracking Solution Uses Cellular Network to Locate Goods

The company is marketing its RTLS service as a low-cost alternative to conventional RFID, by employing battery-powered tags that communicate with GSM cellular towers instead of dedicated readers.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 03, 2014

Newly founded technology company Kizy Tracking has developed what it describes as a low-cost alternative to conventional RFID or GPS solutions that is able to track goods anywhere within range of a GSM cellular radio tower. The only hardware that users need purchase is a battery-powered K-1 GSM Tracker tag, priced at $35 apiece; the only other expenses are a $1 activation charge and a daily $0.25 fee to access location data on a hosted server. The Swiss firm is selling its K-1 GSM Tracker tag for use in containers or with cargo that is shipped, in many cases, around the world.

Kizy was launched on January 1 of this year to provide a tracking solution that would cost less than conventional RFID, but would also be more automated than solutions utilizing bar codes, which require manual scans. The company's name, pronounced "kee-zee," is derived from the words "tracking" and "easy." According to Ruud Riem-Vis, Kizy's CEO, the use of traditional battery-powered RFID real-time location system (RTLS) tags for tracking cargo loaded into vans in cartons or containers can be unrealistic, due to the need for a reader infrastructure wherever the cargo is transported. This can be particularly cumbersome, he notes, if readers—along with the cables required to connect those devices with a back-end server, and to provide the necessary power—must be installed along a supply chain route. In the case of passive RFID tags, handheld or fixed readers must be provided to users throughout the supply chain. Alternatively, Riem-Vis says, some vehicles come equipped with GPS systems that can send location data back to a server, but require a power source that may not always be available.

The battery-powered K-1 GSM Tracker tag features movement and light sensors, as well as GSM radio.
Riem-Vis says his Neuchâtel-based company was founded to provide an alternate, less expensive way for businesses to keep an eye on their goods throughout the supply chain—a service for which, he says, "the entry barrier is very low." Postal and carrier companies are already employing a variety of methods to monitor the progress of shipments to customers, Riem-Vis says, and could often benefit from this low-cost alternative, as could recycling companies tracking the locations of bins, as well as manufacturers and logistics firms that frequently ship products across several continents. Other companies that move their own assets from one facility to another could use the technology to track where each item is located.

The K-1 GSM Tracker tag measures 100 millimeters by 48 millimeters by 9.8 millimeters (3.9 inches by 1.9 inches by 0.4 inch)—about the size of a small cell phone—and features movement and light sensors, as well as GSM radio. Citing the Swiss tradition of making watches and long-lasting batteries to power them, Riem-Vis says his company developed the tag to use only the minimal amount of power necessary, thus ensuring that it can transmit a signal for up to a year without requiring a battery recharge, via a standard mini-USB cable.


Damon McDaniel 2014-09-08 10:22:50 AM
Warning to US customers for this is the aspect that it communicates using GSM. I have a home security system that I purchased thinking "GSM" meant "cellular" (equivalent anyway). My provider is Verizon and both they and AT&T are using LTE devices - they could not sell me a GSM card to add to my security device (in my area at least). Please investigate before purchase. If GSM is compatible in your area - outstanding!
Alexandre Luyet 2014-10-14 04:23:01 PM
Hi Damon It is true that we are using GSM network, which is not the same as LTE. The Kizy device is not LTE compatible and thus will not work with this technology wherever it is in the world. However, the fact is that in the USA, there are two different standards for 2G networks: CDMA (Verizon and Sprint) and GSM (AT&T and T-Mobile). The Kizy device will only work with the latter, and thus requires coverage of 2G network of AT&T or T-Mobile. Now regarding your issue, with Kizy, you don’t need to purchase a card from a mobile operator, because it comes already with one. The usage fee includes the connectivity required to make it work and thus, the only thing you need to check before purchasing Kizy is whether you have 2G network of AT&T or T-Mobile. You will find some more information here: CDMA vs. GSM: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2407896,00.asp AT&T Coverage: http://www.att.com/maps/wireless-coverage.html (select data, then 2G) T-Mobile coverage: http://www.t-mobile.com/coverage.html Hope this helps!
Paul Oxenham 2015-06-22 09:45:48 AM
This looks great, but in 18 months, AT&T will switch off 2G in the USA. What are your plans to introduce a 3G model? I imagine that this will also have a price impact.

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