Orion Data Network Explained – Asset Tag System2018-03-16T18:40:37+00:00

Orion Data Network

Award Winning Asset Tag System 

The Orion Data Network asset tag system is a unique combination of Internet of Things, RFID and GPS technology, designed specifically for accurate, real-time 24/7 tracking, monitoring and recovery of assets and people.

Back in 2010 IBM’s slightly inflated prediction was that there would be 1 trillion Internet of Things and Machine to Machine connected devices by 2015. In 2015 Gartner predicted the number will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. On Gartner’s Internet of Things Hype Cycle, it has been at the peak of inflated expectations for the last 3 years. Although researchers have predicted different numbers, the common theme throughout the years is that the IoT and M2M will continue to expand exponentially and adoption across all industries will increase as people begin to understand its virtually limitless applications.

RFID Technology

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an automated identification and data collection technology. In recent years it has become a part of most aspects of our daily lives from access cards at work to passports when we are going on holiday. The principle is that when you have an asset, object or person you wish to tag in order to identify, locate, secure, monitor, track or recover you attach a tag with a unique identification number. At intervals the tag sends out its unique ID number to a gateway or beacon its id to a hand-held RFID reader. The gateway or reader captures the tags unique data and passes these to middleware, which collates and organises the data for customised reporting to a business application and key personnel. The two main types of RFID technology are passive which does not require a battery and active which does.

RFID is more beneficial and has wider application than GPS tracking as it does not require a “line of sight” connection between the asset and the tracker. Your asset can be tracked at both long and short range and the data that can be collected is hugely varied, giving you a very clear overall picture of the status of your asset.

Orion Data Network

Orion harnesses the power of the IoT, bringing you a highly efficient asset management solution, with 75% higher cost savings than other tracking technologies, and an award-winning data management system that enables you to make informed business decisions. The first to market solution of its kind, Orion is a next generation connectivity platform with an N+1 backbone infrastructure that engages the M2M marketplace with fully managed end-to-end turnkey solutions. Orion can be deployed quickly and cost effectively in any global location. From real-time container tracking analytics to high value retail tracking, monitoring and security applications, the Orion network has become the most popular and effective asset solution for large corporates and SME’s all over the world.

Orion embodies NFC Group’s mission to develop ground-breaking asset tracking and asset security technology and solutions, to help the governments, businesses and people of today create smarter, greener, secure and more connected cities for tomorrow.

How Does Orion Outperform Other Solutions?

Control Channels

When a device requires a control channel and it’s searching for the network that generates it, a device in an area of high congestion consumes 300% more power than in an area of clear airwaves. As radio uses around the same amount of power to listen as to transmit, this also means it takes three times longer and this negatively impacts on the whole network, slowing it down so that only the nearest devices can communicate with it effectively. The maximum power on the 868MHz in Europe in the licence-free ISM bands is 500mW, or half a watt and this has an adverse effect on other users trying to implement low-power 868MHz solutions.

The number and size of possible communications over any given period are limited by the requirements of these networks. In practical terms, with regard to asset management, this means that these networks are only suitable for fixed assets and feeding back small amounts of data and business intelligence.

How Orion Data Network works
Network Congestion

A growing challenge for M2M and asset tracking solutions is the issue of network congestion. As the airwaves become more crowded, the effective range of communication diminishes. The vast majority of modern communication networks focus on the higher end of the spectrum because richer formats of communication use higher data rates and require greater bandwidth. Then there are a group of networks around the 868-900Mhz range which are generally focused on sending smaller packets, less frequently.

How Orion Beats Congestion

The Orion Data Network asset tag system overcomes this issue as it doesn’t use a control channel to communicate and therefore it is not affected by the timing and battery life issues caused by congestion and interference. Orion is the fastest and most cost-effective solution to enable you to track, monitor, recover and report on your fixed and moveable high value assets in real-time, giving you big data intelligence for better-informed business decisions.

Why Orion is Better than Other Tracking Technologies?

Property ORION Bluetooth CIoT 2G 3G 4G LoRa Sigfox WIFI ZigBee
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Bluetooth & Wifi

Bluetooth is useful for one to one, line of sight connections over a short 2.4GH range. It consumes a lot of power for the range and output it provides. If you’ve ever used a set of Bluetooth speakers attached to your mobile phone then you’ll already be familiar with the range and line of sight limitations. Wifi similarly does not travel far or penetrate well and uses a disproportionate amount of power for its level of performance. The Orion Data network outperforms both Bluetooth and Wifi as it has a range of up to 10 miles.

Zigbee

The was a strong concept of a low-power WiFi communications solution for devices that can ‘mesh’ together by forwarding messages between the nodes. However the mesh networking protocol is seriously flawed and Zigbee doesn’t live up to its initial promise and has a typical range of only 10-100m.

Sigfox

Sigfox has taken 134 million euros in investment and is currently out looking for a further 200-300 million euros. They typically charge 5-20 euros a year for network access. Sigfox is aimed at mostly infrastructure and monitoring as opposed to asset tracking and security. The system can only report back a maximum of 140 messages a day. Most asset recovery operations need hundreds of messages in a few hours to bring them to a successful conclusion. Orion’s real time messaging and reporting allows you to track your assets at all times.

Sigfox is aimed therefore at providing connectivity to masses of fixed devices that only need to send small amounts of data back to base. An important feature of the network is the low power element that means the end user device can be small and low cost. The design compromise here is that the basestation needs to be a bigger, more sophisticated piece of equipment to compensate for this.

Another important element is their move to 868MHz, which brings with it less penetration and reflection than is found on 433Mhz.

2G or GSM

2G is a Time Division Multiple Access based architecture. With some modifications both TDMA and CDMA can work well without control channels but in the majority of commercial applications they are implemented with control channels and subject to the network jamming discussed above. The majority of mobile consumers have already moved to 3G or 4G and their mobile usage won’t be affected by the demise of GSM. For corporates the impact can be greater as the transition of thousands of employee mobile devices can take years. 2G is still the standard for many Machine to Machine (M2M) SIMs as they have a longer lifetime than a mobile phone. This means that many machines such as vending machines, vehicle alarms, remote monitoring equipment and asset-tracking applications are still on 2G. Millions of these devices are now working way below their optimum level due to the network remapping and associated gaps that have formed.

3G or CDMA

This is the ugly child of the radio world – likely to be turned off with or even before 2G, in Europe. This is CDMA, which stands for Code Division Multiple Access. America will probably hang onto 3G for some time given that they have pretty much already turned off 2G and a 4G roll out will be a massive investment, on top of the fact they have really only just finished the 3G roll out.

4G

4G brought us increased bandwidth, faster data transfer speed, better coverage and uninterrupted connectivity, enabling today’s millennials to stream music and movies faster than ever before. 4G is also pretty affordable now and offers excellent privacy and security. The main challenge with using 4G for asset tracking is that it runs on 2100MHz which means it can’t penetrate reinforced concrete structures very well.

LoRa

The low power radio association is aimed at providing low power, wide area network solutions. It is as the name suggests an alliance of different companies creating a standard. Reading between the lines it is an improvement on many of the concepts and ideas first proposed in Zigbee. The issue with this technology as proposed is that there is not much to sell today or for potential customers to get their hands on. Talking to major corporate clients, LoRa really hasn’t emerged yet as a technology to adopt, it is still in its infancy.

CIoT

Mostly 900Mhz to make use of the old 2G spectrum. It will not launch until 2018, only at the early design stages. A little like Sigfox in that it is built for sending very small data packets. Vodafone will probably be the first provider in the UK. Expect normal 2G costs but no voice and very limited packet size. This is a TDMA based solution.

There are 3 broad categories of use:

Orion Data Network banking sector
Orion Data Network farming

Bolus, Collar

Orion Data Network site systems

Currently in use in 24 different vertical markets

Below is a list of some of the most commonly used applications:

Orion Form Factors

Orion asset tracking and security devices come in a huge range of different shapes, sizes and technical specifications depending on their intended application. Tracking devices can weigh as little as 28 grams and last for several years on a single charge reporting in real-time with a range of up to 10 miles.

Benefits of the Orion Data Network

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With Orion your operating costs will be up to 75% lower than the cost of comparable GSM and CDMA solutions

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Real-time reporting every 15 seconds in motion and every 2 minutes when equipment and machinery is stationary

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Ecologically-driven technology for better sustainability and a reduced carbon footprint

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Reduced dependency on emergency frequency in times of crisis

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Applicable to all areas of City, Business and Supply Chain transformation

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Manage, schedule and maintain vehicles and equipment with predictive strategies based on real-time data, to optimise resources and control costs

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The Orion signal penetrates walls, metal and underground for application in all areas and environments

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Capitalise on Lower Insurance Premiums

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Enables compliance with Industry Regulations

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Meet Your KPIs and SLAs

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Improve Your Customer Experience

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Manage Your Corporate Reputation

Features of the Orion Data Network Asset Tag System

Orion Data Network operates on a Low Frequency Radio Signal

Plugs easily into an existing Ethernet port

Gateways control your key access points

GPS and non-GPS tags for near real time tracking of vehicles and people

Switch tags for smoke detectors and fire systems

Special temperature monitoring tags

Power cut and tamper alerts

Unique analogue mode for asset recovery using direction-finding equipment

Long range site monitoring from 500 meters to 10km+ radius of each Gateway

The Orion Data Network is entirely independent of GSM

Orion is highly adaptive and simple to deploy

Real-time Visibility (RTLS)

Unlimited scalability

Operates on a Low Frequency Radio Signal

3-year battery reporting in real time with customisable reports

Intelligent Data – a suite of API’s and online asset management system capable of managing all of your physical assets and billing reports with greater efficiency and clarity

Smart Technology

Orion hardware is among the smartest technology available on the market today. Orion GPS RFID tags learn their environment by gathering thousands of pieces of data every second. After a short time learning their surroundings, unusual behaviour patterns can be spotted, and preventative measures deployed.

Intelligent Data

It’s not only Orion hardware that is packed with cutting edge technology. Orion’s back-end infrastructure has been developed over the last decade and its evolution has been focused on creating the best possible user experience for our clients. The result is a suite of API’s and online asset management system capable of managing all of your physical assets and billing reports with ease.

Unlimited Scalability

Orion allows users to create a private data and security network that is instantly scalable up or down. The Orion Network is currently serving both SME’s and global top ten bluechip companies who have scaled their Orion solution to tailor their organisation’s supply chain requirements.

Faster Return on Your Investment

By increasing real-time asset visibility, so you can streamline your business operations to iron out costly anomalies in the supply chain. The Orion Network can deliver ROI within 3 weeks!

Onsite Demonstration

Even when you’ve read about it and understand it’s potential value, new technology can be hard to get your head around until you’ve seen it in action! When you see Orion in operation first-hand you will be able to see the huge benefits it can bring to your business.

If you would like a free onsite demonstration of the Orion Data Network and a chat with our experts about how it can help you optimise your assets and supply chain, then get in touch today to schedule an appointment.

Who’s Using The Orion Data Network?

How Can You Join The Orion Data Network?

Orion coverage is growing and expanding all the time. However, if there is currently no coverage in your area, it’s very simple to create coverage very quickly. seriously simple. All that’s required is an Orion gateway, which in essence acts like a long range wifi router. The Gateway is a simple plug and play device that we connect to any ethernet port, power up, and you’re ready to use Orion!

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