First Line Software is a premier provider of software engineering, software enablement, and digital transformation services. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the global staff of 400 technical experts serve clients across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
iTraq is a US based startup that produces tracking devices aimed at shipping logistics companies. It allows them to put a card-type device on their pallet, container, or package to track its literal location anywhere in the world real time. Thus reducing risk of loss due to shipping to an unknown location due to error or theft.
The client contracted with First Line Software for the development of prototype of an innovative geo-tracking device. After the prototype testing was completed, First Line Software built the final version of the product. What makes the iTraq device unique is its ability to operate while utilizing two location-tracking technologies simultaneously – GSM and GPS Modules.
The device uses GSM tracking as its default method, meaning its location details are sent out by connecting to the nearest cell towers utilizing Cell-ID triangulation. One advantage of this technology is the efficient battery power consumption – one charge is sufficient for three years of continuous use. One disadvantage is the limited accuracy of the location – between 100 and 200 meters. As an added feature, when needed it is possible to activate operation of the higher energy
consuming, but more precise GPS module. For example, if an object that is connected to an iTraq tracking device is stolen and its location can be accurately tracked within 1 meter.
The Requirements from iTraq:
- Device case must be small
- Power consumption should be minimal
- Standby mode should be the default and the device must be accessible for remote adjustment by means of a mobile application on the user’s smartphone
- GSM module should be able to scan all neighboring cell towers regardless of the cellular provider
- GPS module should be capable of being switched on by user request
- Device production should be cost-efficient.
First Line Software met all design requirements, and completed the prototype development within six months. The device case was downsized to 21×12 square millimeters. The battery life is guaranteed to last up to three years of continuous use and will power 1500 sessions. Both the GSM and GPS modules are embedded in the device case along with the battery.
A mobile application for iOS and Android was developed to control the device. The application can be customized to meet the user’s specific requirements and can be used to track the object’s movement on a map. A user can also adjust the frequency of how often the device will “inform” about its location (from once to 50 times per day) and choose either GPS or GSM module for device operation.
At time of launch, the intial production run of the iTraq device was 5,000. Shortly after launch, the trackers were already being used and tracked globally in 51 countries. The overall adoption of the device was successful and iTraq began full product production.
- Firmware technologies: C#
- Platform: Java, Knockout.JS, HTML5, GMaps API