On the Shoulders of Giants

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An older ITalks LoRa tracker next to a two euro coin. The device is huge compared to the coin. This illustrates the recent progress in the miniaturisation of tracker hardware.We’ve had this LoRa tracker lying around. We used it to test the KPN LoRa network coverage as it unfolded throughout the country. This thing is huge compared to more recent tracking solutions, and it’s only a few months older. Will this trend of miniaturisation continue?

The battery limits miniaturisation?

Most likely miniaturisation will continue to an extent. The battery size will probably be a limiting factor. Until the chips become so energy efficient that they can work on ambient energy.

Of course the comparison we make here is not entirely fair. The tracker pictured here contains far more sensors than our newer hardware. However, for most users those sensors aren’t needed. By leaving out unneeded sensors we can create a cheaper, miniaturised, tracker that works just as well.

An example

The tracker pictured here contains a humidity sensor. Yet it is packaged in an air-tight case. For industrial applications, a buoy at sea, that might be useful. You can get a warning when the tracker case has become damaged. Then replace it before the tracker stops working completely. However ­this seems not a very useful feature for the average customer. I’d rather buy a far cheaper tracker that only measures location. After all, that’s what I actually want to know.

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