Link Labs has been offering affordable asset tracking solutions to industry professionals for ten years now. Over the course of those ten years, we’ve learned a lot about technology and how to better serve our customers by putting our IoT expertise to work in the areas that matter most for their needs. This has sparked a decade of industry firsts and innovations in asset tracking technology. Learn how we got where we are today and where we’re going in the future in this blog.


 

Increase Your ROI by Investing in AirFinder Everywhere

  • Loss Prevention. Reduce the amount of loss that occurs during the supply chain process
  • Location Coverage. AirFinder Everywhere uses a combination of GPS, Cellular, and WiFi to determine location everywhere
  • Security Alerts. Know when a delay in shipment has occurred so the problem
    can be addressed immediately.

 

The Founding and Early Days of Link Labs

Link Labs was established in February 2014 by a group of experienced engineers from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, with career backgrounds spanning across projects for the U.S. Department of Defense, telecommunications industry, and Intelligence Community. These engineers came together with the goal of providing improved location visibility for industrial settings through technological innovations in both the software and hardware that comes together to form an effective IoT asset tracking solution. Over the years, Link Labs’ technology and focus has shifted to ensure improved value to our customers and true expertise and innovation in our chosen areas of focus, establishing 29 patents in the U.S. and even more abroad along the way. Today, we are deployed to over 1,200 customer sites, accounting for over 2 billion IoT location and sensing events over 250,000+ devices every month.

A Decade of Industry Firsts

Over the course of our ten years of operations, Link Labs has been the first in many accomplishments across the IoT industry. This speaks to our culture of innovation and prioritization of designing and implementing the most cutting-edge location tracking solutions available on the market. Our firsts include:

  • First FCC-certified LoRa devices in the U.S.
  • First network-certified LTE-M1 devices in the U.S.
  • First location engine on any mass-produced BLE device
  • First indoor/outdoor BLE/ LTE-M1 solution
  • First hybrid BLE/ultrasound location solution
  • First seamless indoor/outdoor tracking device using 5 technologies
  • First XLE communication
  • First phase-ranging for indoor asset tracking solutions
  • First 5G standard indoors and out
  • First mobile custody tracking and alerting
  • First centimeter-level indoor and outdoor integrated solution

A Decade of Innovation in IoT Asset Tracking Technologies 

Link Labs emphasizes the value of continuous innovation. We are never satisfied with what we’ve already accomplished; instead, we’re always looking for ways to improve upon and expand our product offerings to push the boundaries of IoT location technologies and deliver increased value to our end users. This mindset of innovation is at the forefront of everything we do and is the reason we have over 29 patents in the U.S. and even more abroad. Some of our most notable innovations include:

Symphony Link, Our Wireless IoT Network

Meticulously crafted by our engineers in the early days of the company, Symphony Link™ stands as a cutting-edge wireless system engineered on LoRa technology. Its primary goal is to furnish clientele with top-tier reliability and sophisticated functionalities within their LPWA infrastructure. Conceived as an alternative for those seeking the extensive coverage of LoRaWAN but craving elevated performance standards, Symphony Link™ shines. Engineered with a focus on low-power attributes and extensive reach, it offers clients the liberty to seamlessly integrate battery-powered IoT sensors into their setups.

Initially, our patrons would procure Symphony Link™ modules, seamlessly integrating them into their prevailing IoT ecosystems. These modules establish seamless communication with our gateways, empowering customers to engage with their data in a manner that aligns with their operational needs. Opting for Symphony Link™ becomes imperative when seeking to entrust critical data to a third-party network boasting heightened security protocols, surpassing those of conventional WiFi networks. Leveraging a secure network ensures the sanctity of your data, even in the face of potential breaches within WiFi networks.

AirFinder OnSite with XLE® Indoor Real-Time Location System

Our earliest Bluetooth LE solution is a development that has proven invaluable in manufacturing and warehouse settings. Yet, some users sought greater location precision than what the Bluetooth LE version of AirFinder could offer. Addressing this need, our engineers developed a pioneering solution: AirFinder OnSite XLE®, formerly AirFinder 3. Leveraging patented phase ranging technology, XLE® delivers meter-level accuracy, surpassing Bluetooth LE capabilities.

Unlike Bluetooth LE, XLE® optimizes communication efficiency with location beacons. Through precise measurement of signal transmission times to multiple beacons, the tag identifies the closest beacon and calculates its distance. This method ensures accurate asset localization within arm's reach. XLE® boasts an extended battery life, yielding a quicker return on investment when compared to Bluetooth LE. Ideal for indoor asset tracking, XLE® enhances operational efficiency by providing unparalleled location accuracy, empowering businesses to streamline their operations effectively.

AirFinder Everywhere with SuperTags, Over-the-Road Monitoring

Our AirFinder Everywhere Solution utilizes our patented SuperTags, enabling seamless indoor and outdoor asset tracking on the same IoT platform. The SuperTag offers two primary variants: the Pro and the Plus. While the Pro boasts a compact design, the Plus delivers an impressive battery life of up to 7 years; the one you will use will depend on your company’s unique needs. We also have a rechargeable variant that can help reduce battery changes. Our SuperTags all harness the same core cutting-edge technology, integrating GPS, WiFi sniffing, and LTE to ensure unparalleled location accuracy while optimizing battery longevity.

 

Operation is effortless: simply affix the SuperTag to your asset, and it autonomously reports its location in accordance with your preset specifications. Widely adopted in logistics, the SuperTag empowers fleet managers to track trailers, pallets, and cargo, facilitating streamlined supply chain operations on every level. Also useful for preventing loss and theft, the SuperTag proves itself as the ultimate solution for safeguarding mobile assets. With its robust features and versatile applications, the SuperTag stands as the go-to choice for enhancing both asset security and operational efficiency with a single reliable solution.

AirFinder SuperTag Hub Mode for In-Transit Custody

Since its original conception in 2018, our SuperTag solution has undergone remarkable enhancements as we learn more about the needs of our customers and expand the device’s capabilities accordingly. That’s why in 2021, we proudly introduced the SuperTag as a Hub model, a culmination of AirFinder OnSite and AirFinder Everywhere technologies that provides more granular location data and effective custody monitoring for logistics. While in Hub mode, a SuperTag functions as a nexus that BLE tags then report back to, allowing for saved time and energy while effectively extending visibility by seamlessly integrating the core features of both AirFinder Onsite and AirFinder Everywhere.

To illustrate, consider a scenario where a fleet manager seeks to monitor trailers, pallets, and cargo. While precise road tracking may not be necessary, warehouse-specific location tracking is crucial. Enter the SuperTag as a Hub. In this setup, Bluetooth LE tags are affixed to pallets and cargo, while a SuperTag Plus adorns the trailer. Acting as a beacon, the SuperTag identifies its location and serves as a conduit for Bluetooth LE tags. Periodically, the SuperTag Plus scans for nearby Bluetooth LE tags within the trailer, ensuring cargo integrity en route. Upon reaching the warehouse, Bluetooth LE tags seamlessly transition to the AirFinder system, seamlessly integrating into the AirFinder OnSite infrastructure. This seamless handoff ensures uninterrupted asset monitoring, optimizing operational efficiency from road to warehouse.

AirFinder Ultra, Combining XLE and UWB for Seamless Indoor/Outdoor Monitoring

AirFinder Ultra is our latest innovation. Designed as an AirFinder OnSite solution, AirFinder Ultra harnesses the power of UWB technology to facilitate indoor asset tracking. Renowned for its remarkable centimeter-level precision, UWB technology initially posed a challenge due to its short battery lifespan; the extra accuracy simply wasn’t worth the extra money for stronger batteries or an increased number of battery replacements. However, our exceptional engineering team overcame this hurdle by integrating UWB into the tags alongside XLE® technology in the beacons.

This ingenious fusion enables us to deliver highly precise location data at a competitive price point while extending battery longevity. Whether you're in pursuit of pinpoint accuracy to locate specialized tools or seeking cost-effective solutions, AirFinder Ultra caters to your diverse needs. With XLE®-powered tags complementing the beacons, you can achieve optimal performance even in areas where precise location information is not critical, resulting in further cost savings. Essentially, you can choose the level of accuracy you need on an asset level simply by selecting one tag functionality or another. AirFinder Ultra sets new standards in indoor asset tracking technology, offering unparalleled accuracy and efficiency at a lower price point than other comparable solutions.

The Future of Link Labs

It’s been ten great years since Link Labs began, but we’re not slowing down. Our engineers are continuing to improve our existing asset tracking solutions and develop new technologies to better serve customers across the logistics and manufacturing industries and far beyond. We are never satisfied with what we have already achieved, preferring to instead focus on what we’re going to achieve next. To learn more about how your company can benefit from our innovative IoT solutions, book a demo with our team to get started on your Link Labs journey today.. 

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Written by Makenna Dudley

Makenna Dudley is a Marketing Associate for Link Labs, with practical experience in written communications, media writing, and additional forms of content creation. She has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication.

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