In 2014, a group of engineers from John Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab came together to create a company that provides businesses with a low-power, long-range wireless network solution for IoT sensors. Today, Link Labs has become a leading innovator for the internet of things (IoT), offering advanced asset visibility solutions for manufacturing and logistics operations. Let’s take a look at where Link Labs started, where we are now, and where we are headed in the future. 

The Past

Symphony Link

Symphony Link is our proprietary communications and network protocol based on LoRa. Our customers used Symphony Link modules to integrate into their IoT devices. The modules communicated with Linklabs' gateways to interface with our cloud platform, Conductor, which allowed customers to interact with their data in meaningful ways. Symphony Link modules were designed with low-power and long-range in mind, giving customers the flexibility to use battery-powered IoT sensors.

We learned that customers needed more than the gateway and network communications - they needed a full-stack solution. We still use Symphony Link gateways to provide a secure network layer independent of your WiFi network - this allows for uninterrupted data streams and alerting, security, edge processing for reduced costs, and ease of installation. But it’s just one component of today’s IoT platform rather than the entirety of our offerings.


 

Join the AirFinder Difference!

  • Innovation. Organizations can be freed up to innovate and bring more impactful products and services to market.
  • Profitability. Increased profitability provides new opportunities to innovate and improve valuation.
  • Digital Transformation. Discover competitive advantages, new revenue opportunities, improved customer relationships and increased efficiency.

 

LTE CAT-M1

In 2016, we were the first company to launch a network-certified LTE-M1 device in the United States. In 2018, we developed a CAT-M1 module with Sequans modems that enabled customers to integrate low-power cellular into their IoT devices to connect to our cloud platform. New 5G networks continue to use LTE-M1 communications so that you have the best availability for lower-power IoT devices to communicate back to the cloud. By utilizing edge processing, companies can reduce communication costs and leverage the LTE-M1 networks, even in places where other types of coverage doesn’t exist. Using this technology, we developed the first SuperTag application in 2018, which used CAT-M1 integration to track plastic pallets.

The Present

AirFinder OnSite

AirFinder OnSite is a wireless communication technology solution that allows devices to exchange location and sensor data within the network. OnSite gives facilities visibility of their production process. It shows any bottlenecks, the location of your tools and equipment, and areas you can optimize your process. Meeting deadlines and quotas can be stressful if you don’t know how well your process runs. AirFinder OnSite was created to help you gain better control over your production process to stay ahead of your competition.

AirFinder Everywhere

Our AirFinder Everywhere solution utilizes our patented SuperTags to track assets seamlessly indoors and outdoors. Losing pallets or products while en route hurts your relationship with customers. Other times, pallets might be damaged and unusable, delaying your supply chain and costing money for a replacement. AirFinder Everywhere employs SuperTags tracks and monitors pallets and totes on trucks being transferred from one facility to another, so you constantly know their status. Miscommunication happens; having a tracking system bridges the gap, so you don’t risk human error. 

AirFinder Rechargeable SuperTag

We’re always looking for ways to become more sustainable and creating a tag with a rechargeable battery has been another step in that direction. The rechargeable SuperTag has all the same capabilities as our mainline SuperTags; the difference is the rechargeable SuperTag has a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 3 months. Our rechargeable tag is great for companies looking to track in-transit pallets or rental equipment but wants to be environmentally conscious. It also helps your company save the time and money that it takes to replace batteries.

SuperTag as a Hub Mode

Our SuperTag Hub mode is an expansion of our existing solutions and components that allows customers to achieve granular in-transit and onsite visibility by combining the core technologies of AirFinder OnSite and AirFinder Everywhere. To illustrate its functionality, consider a fleet manager who needs to track trailers, pallets, and cargo. Their focus is not on the precise location of the cargo on the road, but rather on ensuring it is loaded onto the correct trailer. In this scenario, the SuperTag as a Hub model comes into play. Bluetooth LE tags are affixed to the pallets and cargo, while a SuperTag Plus is attached to the trailer. The SuperTag identifies its location and serves as an access point for the Bluetooth LE tags. The SuperTag Plus monitors the presence of Bluetooth LE tags in the trailer at specified intervals, ensuring the pallets are en route to the correct destination. Upon arrival at the warehouse, the Bluetooth LE tags seamlessly connect to the AirFinder system, transitioning into the AirFinder OnSite system for use within the warehouse environment.

Wirepas

Link Labs has expanded its technology and coverage in order to provide a global solution by using a gateway with international communications backhaul capabilities through a partnership with Wirepas. Wirepas offers unique benefits including lower cost, lower latency, higher capacity, and standardized integration at the network layer. By utilizing this communication technology, we are able to expand our customer base and provide value to new customers in new regions.

AirFinder Ultra for Indoor Tracking

AirFinder Ultra is our latest product release for indoor asset tracking technology, offering an innovative solution within the AirFinder OnSite ecosystem. This version of our Onsite solution leverages Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology combined with our standard XLE® technology in order to provide the centimeter-level accuracy characteristic of UWB without the traditionally limited battery life. UWB is utilized by the tags only when taking location readings, while the beacons are enabled with XLE® for data transfer and communication purposes. This means that the power-hungry UWB technology is only active when it needs to be. Further, AirFinder Ultra is fully compatible with XLE® tags, allowing you to choose what level of visibility you desire based on each individual asset and its value.

Telematics Integrations for Trailer Tracking and Logistics

Within the realm of logistics and outdoor asset tracking, Link Labs is currently emphasizing the importance of and seeking fluidity in telematics integrations. Since logistics companies already have to use telematics to track driver behavior, truck status, and other important factors, it makes sense to create a trailer tracking system that can combine with the existing solution. That way, workers can simply use the same IoT platform that they’re already using while gaining information that telematics is not designed to provide on its own. We are now available in the Geotab Marketplace, allowing you to use our technology to track your non-powered assets at a granular level without needing to learn an entirely new system or run two full systems simultaneously.

Customized Reporting and Analytics

Making decisions for your company takes careful consideration and data. Our solution comes with customizable reporting options so each company can get the data they need to make decisions. A company may wonder how much material to purchase for production; they’ll need specific data to make that decision. If a company is looking to improve their supply chain, they’ll need different data sources. No report is one size fits all; we want to give you what you need so you can make the best decision.

The Future

Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Predictive Analytics

Artificial intelligence is a hot topic across industries. For asset tracking, we have come to the realization that the true value of AI can only be realized when companies have access to comprehensive operational data. After all, AI needs something to base its predictions on; it is not a technology that can exist in a vacuum. Link Labs will continue to emphasize data collection in our future innovations, expanding the quantity, quality, and type of information that our asset tracking systems can provide in order to provide and power increasingly detailed predictive analytics that can be used to identify challenges in real time and make accurate predictions about the future of your operations.

Strategic Partnerships

Partnerships are becoming increasingly integral within the IoT industry. The best way to expand or improve an existing solution is understood to be partnering with others who already excel in what you do not rather than trying to start from scratch on your own. This has inspired an environment where knowledge is shared and collaboration is king. Link Labs intends to further relations with other IoT companies in order to both improve our own solutions and help them improve theirs. This will help us bring added functionality and value to our customers at an increased rate.

International Expansion

Link Labs will continue to emphasize the importance of expanding our technology and offerings in ways that allow us to serve an increasingly international market. This includes ensuring connectivity within additional countries as well as the necessary patents and certifications to operate in those regions. By doing so, we hope to bring our services to a wider range of customers and to provide solutions that can operate for multinational companies or those that otherwise would need to travel between regions for distribution or other operational purposes.

Be a Part of the Future of IoT Technology

Link Labs is the global leader in IoT location services technology, providing real-time enterprise asset visibility for manufacturing and logistics operations. Since 2014, our team has worked hard to create solutions that make processes easier for companies across various industries, especially logistics and manufacturing. We offer a variety of systems right now, but we are still working to create more and better our current systems. For more information about our solutions and how they can help you, book a demo with our team of experts!

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.

Related Blogs

Asset Tracking, BLE Asset Management logistics

The True Value of a Trailer Tracking System

Asset Tracking, BLE Asset Management logistics

Strategic Decisions You Can Make With Location Visibility

Asset Tracking, BLE Asset Management

3 Things You Need To Know About Your Assets

Subscribe to Link Labs' blog weekly update!

Subscribe

Subscribe to Link Labs' blog weekly update!