It is now almost 6 years since Kizy Tracking was founded by professionals from the logistics, microelectronics and telecommunications industry. Their mission: to improve global supply chain operations by providing first-hand data about the status and location of shipments and assets everywhere in the world, in a cost-efficient way. With this aim in mind, they created an alternative to GPS & RFID solutions.
Closing the gap of existing track-and-trace solutions
We spoke with co-founder Bertrand Späth about the story behind Kizy.
Can you please briefly outline the background behind Kizy tracking technology?
Bertrand: Technology background: We made the observation, that available solutions were not satisfactory. Passive solutions like RFID, bluetooth and barcodes need infrastructures like gates and pack scanners. If you do not have access to these you do not have information. Also, if you lose a shipment between one waypoint and the next you also do not get any information on the whereabouts of your shipment. Furthermore, these passive solutions do not provide accurate active information, so if someone tries to open your parcel or container, your RFID tag will not tell you. GPS solutions, on the other hand, are very expensive. They do not work inside containers and buildings and they use a lot of energy.
Then there are low power devices like SigFox or NB-IoT devices. They have a very bad coverage because the networks are not widely available and probably won’t be in the next few years. Also, for Sigfox there is no uniform global standard, so probably there will be different standards in the US and Europe. Hence, we recognized that the market needs a solution that allows to track and manage your shipments around the globe in a cost efficient way and with a long autonomy. As there was nothing on the market, the idea for Kizy was born. Kizy is based on cell phone networks, which is the most available technical infrastructure around the globe and brings the most advantages: it is much more energy efficient than GPS and RFID, which is relevant as it allows to build very small trackers to even monitor letters and parcels. Our tracker hast autonomy of up to 1 year, and is the size of a credit card. Second advantage that it works inside buildings and containers. No antenna are needed, it works where the goods are. Thirdly, hardware and usage is much cheaper than GPS, up to 10 times less. These features enable Kizy trackers to be used in a much broader kind of shipments than other trackers, making it a scalable tracking solution and a great alternative to GPS and RFID solutions.
Among the latest developments we have introduced is WiFi. With purely cell phone networks, the positioning data is not very precise, with a range of 1 – 3 kilometers, which is for most cases ok, but not always. Our latest tracker has WiFi sniffing capacity that allows precision to get down to 10 meters.
Second improvement is that the first tracker was 2G only. Now the trackers are also 3G, which is future proof, as 2G networks will be switched off during the next 5 – 7 years. There are also 3 sensors we are working on, 1) temperature and humidity 2) purely temperature 3) light.
How easy/costly is it for logistics companies to invest in tracking solutions?
Bertrand: With Kizy, you need to invest in hardware, but you do not need to invest in any kind of infrastructure, it just works. For bluetooth you need to equip with bluetooth sensors for example. With Kizy, you just need a tracker to run your tests and you will get immediate results. The Kizy advantage: it allows to set up very quickly a tracking solution, independently of transportation partner or any environment you are working in. It works where other systems don’t work. You can quickly test your markets with this technology. If you have customers with a need to track, they don’t need to build up the whole active tracking infrastructure, but can basically start immediately.
In terms of costs and efficiencies: What are the costs of losing a customer? For example, Asendia was losing a customer because the customer was complaining that shipments were always late. Thanks to Kizy, Asendia could prove that the problem itself was not in the arrival of the shipments, but that they were taken over too late. As it turned out, the issue was not on Asendia’s side, but on the customer’s side, and being able to show this they could retain the customer.
Pricing: To make a comparison: If, for example, Swiss Post wants to offer tracking from Switzerland to Germany, they would need to equip the distribution centers in Switzerland with RFID readers and need to ask the German posts to do the same, using the same systems (systems by UPU are only working partially).
If you want your own active tracking solution, all you need is to get the trackers. The effort is minimal, with just a few hundred dollars you will have your own tracking solution vs. costs for RFID or Bluetooth at least several ten thousands just to start to test out your market. Try Kizy for visibility of your supply chain and decide, if it could serve as alternative to GPS and RFID solutions for your needs.