Many industries — from industrial manufacturing to automotive to warehousing & beyond — can benefit from the power of hyper-accurate localization of IoT devices.
Original article featured in the National Post on March 16, 2022
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) — the use of interconnected sensors and instruments to enhance manufacturing and industrial processes — has been around for a while and has the promise of driving intelligent solutions for all kinds of businesses. However, it has long fallen short, according to Matthew Lowe, CEO and Co-founder of ZeroKey.
Closing the IIoT Utility Gap
ZeroKey is a spatial intelligence company that helps businesses digitally transform their processes via its hyper-accurate IoT sensor technology — a large-scale 3D real-time location system (RTLS) that digitizes physical location.
“Our IoT technology is the best in the world within our class,” says Lowe. “It allows us to locate assets and personnel and track processes with 1.5-millimetre accuracy. I describe it as stepping into the Matrix because we often digitize industrial environments by bringing processes and people into a digital twin of sorts, and then we drive digital solutions and artificial intelligence based on that data.”
Unlike traditional IIoT, which is unable to provide a comprehensive view of physical operations because it only captures myopic 1D data points from existing equipment and systems, ZeroKey’s technology goes a step further by integrating spatial context. Data is framed across both time and 3D spatial location, closing the gap between the digital representation of an operation and its physical reality.
Total Business Intelligence Through Spatial Intelligence
Providing the added spatial information layer adds context to dynamic environments with complex process interactions, especially those involving human-centric processes where analysis would otherwise be impossible. Whether it’s tracking a lost package or analyzing the efficiency of an assembly line and identifying bottlenecks, spatial intelligence empowers businesses to move beyond the one-off optimization of individual processes to the continuous real-time optimization, automation, and integration of entire facilities and organizations.
ZeroKey’s hyper-accurate IoT sensor technology, Quantum RTLS, relies on several proprietary and patented innovations. “At the core, the underlying technology is ultrasound-based,” says Lowe. “Our technology relies on inaudible acoustic signals, similar to how bats use echolocation to navigate in the dark.”
Ultrasonics require only low-cost measurement electronics since the speed of sound is relatively slow – a benefit in the case of location technology, Lowe explains. They also enable ZeroKey to get that impressive 1.5-millimetre accuracy, which is a hundredfold better than its closest competitors.
Delivering on the Promise of Industry 4.0
“There are many benefits to this technology,” says Lowe. “One of the key benefits is simply the ability to gather highly actionable information about a physical environment that you didn’t have before. This allows you to make better decisions about the most critical aspects of any business that handles physical products and to make those decisions more rapidly. It also enables new workflows, and there’s a lot of process optimization information that can be derived from our analytics too.”
ZeroKey’s 4D analytics are provided through their Spatial Intelligence Platform, a highly interoperable software platform that takes all the rich, hyper-accurate 3D sensor data and analyzes it over the fourth dimension of time. This is how the information gets distilled into actionable business-level insights.
“Every type of environment where you have a physical, manual process can benefit from our technology,” says Lowe. And best of all, set-up is quick and easy. ZeroKey’s auto calibration technology allows customers to self-deploy the system in minutes.