Berlin based startup relayr, the inventor of the powerful IoT development kit called Wunderbar, has closed a SERIES A funding round of $11 million USD in 2015. The funding round was led by renowned Silicon Valley investor Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, complemented by Munich Venture Partners and Tom Noonan, an executive at Cisco.
From a technical perspective, Wunderbar is made of modular sensors, micro controller boards and mobile gateways to connect assets to the web based platform and mobile applications. Relayr is providing the development framework to aggregate collected data and visualize it in a sleek dashboard.
Wunderbar doesn’t feature a GSM module so far, but the developer dashboard also integrates other prototyping sensor platforms like Bosch XDK. Bosch has merged various functionalities into one sensor, that is a promising prototype. Functionalities include the detection of light, pressure, humidity, acceleration and more. Together with relayr this makes use cases for logistics possible, for example to record damages on loading units, the interruption of the cooling chain, theft by opening the container and other abnormal situations in real time.
The Bosch XDK has an internal battery. This battery can be recharged externally. Bosch promised via the extension interface an external GSM module can be connected soon, but the module need an own battery. If the loading unit can’t provide power over a longer period of time, users would need an external battery power bank. Battery portable power banks are an already cheap consumer commodity and are costed between 20€-50€. Suppliers include Aukey PB T3 or RAVPower.
The related article Advanced long distance and low power communication for logistics describes a main challenge: long distance GSM calls consume a lot of energy and the life time cost for the telecommunication provider are high for real time applications. Another interesting approach is the WirePas Beacon communication technology to connect loading units to each other in a near distance network. This can be implemented in a self-organized way on every combined transport terminal as well as on start and destination points of the supply chain. As a result this hybrid strategy would help to extend the battery life time of sensors and lower the implementation and operation costs for the IoT solution.