TAPA is an Industry driven certification primarily for “High Value Theft Targeted” items.
Depending upon the certification level desired (A, B, C for buildings. 1, 2, or 3 for transportation) you may be required to use multiple tracking devices on the trucks and trailers. If so, each device is supposed to use a different communication method.
So I started doing some research to find out what methods exist and which are available in Canada and the USA.
I also looked at some of the device vendors to see what options they used.
- Cellular (2G, 3G, 4G)
WiFi is good for high bandwidth but short range. So it is no good on the road.
Bluetooth is short range and low bandwidth. So it is no good on the road. Can be used as a beacon in the yard though.
Cellular is just about everywhere.
Satellite coverage is just about everywhere.
Sigfox is low bandwidth. It is growing but not yet in Canada.
LoRa is low bandwidth. It is growing but largely proprietary networks from what I can tell.
I know of two providers in Canada that offer tracking of trailers: ShawTracking and International Telematics.
I did find a vendor that had a satellite only tracking device but I forget who that was now.
ShawTracking uses a third party partner to deliver the tracking device via their web portal for stand alone trailer tracking.
International Telematics has their iBright system.
The iBright only uses Cellular networks. It may have Bluetooth to allow the driver to see the status.
The truck tracking devices used by ShawTracking have, depending on model, the ability to communicate via Cellular and/or Satellite. I did not look into the stand alone trailer tracking devices to see what they used.
So we have three vendors that make use of two communications methods.
Enter the DIY
In my copious spare time I have started looking at a Do-It-Yourself solution to build a device for tracking trailers.
I came across the devices from pycom. These single board computers (SBC) can have multiple communications methods: WiFi, Bluetooth, LTE, Sigfox, and LoRa. These devices are targeted at the IoT market. Combine a FiPy, PyTrack board, Battery, Power adapter, and antennae and you can have a custom tracking device. I’ll have more on building one of these later.