Qualcomm bolsters IoT with device tracking service

Qualcomm said it is launching a paid IoT service to help companies that use its chips keep tabs on goods as they move through the supply chain.
Qualcomm Aware partnersAmong the use cases to be served by Qualcomm Aware, which is expected to be available later this year, are cold chain distribution, utility asset monitoring, cargo shipment tracking, warehouse and inventory management.

The San Diego, California-based Qualcomm is the world’s #1 provider of chips that power smartphones to connect to mobile data networks. Qualcomm has used its wireless communication specialty to enter other markets where devices need to talk to the internet, such as automobiles and factories.

The new service called Qualcomm Aware works with Qualcomm chips that go into tracking devices for shipping containers, pallets, packages and other parts of supply chains to help companies track where their goods and materials are.

Most of those trackers are made by third parties, but Qualcomm makes a few devices of its own, such as a tilt sensor that can be attached to utility poles to report whether they have toppled over during storms.

Qualcomm has already shipped over 350 million of Qualcomm Technologies’ IoT modem chipsets.

Qualcomm Technologies’ IoT modem chipsets typically cost less than $10 each, Jeff Torrance, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm’s smart connected systems business, told Reuters.

The software service aims to let Qualcomm customers program their chips from one central spot, with updates sent to the chips over the air. The service also aims to make better use of the data from the chips.

Qualcomm’s software will connect to other cloud-based such as Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 service, which corporations use to keep tabs on their inventory and supplies.

Qualcomm did not publicly announce pricing for the new service. The paid service represents a push to make more money off its chips by charging when the chip is sold then for cloud-based services using the chip afterward.

Qualcomm’s recent acquisitions of Skyhook Wireless, and the assets of PoLTE Corporation have added positioning techniques and a global signal database consisting of approximately 8 billion wireless MAC Addresses and hundreds of millions of cells.