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Coarse Location Tracking with Eseye AnyNet Secure SIM and AWS IoT

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By Vibhu Bithar, Partner Solutions Architect at AWS

Asset tracking is an area where the Internet of Things (IoT) has significant business impact.

Asset tracking refers to the method of tracking physical assets, either by scanning barcode labels attached to the assets or by using GPS, BLE, or RFID tags that broadcast their location. These technologies can also be used for indoor tracking of persons wearing a tag.

Coarse location tracking is a subset of location tracking where the approximate location of an asset (within a 20-mile radius) suffices the use-case requirements.

In this post, I will focus on how you can use network-based location and AWS IoT to track coarse location of assets. I will also showcase the deep integration between AWS IoT, AWS IoT Analytics, and Eseye’s AnyNet Secure SIM, a one-stop, global cellular connectivity solution.

Please note that you will need intermediary knowledge of AWS Lambda, AWS Identity and Access Management (AWS IAM), AWS IoT services, Linux, and Python to implement the solution.

Eseye, an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Technology Partner with the AWS IoT Competency, built this solution to enable automated, remote provisioning of IoT devices to your AWS IoT Management Console, other cloud providers, or on-premises enterprise servers.

AnyNet Secure SIM identifies, catalogues, and connects IoT devices to your AWS IoT cloud while reducing costs and risks of IoT deployments.

About the Solution

AnyNet Secure SIM provides seamless, automated provisioning, authentication, and certification of IoT devices from your AWS account. It also offers zero-touch provisioning of devices including secure certificate and Amazon Resource Name (ARN) delivery.

Eseye’s solution surfaces the location information of the cell towers where the SIM connected, and pushes location and other associated information to the AWS IoT device shadows. This makes it easy for other applications to utilize the information without interacting with the device directly.

Three key benefits of AnyNet Secure SIM:

  • AnyNet Secure Cellular Connectivity simplifies layers of technical and management complexity for AWS customers. SIMs are activated on demand from the IoT platform, and security material is remotely and securely programmed into the SIM card using encrypted GSMA signaling channels.
  • Eseye deals with the complicated, regional, multiple mobile network operator contracts, meaning your IoT devices connect securely and stay connected in more places, more of the time, with the AnyNet Secure solution. It provides dynamic multi-profile, thing-to-cloud global technology and delivers +99% uptime.
  • Risk and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is reduced with control, security, and billing controlled and managed from the IoT platform.

Flow Diagram

The diagram in Figure 1 shows how the location data request is made to the Eseye system. You’ll see the data flows from AWS IoT Core to AWS IoT Analytics and is finally visualized in Amazon QuickSight.

AnyNet Secure SIM-1.2Figure 1 – Process flow to retrieve location data using Eseye hardware.

Hardware Components

You need to purchase the following components to enable this demo. More information can be found in the component details document appendix (i).

  • MB V2 Power Supply
  • Power Adapter
  • AnyNet 2G Click Module
  • Jumper Cables

Solution Cost

Costs involved in implementing this solution have three components:

  • AWS components
    • AWS IoT
    • AWS Lambda
    • Amazon Cloudwatch Event
    • AWS IoT Analytics
  • Hardware (2G module, battery, case)
  • Eseye’s (managed network) cost is made up of following components:
    • Monthly subscription fee to create up to 300 things – $100
    • 100,000 messages across all devices – $50
    • Using IoT Analytics per thing per month – $ 0.50

Wiring Diagram

Follow the wiring diagram in Figure 2 to connect your power supply to the Anynet 2G board.

AnyNet Secure SIM-2.1

Figure 2 – Connect your power supply to the AnyNet 2G board.

Steps to Set Up the System

First, you’ll need to provision the Eseye SIM from AWS Marketplace in your account, and then follow the instructions for end-to-end process.

Next, you’ll create a Lambda function and attach a CloudWatch trigger. Please make sure to change the SIM ID in the code. Follow instructions in the appendix (ii).

This Python code gets triggered by the CloudWatch event every three minutes and pulls location data from Eseye. The following steps were performed in the process:

  1. Set AWS IoT thing ‘ActionRequest’ attribute to ‘obtainmetadata.’ When this attribute is set, it results in pulling location data from Eseye system.
  2. Check if the shadow document exists.
  3. Try to read a status key in shadow, and if it doesn’t exist then wait for 20 seconds and try again,
  4. Once the shadow status key is set to ‘Provisioned,’ read the Latitude, Longitude values.
  5. Delete the shadow document.
  6. Create a new shadow document.

Follow the process in Figure 3 to use the IoT rules engine to send data to AWS IoT Analytics and then visualize using Amazon QuickSight. You can also follow the instructions in the appendix (iii) for reference.

AnyNet Secure SIM-3.1

Figure 3 – Steps to visualize location data in Amazon QuickSight.

End Result

As you can see from the visualization in Figure 4, you can track assets along its route using a cellular network-based location. This image shows a trip from San Jose to ski resorts in Reno. With simple modification like adding the cellular modem to Arduino board, you can put the modem to sleep and wake it up at a specific interval to conserve battery and get updates based on pre-programmed frequency.

AnyNet Secure SIM-4.1

Figure 4 – Final visualization in Amazon QuickSight.


Overall, this post showcases how you can enable coarse asset location tracking by using the combination of embedded SIM from Eseye and AWS IoT.

To extend the idea further, you can attach an appropriate battery to make it more portable. You can also add a microcontroller to power cycle the cellular modem when not in use, and then put all the hardware in a weatherproof casing.

From a software perspective, you can add a web application to support features like asset trackers to inventory association and provisioning/de-provisioning of asset tracker, for example.

To get started, you can purchase an Eseye subscription from AWS Marketplace and use it for asset tracking and sign up for AWS IoT Analytics and try it out for free.

Eseye – AWS Partner Spotlight

Eseye is an AWS IoT Competency Partner. Their revolutionary multi-IMSI SIM securely unites the AWS Cloud with AnyNet cellular connectivity for devices across the globe. It seamlessly integrates into the AWS IoT Management Console to remotely activate, provision, authenticate and certify things globally.

Contact Eseye | Solution Overview | Customer Success | AWS Marketplace

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