Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is it possible to deploy an iControl system without networking? For example, if I only have one sensor that needs to report in?
A: Yes. You may utilize an iControl system comprised of a single iTAG configured with Wide Area Network (WAN) capability for communications (thus performing the gateway function of an iGATE). However, in the event that you have multiple sensors within a relatively close geographical area, it may make more sense to share resources (share one cell or satellite service, to communicate data from multiple sensors on a wireless network). In the long run, this may be a more cost effective solution.
Q : What type of Wide Area Network (WAN) capabilities does iControl support?
A:The iTAG and mLOCKs have embedded WAN capabilities that include both 2G GSM/GPRS quad-band and 3G UMTS/GSM penta-band cellular modems. The iGATE options include Ethernet, cellular (GSM/GPRS), and satellite (Iridium, Globalstar). For high-value asset tracking and monitoring, the iTAG also has an option for satellite communications.
Q: There are so many different options. What is the best way to determine what criteria are necessary to help me configure the right solution for my company’s monitoring needs?
A: Because you have so many options, it’s important that you first take stock of your communication and reporting needs and geographical restrictions, if any. The best way to do this, is to answer the iControl Customer Survey. Your systems integrator (authorized iControl Partner) can help you with determining the best configuration for your unique requirements.
Q: Does iControl’s MATTS system utilize passive RFID technology?
A: No. Passive RFID technology relies on a nearby reader(<100m) for interrogation. The MATTS technology is an active RFID system that utilizes powered tags with onboard processing for determining when data needs to be uploaded and through which type of communications network. MATTS tags transmit data (location, alerts) and receive directives (queries, parameters) via an adaptive, multimode communications architecture with embedded LAN and WAN capabilities. This maximizes MATTS worldwide availability and operation in that cooperative networks are not required for communications or location determination.
Q: What makes iControl’s MATTS solution different from other wireless tracking and monitoring communications systems?
A: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security sponsored the Marine Asset Tag Tracking System program as part of its integrated approach to container security. MATTS program requirements and systems define the standard for DHS-approved communications and tracking solution. iControl is working with U.S. and international governments and commercial shippers to ensure that the MATTS communications standards are secure, reliable, reasonably priced, and commercially viable.
Q: What kind of Return on Investment can I expect from using iControl’s products?
A: The ROI is obviously unique to the application, but iControl keeps the investment cost low by offering a product line that can be used in a variety of industries.This broad use of our products means that the development costs are spread out and the innovations are driven by a greater number of users. Industry-specific interfaces are added as modules and different protocols can be implemented on the fly. Depending upon your industry and current mode of operation, typical ROI numbers range from 5 to 20. The investment is low and the gains come from increased productivity and accurate, real-time reporting. The higher ROI numbers have been realized by businesses that sell or lease equipment based upon the uptime of very remote equipment, such as natural gas compressors. iControl’s products show the trends of the equipment and are used to diagnose potential problems. The shutdown of the equipment is prevented and the revenue continues to flow.
Q: What is the sensitivity of the GPS on the iTAG and mLOCK?
A: Acquisition times are under 1 minute from a cold boot and accuracy is within 10 feet depending upon the environment.
Q: Do the devices work everywhere in the world?
A: The radio is 2.4GHz and operates in the license-free ISM band. Also, iControl currently holds radio certifications in Japan, Europe, and North America. As for cellular modems, iControl utilizes two types: GSM and UMTS. The GSM modems use quad-band antennae and operate everywhere except Japan and South Korea. The UMTS modems, on the other hand, use a penta-band antenna and operate worldwide.
Q: Can I change the operational modes of the device once it is installed?
A: Yes. The device schedules, event triggers, power management, and functionality can all be reconfigured remotely through the network from the iVIEW server.