The Future Networks Lab Accelerator Programme matched G-Lok Systems with business mentors and provided marketing support to promote its innovative asset tracking device.
Working in haulage and logistics, G-Lok Systems co-founder Marco da Silva witnessed first-hand the problems faced with asset tracking. As an IT systems analyst for Turners, one of the biggest privately-owned haulage companies in the UK, Marco realised there was a need for new technology to improve the supply chain.
Haulage companies use trackers to connect the supply chain. The trackers attach to each trailer and transmit information on its location, whether the trailer is on land, at sea, in the air or in storage.
However, many traditional tracking devices fail to provide reliable or timely information. Day-to-day, the number of trailers visible on the system can vary considerably. Traditional devices often transmit just one message every 24 hours and extra messages requests are charged as additional, so a missed message can waste valuable time and money if something goes wrong.
Creating an end-to-end view of the supply chain
In a quest to find alternative communication methods, Marco joined forces with a fellow IT business analyst, Damian Rompkowski, to create a hand-built prototype of the GLOKE tracker and form the company G-Lok Systems.
With a GLOKE tracker installed, logistics companies can accurately view an asset’s location in real-time, view its journey history and monitor the device health and battery status.
Rather than using a GSM connection, GLOKE uses Sigfox IoT technology to create an end-to-end view of the supply chain and can send a message every ten minutes instead of once a day.
Traditional GSM devices are also very power-hungry and need to be wired in to save battery life. The GLOKE device is self-sufficient and attaches with just four bolts, while its intelligent charging model uses solar power, battery or both.
Robust in design, the GLOKE can withstand temperature extremes, water and adverse weather conditions – it can even go through a car wash.
In addition to its performance, the cost savings alone set the GLOKE apart from other devices on the market, with significant reductions in upfront costs, subscription charges and maintenance fees.
In a crowded and competitive market, it was time to get the word out.
In 2020 G-Lok joined the Digital Catapult Future Networks Lab Accelerator programme, a 12-week programme designed to support startups and scaleup companies to rapidly develop and grow their businesses using future network technologies.
“Our main goal was to get help with our marketing, engage with more customers and let the world know that we exist,” said Marco da Silva, Managing Director, G-Lok Systems.
The programme gave G-Lok Systems access to mentors with technical and business expertise centred around IoT devices, coupled with online sessions focused on commercial support, marketing and sales.
“It was a successful experience, especially with the mentors we were assigned, and our website was completely rebuilt.
“We also got to benchmark our device,” explained Marco. “It confirmed what we already knew, but now we’ve got written proof.”
In June 2020, G-Lok Systems also joined Digital Catapult as guest speakers at CogX 2020, a festival of AI and emerging technologies, with the theme for the year “How do we get the next 10 years right?”
G-Lok Systems set out to answer that question, joining a panel of experts on industry 4.0 to illustrate how IoT and future networks could improve asset tracking and revolutionise the supply chain.
GLOKE outperforms the market-leading tracker
In 2019 Turners acquired the hauliers Jack Richards and Son, increasing its fleet and gaining 890 GLOKE trackers, already purchased from G-Lok Systems.
With one fleet running the two devices, Turners and G-Lok Systems can measure performance side-by-side. The GLOKE is already outperforming its primary competitor, so it’s the obvious choice to install on a trailer when a device needs replacing.
The GLOKE tracker continues to evolve, with a new device soon to be released, financed by the New Anglia Growth Through Innovation Fund. There are also plans underway to integrate the G-Lok Systems API with Project 44, the world’s leading platform for shipping and logistics service providers.
New sensors in development monitor temperature, CO2, and carbon monoxide, providing crucial data that could prevent trailers from being used by human traffickers, to safeguard lives and avoid heavy penalties for hauliers.
For G-Lok Systems, participation in the Future Networks Lab Accelerator Programme was a rewarding experience. As Marco explains, “I would recommend it to anyone. It was a really good experience working with Digital Catapult, along with the contacts and insights we gained from being part of the programme.”
Matched with technical and business mentors with deep IoT expertise.
Support provided by Digital Catapult to engage future customers, shape marketing strategy and provide exposure.