During the three busy days at Mobile World Congress exhibition in San-Francisco, me (Aliaksei Shchurko) and Sergei Leuchanka, our Managing Director of Americas had a number of chats with GPS tracking hardware manufacturers — both already established long-term Gurtam partners and relatively new companies in the Wialon community.
As a result of our talks we spotted a few major issues common for many HW companies:
But we’ve got a solution. As a developer, I know that integrating program to another program via REST API is much easier than integrating device to a program. This is exactly the way flespi gateway can help hardware manufacturers and telematics service providers to communicate with each other and speed up integration process from months to just a few days (weeks maximum). We are simply providing a clear and easy REST API which a platform can use to establish bidirectional communication with multiple devices — consume telemetry from them and push remote commands. Telemetry from devices is received in a unified JSON format — each piece of data falls into a special field in the message with a predetermined name and schema.
The concept is applicable not only for the new customers of a hardware manufacturer but also for the existing ones. It’s always a headache to release new devices or new firmware revisions that provide more features but change the protocol. Because each time a manufacturer introduces changes their customers need to integrate them. And integrating changes may be as problematic as integrating new device from scratch. With flespi any new feature needs to be supported only once — on flespi gateway side. Then the new parameter is available to all software platforms that use this protocol as a new JSON field. And a JSON field is quite easy to implement.
Similar scenario applies when existing customers need to replace the device with a newer model by the same manufacturer. They need to run separate listeners for both old and new device versions, which is usually a problem. In this case flespi gateway also comes in handy by providing the same API, parameters, and message format for old and new devices alike.
Our talks with hardware manufacturers led us to understanding that flespi gateway is a niche targeted product that can help speed up sales and decrease the cost of technical support. And it’s totally free for up to 10 000 devices per software platform until it is ready for commercial launch. Pricing is very straightforward and does not depend on the number of connected physical devices — only on the number of protocols (channels). More benefits are sitting under the hood but are outside the scope of this article (but will be covered in detail in the upcoming posts).
What are the benefits of putting flespi between your trackers and Wialon and how to do it? Step-by-step guide with Queclink GV300.
Integration of flespi allows Traccar users to connect more tracker types, see more message parameters, and configure devices from different manufacturers in a single interface.