KLM and Schipol invest in IoT startup that uses mesh networking to keep tabs on kit

The Dutch startup will be aiming to take its Internet of Things platform to new markets.

Dutch Internet of Things startup Undagrid is looking to expand after raising funding from investors including KLM.

The Dutch carrier, along with Schiphol airport, Rabobank, and the Delft University of Technology, invested an undisclosed amount in the startup through the Mainport Innovation Fund, which invests in tech to help the aviation industry's efficiency, sustainability, and safety.

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Undagrid uses mesh networking to locate objects in real time. Undagrid devices are attached to the objects, and act as nodes in a mesh network, passing on details about their status or location to each other wirelessly. Those details can then be viewed on a software dashboard. The devices don't have an external power supply and can run for years on a single battery.

"Companies usually have multiple objects to manage, from big to small. Up until now, if they had no power, there was almost no way for vital information about these objects to be shared, such as the location, temperature, or their current status. If a situation like this occurs, it's always a matter of: where exactly are the objects now and/or what's the status of the objects? Undagrid technology ensures that objects, not matter what size, share useful information not only with each other, but also with the people operating the objects," the company's CEO Rolf van de Velde said.

The system has already been rolled out in Amsterdam's Schipol airport, where it's used to track the movements of equipment that doesn't need an electricity supply, such as baggage carts and moveable staircases, in areas where setting up wi-fi or Bluetooth networks would be impractical.

According to KLM CFO Erik Swelheim, using the Undagrid system means staff at Schipol can always find out where equipment is in the airport when they need it. As a result, the airport needs less equipment overall, meaning lower costs for the business.

The system is also being piloted in the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam, where it's used to track barges.

Undagrid will be using its new funding to expand into international markets, the company said.

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