Blog / Spotter


Collars based on SmartOne C and SPOT Trace are being deployed in Mongolia and elsewhere in Central Asia to track horses, including high-value competitive racehorses by Globalstar Value Added Re-seller, Spotter. Over 30,000 horses are currently being safeguarded by 1,000 satellite-enabled IoT collars in Mongolia with deployments expanding widely into Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan while trials are underway in neighbouring territories.

Demand for the latest collar from Mongolia-based Globalstar Value Added Reseller Spotter, built around the small SmartOne C tracker, has been unprecedented, with the number of total deployed Spotter units doubling in the six months since the product’s July 2019 launch.

Horses are part of daily life in Mongolia and horse racing is a major sport nationwide. However, with the sparsely populated nation’s 4.5 million semi-wild horses roaming fence-free, keeping tabs on the animals is a major challenge for owners. In response to market demand, Spotter was established with the aim to devise a tracking solution using Globalstar technology.

The first collar which Spotter developed is based on Globalstar’s SPOT Trace tracker, chosen as it was the most economical and effective technology, and because its small size makes it easy to integrate into an IoT collar. Its ease-of-use, configurability - allowing the owner to choose the frequency of tracking - and fixed price for transmissions were also deciding factors. GPS trackers had shown inadequate reach in tests, and Globalstar was deemed better suited to meet users’ requirements than GSM mobile technology and satellite systems in geostationary orbit (GEO).

While the region’s horses typically do not travel more than 50km from home, they are known to wander hundreds of kilometres to find good grass. They can also get lost in high winds or while fleeing storms, occasionally going missing for months. Some never make it back to their owners, increasing the likelihood of theft.

The SmartOne C-based collar, with its longer battery life, is ideal for tracking far-roaming herds. If the owner receives tracking information six times daily, the system can deliver a full six months of tracking between battery changes.

Spotter’s collars transmit GPS locations over the Globalstar Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network. Both types of collars are tough enough to withstand the daily rigours of horses ranging across challenging terrain, often in extreme weather (-40 degrees Celsius in some areas), as well as the rough-and-tumble of herd life. The horses typically roam in herds of around 30, with one lead stallion keeping the animals together and providing protection. As a result, the group can be effectively monitored with just one collar.

Enkh-Amgalan Ganbaatar, Spotter Co-Founder & CEO, explains the different market segments: “Requirements differ for tracking racehorses compared with ordinary horses, and depending on the location. Racehorse owners are eager to keep particularly close tabs on their valuable equines, so they appreciate the hourly tracking SPOT Trace enables. Meanwhile owners of family herds and those who use horses for transportation, meat and milk value the extended tracking duration and lower maintenance made possible through SmartOne C’s long battery life.”

One user benefitting from both solutions is NaranBilegt Sanjaajav, Khentii Province, Darkhan soum, who owns eight 30-horse herds as well as successful racers: “The tracking solutions from Spotter have transformed how I manage my horses. To be able to safeguard my racehorses, and to know that I will be able to find my farm horses no matter how far they roam, helps me protect my investment and gives me invaluable peace of mind.”

In very remote areas with very little infrastructure or landmarks, Google Maps is not informative enough to provide the level of detail needed to locate their ranging horses. So, Spotter created an additional service enhancement which sends SMS messages with useful relational information. The owner can set up geo-fencing, for example “Home Zone” or “Water Point 3” and set alerts should the horses travel outside designated areas. The owner receives text messages with details such as “your herd is 1km south of Water Point 3”, saving time and resources by indicating where to search for the animals.

“We have been hugely impressed by the level of innovation from the team at Spotter,” commented Vijay Veerappan, Globalstar Regional Sales Manager for Asia. “Their solutions powerfully demonstrate the flexibility of Globalstar’s communications technologies, as well as our system’s reach and reliability. These satellite IoT solutions are transforming the lives of horse owners across Central Asia by protecting their much-treasured herds.”