Calian: The Power of Plug-and-Play RTK

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Jonathan Gladbach
Jonathan Gladbach

How Point One cut Calian’s time to market for its new smart antenna by two-thirds with Polaris’ industry-leading RTK network and ease of integration.

Calian antennas have been a household name in geospatial positioning for decades. Under their former name, Tallysman Wireless, Calian’s products have long provided highly accurate, interference-free data from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) for applications as varied as precision agriculture and autonomous vehicles.

Over the years, the company has made a name for itself by delivering maximum ease of use to end users. Calian integrates its premium antennas with high-strength receivers featuring maximum multi-path signal rejection for minimal RF interference.  

This value can only be fully realized with the help of corrections on the back end, often requiring complex integrations with third-party corrections services. In this case study, we speak with Gordon Echlin, director of business development for smart antennas at Calian, about what led them to integrate Point One into their latest antenna release — bringing the industry-leading RTK corrections solution directly to their customers with unprecedented ease.

A Calian antenna on a robot dog (image courtesy of Calian)

Challenge: Delivering the Full Value of a Clean Signal 

When it comes to its antennas, Calian’s mission is simple: Provide the cleanest, most accurate signal possible for its users.

“We want to be able to have a protected signal chain between the antenna and the receiver and make sure that nothing in the system can actually degrade that performance,” Echlin said.

To accomplish this, the company provides multi-path signal rejection to filter out noise that commonly disrupts low-voltage antenna signals. Yet, due to the limitations of GNSS, even the cleanest signal can be off by a meter or two, requiring additional corrections to achieve true precision. 

Calian wants to provide that precision in a single, streamlined package, so it combines its premium antennas with the industry’s leading receivers to create “smart antennas,” which offer additional options for achieving precision positioning. For the end user, this means an all-in-one, real-time positioning system that can provide accurate measurements for everything from detailed construction surveys to self-driving race cars.

Calian antennas also support robot delivery (image courtesy of Calian)

However, there are varying degrees of accuracy available from different corrections solutions. And to ensure Calian delivers the true value of its low-noise antennas for the most demanding precision applications, Echlin turns to the best option: real-time kinematic (RTK) corrections.

“At the end of the day, RTK is a more accurate technology than other options,” he explained. “I mean, you can go from six centimeters to one centimeter.”

Solution: Not Just Any RTK Network

Adding RTK provides extreme accuracy, upholding Calian’s core value proposition. However, that extra layer of corrections requires additional integrations and setup, not to mention reliance on a third-party RTK network. If any of those falters, the resulting measurements and user experience will suffer.

Unfortunately, many options do fall short in one way or another. But, with the launch of its latest antenna, the ST Teseo V-based TW5387 Dual-Band Smart GNSS Antenna, Calian wanted to ensure users had access to an RTK solution with consistent precision and the utmost ease of integration. 

For Echlin, that naturally led to a partnership with Point One Navigation. With over 1,400 RTK base stations and more than 350,000 corrections devices available, Point One provides a level and scale of precision not available anywhere else.

“It’s one thing to work with people who are deploying their own base stations and their own networks, but Point One has a fairly universally available, excellent Network RTK service,” Echlin said. “We wanted to be able to tap into that and make that available to our customers for this new smart antenna.”

Particularly as Calian sets its sights on creating more products for the automotive industry, Echlin knew that Point One could provide real-time measurements that meet the most exacting standards. Besides integrating Polaris for RTK Corrections, Calian has also used Point One’s FusionEngine to achieve even higher levels of accuracy and meet the stringent safety demands of autonomous vehicles.

Results: Streamlined Integration With Unparalleled Time to Launch

For Echlin, the results have been impressive right out of the gate, particularly in terms of ease of integration and working with Point One.

“With other solutions, we have to download an encryption key and put it in the antenna. We don’t need to do that with Polaris,” he said. “You just use the NTRIP client, you configure your antenna as a base or a rover, authenticate with Polaris, and you’re working — in minutes.”

Ultimately, that meant Calian was able to bring its antenna to market in a fraction of the time it normally takes. The new TW5387 antenna was launched in record time.

“I would say we’re probably looking at 30 to 40% of the time to launch,” Echlin added. 

He also sees a huge upside for Calian’s customers in terms of how easy Point One makes it to move or scale operations. Within the United States, the extensive Polaris network allows you to move across state lines without the hassle of setting up or reconnecting to a new network. Outside the US, Polaris’ built-in local-datum capabilities enable quick conversion to the relevant datum for your particular location. Either way, once you’re established with Polaris, it automatically works wherever you go within its extensive service area. 

As a result, Echlin sees immense potential for the partnership between Calian and Point One. With a true plug-and-play solution that delivers RTK-corrected GNSS measurements right out of the box, Point One’s integration may just take Calian’s ease of use to the next level.

“I think there will be very little ‘finger trouble’ in implementing a solution using this,” he says. “If they want to just get to centimeter-level accuracy quickly, they’ll be able to do it with our mutual solution.”


Jonathan Gladbach
Jonathan Gladbach

Jonathan is Head of Marketing at Point One Navigation. His passion for data and experiment driven growth marketing have guided his career in fields including wearables, iOT, and precision location.

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