Rugged Bluetooth LE beacon tracks staff and assets across industrial worksites

Rugged Bluetooth LE beacon tracks staff and assets across industrial worksites

Rugged Bluetooth LE beacon tracks staff and assets across industrial worksites

ELA Innovation’s Blue Lite ID beacon employs Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC to provide long range wireless connectivity up to 300 meters

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that ELA Innovation, a Montpellier, France-based developer of wireless sensors and beacons, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the wireless connectivity for its ‘Blue Lite ID’ beacon. The beacon is designed for a wide range of applications, including locating and identifying staff and equipment on industrial worksites.

High link budget

The lightweight Blue Lite ID beacon comes in a robust, IP55-rated 45 by 23.2 by 5.3mm housing and can either be adhered to equipment or worn by staff members as a badge or around the neck. This enables management and staff to know the whereabouts of colleagues, as well as valuable assets, throughout the work day. The nRF52832 SoC’s high link budget 2.4GHz radio offers a maximum receive (RX) sensitivity of -96-dBm and a maximum transmit (TX) output of +4-dBm, and a total link budget of >100dBm. This enables the Blue Lite ID beacon to transmit RF signals over an open field (unobstructed) range of 300 meters.

The nRF Connect and nRF Toolbox development tools really helped us during development – Pierre Bonzom, ELA Innovation

The beacon can be implemented based on either the iBeacon and Eddystone protocol, and can be configured and provisioned via a ‘Device Manager Mobile’ Android app. The Blue Lite ID can be programmed for transmission at intervals between 0.1 and 10 seconds with an output power up to +4dBm. Using Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity provided by the Nordic SoC, the location of each beacon is relayed to a Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone or tablet where via a second Android app the user can identify and review the beacon position. iOS apps are under development. A ‘Pick to Light’ LED integrated into the beacon can also be activated remotely, making it easier to identify and locate small assets.

The Blue Lite ID beacon is powered by a CR2032 coin cell battery, providing between one (advertising rate of 1 second at +4dBm power) and five (advertising rate of 10 seconds at +4dBm power) years battery life between replacement, thanks in  part to the ultra low power characteristics of the Nordic SoC. The nRF52832 has been engineered to minimize power consumption with features such as the 2.4GHz radio’s 5.5mA peak RX/TX currents and a fully-automatic power management system.

Powered by Nordic

Nordic’s nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU), with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software), with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. The nRF52832 SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certifed RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth LE applications. The S132 SoftDevice features Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, and supports up to twenty connections.

“We selected the nRF52832 SoC for its low power consumption, easy integration, and memory allocation, but also because of Nordic’s reputation,” says Pierre Bonzom, CEO at ELA Innovation.

“The nRF Connect and nRF Toolbox development tools really helped us during development, while the Nordic Software Development Kit [SDK] quickly allowed us to release our first Bluetooth LE firmware.”

Blue Lite ID was launched on July 1, 2020.

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