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Bluetooth Low Energy sensor converts any cricket bat into a "virtual coach"

Bluetooth Low Energy sensor converts any cricket bat into a “virtual coach”

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : Bluetooth Low Energy sensor converts any cricket bat into a “virtual coach”

StanceBeam Striker employs Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC to wirelessly sync in-depth batting technique metrics to user’s smartphone

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that StanceBeam, a Bengaluru, India-based sports technology company, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the processing power and wireless connectivity for its ‘StanceBeam Striker’. The product is a “plug and play” solution that attaches to any cricket bat handle via a custom bat mount and lock, immediately transforming it into a smart cricket bat providing live analysis of a player’s batting technique and performance.

Developed in partnership with Kookaburra Sports, StanceBeam Striker is described by the developers as the world’s first cricket bat sensor commercially launched in the international market for both recreational and professional cricketers.

The device features 9-axis MEMS sensors — a 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, and 3-axis magnetometer — to capture the motion of the cricket bat in action and record in-depth batting data during a player’s practice session or innings in a competitive match. The device records a range of key performance metrics including back-lift and down-swing angle, speed at impact, as well as shot efficiency (how well the cricket shot was ‘timed’, with the ideal shot being one where the bat makes impact with the ball at maximum speed during the swing).

Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC acts as StanceBeam Striker’s core microcontroller thanks to the SoC’s powerful 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor which runs the device’s built-in sensors, while the Nordic SoC’s 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM are sufficient to easily store and record the sensor-captured data.

Throughout each batting session, the Nordic SoC transmits the recorded data with low latency via Bluetooth LE connectivity to StanceBeam’s Android- and iOS-compatible partner app on the user’s Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone. The StanceBeam app then works as a ‘virtual coach’ allowing the user to monitor a session in real time, conduct a post-session review, produce a session summary, access improvement drills, review each shot ball by ball, recreate and analyze each shot in 3D, track ongoing progress, and compare results against friends, teammates, or even elite players. Results are also stored in the Cloud for future analysis.

The top driver for using the Nordic SoC was the stability of the Bluetooth LE stack. – Ishwinderpal Singh, StanceBeam

StanceBeam Striker uses a fully rechargeable 100mAh battery that provides battery life of approximately six hours of game play before recharging in a portable charging cradle, thanks in part to the 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 that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with Nordic’s nRF51 Series SoCs.

Nordic’s nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC combines the Arm processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) featuring -96-dB RX sensitivity. The nRF52832 is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certifed RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth LE applications. Nordic’s unique software architecture provides a clear separation between the RF protocol software and StanceBeam’s application code, simplifying the development and testing process and ensuring the SoftDevice doesn’t become corrupted when developing, compiling, testing, and verifying application code. The S132 SoftDevice features Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, supports up to twenty connections, and enables concurrent role operation.

“While designing StanceBeam Striker and comparing various Bluetooth LE chipsets available in the market, we realized Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC was the best fit for the product due to its compact size, power consumption, and the CPU capabilities needed for this type of complex application,” says Ishwinderpal Singh, Co-Founder and CTO of StanceBeam.

“The top driver for using the Nordic SoC was the stability of the Bluetooth LE stack. We developed our own application code and Nordic’s SDK [Software Development Kit] was of great assistance in developing and prototyping the use cases we wanted to implement. The technical information, documentation, and reference designs provided by Nordic made life much easier for our designers.”

"World first" Zigbee-certified smart home thermostat for direct control of underfloor heating solutions

“World first” Zigbee-certified smart home thermostat for direct control of underfloor heating solutions

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : “World first” Zigbee-certified smart home thermostat for direct control of underfloor heating solutions

Sikom’s Z3 Thermostat EP employs Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC to enable Zigbee wireless connectivity and mesh networking in smart homes

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Sikom, a Trondheim/Verdal, Norway-based developer of GSM-based Internet of Things (IoT) platforms, has selected Nordic’s nRF52840 advanced multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the Zigbee wireless connectivity for its ‘Sikom Z3 Thermostat EP’ for the smart home OEM market. According to Sikom, the thermostat is the first Zigbee-certified product for the direct control of smart home underfloor heating solutions.

The thermostat integrates actuators enabling the device to control floor heating cables directly, and is mains-powered, eliminating the need for battery replacement. Once installed, the thermostat can be controlled via a Zigbee Home Automation Profile-enabled control device using Zigbee wireless connectivity provided by the nRF52840 SoC. The thermostat can be easily implemented in a robust and secure Zigbee smart home mesh network, where the device acts as the router to other connected Zigbee devices.

The nRF52840 SoC is a powerful solution that gave us a lot of design freedom and functionality while keeping costs down – Øyvind Tande Hovdsveen, Sikom

Nordic’s nRF52840 multiprotocol SoC is Nordic’s most advanced ultra low power wireless solution. The SoC supports complex low power wireless applications that were previously not possible with a single-chip solution. The nRF52840 is Zigbee PRO (R21) and Green Power proxy-, Bluetooth 5-, and Thread 1.1-specification-certified and its Dynamic Multiprotocol feature uniquely supports concurrent wireless connectivity of the protocols. The SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio with 1MB Flash memory and 256kB RAM. A new radio architecture with on-chip PA provides features -95dBm RX sensitivity (at 1Mbps Bluetooth LE), a maximum output power of 8dBm, and a total link budget of 103dBm. Designed to address the inherent security challenges that are faced in IoT, the nRF52840 SoC incorporates the Arm® CryptoCell-310 cryptographic accelerator, offering best-in-class security.

The SoC is supplied with the Zigbee-compliant and industry-proven ZBOSS 3.1 stack, optimized for minimal resource usage, robust execution, and high performance.

“The nRF52840 SoC is a powerful solution that gave us a lot of design freedom and functionality while keeping costs down,” says Øyvind Tande Hovdsveen, Senior Systems Developer, Sikom. “Aside from Zigbee and Bluetooth LE support, the most important features for us were the memory allocation and processor capacity that allows for swift development of complex applications without needing to spend time fine tuning performance or sacrificing functionality.

“The rich Software Development Kit with example applications was also an important factor in our decision to select the nRF52840 SoC.”

The Sikom Z3 Thermostat EP thermostat complements the company’s “Bluetooth Thermostat EP”, a Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth Low Energy heating control solution launched in May 2018 and also employing Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC.

Bluetooth Low Energy gaming accessory provides "world first" wireless charging solution for Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers

Bluetooth Low Energy gaming accessory provides “world first” wireless charging solution for Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : Bluetooth Low Energy gaming accessory provides “world first” wireless charging solution for Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers

Powercast’s Wireless Charging Grips employ Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC to connect to proprietary wireless transmitter via Bluetooth LE for contactless recharging

Oslo, Norway – April 25, 2019 – Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Powercast, a Pittsburgh, PA-based RF energy harvesting and wireless power technology company, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the core processing power and wireless connectivity for its ‘Wireless Charging Grips’. The accessory lets Nintendo Switch gamers snap their Joy-Con controllers into it for easy handling, and the embedded wireless charging capability eliminates the need to dock or plug-in their Joy-Con controllers for charging.

According to Powercast, the Wireless Charging Grips are the world’s first genuinely wireless rechargeable consumer gaming product. The grips employ Powercast’s Powerharvester® receiver to harness power sent over the air by Powercast’s PowerSpot® radio frequency (RF) wireless power transmitter. When placed into the Wireless Charging Grips, the Joy-Con controllers connect to the battery embedded in the grips and automatically recharge their internal battery as required. When the user has finished gaming, they simply set the grips down in front of the PowerSpot transmitter to automatically recharge the battery within.

The Wireless Charging Grips contain Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC, which connects and communicates wirelessly via Bluetooth LE with the on-board Nordic nRF51422 SoC in the PowerSpot transmitter. If the battery in the Wireless Charging Grips begins to run low and the grips are within range (up to 60 cm) of the wireless transmitter, the nRF52832 SoC wirelessly connects with the nRF51422 SoC to request power from the transmitter. Once verified, the PowerSpot transmitter turns on and delivers the contactless wireless power to the grips. The nRF51422 SoC also wirelessly monitors the battery status of connected devices and enables the user to employ a Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone or tablet to remotely monitor device charge levels and set timers for the transmitter to charge devices via Powercast’s iOS or Android companion app.

The Wireless Charging Grips employ an embedded 320mAh Li-ion battery, which in turn charges the batteries in the Joy-Con controllers. The grips also act as a backup battery pack, keeping the Joy-Con batteries topped off when out of the transmitter’s range for about 38 hours of gameplay on one charge, 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 that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with Nordic’s nRF51 Series SoCs.

The nRF52832 SoC offered excellent options to reduce power consumption via sleep modes and the enabling and disabling of included peripherals as necessary.  – Eric Biel, Powercast

Nordic’s nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) featuring -96-dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. The nRF52832 is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certifed RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth LE applications. Nordic’s unique software architecture provides a clear separation between the RF protocol software and Powercast’s application code, simplifying the development and testing process and ensuring the SoftDevice doesn’t become corrupted when developing, compiling, testing, and verifying application code. The S132 SoftDevice features Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, supports up to twenty connections, and enables concurrent role operation.

“We were concerned with power consumption and we wanted to maximize battery life for the gamer,” says Eric Biel, Principal Engineer at Powercast. “The nRF52832 SoC offered excellent options to reduce power consumption via sleep modes and the enabling and disabling of included peripherals as necessary.

“However, we knew we would need a Bluetooth LE radio as well, which led us to the Nordic SoC as a ‘no-brainer’. We could use the nRF52832 SoC as a single-chip solution for all of the basic processing as well as the Bluetooth LE tasks, while still hitting our power consumption targets.

“In addition, Powercast historically has a strong working relationship with Nordic and we appreciate the excellent support provided by Nordic’s DevZone, the great documentation on all of the company’s products, and the overall quality of its Bluetooth LE solutions.”

Vault-grade Bluetooth LE- and USB-based wallet ensures cryptocurrency is protected from malicious attack

Vault-grade Bluetooth LE- and USB-based wallet ensures cryptocurrency is protected from malicious attack

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : Vault-grade Bluetooth LE- and USB-based wallet ensures cryptocurrency is protected from malicious attack

The SecuX V20 wallet employs Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC to provide secure wireless connectivity for crypto asset transaction via host smartphone, tablet, or PC

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that SecuX Technology, Inc., a Taiwan-based blockchain security company, has specified Nordic’s nRF52840 Bluetooth® 5/Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) advanced multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the wireless connectivity for its ‘SecuX V20’, a hardware-based ‘wallet’ for protecting the private ‘keys’ and PIN codes users require to securely perform cryptocurrency transactions.

Cryptocurrency investors transact via an online exchange using private keys and PINs for security—stored in software-based wallets—that offer convenience but are susceptible to malicious attack. With the SecuX V20, a user’s keys are stored and isolated in the device’s ‘vault-grade’ CC EAL5+ (Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level) certified secure element chip. When the user wishes to perform a trade, the SecuX V20 can be paired to a Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone, tablet, or PC using Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity provided by the nRF52840 SoC, or alternatively via USB cable.

Once connected to the host device, the web- (Windows, MacOS, Linux, Chrome OS and Android) and iOS-based SecuX app enables the user to access the blockchain to send and receive crypto assets, as well as check their account balance. The device supports current major cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, and ERC-20 Tokens.

Nordic’s software development kit provided us with easy-to-use tools and many reference designs that helped us easily and rapidly develop the product – James Huang, SecuX Technology, Inc.

The SecuX V20 features a 2.8 inch color touchscreen display, enabling the user to not only check their account balance, but also receive visual confirmation that the device is correctly connected to the intended host smartphone, tablet, or PC, avoiding the possibility of a man-in-the-middle or malware attack. It employs a 600mAh Li-Poly battery, providing up to seven hours operation between recharge, thanks in part to the ultra low power capabilities of the nRF52840 SoC.

Nordic’s nRF52840 multiprotocol SoC is Nordic’s most advanced ultra low power wireless solution. The SoC supports complex Bluetooth LE and other low-power wireless applications that were previously not possible with a single-chip solution. The nRF52840 is Bluetooth 5-, Thread 1.1-, and Zigbee PRO (R21) and Green Power proxy specification-certified and its Dynamic Multiprotocol feature uniquely supports concurrent wireless connectivity of the protocols. The SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, Thread, Zigbee, IEEE 802.15.4, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) with 1MB Flash memory and 256kB RAM. A new radio architecture with on-chip PA provides features -95dBm RX sensitivity (at 1Mbps Bluetooth LE), a maximum output power of 8dBm, and a total link budget of 103dBm. The chip supports all the features of Bluetooth 5 (including 4x the range or 2x the raw data bandwidth (2Mbps)) compared with Bluetooth 4.2. The Nordic SoC incorporates an Arm TrustZone CryptoCell-310 cryptographic module and AES 128-bit hardware accelerator. These features support a wide range of asymmetric, symmetric, and hashing cryptographic services for secure applications, and significantly improve the encryption and decryption performance of the SecuX V20.

The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S140 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certified software protocol stack for building long range and high data Bluetooth LE applications. The S140 SoftDevice offers concurrent Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster, and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, and supports high throughput and long range modes as well as advertising extensions. OpenThread and Zigbee stacks are available through Nordic’s nRF5 SDK for Thread and Zigbee.

“We selected Nordic nRF52840 SoC for the capability of the Arm processor, and the large memory capacity which enables it to support more than 400 accounts for multiple cryptocurriences for heavy users,” says James Huang, Marketing Director, SecuX Technology, Inc. “Furthermore, Nordic’s software development kit provided us with easy-to-use tools and many reference designs that helped us easily and rapidly develop the product.”

Flexible, robust, and ultra-thin IC offers Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity in world’s thinnest form factor

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : Flexible, robust, and ultra-thin IC offers Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity in world’s thinnest form factor

The AS_NRF51 FleX-BLE IC from American Semiconductor employs Nordic’s nRF51822 SoC to deliver a flexible connectivity solution for wearable, IoT, and logistics applications

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Boise, ID-based American Semiconductor, has selected Nordic’s nRF51822 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) for its ‘AS_NRF51 FleX™-BLE’, a flexible integrated circuit (IC) that supports Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity in what American Semiconductor claims is the world’s thinnest and smallest Chip Scale Package (CSP).

The AS_NRF51 Flex-BLE is an ultra-thin version of Nordic’s nRF51822 SoC wafer-level CSP (WL-CSP), employing American Semiconductor’s ‘FleX™ Semiconductor-on-Polymer™’ (FleX SoP) process to reduce package size to approximately 35µm—roughly half the thickness of a human hair—while the addition of front- and back-side polymides from HD MicroSystems provides mechanical strength to allow the IC to bend without breaking. The result is an IC with a robust, thin, and physically flexible form factor designed for solutions that demand ultra thinness, physical flexibility, and high reliability in applications ranging from wearables and logistics, to the Internet of Things (IoT).

the availability of an established suite of support software and protocol stacks was essential – Richard Ellinger, American Semiconductor

Nordic’s nRF51822 SoC is ideally suited for Bluetooth LE and 2.4GHz ultra low power wireless applications. The nRF51822 is built around a 32-bit Arm® Cortex™ M0 CPU, 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio, and 256kB/128kB Flash and 32kB/16kB RAM. The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S130 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 4.2 qualified concurrent multi-link protocol stack. Nordic’s software architecture includes a clear separation between the RF protocol software and the application code, simplifying development and ensuring the SoftDevice doesn’t become corrupted when developing, compiling, testing, and verifying application code.

“We were looking for an advanced Bluetooth Low Energy solution that was rich in features and available in wafer format for conversion through our FleX SoP process,” says Richard Ellinger, VP Sales and Marketing, American Semiconductor. “The nRF51822 SoC’s Arm CPU, large Flash memory, low power consumption, and excellent 2.4 GHz radio performance made it the ideal choice.

“In addition, the availability of an established suite of support software and protocol stacks was essential, as we want our end customers to be able to quickly deploy ultra-thin, physically flexible Bluetooth LE systems into their markets. Many people are using the Nordic nRF51822 SoCs in their products today, and this will allow them to expand into new markets that may also require an ultra-thin, conformable, and/or physically flexible solution.”

Healtag

Cellular IoT ear tag tracks health and location of farmed reindeer and other herding animals

Courtesy Nordic Semiconductor : Cellular IoT ear tag tracks health and location of farmed reindeer and other herding animals

Developed by Finnish startup, Anicare, the ‘Healtag’ tracker autonomously measures different vital functions for up to five years. Data is sent to the Cloud for access via a smartphone app so that injured or ill animals in the wild can be automatically identified for rescue

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that its nRF9160 System-in-Package (SiP) LTE-M/NB-IoT cellular IoT module is being employed in an IoT-enabled herding livestock management solution developed by Finnish startup, Anicare, called the Anicare ‘Healtag’.

Anicare Healtag is designed to insure farmers of commercially-bred reindeer and other herding animals against the financial loss and livestock welfare issues associated with undetected illness or injury of herding animals that spend most of the year roaming in the wild.

Around 600,000 reindeer are reared in Lapland and Scandinavia each year where reindeer meat — which is worth around € 1,000-1,500 per reindeer —  is extremely popular with demand from other parts of the world also growing. And in Anicare’s home country of Finland, for example, if a reindeer-farmer can prove one of its herd was killed by a wild predator such as a wolf or bear, the Finnish government will compensate that farmer financially for that loss.

Anicare says Healtag is also a significant improvement over existing herding animal trackers that are so large they have to be hung from the animal’s neck, and consume so much power that their batteries have to be replaced every year which is not only expensive and time consuming for the farmer, but also highly stressful for the animal.

In contrast, by employing a highly-miniaturized, low-power Nordic nRF9160 SiP, the 25g, 35 x 22 x 23-mm Anicare Healtag is small and light enough to be attached to an animal’s earflap like a traditional livestock ear tag, and offers a maintenance-free battery lifetime of up to five years which means the tag only needs to be attached once to the animal during its lifetime.

The all-in-one module integration of the nRF9160 SiP meant we didn’t have to worry about having separate application processor, antenna, GPS, and NB-IoT circuits that would have required a lot of supporting components and thus PCB space  – Aki Marttila, CEO of Anicare

In operation, the Anicare Healtag autonomously measures a herding animal’s activity (using an accelerometer) and heat (using a thermal sensor) once every hour, and uses the latest NB-IoT cellular wireless technology to report of any significant changes that would tend to indicate either illness, injury, or predator attack. This includes using the Nordic nRF9160 SiP’s built-in GPS functionality to send the exact location of a distressed animal to its owner immediately, enabling rapid rescue and treatment. And Anicare says that in terms of coverage, the latest NB-IoT cellular wireless technology deployed throughout Northern Europe ensures cellular data communication remains possible even in areas with no 2G cellphone coverage.

“The all-in-one module integration of the nRF9160 SiP meant we didn’t have to worry about having separate application processor, antenna, GPS, and NB-IoT circuits that would have required a lot of supporting components and thus PCB space,” comments Aki Marttila, CEO of Anicare. “And because the nRF9160 comes module-certified for cellular networks globally we didn’t have to worry about gaining any regulatory approvals either.”

In fact at just 10 x 16 x 1mm in size, the nRF9160 includes everything a cellular connection and IoT application needs beyond requiring just an external battery, SIM, and antenna. To achieve this ultra-high integration Nordic partnered with Qorvo to make a ‘System-in-Package’ (SiP) that more closely resembles an integrated chip than a module. The SiP includes a powerful application processor (Arm Cortex M-33), standard microcontroller peripherals, and enough chip-integrated memory to execute IoT applications with edge computing. Yet this is not achieved by sacrificing on-air performance: the nRF91 is capable of delivering class-leading output power (+23 dBm) and sensitivity – vital for its GPS support.

“The commercial challenge for herding livestock farmers is that they have to manage hundreds or thousands of animals and the loss of even a few of these animals can significantly reduce or even eliminate already slim profit margins,” comments Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor’s Director of Sales & Marketing. “This makes IoT-enabled herding livestock management solutions particularly attractive to them as a way to protect profits and minimize any illness or injury-induced suffering of their animals.”

The Anicare Healtag will be commercially available from September this year.

slushie

Frozen drink ‘slushie’ market in U.S. being revitalized by a company that plans to equip in-store dispensed frozen beverage machines with Nordic cellular IoT modules

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : Frozen drink ‘slushie’ market in U.S. being revitalized by a company that plans to equip in-store dispensed frozen beverage machines with Nordic cellular IoT modules

In a truly pioneering application that could soon become the standard model for optimizing store performance and turbo-charging growth and margins in vending and retail across the globe, U.S. frozen drinks ‘slushie’ company Freezing Point (parent company to global consumer slushie brand ‘Frazil’) is partnering with Norwegian developers, 7Sense, to develop a low-cost, retrofittable IoT board with a Nordic nRF9160 System-in-Package (SiP) LTE-M/NB-IoT cellular IoT module. The board slots into the back of its existing dispensed frozen beverage machines and will allow them to be monitored continuously to maintain optimal in-store performance and maximum profitable uptime, and give early indicators of not just under-performing slushie machines, but under-performing stores

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that ‘slushie’-reinvigorating U.S. frozen drinks company Freezing Point (parent company to slushie consumer brand “Frazil”) is partnering with Norwegian engineering developers, 7Sense, in the development of a low-cost, retrofittable cellular NB-IoT circuit board. The circuit board will allow all of Frazil’s in-store slushie dispensed frozen beverage machines to be continuously monitored to maintain optimal in-store performance and operational margins.

What’s more, Frazil has found that this monitoring will provide a ‘gold mine’ of data for its retail customers whereby if an in-store slushie machine isn’t being maintained (e.g. filters cleaned regularly) and operated optimally (machine on, working, and full – to make it attractive to customers), it invariably indicates that the rest of a store—and the mindset of its local in-store management and staff—is falling behind in other operational excellence standards as well.

“One of the fascinating insights we’ve discovered in launching this solution with retail chains across the U.S. is that large chains are using our real-time slushie/Frazil reporting dashboard as a window into their broader store operations,” comments Kyle Freebairn, CEO of Frazil. “World-class retailers recognize that operational excellence and the in-store experience is one of the key pillars required to win in today’s retail environment.  Retailers have identified that there is a strong correlation between how well they manage (or don’t manage) their Frazil program, and how well they manage (or don’t manage) other aspects of retail excellence. The management teams and category managers couldn’t be more excited at the operational visibility this type of offering provides.”

Freebairn continues: “The Frazil team recognized that one of the key reasons the 50-year old slushie industry was suffering from sluggish growth wasn’t that consumers had lost interest in frozen drinks: but that the appearance of machines and freshness of the slushie on offer often left a lot to be desired.

“In addition, the hassle and cost of having to buy and maintain a machine was a real hassle for retailers too. So, slushies had lost their appeal to consumers and retailers, and we had to completely change that. And what we came up with was our ‘slushie-as-a-service’ modified subscription business model [see below] that really enables retailers to hit the ‘easy button’ when it comes to slushies. All a retailer has to do is simply buy cases of product from their partnering distributor, and other than very minimal routine cleaning, we do all the maintenance, servicing, and monitoring.

When the Nordic nRF9160 SiP module came along we would see it had a host of clear and unique benefits over anything else that’s been, or is, available. In fact, I would say the Nordic nRF9160 SiP was one of the key reasons we won the Frazil development contract – Max Tangen, CEO at 7Sense

“We invested in developing a range of new flavors that employed higher quality ingredients than traditional slushies. We don’t sweeten with high-fructose corn syrup, but real, natural sugar. Our gamble was that a quality product would drive category growth. And what we found is that consumers hadn’t fallen out of favor with fresh, ice-cold, delicious slushies, they’d fallen out of favor with a poor customer experience that didn’t focus on delighting the consumer. That’s what we focused on fixing and that’s why our sales are now growing at a rate 10x greater than the industry-average. And now with the cellular IoT enhancement, our customers won’t even have to phone us for most issues; if they have a problem, we’ll know before they do.

“What’s more our initial trials have demonstrated that the costs of moving to a cellular IoT solution are more than offset by the increase in revenue and profits that comes from significantly cutting down on downtime by being far more proactive at spotting and quickly solving potential issues.”

7Sense is a Norwegian outsourcer that develops IoT technology such as production, storage, and monitoring solutions for a wide range of industrial, military, agricultural, oil and gas, maritime, and telco clients that lack a general or specific technological expertise in-house. 7Sense has also been at the forefront of the rollout of NB-IoT in Norway and has recently established a development partnership with both of Norway’s largest carriers, Telia and Telenor, for their customers who want to use LTE-M and/or NB-IoT.

“We’ve been developing cellular IoT-type applications using traditional cellular modules for some time,” comments 7Sense CEO, Max Tangen. “But when the Nordic nRF9160 SiP module came along we would see it had a host of clear and unique benefits over anything else that’s been, or is, available. In fact, I would say the Nordic nRF9160 SiP was one of the key reasons we won the Frazil development contract.”

Tangen adds: “The reason we used LTE-M in the Frazil application is because one of the challenges in this application has been in-store reception. If you go into some stores, they’re like caves or have lots of metal on floors, walls, and ceilings, which all serve to create a hostile wireless operating environment.

“To ensure we could get a cellular signal through to all Frazil machines in all stores in which they are employed, we found LTE-M gave us much higher consistency than GSM, with far fewer dead spots.”

Frazil’s ‘slushie-as-a-service’ pioneering subscription business model

Frazil started in 2004 with the intent to solve the most pressing issues within the slush category. One issue was flavor profile, and the quality of the flavors used in the market (the consumer pain), but one of the other significant sources of pain was for the retailers. They didn’t want to be in the “equipment and service business”. They didn’t want to manage a slush machine when it breaks down, stock spare parts, and take on that complexity. They didn’t want to take on the financial risk of buying equipment either, often making a 10-year commitment to a category they were still exploring.

Enter Frazil. Frazil provides the retailer with a machine for use in their store. Frazil retains ownership of that machine, and takes care of all reactive service needs, at no cost to the retailer. The retailer must purchase a certain minimum number of cases per year to remain compliant with the program, and to keep the machine in their store. The retailer is making a profit from DAY 1 of the program. There is no payback period. They also can focus on their core business, instead of needing to manage a host of issues related to machine service and management.

Because Frazil bears the operational and financial risk of managing a fleet of machines across the U.S. on behalf of its customers, understanding when a machine is on, working and full is critical to their survival. Frazil is obsessed with maximizing the amount a store can sell per machine in a store. Given this business model dependency, retailers who convert to the Frazil program often realize the benefits of this obsession through increased cups sold per store per year. To help facilitate this growth Frazil has developed an advanced analytics group to help retailers understand and execute principles that will increase their ability to sell more slushies per machine in their store. The IoT project was central to the next stage of transformation in how the slush category is managed across the retail environment. The future of the frozen beverage category is already here, and the category is now leading the way for many other categories in the retail environment as well.

Bluetooth Low Energy fertility tracker

Bluetooth Low Energy fertility tracker helps women conceive by analyzing fertility hormone data and providing personalized ovulation predictions

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : Bluetooth Low Energy fertility tracker helps women conceive by analyzing fertility hormone data and providing personalized ovulation predictions

Quanovate’s Mira ovulation and fertility monitoring system employs Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC to wirelessly sync hormone readings to user’s smartphone via Bluetooth Low Energy

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Quanovate, a San Francisco, CA-based healthcare technology company, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) wireless connectivity for its ‘Mira™’ ovulation and fertility tracking system.

The palm-sized Mira device is designed to help women conceive by providing actual hormone readings and personalized ovulation cycle predictions that are calculated through the measurement of fertility hormone concentrations collected from urine samples on test wands.

Once the user has collected a urine sample using a test wand, the sample is analyzed by the Mira Analyzer, and the data is automatically synced using Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity provided by the Nordic SoC to the iOS- and Android-compatible Mira Fertility app on the user’s Bluetooth 4.0 (or later) smartphone. The partner app then uses AI-based analysis to learn the unique hormone levels and patterns of the user. From the app display, the user can receive accurate fertility hormone data, monitor hormone patterns, and view precise, personalized ovulation predictions, as well as accurate insights into their fertility window to enhance the prospects of conception. Users can also enter and store a full suite of additional fertility tracking data such as intercourse dates, cervical mucus, cervical anatomy, basal body temperature, and period data.

The separation between Nordic’s SoftDevice and our own application code, as well as the technical information and reference designed provided by Nordic were particularly advantageous during the development process – Sylvia Kang, co-founder and CEO of Quanovate

According to Quanovate, Mira is the only FDA-, CE-, and CDFA-registered and certified, at-home diagnostic device with the capability to cover every stage of women’s health testing from fertility, pregnancy, fetal health, ovarian reserve, and menopause tracking.

Nordic’s nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC combines an 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) featuring -96-dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. The nRF52832 is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certifed RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth LE applications. Nordic’s unique software architecture provides a clear separation between the RF protocol software and Quanovate’s application code, simplifying the development and testing process and ensuring the SoftDevice doesn’t become corrupted when developing, compiling, testing, and verifying application code. The S132 SoftDevice features Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, supports up to twenty connections, and enables concurrent role operation.

Mira employs a 600 mAh Li-ion polymer rechargeable battery to provide battery life for more than 30 functional cycles in full load working mode, and more than 30 days in Bluetooth LE sleep mode, thanks in part to the low power and low sleep-current capabilities of the Nordic SoC. The nRF52832 SoC 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 that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with Nordic’s nRF51 Series SoCs. The result is a Bluetooth LE solution which offers 58 CoreMark/mA, up to twice as power efficient as competing devices.

“The powerful Arm CPU capability, large memory capacity, radio sensitivity, and power consumption were all key factors in Quanovate’s decision to use Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC in our Mira device,” says Sylvia Kang, co-founder and CEO of Quanovate. “The separation between Nordic’s SoftDevice and our own application code, as well as the technical information and reference designed provided by Nordic were particularly advantageous during the development process.”

nRF9160

nRF9160 cellular IoT module shortlisted for ‘Best IoT Connectivity Solution’ in 2019 Awards of IoT World

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : nRF9160 cellular IoT module shortlisted for ‘Best IoT Connectivity Solution’ in 2019 Awards of IoT World

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that its nRF9160 multimode LTE-M/NB-IoT System-in-Package (SiP) has been shortlisted for ‘Best IoT Connectivity Solution’ at the forthcoming Internet of Things (IoT) World 2019 Awards. The winner will be announced at the IoT World Awards & Gala Dinner on May 15.

IoT World is a major conference and expo for IoT business. Now celebrating its 6th anniversary and preparing to welcome over 12,500 attendees, 400 speakers, and 300 exhibitors and startups, the show is said to provide a place for IoT professionals to network and learn within the growing IoT community. At the next event in Santa Clara, California, from 13 to 16 May 2019, strategists, technologists, developers, and implementers will get an opportunity to connect and put IoT into action across multiple key industry verticals.

The Nordic Semiconductor nRF9160 leverages SiP technology to achieve a size of just 10 x 16 x 1mm in dimension that represents the smallest form-factor ever seen in the cellular IoT module industry to date (up to 3x smaller footprint, up to 2x thinner, and up to 5x less total packaging volume) than competing products. The nRF9160 SiP integrates an Arm Cortex-M33 host processor, GPS, plus all the components required for cellular IoT operation (including a multimode cellular modem and transceiver, RF front end, dedicated application processor, Flash memory, RAM memory, power management, plus crystal and passive components on a single chip).

The nRF9160 SiP represents the smallest form-factor ever seen in the cellular IoT module industry to date

The nRF9160 SiP is also optimized for low power and takes full advantage of the power savings introduced by the LTE-M and NB-IoT standards and further enhances them with Nordic’s long-term expertise in ultra-low power wireless design. As a result, the nRF9160 supports average power consumption levels well below 10 µA in the lowest duty-cycle wireless IoT applications. For more active applications such as high-resolution asset trackers that might upload data every 20 seconds, for instance, it still consumes as low as 0.5 mA, supporting a battery life of up to 6-months from a 3.7V, 2700 mAh battery source.

The nRF9160 is capable of delivering up to 4x the standard LTE range with LTE-M, and 7x the standard range with NB-IoT—and carries all of the benefits of traditional cellular modules. However, the nRF91 Series adopts a completely different approach to these conventional modules by adding a host of completely unique IoT-targeted features never before seen in cellular.

These include: the Arm Cortex-M33 processor which is powerful enough to run applications and perform edge computing (extracting useful information from raw data by processing it locally to minimize the amount of data sent over the cellular network and lower power consumption); Arm TrustZone® security; Arm CryptoCell-310 security IP for internet-level encryption acceleration; secure over-the-air updates of modem and application firmware via embedded Flash memory; and built-in support for positioning via an integrated Assisted GPS (A-GPS) capability that combines cellular and GPS technology to deliver fast and accurate positioning.

In summary, the nRF9160 SiP combines all the benefits of traditional cellular modules, including teleregulatory and cellular certifications, with ease-of-use, unprecedented integration, and the smallest form-factor ever seen in the cellular industry to date.

 

sensing and asset tracking

World’s only open-source industrial-grade environmental sensing and asset tracking solution with cellular connectivity, energy harvesting, GPS, and NFC

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : World’s only open-source industrial-grade environmental sensing and asset tracking solution with cellular connectivity, energy harvesting, GPS, and NFC

Developed by Finnish open-source electronics specialist, Ruuvi Innovations, the Ruuvi Node is said to be a highly robust, maintenance-free, 100 per cent open-source node solution that combines a Nordic Semiconductor nRF9160 System-in-Package (SiP) cellular IoT module and an ultra-low power Nordic nRF52840 multi-protocol Bluetooth System-on-Chip (SoC)

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that a unique, open-source, multi-purpose, industrial-grade cellular gateway, environmental sensing, and asset tracking node solution from Finnish open-source electronics specialist, Ruuvi Innovations, employs both a low-power Nordic nRF9160 SiP cellular IoT module (LTE-M and NB-IoT) and an ultra-low power Nordic nRF52840 Bluetooth® 5 multi-protocol (Thread, Zigbee) SoC.

Ruuvi says the Ruuvi Node is maintenance-free and will include an embedded solar panel to support energy harvesting (which in some applications will mean the batteries never run out), a full range of environmental sensors, GPS positioning (leveraging the Nordic nRF9160 SiP’s embedded GPS support), and NFC for securely reading device IDs and uploading configuration parameters (leveraging the embedded NFC feature on Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC).

A large capacity 45Wh battery, multi-use expansion ports, and support for an external power source for high duty applications is also included.

These maintenance-free global cellular nodes can create huge cost-savings and enable large IoT deployments in places where using similar technology hasn’t previously been a viable option – Lauri Jämsä, Founder and CEO of Ruuvi Innovations

In addition to being able to function as a standalone IoT asset tracker and sensor node, the device will also be able to act as a cellular gateway for any of Ruuvi’s existing ‘RuuviTag’ Bluetooth sensor beacons located nearby (see below).

“We’re really excited about employing Nordic Semiconductor’s brand-new cellular module on our new product,” says Lauri Jämsä, Founder and CEO of Ruuvi Innovations. “Pairing the NB-IoT & Cat-M1 cellular module with our multi-use energy harvester node enables totally new kinds of asset tracking, gateway and sensor uses. These maintenance-free global cellular nodes can create huge cost-savings and enable large IoT deployments in places where using similar technology hasn’t previously been a viable option.”

Jämsä continues: “By using only 100 per cent open-source software and hardware products, businesses can be fully confident on how their end-solutions actually work on the field. Our clients are always allowed to adjust Ruuvi products’ firmware software without having to pay any additional licensing fees. Choosing open-source products also reduces risks of vendor lock-ins.”

Ruuvi says its RuuviTags are employed in existing IoT solutions by over 1,500 companies, including the Industry 4.0 software specialist Bosch Connected Industry, where they are used as part of its logistics 4.0 solution ‘Nexeed Track and Trace’ (see below).

“Ruuvi Node is a great addition to our product portfolio,” says Henri Hakunti, COO of Ruuvi Innovations. “It’s great to see that our open-source approach is continuously gaining more and more interest from not only new startup companies but also from customers like Bosch Connected Industry with an enterprise background. Companies large and small can save a lot of time and resources by using our open-source products and not needing to develop their own sensor products from scratch.”

“What we’re finding is that cellular connectivity was a major missing link in wireless IoT,” comments Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor’s Director of Sales & Marketing. “While Bluetooth, Thread, and Zigbee, for example, are all extremely relevant to IoT applications, they all lack a way to connect to Cloud services without some form of gateway device or router.

Langeland concludes: “This all adds to design complexity and cost, and limits the IoT application range of these technologies on their own. Add in cellular connectivity, however, and the game completely changes as cloud connectivity from almost anywhere on the planet is now completely viable: both from a technological and cost perspective.”

Ruuvi says it is aiming to launch the first pilots of its Ruuvi Node during Q2-3 this year, and that it will be attractively priced to make it applicable to the widest range of potential applications and customers, from start-ups to large enterprises.

About RuuviTags

RuuviTag is an advanced, open-source sensor platform and offers unlimited possibilities for makers, developers, companies, and educational institutions. Whether you need a beehive monitor in your backyard, or an industrial mesh network asset tracking system, RuuviTag has you covered.