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Seven reasons why Bluetooth is perfect for the Industrial IoT

Seven reasons why Bluetooth is perfect for the Industrial IoT

Courtesy of u-blox : Seven reasons why Bluetooth is perfect for the Industrial IoT

Most of us use Bluetooth in some form every day, usually to link up things like our phones, smartwatches, headsets, mice and keyboards. In fact, Bluetooth has become so pervasive that the Special Interest Group (SIG) that oversees the standards, has predicted there will be an incredible 5.2 billion Bluetooth device shipments by 2022.

Amid all the excitement around Bluetooth in the consumer space, the fact that it’s also incredibly well‑suited for smart industrial use gets less attention. We wanted to shine a light on this, so have come up with seven reasons why those designing Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) systems and networks should consider Bluetooth as their communications backbone.

1. It’s highly immune to interference
Bluetooth has clever ways of ensuring messages reach their destinations successfully, despite using the busy 2.4 GHz ISM frequency band (which it shares with the likes of Wi‑Fi and ZigBee, and others).

Adaptive frequency hopping helps ensure data successfully makes its way through the noise. Individual messages are broken into small data packets, which are sent over different channels in a pre‑defined sequence, known only to the transmitting and receiving devices. As many as 1600 channel‑switches can take place every second. Any data packets that don’t reach their destination correctly are re‑sent, and if the problem was caused by the channel, this gets flagged up so it can be avoided in the future.

2. You can operate lots of wireless devices in the same space
Several Bluetooth characteristics combine to ensure you can operate large numbers of devices in close proximity. Its short data packages – ideal for industrial measurement and control applications – only spend short periods on the airwaves. Equally importantly, Bluetooth’s automatic power control ensures data is broadcast at the strength required, so no shouting when there’s no noise. Both these factors help free up airwaves for other devices to use. Lastly – and essential when it comes to IIoT usage – Bluetooth is optimized to co‑exist with Wi‑Fi.

3. It can detect and rectify bit errors
In noisy environments, or where data is transmitted over longer distances (more on this below), there’s a chance of bit errors slipping into messages. Bluetooth can detect these, and take action to avoid unreliable channels, if they’re the cause.

It can also use what’s called ‘forward error correction’ (FEC) to rectify errors once data arrives at the receiver.

4. Bluetooth can integrate with your existing industrial systems
Serial ports are widely used in industrial applications. And thanks to its Serial Port Profile (SPP), Bluetooth can fit in with your existing designs. SPP emulates a full serial interface, complete with hardware handshaking via Bluetooth. Consequently, you can replace a serial cable with a wireless Bluetooth link, with either multi‑point or point‑to‑point operation.

5. The range is greater than you might think
Perhaps influenced by their experiences of Bluetooth in the consumer space, many people assume the technology only works at ranges up to a couple of meters. But Bluetooth can actually operate over much greater distances, even in harsh industrial conditions. And the latest‑gen Bluetooth 5 standard supports long‑range mode, which we’ve used to transmit messages up to 1.7 km. Mesh networks, where data is passed from node to node until it reaches its destination, can also help boost range, particularly in dense environments.

6. You can use it wherever you are
The Bluetooth standard is global, meaning you can use the same device anywhere on the planet – no need to source different components for industrial facilities in different markets. What’s more, because it’s so common in smartphones and other handheld devices, you can interact with Bluetooth‑enabled IIoT device using devices you probably already own.

7. Security is designed in
Three inherent characteristics of Bluetooth make it an extremely secure means of sharing data wirelessly. Firstly, the adaptive frequency hopping that we talked about earlier sees the transmitter send out data on a pseudo‑random sequence of channels. Only it and the receiver know which channels these are. So if someone was going to try to intercept the message, they’d need to listen on all channels, then attempt to piece together the right packets of data to form the full message.

Secondly, devices using Bluetooth 4.2 or later use a pairing mechanism that prevents in‑transit data from being intercepted in man‑in‑the‑middle attacks (LE Secure Connections).

And thirdly, Bluetooth devices can be set as ‘invisible’, meaning hackers won’t actually know they’re there. Connections are then only possible between devices that have been paired beforehand.

An incredible journey
The fact that Bluetooth is such an important part of the IoT is testament to the journey the technology has been on over the last 20 years. What was initially a means of syncing data between mobile phones, has continually evolved to meet new needs, including in the IIoT. And this is why many are now choosing it to underpin their next‑generation smart industrial facilities. Will you be joining them?

If you want to learn more about Bluetooth at u‑blox.

NINA-W13 series RF Module by u-blox AG

NINA-W13 series RF Module by u-blox AG

Courtesy of u-blox : NINA-W13 series RF Module by u-blox AG

The NINA-W13 series from u-blox are stand-alone Wi-Fi modules for 802.11b/g/n applications in the 2.4 GHz ISM band. These modules are available with u-blox connectivity software pre-flashed at delivery. The modules have many security features embedded in them, including secure boot, which ensures that only authenticated software can run on the module. The NINA-W13 series is available in two variants – NINA-W131 (with antenna pin) and NINA-W132 (with internal antenna). They are ideal for IoT, telematics, industrial automation, connected buildings, wireless sensors, point-of-sales, and medical devices applications.

The NINA-W13 modules are assessed to comply with RED and are certified in the following countries: US (FCC), Canada (IC/ISED RSS), Japan (MIC), Taiwan (NCC), South Korea (KCC), Australia/New Zealand (ACMA)1, Brazil (Anatel)1, South Africa (ICASA)1. The modules will be qualified according to ISO 16750 for professional grade operation, supporting an extended temperature range of –40 °C to +85 °C.

Product Details

    • Part Number : NINA-W13 series
    • Manufacturer : u-blox AG
    • Description : Ultra-Compact Stand-Alone Wi-Fi Modules

General Parameters

    • Technology : WiFi
    • Frequency : 2400 to 2483 MHz
    • WiFi Standards : 802.11 b/g/n
    • Data Rate : 0.2 to 20 Mbps
    • Supply Voltage : 3 to 3.6 V
    • Output Power : 19 dBm
    • Sensitivity : -96 dBm (WiFi), -88 dBm(Bluetooth)
    • Integrated Antenna : Yes
    • Interface Type : UART, RMII, GPIO
    • Weight : 1 g
    • Dimension : 10 x 10.6 x 2.2 / 10 x 14.0 x 3.8 mm
    • Operating Temperature : -40 to 85 Degrees C
    • Storage Temperature : -40 to 85 Degrees C
The u-blox NINA series of wireless modules enables the SolidSense N6 Edge Gateway

The u-blox NINA series of wireless modules enables the SolidSense N6 Edge Gateway and a range of Single-Board Computers targeting the IoT

Courtesy of u-blox : NINA series of wireless modules enables the SolidSense N6 Edge Gateway and a range of Single-Board Computers targeting the IoT

Thalwil, Switzerland – March 12, 2019 – u-blox (SIX:UBXN), a global provider of leading positioning and wireless communication technologies, and SolidRun, a leader in embedded systems and networking solutions, are pleased to announce their collaboration on a new range of connectivity products for the IoT, including turnkey IoT Edge Gateways for indoor and outdoor use, Single‑Board Computers (SBCs) and System‑on‑Modules (SOMs).

Each of the new solutions incorporate a u-blox NINA stand‑alone single-, dual- or multi‑radio module, providing the connectivity required by IoT applications in a small, low power and fully certified format. During Embedded World 2019, SolidRun formally introduced its latest product: the SolidSense N6 Edge Gateway, an enterprise‑grade IoT M2M gateway designed to manage a local network of IoT endpoints. The N6 Edge Gateway is a fully enclosed fan‑less design in configurations suitable for either indoor or outdoor installation, making it simpler than ever to introduce Internet connectivity in a distributed network of smart sensors and actuators.

The gateways and SBCs from SolidRun feature Wi‑Fi and Bluetooth® Personal Area Networking, Wirepas® Mesh, cellular connectivity, as well as USB and a 10/100/1000 wired Ethernet interface. They are powered by the NXP’s i.MX6 ARM® Cortex™-A9 processor in either a single-, dual- or quad‑core configuration (depending on the application’s needs) and also integrate up to 2GB of DDR3 memory.

“Our new N6 Edge Gateway represents a total turnkey solution to IoT connectivity,” commented Dr Atai Ziv, CEO, SolidRun. “We decided to work with u‑blox because the NINA series of short‑range radio modules exactly meet the needs of our target market, offering the flexibility and ease of integration needed for the target application areas. The fact that they are provided pre‑certified has enabled us to reduce our product development cycle, which has been instrumental in bringing our new products to market on time and on budget.”

 

About u‑blox

u‑blox (SIX:UBXN) is a global provider of leading positioning and wireless communication technologies for the automotive, industrial, and consumer markets. Their solutions let people, vehicles, and machines determine their precise position and communicate wirelessly over cellular and short‑range networks. With a broad portfolio of chips, modules, and a growing ecosystem of product supporting data services, u‑blox is uniquely positioned to empower its customers to develop innovative solutions for the Internet of Things, quickly and cost‑effectively. With headquarters in Thalwil, Switzerland, the company is globally present with offices in Europe, Asia, and the USA.

(www.u‑blox.com)

Find us on FacebookLinkedIn, Twitter @ublox and YouTube

u‑blox media contact:
Natacha Seitz
PR Manager
Mobile +41 76 436 0788
natacha.seitz@u-blox.com

 

About SolidRun

SolidRun is a global leading developer of embedded systems and network solutions, focused on a wide range of energy‑efficient, powerful and flexible products. Our innovative compact embedded solutions are based on ARM® and x86 architecture, and offer a variety of platforms including SOMs (System‑on‑Module), SBCs (Single Board Computer) and industrial mini PCs.

We offer a one‑stop‑shop for developers and OEMs, providing a complete service from hardware customisation, to software support and even product branding and enclosure design. Our mission is to simplify application development while overcoming deployment challenges, and so we can proudly offer our customers faster time‑to‑market and lower costs.

(www.solid‑run.com)

SolidRun contact:
Jake Jones
Marketing Director
7 HaMada St., Yokneam Illit
Isreal
Jake@solid-run.com

u-blox CellLocate and hybrid positioning

u-blox CellLocate and hybrid positioning

Courtesy of u-blox : CellLocate and hybrid positioning

Mobile network-based positioning

Benefits

  • Positioning performance can be improved and extended to areas where GNSS satellite signals are 100% blocked, especially within buildings
  • Eliminate “no‑fix” scenarios by providing at least an approximate fix wherever cell phone coverage is available
  • Overcome GNSS jamming scenarios to improve antitheft system performance

CellLocate® is based on hybrid GNSS and mobile network attributes. It provides increased location reliability and enhances GNSS positioning indoors.

Although GPS is a widespread technology, GPS positioning is not always possible, particularly in shielded environments such as indoors, enclosed park houses, or when a GPS jamming signal is present. The situation can be improved by augmenting GPS receiver data with mobile network cell attributes to provide a level of redundancy that can benefit numerous applications.

Based on internally developed cellular transceiver modules, u‑blox has embedded the cellular positioning technology CellLocate® into a number of its 2G, 3G and 4G modules. The technology  uses the CellLocate® service to  provide the modem with a location estimate, based on its observations of the surrounding cellular base station signals, assisting the GNSS receiver and providing a fallback positioning solution.

This improves positioning data in several use cases:

GPS signals are blocked: a GPS receiver cannot determine a position when satellite signals are unavailable, such as within tunnels, buildings, or metallic containers. For fleet and supply chain management or tracking of people inside buildings, this condition can be unacceptable. In this case, a cell‑based positioning system using GSM cell information can provide an estimated position. This is attractive for vehicle or container tracking applications where an approximate location of valuable assets is preferable to no position fix at all. This system is functional within warehouses, rail stations, airports, and tunnels.

GPS signals are jammed: GPS jamming devices are easily obtained for less than a hundred dollars. These devices can neutralize GPS receivers, and are often employed during vehicle theft. A backup cell‑based system in this case acts as a secondary system, as GSM cell signals are available even when satellite signals are blocked by jamming. The GPS receiver can also add intelligence to the system as u‑blox GPS receivers can detect when a jamming signal is present, putting the system into an “attempted theft” condition.

Machine‑to‑Machine (M2M) applications: Many M2M applications require positioning capability within a bounded area such as within a city, along main vehicle or rail links, or within specific venues such as an exhibition, entertainment or healthcare facilities. Positioning reliability in these areas can be improved by using cellular signals as well as GPS to provide accurate positioning. Based on an extension of u‑blox’ AssistNow Online GPS assistance service, u‑blox’ CellLocate technology is used to match cellular positioning data coupled with previously successful GPS fixes.

This “learning” solution can be practical for M2M applications where units are repeatedly used in specific areas such as a taxi fleet in a city, or containers and palettes travelling between warehouses. In these cases a specific database of useful cell data is quickly generated and the service is able to reliably give the current position to the user.

The above scenarios exploit the combination of Cellular and GPS positioning data (Hybrid positioning) to deliver better results than GPS technology could accomplish alone:

Positioning performance can be improved and extended to areas where GPS satellite signals are 100% blocked, especially within buildings
Eliminate “no‑fix” scenarios by providing at least an approximate fix wherever cell phone coverage is available
Overcome GPS jamming scenarios to improve antitheft system performance

CellLocate® Product Summary

Hybrid positioning and CellLocate®

Emerging technologies promise new generation of applications

Emerging technologies promise new generation of applications

Courtesy of u-blox : Emerging technologies promise new generation of applications

High precision positioning, low power wide area (LPWA), short range mesh networks, and edge intelligence promise to extend the range of applications for the IoT in the food sector and beyond.

If data is a primary driver of industrial digitalization, the technologies used to gather, transmit, store, and process it are its key enablers. This is also true in the food sector. From the farm, field, or plantation, through the entire supply and production chain, to retail – even into our homes – digitalization is always about the acquisition of data, analytics at the edge or on the cloud, and leveraging the data to optimize development. Improvements in the quality of the data and the technologies used to gather, transfer, and analyze it typically translate into improved processes. In some cases, however, they can enable entirely new applications, opening brand new markets.

The latest generation of high precision positioning technology is doing just that, leveraging multi‑band GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) combined with GNSS correction data. By dramatically bringing down the cost of ownership of the technology, high precision positioning is not only becoming accessible to a broader market, it is also paving the way for the development of new autonomous solutions. Whether they are autonomous agricultural vehicles or unmanned delivery drones, the small, lightweight, and low‑cost high precision positioning technology robustly delivers positioning accuracies down to a few centimeters. Is it disruptive? It will be a game changer.

The cost of cellular data transmission and hardware have long been bottlenecks for the deployment of extensive wireless sensor networks. Offering enhanced geographical coverage, low‑cost hardware and data plans, as well as over 10 years of battery life in some use cases, the latest generation of licensed low power wide area networks, including LTE‑M and Narrowband IoT (NB‑IoT), are quickly brushing aside these limitations. Applications such as crop monitoring, livestock monitoring and fleet tracking will be among the first to benefit from these technologies.

Mesh networks offer a way to efficiently scale up wireless sensor networks by having individual nodes relay messages across the network, thereby expanding their reach and enabling wide‑ranging applications from irrigation net- works to smart processing plants to connected supermarkets. Standardized platforms such as Bluetooth® mesh ensure that devices remain interoperable, even if they come from different suppliers. And by including nodes capable of transmitting information using mobile communication networks – forming so‑called capillary networks – mesh networks can be extended to enable cloud based applications.

Because of the massive amounts of data they generate, many IoT applications would run into a bottleneck: bandwidth. Edge computing, yet another technological innovation, offers one solution to that problem. Rather than streaming all of the gathered data to the cloud for analysis, smart sensors, gateways, or a local server take over some of the analytics, only transmitting an aggregate value, such as an average, an alert, or a message to the cloud. Machine learning algorithms run on the “edge” – i.e. before data is sent to the cloud – can detect outliers and other abnormal behavior the farmer, plant manager, or store manager should be aware of.

Read more on the IoT of Food in the u‑blox U magazine.

NB-IoT connectivity

Powering ten years of NB-IoT connectivity with a single battery

NB‑IoT, or Narrowband IoT, has long been heralded as the enabler of very low power IoT applications, promising a decade of connectivity on a single battery. Optimized for the infrequent transmission of small amounts of data, the technology caters to wide‑ranging use cases that include smart utility metering, smart cities, logistics and asset tracking, and agricultural and environmental applications. And now, networks around the world are maturing rapidly, with rollouts completed by 50 national networks and counting.

A full decade of performance on a single battery is a strong sales argument. It means that, once deployed, sensors can be left alone for years at a time. Particularly for applications set up in hard‑to‑access locations, such as underground, this can significantly cut the cost of maintenance of a fleet of devices. And it doesn’t end there. Multi‑year power autonomy comes on top of other benefits delivered by NB‑IoT, such as low device cost, long range, and high spectral efficiency.

It all sounds great, but actually developing a device that reliably delivers a full decade of connectivity on a single battery can be a challenge. In 3G networks, power consumption was deterministic: you could calculate it ahead of time based on a given usage scenario. Not so in NB‑IoT, where decisions by the mobile network operator (MNO) – often automated – can spell the difference between a full decade and just a few years of operation.

Ever since we sent the world’s first pre‑standard NB‑IoT message over a live network back in 2016, we’ve been optimizing our NB‑IoT modules and gathering expertise to help fulfil the promise to our customers of a full decade of connectivity.

Here are five things to keep in mind to meet the 10‑year benchmark:

1: Set your PSM parameters wisely.

Like other LPWA technologies, NB‑IoT saves power by maximizing the time that devices spend asleep.  Power save mode (PSM) offers an efficient way to do this short of switching the modem off altogether.  When in PSM, devices can wake up to communicate to the network. The network, however, cannot reach the device.

PSM brings current consumption down to below three microampere. It uses release assistance to signal to the network that the module doesn’t expect a downlink response to its uplink message. That way it can be ‘released’ from the network immediately rather than waiting between 6 and 20 seconds for the connection to timeout due to inactivity. Additionally, PSM allows the device to keep its registration details when it goes to sleep, preventing it from having to go through the power‑hungry process of reattaching to the radio network for each new communication.

Power save mode is parameterized using two +CPSMS timers, T3324 and T3412, which the device requests to the mobile network operator upon initialization. T3324 specifies the time a device is reachable by the network before entering PSM. The duration of each PSM interval is defined by the difference between the two.

NB‑IoT parameter settingsFigure: NB‑IoT modem states after registration to the network.

2: You can’t enforce your PSM timers.

Let’s say you’ve found the +CPSMS timer sweet spot that perfectly balances the power autonomy and the availability your application requires. So is it time to pop the cork and celebrate?

Not so fast. The mobile network operator accepts the +CPSMS timers it receives from a device as requests. It has no obligation to set them accordingly and can override them if they are out of range. So before you pop the cork, be sure to check the timers the network has assigned to your device using the appropriate AT Commands. Also, because your timers may change at any given time, it’s worth tracking them continuously to respond swiftly when timers are reset by the MNO.

3: eDRX will keep your device listening longer.

As we saw earlier, with the T3324 timer, you can request that your device listen to the network for a certain amount of time. Extended discontinuous reception, or eDRX, still to be rolled out by MNOs, will let your device extend that time while only slightly increasing your power needs. Basically it works by switching it in and out of a low power state in which current consumption drops to around three microampere.

When using eDRX, the mobile network operator’s IoT platform stores any messages that come in while the device is in the low power state and forwards them to the device when it awakens. It’s worth mentioning that eDRX can also be used without PSM, in particular for applications that need to receive messages at unknown times.

4: Coverage classes are beyond your control

One way NB‑IoT saves power is by whispering messages over the airwaves rather than shouting them. To ensure that all messages within the range of an NB‑IoT base station are heard, NB‑IoT attributes to each message, or even to every chunk of each message, a coverage class based on the signal to noise ratio that it measures.

Messages that can easily be heard over the noise fall into coverage class 0 (CO0).Those that are less clear fall into coverage class 1 (CO1) and are emitted by the device with 10 dB coverage enhancement. The most extreme scenarios fall into coverage class 2 (CO2), in which messages are sent with 20 dB coverage enhancement.

Being classified as CO1 or CO2 may well get your device’s message to the base station, but this comes at a cost. Because they are emitted with more power and repeated multiple times, they draw significantly more current from the battery than those sent in CO0.

The trouble with coverage classes is that, although they are a major factor in determining autonomy, they are beyond your control. Mobile network operators are typically unable to provide transparent guidelines as to which coverage class your device’s messages sent will fall into. The only way to know for sure is to monitor your device’s power consumption once it is deployed in the field.

5: Ultimately, it’s a balancing act

Say you are designing smart water meters that use NB‑IoT to transfer data to the cloud, where municipal authorities or the water utility can monitor the state and the consumption of the water network in real time. In such a scenario, you probably don’t want to advertise your product as delivering a decade of connectivity on a single battery if it only does so in coverage classes 0 and 1.

The reality is that there is an inevitable tradeoff between battery life and coverage. And as we’ve seen, many of the key factors influencing your device’s performance are not in your hands. Of course you can always scale up the battery, but that may put off a subset of your customers. Designing devices for the IoT is always a balancing act, and it’s the same for devices that communicate over NB‑IoT networks.

If you’re developing IoT solutions using the SARA‑R4/N4SARA‑N3, or SARA‑N2 series of modules and need guidance on maximizing their battery autonomy or optimizing their performance, we can provide you with tools that will help you build your designs on a solid foundation.

The benefits of concurrent dual-channel V2X

The benefits of concurrent dual-channel V2X

Courtesy of u-blox : The benefits of concurrent dual-channel V2X

Two eyes see more than one. The same is true for V2X receivers.

Vehicle‑to‑everything, or V2X, is a groundbreaking technology with the potential to dramatically improve road safety, saving thousands of lives each year. Developed and tested over decades, it uses wireless communication to offer vehicles 360 degree awareness of what’s going on around them, beyond line of sight, and with up to one kilometer range.

The only mature and ready‑to‑deploy V2X solution uses the DSRC[1]/IEEE 802.11p wireless standard to let vehicles communicate directly with each other, with road‑side infrastructure, with pedestrians, as well as everything else. Initial benefits include early warnings of traffic incidents for increased safety and smart traffic management for smoother traffic flow. Looking further down the road, V2X will play a key role in enabling autonomous driving.

The UBX‑P3: 100% u‑blox

After two successful generations of u‑blox V2X modules based on third‑party V2X chips, we announced the UBX‑P3 chip, our V2X solution built entirely in‑house, earlier this year. Not only does the UBX‑P3 strengthen the overall DSRC/IEEE 801.22p market offering, the decision to build it from the bottom up gave us freedom to design the chip to meet needs that we observed in the market. One of them is concurrent dual‑channel communication.

If you know anything about the automotive industry, you know that it is heavily regulated to ensure that high quality standards are met. This is as true for V2X as it is for a car’s airbags, its brakes, and its windshield wipers. Ensuring the reception of all safety messages, whether from other vehicles or from nearby infrastructure, is a must for your safety.

The IEEE 1609.4 standard on multi‑channel operation enables such operation with channel switching using a single radio. So why did we implement concurrent dual‑channel communication on our V2X chip?

It’s simple. Two eyes see more than one. The same is true for V2X receivers. On the road, this translates to increased reliability, robustness, and, ultimately, safety.

Understanding DSRC/IEEE 802.11p channels

But before we get into exactly how concurrent dual‑channel V2X communication can be exploited, let’s take a look at some basics of DSRC/IEEE 802.11p V2X communications.

In Europe and the US, the DSRC/IEEE 802.11p spectrum spans 75 MHz in the 5.9 GHz band, and is divided into 7 channels. In both regions, one channel acts as a control channel. Two (Europe), respectively six (US), of the remaining channels are service channels, which may be dedicated to specific communications. South Korea has adopted a similar set up as Europe and the US, while Japan has reserved a single 10 MHz channel centered at 760 MHz for the technology.

Because of their simpler design, single channel V2X solutions are more cost effective than dual‑channel ones. But because they only have a single receiver channel to monitor multiple communication channels, their available bandwidth to monitor safety messages is cut by at least 50%, reducing the safety benefits and the applications that can be deployed. Dual‑channel operation allows to maximizing the V2X safety benefits by tuning one channel to receive safety messages, while the other can be used for other applications.

Key use cases of concurrent dual‑channel communication

Depending on the context, dual‑channel V2X can be configured to continuously follow two communication channels to ensure that no safety messages are lost. Alternatively, one receiver can be set up to constantly stay on the pulse of incoming safety messages, while the second receiver alternates between the control and service channels.

Another interesting use case is truck platooning, in which trucks travel in compact formations to reduce the air drag acting on trailing vehicles, which cut their fuel needs upwards of 13%. V2X is the technology of choice to ensure safety of truck platoons, even at high velocities. Using concurrent dual‑channel communication, one of the available channels can be dedicated to communication between two trucks, while the other channel handles communication with surrounding vehicles.

The UBX‑P3 is the smallest, most power‑efficient V2X chip on the market. Designed to meet the most stringent automotive applications, it is secure and fully compatible with the main global standards, and features an integrated power management unit. There is much more to the UBX‑P3 than concurrent dual‑channel communication. Our on demand V2X webinar looks at other notable highlights, such as single channel diversity, and offers an introduction into V2X, the similarities and differences between DSRC and C‑V2X, and key applications and verticals that the technology will benefit.


[1] DSRC stands for Dedicated Short Range Communication.

 

In the IoT, small things can make a big difference

In the IoT, small things can make a big difference

Courtesy of u-blox : In the IoT, small things can make a big difference

The Internet of Things (IoT) is more than the sum of its parts, even if those parts are expected to number in the tens of billions within this decade alone. The size, shape and scope of those things will vary massively, but as a concept the IoT is often presented as smart sensors enabling smarter infrastructure. And in some cases, that is exactly right.

In many respects the IoT is nothing new, we have been capturing and acting on data for years. What something like the IoT brings to this is momentum, for one thing, but it also brings a level of exposure. For those not close to electronics, the realization that it is relatively easy to capture data and act upon it may be enough to motivate them into developing something innovative. Others, perhaps those more familiar with electronic technology and its capabilities, may appreciate the full potential of the IoT; as an extension to the communications infrastructure that surrounds us, and one that is more easily exploited every day.

What this means in practice is that it is becoming simpler to marry problems with solutions, and this is one area where the IoT is truly disruptive. We can expect a huge number of new applications to emerge over the coming years, of that we can be sure, but the IoT really started life as a way of improving the way we already do some things. The main enabler cited is connectivity and, of course, that is true; we can’t have an IoT without the I. But what sometimes gets completely overlooked are the worker bees; the technologies that are quietly evolving in the background to bring new solutions to life. Things like sensors and actuators that provide more.

The economy of scale this brings is driving down overall costs, so that applications that may have always been technically possible are now also commercially viable. It is a virtuous circle, the same theory that underpins the entire semiconductor industry, and it will see the number of IoT endpoints reaching the high billions. Many of those things will necessarily need to have a low cost of ownership, which means they need to be cheap to buy, easy to install and deliver a value that is greater than their overall cost. Things, like the arcHUB.

arcHUB

The arcHUB was developed, in partnership with electronics and embedded software design company Successful Endeavours, by an Australian technology company called The Active Reactor Company, whose expertise originally lay in the control of High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps for street lighting, sports stadiums and other public spaces. However, it saw an opportunity for a low cost, low complexity device that could be used to monitor various aspects of the environment.

It is essentially a smart sensor, one that uses solar cells to generate its own power and a cellular network for its connectivity. Installation is a simple process, the case provides IP65 ingression protection and its clear plastic dome allows sunlight to reach its solar cells. The entire device can be unobtrusively secured to a street light pole, or any other suitable fixture such as the side of a building. Once installed, the arcHUB sets about gathering data and sending it to a cloud‑based service for subsequent analysis.

Out of the box, it can monitor light levels, and air quality sensor. As a system it can be connected to external sensors to measure wind strength and direction, temperature and humidity, carbon monoxide as well as other environmental aspects such as water levels. A low cost noise sensor is under development.  The arcHUB presents the data in both easy to see dashboard and downloadable format for further analysis.

The City of Melbourne is trialling the arcHUB to measure people movement, and is already using it in a multi‑sensor network to measure air quality, basketball and table‑tennis usage, phone charging activity and environmental (wind, temperature and lighting) levels in an urban precinct.  In addition 3 Australian environmental protection authorities are using arcHUBs to measure air quality.

The external sensors communicate with the arcHUB using Sub‑GHz ISM technology, but the hub itself employs a u‑blox SARA‑R4 series module, which offers LTE Cat‑M1/ NB1 and EGPRS connectivity at up to 375 kbit/s. The module also supports over‑the‑air firmware (uFOTA) updates, so manufacturers can provide long‑term support without truck‑rolls.

The arcHUB was conceived to be a low cost, low complexity solution that would appeal to non‑technologist. As such, it is aimed at governments, schools and colleges, or even large manufacturers who want to monitor things like air pollution, or pedestrian and vehicle traffic. When combined with other indicators, the data it provides can be used to improve services. It can also be used as an early warning system in remote areas, measuring particulates in the air that could warn of an undetected fire.

The IoT will not be defined by a single application; it will be a study in diversity. What will be common, however, is the need for advanced sensors, connectivity and a supporting infrastructure that makes it simpler for small devices to contribute to the Big Data era. Products such as arcHUB will be numerous, enabled by technologies like the SARA‑R4 series. It is this ecosystem of solutions that will really define the IoT.

Contact: Dr Brian Oldland, Director Active Reactor Company, +61 418 564 040, boldland@activereactor.com

u-blox partners with Arvento

u-blox partners with Arvento to develop multi-purpose people and asset tracker

Courtesy of u-blox : partners with Arvento to develop multi-purpose people and asset tracker

Treyki Mini relies on u‑blox positioning and wireless communication technologies.

Thalwil, Switzerland – December 4, 2018 – u‑blox (SIX:UBXN), a global provider of leading positioning and wireless communication technologies, has announced a successful partnership with Arvento Mobile Systems, a Turkey‑based top leading fleet telematics company, to develop a compact people and asset tracking device with a long battery life. The Arvento Treyki Mini has eight operating modes, including special settings for tracking kids (with Geofencing), senior citizens (with an integrated fall sensor), and for use in sports, racing, and asset management. It can also be used as an emergency beacon.

The tracker has an onboard positioning receiver, and reports its location using an internal GSM/GRPS modem. It can operate for up to 7 days from its 900mAh LiPo rechargeable battery before it needs to be recharged.

The Treyki Mini relies on the u‑blox ZOE‑M8Q concurrent multi‑GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) module to discover its location. This System in Package (SiP) offering is just 4.5 x 4.5 x 1.0mm, and provides high accuracy thanks to its ability to receive 72 channels simultaneously, from up to three different GNSS constellations. It also offers reliable positioning in challenging environments because it has a sensitivity of –167 dBm and is energy- efficient. Communications for the Treyki Mini are provided by the u‑blox SARA‑G340 dual‑band GSM/GPRS module, whose very low standby power of less than 0.90mA helps extend its battery life. This module also supports firmware‑over‑the‑air (FOTA) updates, enabling Arvento to continue to refine the Treyki Mini after production.

“The Treyki Mini is the result of a very close collaboration between Arvento and u‑blox to optimize its size and power consumption. We expect that the strong sense of partnership that evolved between our two companies during the development of the Treyki Mini will lead to further collaboration in the future, especially when it comes to telematics system solutions,” says Özer Hıncal, General Manager, Arvento.

About u‑blox

u‑blox (SIX:UBXN) is a global provider of leading positioning and wireless communication technologies for the automotive, industrial, and consumer markets. Their solutions let people, vehicles, and machines determine their precise position and communicate wirelessly over cellular and short range networks. With a broad portfolio of chips, modules, and a growing ecosystem of product supporting data services, u‑blox is uniquely positioned to empower its customers to develop innovative solutions for the Internet of Things, quickly and cost‑effectively. With headquarters in Thalwil, Switzerland, the company is globally present with offices in Europe, Asia, and the USA. (www.u‑blox.com)

Find us on FacebookGoogle+LinkedIn, Twitter @ublox and YouTube

u‑blox media contact:
Natacha Seitz
PR Manager
Mobile +41 76 436 0788
natacha.seitz@u-blox.com

About Arvento

Arvento Mobile Systems specializes in designing, developing and manufacturing fleet telematics systems and IoT solutions. Arvento is one of the leading fleet telematics companies offering wide range of technology products and solutions, worldwide. Today, Arvento has more than 76.000 clients and its technology and products are being used in more than 832.000 vehicles in three continents. (www.arvento.com)

Arvento contact:
Burcu Yilmaz
Corporate and Marketing Communications Manager
Ankara, Turkey
Phone +90 312 2650595
burcu.yilmaz@arvento.com

SARA-N310

SARA-N310 Cellular Module by u-blox AG

Courtesy of everything RF : SARA-N310 Cellular Module by u-blox AG

The SARA-N310 is a multi-band NB-IoT module that supports the preliminary set of 3GPP Release 14 features (LTE Cat NB2). This module will be able to receive additional features and ultimately become Release 14 and 5G compliant via subsequent firmware upgrades. The SARA-N310 provides a comprehensive set of features and protocols that NB-IoT-based applications will benefit from, including TCP, HTTPS, CoAP, DTLS, and MQTT. With its ultra-low power consumption profile and the ability to configure voltage domains, the module is optimized to operate on a single cell primary battery for 10+ years, eliminating the need for frequent maintenance visits.

Product Specifications

Product Details

    • Part Number : SARA-N310
    • Manufacturer : u-blox AG
    • Description : Globally configurable Module for NB-IoT and 5G

General Parameters

    • Wireless Technology : NB-IoT
    • Region : Global
    • LTE/4G Category : NB-IoT
    • LTE/4G Band : B3, B5, B8, B20, B28
    • IoT : Yes
    • Package : 96 pin LGA
    • Interface : UART, GPIO, ADC
    • Datarate Download Link : 125 kbps
    • Datarate Uplink : 0.140 kbps
    • Votage : 2.6 to 4.2 V
    • Size : 16.0 x 26.0 x 2.4 mm
    • Weight : 3 g
    • ROHS : Yes