Nordic Semiconductor, the manufacturer of the System on a Chip (SoC) in many beacons, has published the latest online issue of Wireless Quarter Magazine. It showcases the many uses of Nordic SoCs.
The latest issue of the magazine highlights the increasing use of IoT. Nordic Semiconductor has been known for enabling Bluetooth and cellular solutions and with their recent acquisition of Imagination Technologies this now extends to WiFi.
The magazine covers many usecases including:
Bluetooth connected prosthetics
CHIP smart home
There’s also an informative article exploring the usefulness of patents.
When people think about IoT sensors they tend to envisage, for experimenters, discrete electronic components connected to single board computers (SBC) or for industrial, custom sensors connected to microcontrollers.
The problem for experimenters is the solution is fragile and needs to be evolved into a custom electronic design before it can be used in production. For industrial solutions, they tend to be proprietary, require deeply invasive installation and very expensive.
Sensor beacons provide an easy, ready-made solution that have the following advantages:
They provide a solution that’s equally as good for experimentation as it is for the final production
This gateway detects Bluetooth LE advertising and sends it on to your chosen HTTP(S) or MQTT server via WiFi or Ethernet. There’s a configurable upload period and filtering by RSSI, Bluetooth Service, MAC address (including partial address) and iBeacon. It’s powered by Ethernet PoE or micro USB. It supports up to 240 advertising detections per second when using Ethernet.
It demonstrates the use of IoT to revolutionise farming. A system was implemented to provide for:
Optimum water and fertiliser use
Better quality and yield of crops
Reduction in production costs
Reduction in negative impacts on the health and environment
Sensors allow calibration of irrigation and fertilisation based on crop type, growth phase, soil and environmental conditions. The traceability allows monitoring of the movements of food products from the field, through storage to end consumers.
Bluetooth LE sensor tags are used for monitoring conditions during storage and transportation so as to assess freshness, integrity, as well as to provide for traceability.
The system enables enables management strategies that anticipate or delay crop collection, fine tuning the irrigation/fertilisation timing based on customers’ requests. This allows farmers to achieve economic benefits and reduce agri-food waste.
It never been easier to collect Bluetooth sensor information and store it in the cloud. The INGICS gateways come with step-by-step instructions how to set up AWS IoT Core, Azure IoT Hub and Google IoT Core.
In a previous post we asked ‘What is Productivity?’ and shared how the first wave of IT productivity related to cloud computing, customer relationship management (CRM) systems and enterprise resource planning (ERP) was only taken up by the top 5% frontier companies.
We explained how IoT, 4IR and AI machine learning will improve productivity but again, likely only for frontier companies. The difference this time is that the newer technologies will have more far reaching consequences. The frontier companies will further extend their reach over the laggards. The majority of the 5% are large companies with large budgets who are able to engage consultances such as IBM, Deloitte, Atos, PwC, WiPro, Accenture and KPMG. But what of the small to medium enterprises (SMEs)? Can they compete?
In most countries, a large proportion of companies are small to medium size. For example, in the UK, the Office for National Statistics says 98.6% of manufacturers are (SMEs). These organisations are more price sensitive and usually don’t have the luxury of significant financial resources for engaging the top consultancies and implementing their expensive solutions. Small and medium sized organisations have previously found it difficult to digitise due to the lack of availability of reasonably priced solutions.
However, solutions doesn’t have to be expensive. Low cost sensors such as Bluetoooth beacons, motion cameras, consumer AR can be combined with affordable cloud services to create solutions on a ‘shoestring’ budget. This is the aim of the University of Cambridge and University of Nottingham’s ‘Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring’ initiative. The Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) is helping manufacturers benefit from digitalisation without excessive cost and risk. View the project’s latest news and communicate with them via Twitter.
“The manufacturing industry is absolutely ripe for potential with Bluetooth mesh”
“Industrial sensors and smart buildings among other use cases, are expected to outpace the overall Bluetooth LE market by 3X through 2022”
Research and Markets
The article mentions preventive maintenance, air quality sensing, asset tracking, robot control systems and traditional air conditioning as possible applications for Bluetooth Mesh. However, a key insight is that once a mesh network is in place it can be used for applications beyond those originally envisaged.
“The Priority Matrix shows that many IoT technologies are 5 years from mainstream adoption. However only one innovation profile will reach maturity in 2 years, indoor location for assets.
So why is ‘indoor location for assets’ more likely to achieve mainstream adoption sooner than other technologies? It’s because there are clear benefits for most companies and off-the-shelf software such as our BeaconRTLS™ is already available.
Our work with companies shows they are nevertheless cautious. Companies are taking time to understand the competing asset tracking technologies and are performing, sometimes lengthy, trials to determine how new systems will integrate with existing systems. They are considering the implications of SAAS vs on-premise solutions, the availability of second-sourced beacon hardware and the compromises of accuracy vs system complexity and cost.