We have the LW003-B Bluetooth LoRaWAN® Probe in stock that scans for Bluetooth LE devices and sends detected advertising via LoRaWAN®. This extends Bluetooth sensing up to 15Km.
LoRa provides relatively low throughout so it’s important not to send data for unwanted detected devices. The probe provides extensive filtering options to ensure only the data required for specific Bluetooth devices is sent via LoRa:
The two main ways of detecting beacons are smartphone apps and gateways. If you need a more custom or self-contained solution it’s possible to use single board computers such as the Raspberry Pi or smaller embedded computer boards such as ESP32. ESP32 boards have WiFi and Bluetooth LE and can be programmed using the relatively simple Arduino platform.
ESP32 boards such as the WiFi Kit 32 provide an easy and inexpensive way to process Bluetooth LE signals for local processing or sending to other systems via an Internet connection. Some such as WiFi Lora 32 (V2) also have LoRa wireless that allows relaying information up to 15Km.
The authors have devised a hybrid system to reduce the cost compared to fitting every animal with a GPS LPWAN (Sigfox) tracker. While some GPS LPWAN (Sigfox) trackers are used, Bluetooth beacon collars are also used to lower the overall cost.
We believe an increasing number of tracking and sensing systems will use hybrid technologies.
We have a new version of SensorLora™ that includes a display:
The display allows for debugging of problems during development or production. The display can also be re-purposed to provide solution-specific information.
SensorLora™ is our solution component that allows for scanning of sensor beacons data and sending up to 15Km via LoRa wireless. As with all narrowband solutions, SensorLoRa™ is designed for cases where sensors communicate small amounts of data infrequently. It is not suitable for applications that require high data rates such as audio or video.
Some of the latest innovations in beacons are related to how they are powered. When beacons can be self-powered it greatly reduces maintenance, improves convenience and removes wastage (of batteries).
As we have previously mentioned, Wiliot is pioneering the use of Radio Frequency (RF) energy harvesting. There’s a very recent Wiliot article Nano-Watt Computing that explains how Wiliot are harvesting RF energy in such as way as to charge a capacitor that, periodically charged, can be used to power a beacon.
Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) generate electricity directly from organic matter contained in aquatic sediment, soil, and domestic wastewater. The research describes UPEM, the first harvester that takes real-time measurements of temperature and humidity, CO2 sensing and provides iBeacon and LoRa transmission using a single MFC.
There’s a new insightful article at IHS Markit on Convergence of Wireless IoT Connectivity where it’s said that it’s unlikely that wireless IoT connectivity will be dominated by a one protocol or standard. While that might seem obvious, what’s less obvious is that, increasingly, multiple protocols are being used for IoT solutions.
The article observes:
“Almost all major chipset vendors such as Qualcomm, Cypress, Texas Instruments and Redpine Signals are offering wireless ICs with multi-protocol wireless connectivity allowing interoperability between wireless protocol and standards”
“It is most likely that these connectivity standards will increasingly work together to complement each other meeting the demands of IoT.”
Our SensorLoRa™ is one such solution, that combines the best of Bluetooth and LoRa.
After our post on SensorLoRa™, a few people asked us specifically about LoRa™ and LoRaWAN® in the United Kingdom. First we should point out that SensorLoRa™ uses LoRa™ and not LoRaWAN®. LoRa™ is the patented digital wireless data communication technology protocol while LoRaWAN® is a higher level communication protocol that runs on top of LoRa™ that provides extra features.
Both LoRa™ and LoRaWAN® use the 868Mhz radio frequency that is license exempt in the UK. This doesn’t mean you can use this frequency as you like. There is set a set of rules defined by EU ETSI EN300.220 (pdf) the most pertinent of which is the duty cycle that defines for how long a transmitter can transmit.
LoRaWAN® imposes extra rules and a more onerous usage policy on top of than that required by the EU rules and also requires the use of a LoRaWAN® server. In the UK, LoRaWAN® is usually synonymous with The Things Network although you can, for a fee, run your own LoRaWAN® Things Network.
For SensorLoRa™ we don’t need the extra facilities provided by LoRaWAN®. We just need point to point communication. Our customers also usually don’t like shared servers. Hence, we only use LoRa™ rather than LoRaWAN® thus providing a private, separate, minimal network with no fees that’s only constrained by duty cycle for LoRa™. This doesn’t preclude us using LoRaWAN® for custom solutions, it’s that in most cases it isn’t needed.
Bluetooth® and LoRa™ are often said to be competing wireless technologies when, in fact, they work very well together. Both work with small quantities of data and both are optimised for powering via batteries. Bluetooth is good for collecting data up to 100m away while LoRa is good for relaying that data up to 15km or more depending on geographic topology.
LoRa has traditionally been used for outside tracking, alarms systems, smart signs and utility metering. Using sensor beacons with LoRa enables sensing of things such as location, movement, temperature, humidity, air pressure, light, magnetism (hall effect), proximity (short range and human), fall detection, smoke, gas and water leak. This brings new opportunities for use of LoRa in retail, industry, life sciences, health, hospitality, visitor spaces, transportation and education.
SensorLoRa™ is our new solution component that allows sensor beacon data to be sent over LoRa. We have developed a SensorLoRa™ detector that sees sensor beacons and sends sensor data, via LoRa, to a SensorLoRa™ gateway. The gateway sends sensor data on to your server via HTTP(S). Alternatively, it can be sent to BeaconServer™ for storage or to BeaconRTLS™ for showing location and sensor information on plans or maps.
We have a new fact sheet that explains more about SensorLoRa™: