Asset tracker monitors location and position of valuable shipments

15-09-2020 | Nordic | Semiconductors

Nordic Semiconductor has announced that Crosby Technologies is employing Nordic's nRF9160 low power SiP with integrated LTE-M/NB-IoT modem and GPS in its 'ShipSafe' asset tracker. ShipSafe allows users to remotely monitor the location and condition of valuable shipments through mature and widespread cellular infrastructure.

This asset tracker monitors critical items including biomedical equipment, ventilators, human organs for transplant, and high-end industrial equipment. In normal operation, the product stays in an extremely low power sleep mode until remote activation by the user from a companion iOS or Android app. When the device wakes up, it employs Wi-Fi tracking to determine its position within 10m and reports that location utilising the nRF9160 SiP's LTE-M connectivity. This method of tracking raises the device's battery life to approximately two years on a single charge.

The device takes advantage of the nRF9160's compact dimensions (10mm x 16mm x 1mm) to include the SiP, a Wi-Fi chipset, sensors, LED, peripheral components, battery and Wi-Fi and Cellular antennas into a device measuring only 120mm x 75mm x 16mm and weighing 145g. The SiP's 64MHz Arm Cortex-M33 processor delivers sufficient computational power to not just run the LTE-M cellular connectivity but also all other product functionality. The 1MB Flash and 256KB RAM supports fast response and complex application software.

The SiP is certified for global cellular IoT applications, including a dedicated application processor and memory, multimode LTE-M/NB-IoT modem with integrated RF front end, GPS, and power management in a compact package. The SiP includes the Arm M33 processor, Flash and RAM, a range of analog and digital peripherals, automated power and clock management, Arm TrustZone for trusted execution, and Arm CryptoCell 310 for application layer security.

"It's the combination of features like the processor and memory, speed of operation, and low power consumption that makes the nRF9160 a winning product. It has truly been a game-changer for us," says Jerry Pietroforte, chairman of Crosby Technologies. "Compared with a competing cellular product we used previously in development, the nRF9160 draws less power by a significant order of magnitude because of the speed at which it performs location data transactions. The SiP is far and away, the fastest solution we've tested."

"The Nordic SDK is extensive, and it's easy to build on the feature set that's included with it," says Chuck Link, CTO and president of M2MD. "That accelerated our development program because we were able to take the SDK's asset tracking-features and then just customise the software for our particular use case."

"When we designed the nRF9160 SiP we knew that in addition to the cellular IoT connectivity, the product's compact dimensions, power consumption, application processor, memory, and GPS functionality would be important to customers building applications in the logistics segment," says Geir Langeland Nordic Semiconductor's director of sales and marketing. "What Crosby Technologies has done with ShipSafe is develop hardware, software, and a business model that makes maximum use of the capabilities of the nRF9160 to develop a compelling asset-tracking solution."

By Natasha Shek