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U-Blox and Bluvision partner on MWC Americas demo

Steve Rogerson
September 13, 2017



At this week’s Mobile World Congress Americas in San Francisco, Swiss company U-Blox featured a live NB-IoT LTE Cat NB1 demo using its Sara-R410M-02B configurable LTE Cat M1 and NB1 multi-mode module with worldwide coverage.
 
U-Blox partnered with Bluvision, a provider of scalable end-to-end IoT platforms, to display cold-chain temperature monitoring and condition monitoring using Bluvision’s BluCell. BluCell is a narrowband gateway that uses Bluetooth to monitor hundreds of beacons wirelessly, each measuring temperature, vibration analysis, door openings, location and movement. It is is connected via the Sara module to T-Mobile’s network, expected to be the first NB-IoT network in North America.
 
"U-Blox has partnered with Bluvision to showcase one of the first live NB-IoT demos of a cellular module on T-Mobile's NB-IoT network," said Patty Felts, product manager for cellular at U-Blox. “We are able to illustrate how effective NB-IoT is in transmitting sensor information over the network in a use case that is typical for many IoT applications.”
 
The module is expected to be certified and available in early 2018 for T-Mobile’s NB-IoT network, which is expected to launch nationwide in mid-2018.
 
For the demo, Bluvision’s Beeks beacons with sensors for temperature, vibration, magnetic fields and ambient light were attached to a cooler. The beacons transmit telemetry data, which include a real-time and historical temperature log for the cooler and the vibration data from the compressor motor in the cooler, to the Bluzone cloud.
 
"NB-IoT is a game changer when it comes to the industrial applications of IoT,” said Jimmy Buchheim, CEO of Bluvision. “Through this capability, we are able to provide our customers with the ability to do remote installations of our sensor network, without the need for wifi and any other connectivity, at an extremely low cost. As a product, U-Blox has the right module that works with all cellular narrow band technologies."
 
Sara-R410M measures 16 by 26 mm and provides both LTE Cat M1 and Cat NB1 in a single hardware package, as well as software-based configurability for all deployed global bands.
 
U-Blox has enhanced its series of Nina stand-alone short-range radio modules. The Nina B1 Bluetooth LE modules are now Bluetooth 5 qualified, and the compact Nina-W101 and W102 wifi and Bluetooth wireless modules give developers access to their microcontrollers so they can run their applications right in the module.
 
 
 
The B1 modules can be upgraded to run Bluetooth 5 via Nordic Semiconductor’s software development kit. Based on Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52832 chip, the modules offer Bluetooth 5 features such as higher throughput and advertisement extensions. Improved data rate and enhanced data transfer capacity cut power consumption and open application avenues including wireless point of sale printers and telematics.
 
The W101 and W102 open up the microcontroller of the W1 stand-alone multi-radio module to developers, allowing them to load their own applications into the modules, saving hardware cost and space in end devices. The modules support wifi, Bluetooth and Bluetooth LE as well as a slew of wired interfaces. They are for applications such as industrial automation, telematics, smart cities and buildings, point-of-sales, and health devices.
 
“With this latest expansion of the Nina family, we’re pleased to provide our customers with increased connectivity and flexibility to help them stay ahead of the game,” said Pelle Svensson, market development manager at U-Blox. “We hope to keep up the pace with more announcements in the coming months.”
 
U-Blox’s Sara-R410M module has been certified for AT&T's LTE-M network in Mexico and the USA to support IoT applications such as utility meters, telematics, asset and vehicle tracking, security systems, building automation, smart lighting, and parking sensors.