Fujitsu Component Limited’s beacons deliver simple solution for indoor navigation

Fujitsu, beacon

Fujitsu Component Limited’s beacon family employs Nordic’s nRF51822 SoC to provide wireless connectivity, sensor management, and over-the-air updating

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Tokyo, Japan-based Fujitsu Component Limited, has released a portfolio of beacons for indoor navigation, asset management, and advertising applications, employing Nordic’s multiple award-winning Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) nRF51822 System-on-Chip (SoC).

The family of beacons comprises the ‘FUJITSU Component Beacon’, compliant with Apple iBeacon™ and Google Eddystone™ formats for basic advertising applications; and the ‘FUJITSU Sensor Embedded Beacon’, available in three models all offering an embedded accelerometer and temperature sensor to track the beacons’ exact movements and to provide the user with environmental feedback. One model also provides additional datalogging functionality, employing the nRF51822 SoC’s generous 32kB RAM to store approximately 68 hours of data at 60 second intervals, or 42 days of data at 15 minute intervals. Another offers beacon embedded software for bidirectional communication with the enmo development platform.

All beacons come in a robust and compact 40 by 31 by 12mm form factor and can be easily attached to a specific location or object to provide contextually relevant ‘microlocation’ based content to a user’s Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone or tablet, thanks to the Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity provided by the nRF51822 SoC. The ultra low power operating characteristics of the Nordic SoC extend the beacons’ single CR2450 coin cell battery life to more than two years.

Fujitsu Component Limited provides users with a smartphone or tablet application and Windows-based tool for beacon programming and simple text-based command configuration. Setting and advertising data can be updated via over-the-air (OTA) functionality. The beacons also offer an on/off switch, as well as a slide switch to enable and disable beacon functions for security purposes. Beacon status can be checked via an LED indicator.
We selected the Nordic SoC because of the ARM processor, great radio characteristics, low power consumption, easy control, and its overall flexibility.
Takashi Arita, Fujitsu

Nordic’s nRF51822 is a powerful and flexible multiprotocol SoC ideally suited for Bluetooth LE and 2.4GHz ultra low-power wireless applications. The nRF51822 is built around a 32-bit ARM® Cortex™ M0 CPU, 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio, and 256kB/128kB Flash and 32kB/16kB RAM. The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S130 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 4.2 qualified concurrent multi-link protocol stack solution supporting simultaneous Central/Peripheral/Broadcaster/Observer role connections.

“The nRF51822 SoC controls the wireless connectivity, sensors, LED, and battery management in the beacons,” says Fujitsu Component Limited Director of Global Marketing, Takashi Arita. “We selected the Nordic SoC because of the ARM processor, great radio characteristics, low power consumption, easy control, and its overall flexibility.

“We enjoy close cooperation with Nordic teams worldwide and benefit from the technical assistance and information they provide.”

Shimane Fujitsu Limited is employing Fujitsu Component beacons to resolve issues with its pre-shipping repair process in its laptop PC and tablet manufacturing facility in Shimane, Japan. For real-time visualization of the process a beacon is attached to each product needing repair that is sent to the repair line, enabling all line workers to be aware of each product's location in the process, how long it has been there, and its shipping deadline. As a result, all employees can quickly understand the state of the entire process, allowing them to independently prioritize the repair of products that have close shipping deadlines, or to assist in processes that are causing delays. According to the company this has led to a reduction of extra transportation costs by 30 percent.

The company is also developing a new generation of beacons based on Nordic’s nRF52 Series SoCs with embedded sensors, energy harvesting solutions, and running the Wirepas scalable decentralized radio communications protocol for beacon management.