Nordic Semiconductor joins Precise Locationing Alliance's Indoor Locationing working group

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Nordic will collaborate with fellow members to develop indoor locationing solutions and services 

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that it has joined the Indoor Locationing Group of the Precise Locationing Alliance. Founded in 2019, the Precise Locationing Alliance has more than 120 member companies including industry heavyweights such as CAICT, Huawei, ZTE. The alliance aims to build a platform for its members to cooperate on indoor and outdoor locationing solutions and services across China.  

Indoor locationing solutions rising 

The goal of the Indoor Locationing Group is to bring together the collective resources of chip makers, developers, and end users to create an open platform that will boost the adoption of indoor locationing solutions based on technologies including Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE), ultra wideband (UWB), cellular, Wi-Fi, 4G, and 5G. China Mobile Research Institute (CMRI) is the head of the Indoor Locationing Group.  

Members of the Indoor Locationing Group are collaborating to build a prototype of the first indoor, decimeter accurate, positioning network based on a combination of cellular, Bluetooth LE Angle-of-Arrival (AoA), and edge computing technologies. Several applications equipped with Indoor Locationing Group member technology have already been commercialized. 

This alliance and the accurate location services it will provide will enable end users to build highly accurate locationing systems 
Leon Wu, Nordic Semiconductor 

The first ‘5G+AoA’ pilot project is a smart logistics management project in Daxing, Beijing. The warehouse covers an area of 24,000 square meters with shelving up to 15 meters, with high density picking operations demanding centimeter level positioning accuracy. Both the shelving and workers are fitted with Bluetooth LE devices that broadcast location data to a Bluetooth LE-powered base station that in turn relays the data to 5G pico base stations in the facility. The system provides supervisors with real time, decimeter accurate location data for precise warehouse picking operations. Another recent project saw the deployment of a smart subway system in the Guangzhou Tower subway station. ZTE, a member of Indoor Locationing Group, worked with China Mobile’s Guangzhou branch to set up the 5G+AOA station and online system. The system can offer real-time customer volume analysis and asset tracking, which can increase the efficiency of station management. 

“Nordic Semiconductor is a key member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group [SIG] and the leading company in Bluetooth LE AoA technology,” the Indoor Locationing Group of the Precise Locationing Alliance said. “Nordic’s membership of the alliance will provide fellow members with access to Nordic’s expertise for the seamless roll-out of this technology across a range of precise locationing applications.”  

Bluetooth Direction Finding support 

Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF5340, nRF52833, nRF52820, and nRF52811 Systems-on-Chip (SoCs) all support Bluetooth Direction Finding, a version of the Bluetooth SIG core specification that provides improved accuracy in real time locationing and indoor positioning systems. The SoC’s radios are capable of all Bluetooth Direction Finding features enabling positioning applications that not only rely on received signal strength indication (RSSI) but also signal direction. Their generous memory allocation supports both receiver and transmitter roles for AoA and Angle-of-Departure (AoD) applications. Nordic recently announced the successful implementation of this technology in a Bluetooth LE AoA positioning system for China-based tech company, BlueIoT. The BlueIoT system employs the nRF52833 SoC to provide sub-meter location accuracy for indoor use in hospitals, supermarkets, or exhibitions, as well as for tracking in warehouses and factories. 

“Nordic is pleased to join Precise Locationing Alliance and its Indoor Locationing Group, a move that will promote a more collaborative, industry-wide approach to the development and adoption of this technology that will benefit chip makers, developers, and end users alike,” says Leon Wu, Regional Sales Manager, North & East China, Nordic Semiconductor. “This alliance and the accurate location services it will provide will enable end users to build highly accurate locationing systems that are increasingly in demand by all our customers.” 

CMRI is the research division of China Mobile, the country’s leading telco services provider, operating the world’s largest telecommunications network with a customer base of 950 million mobile customers and 187 million broadband customers.