Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Taiwan-based technology company, Good Way Technology Co., has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the wireless mesh connectivity for its ‘Smart Dock’. The solution is designed for IT management system integration enabling IT managers to remotely control and monitor IT devices and ports in the workplace without the need for an external host. Intended applications for the Smart Dock include offices, hospitals, and factories.
Smart Docks can be deployed across multiple workstations—for example, in office ‘hot desking’ environments—enabling staff to temporarily connect their peripheral devices such as a monitor or hard disk drive to the docking station via HDMI or USB port. IT managers can then monitor and control the peripheral devices via a centralized Cloud dashboard. The Smart Docks are wirelessly connected by a Nordic SoC-enabled Bluetooth mesh network (taking the load off the local Wi-Fi network and thus helping to avoid system crashes due to massive uplink connections) enabling the Smart Dock data to be relayed to the Cloud via dynamically selected ‘flexible uplink nodes’. Each Smart Dock is connected to the Bluetooth mesh network, but only selected units are used as uplink nodes to the Cloud
IT managers can then use an associated Android app software tool on a Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone or tablet, or alternatively the ‘Smart Dock Management Portal’ Cloud-based dashboard, to rapidly deploy large numbers of Smart Docks in the workplace. Managers can then control and monitor the usage of peripheral devices connected to each Smart Dock; set schedules to automatically upgrade firmware for docks being deployed for end-users; remotely update firmware in one click; monitor or enable/disable I/O ports (for example, USB ports, HDMI or DP Display ports, Ethernet ports, or Mic/Audio combined port), and receive push-notifications when a dock appears abnormal, or a peripheral is connected or disconnected to the Smart Dock.
In addition, Smart Docks can be used to extend the Bluetooth mesh network infrastructure to remote IoT sensors and/or tags for indoor positioning. For example, a temperature or occupancy sensor could be wirelessly connected via Bluetooth mesh to a Smart Dock, and that data relayed to the Cloud via the flexible uplink node to enable building management to remotely monitor and configure environmental controllers or lighting. In this instance, Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC provides the Bluetooth mesh connectivity among the Smart Docks, sensors, and tags. The nRF52832 supports Bluetooth mesh with the nRF5 SDK for Mesh, as well as providing Bluetooth 5 support.
Nordic’s nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC combines a powerful 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU), with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5.2, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certifed RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth LE applications. The S132 SoftDevice features Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, supports up to twenty connections, and enables concurrent role operation. Nordic’s software architecture includes a clear separation between the RF protocol software and Good Way Technology Co.’s application code. This simplifies development, and ensures the SoftDevice doesn’t get corrupted when developing, compiling, testing, and verifying the application code.
“Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC and mature mesh SDK [Software Development Kit] enabled us to build a reliable Bluetooth mesh network to fulfill the dynamic uplink network system for our Smart Dock solution,” says Robert Tsao, CEO of Good Way Technology Co.