Bluetooth 5 beacon uses Nordic connectivity for workforce and service delivery monitoring


Stratosfy Marker employs Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC for wireless connectivity between service points and smartphones

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Ottawa, Canada-based electronics manufacturer, Stratosfy, has selected Nordic’s nRF52840 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) advanced multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the core processing power and wireless connectivity for its ‘Stratosfy Marker’ connected service delivery monitoring solution. 

The solution enables business owners and operations managers to ensure a workforce carries out its activities at precise locations by either registering their presence or unlocking location-based task lists when workers are within the device's communication range. For example, the product could be used in the commercial cleaning industry to ensure all the washrooms at a facility have been regularly attended by cleaning personnel.

The Stratosfy Marker suite of products comprises the 38g, 76 by 76 by 24mm ‘Stratosfy Marker-I’ and 54g, 94.5 by 43 by 19mm ‘Stratosfy Marker-IO’ devices. The Marker-I device is designed for indoor service points such as lobbies, elevators, washrooms, meeting rooms, and maintenance rooms. The IP65-rated water resistant ‘Stratosfy Marker-IO’ device is designed for both indoor service points and outdoor service points such as parking lots and garbage bin areas. 

We selected Nordic’s nRF52840 for our Stratosfy Marker solution due to the SoC’s compact form factor, low power consumption, generous Flash and RAM memory, and high-resolution RSSI
Madan Kanala, Stratosfy

RSSI using Bluetooth LE

The beacons can concurrently support Apple iBeacon™ and proprietary Stratosfy Telemetry formats, and once installed at a facility, can be used to facilitate distance calculation between a service point and an employee’s smartphone to an accuracy of two meters. The calculation is based on Received Signal Strength Indication (RSSI) using Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity provided by the Nordic SoC. The nRF52840 provides full Bluetooth 5 support including 2x on-air raw data bandwidth (2Mbps); 4x range; 8x broadcasting ability with advertising extensions that increase the advertising packet payload size to 251 bytes, and an improved channel coexistence algorithm. The chip features 95dBm RX sensitivity (at 1 Mbps Bluetooth LE) and an on-chip power amplifier boosts maximum output power of 8dBm for a total link budget of >103dBm. 

When the location data has been relayed from the device to the user’s Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone, an administrator or facility manager can monitor the activities being performed by personnel at predetermined locations from a proprietary iOS/Android app. Alternatively, the location/activity data and corresponding timestamp information can then be relayed from the smartphone to a Cloud-based platform for users to view via a web-based dashboard. 

Stratosfy Marker employs a 950mAh CR2477 battery to achieve battery life of 18-24 months before replacement, depending on use. This battery performance is achieved thanks in part to the ultra low power operating characteristics of the Nordic SoC. The nRF52840 has been engineered to minimize power consumption with a fully-automatic power management system that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with the nRF51 Series. 

Nordic’s nRF52840 advanced multiprotocol SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU), with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5.2, Long Range, Bluetooth mesh, ANT™, Thread, Zigbee, IEEE 802.15.4, NFC, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software), with 1MB Flash memory and 256kB RAM. The Dynamic Multiprotocol feature uniquely supports concurrent wireless connectivity of the protocols. The SoC features 12Mbps Full Speed USB.The nRF52840 SoC incorporates the ARM® CryptoCell-310 cryptographic accelerator offering best-in-class security for Cortex-M based SoCs. 

The nRF Connect SDK [Software Development Kit] is recommended for nRF52840 software development. The nRF Connect SDK integrates the Zephyr RTOS, supports applications using Bluetooth LE, Bluetooth mesh and Thread, and includes examples, Bluetooth LE profiles and driver support for all peripherals.

Bluetooth 5 Long Range

“We selected Nordic’s nRF52840 for our Stratosfy Marker solution due to the SoC’s compact form factor, low power consumption, generous Flash and RAM memory, and high-resolution RSSI,” says Madan Kanala, Founder and CEO, Stratosfy. “In addition, the nRF52840’s Bluetooth 5 Long Range capability and SDK support were also important features.

“The wealth of information available through the Nordic Infocenter, the active community on the Nordic DevZone forum, and the support from Nordic’s application engineers all aided our decision to use the company’s solution.”