Nordic SoCs enable smart shelf labeling system to remotely update product pricing


Minew ESL uses Nordic’s nRF52832 and nRF52810 SoCs for Bluetooth 5 connectivity between smart labels and gateway

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Shenzhen Minew Technologies Co., Ltd., a China-based technology company, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® 5.2/Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) general purpose multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) and nRF52810 SoC to provide the wireless connectivity for its ‘Minew ESL’ (Electronic Shelf Label). The smart shelf labeling system enables an operator such as a retailer to automatically update individual shelf price labels across multiple stores/branches or in certain geographic locations from a central point. Dynamic displays can include pricing, product information, barcodes, QR codes, and more. 

Wireless pricing updates

Minew ESL comprises the proprietary ‘ESL Cloud Platform’, the ‘G1’ gateway integrating the nRF52832, and the electronic shelf labels with different dimensions each integrating the nRF52810. In operation, pricing commands can be sent wirelessly from the web-based dashboard on a PC to gateways located at a store, from which point the commands are then relayed to the smart labels using the Bluetooth 5 connectivity provided by the Nordic SoCs. 

When we evaluated the Nordic SoCs for our design, the power consumption, radio sensitivity, and competitive pricing were key to our decision
Melinda Huang, Shenzhen Minew Technologies

Designed to replace traditional price tags that need to be manually updated, Minew ESL allows users to achieve benefits such as improved price visibility, reduction in pricing errors, promotional capabilities, labor cost reduction, and an enhanced customer experience. In addition, the smart labels can be used as beacons for marketing to consumers in close proximity via compatible iOS/Android apps on the consumer’s Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone. The labels also report back to the gateway and the Cloud platform, allowing retailers to remotely monitor and manage their stock and the precise positioning of products on store shelves. Aside from the retail sector, the solution can also be used for applications across warehouses and logistics, healthcare, and smart offices. 

Five year battery life

The Minew ESL smart labels use lithium batteries to achieve battery life of more than five years before replacement, based on five updates per day. This longevity is achieved thanks in part to the ultra low power characteristics of the Nordic SoC. The nRF52810 has been engineered to minimize power consumption with features such as the 2.4GHz radio’s 4.6mA peak RX/TX currents and a fully-automatic power management system that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with Nordic’s nRF51 Series SoCs. 

Nordic’s nRF52810 multiprotocol SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor, with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5.2, ANT™ and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) featuring reduced radio energy consumption, with 192kB Flash memory and 24kB RAM. The SoC offers up to +4dBm power output and -96dBm sensitivity (1 Mbps Bluetooth LE) for a link budget of 100dBm. The radio’s peak power draw is only 5.8 mA TX (0 dBM, 1 Mbps Bluetooth LE) and 6.1 mA RX (1 Mbps) and the SoC’s current draw is as low as 0.3 μA in System OFF (no RAM retention, wake on reset). 

The nRF52832 SoC used in the gateway combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm Cortex M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU), with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5.2, Bluetooth mesh, ANT™, NFC, and 2.4GHz proprietary RF protocol software) featuring 4dBm output power and -96dBm RX sensitivity for a link budget of 100 dBm, with 256/512kB Flash memory and 32/64kB RAM. 

“When we evaluated the Nordic SoCs for our design, the power consumption, radio sensitivity, and competitive pricing were key to our decision,” says Melinda Huang, Vice Sales Director, Shenzhen Minew Technologies. “Once we began development the Nordic SDK [Software Development Kit] helped us a lot with our application code.”