Bluetooth LE beacon provides targeted retail marketing solution


AIS’s DEVIO Beacon employs Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC to wirelessly push sales and marketing notifications to potential customers

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Bangkok, Thailand-based telecommunications provider, Advanced Info Service (AIS), has selected Nordic’s advanced multiprotocol Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-On-Chip (SoC) to provide the core processing power and wireless connectivity for its ‘DEVIO Beacon’. 

DEVIO Beacon is designed for use in retail marketing and transport applications, offices, or at major community events. It enables owners to broadcast sales and marketing information to a Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone when it is within a 10 to 25 meter radius of a beacon, using the Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity provided by the nRF52840 SoC. DEVIO Beacon is compatible with LINE, a popular mobile messaging platform in South East Asia with more than 49 million active users in Thailand, and can, for example, be used to offer product discounts, advertise sales, or promote complementary products via a ‘Line Official Account’. A key advantage of the solution is that it doesn’t require consumers to have a retailer’s specific app installed on their smartphone.

We selected the nRF52840 SoC largely due to its reliability and stability
Arakin Rakchittapoke, AIS

Simple to install and configure

The beacons can be installed and set up by non-technical personnel using AIS’ campaign management platform ‘DEVIO ConNEXT’. From the web-based platform the business owner can easily configure their marketing campaign to set the length of the campaign period, determine the frequency of broadcast messages, create individual campaigns for different store locations, and choose to send messages in a variety of formats including text, images, videos, and links.  

The DEVIO Beacon employs three CR2450 coin cell batteries, to achieve an expected battery life of approximately 18 months even with frequent content updates, thanks in part to the ultra low power operating characteristics of the Nordic nRF52840 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), featuring 8dBm output power -95dBm RX sensitivity for a link budget of 103dBm, with 1MB Flash memory and 256kB RAM. This provides the DEVIO Beacon with both greater data capacity and the ability to transmit the RF signals over an extended range. An Arm CryptoCell-310 cryptographic accelerator offers 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. The SDK also includes a migration of Nordic’s Bluetooth SoftDevice Controller from the company’s proven SoftDevices used with the nRF52 Series. The nRF5 SDK can also be used for development with Nordic’s S113, S132 and S140 SoftDevices Nordic’s Bluetooth RF protocol stacks.

Reliable and stable SoCs

“We selected the nRF52840 SoC largely due to its reliability and stability,” says Arakin Rakchittapoke, Head of Novel Engine Execution Department, AIS. “The Arm CPU capability, large memory and power consumption were also key considerations.

“In terms of the assistance we received from Nordic, the SDK and reference designs were key in helping create this device. Moreover, there was an active support contact from Nordic to ensure that we could bring our design to life.”