Nordic-powered cellular IoT asset tracker features claimed battery life of over 10 years


Digital Matter’s Remora3 uses Nordic low power nRF9160 SiP for accurate and power-efficient asset tracking

A recently launched cellular IoT asset tracker developed by Digital Matter supports magnetic tamper detection and enables market-leading battery life, according to the company. Featuring an IP68- and IK07-rated waterproof, ultra rugged housing to survive in tough work environments, the 430 g, 222 by 91 by 41 mm ‘Remora3’ is a battery-powered geolocation device. It is designed to track assets when they’re on the move and enter sleep mode when stationary to conserve power. The Remora3 features a highly accurate 3-axis accelerometer for movement detection, high-G events, tip detection, and rotation counting, as well as a recovery mode for real-time tracking of stolen or missing assets.

Equipped with the Nordic nRF9160 low power System-in-Package (SiP) with integrated LTE-M/NB-IoT modem and GNSS, the Remora3 employs high precision, low power GNSS including GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, and QZSS to work out its position with enhanced accuracy and faster location fixes, says the company. The Remora3 intelligently transmits the whereabouts of the tracked item via an LTE-M or NB-IoT network. When equipped with a roaming SIM, it also supports automatic roaming between LTE-M and NB-IoT networks with minimal delay and marginal impact on battery life or performance.

Near real-time tracking

“The Remora3 is capable of ‘second-by-second’ (near real-time) tracking—which is unique on a battery-powered device—to support extended aggressive reporting requirements including highly accurate speed reporting, as well as run hour and odometer monitoring on mobile assets,” explains Ken Everett, CEO of Digital Matter.

The Nordic nRF9160 offers excellent low power cellular operation, caters for both LTE-M and NB-IoT, and allows us to put our application code on to the SiP, thereby doing away with the need for an external microcontroller
Ken Everett, Digital Matter

“The solution is perfect for any asset which requires aggressive long-term tracking with ‘low touch’ requirements – for example, tracking heavy machinery that doesn’t have an easily accessible power source. Specifically, there has been a large demand for Remora3 in the trailer tracking space.”

The device employs the computational power of the Nordic nRF9160 SiP’s 64 MHz Arm® Cortex®-M33 application processor to oversee the sensors and collate the relevant data. The dedicated application processor runs the Digital Matter firmware that manages and performs the GNSS location lookups, and interfaces to the accelerometer for movement and high-G events.

Common use cases for the solution include proximity tags, temperature and humidity sensors, ultrasonic range sensors, and more. For example, the Remora3 could be used for cold chain monitoring or tracking and reporting on the load/unload status of trolleys at airports.

Exceptional battery life

Powered by two D Cell Lithium Thionyl Chloride (LTC) batteries (for extreme temperature operation), the tracker features a “deploy once” battery life allowing it to perform typical movement-based tracking for over 10 years. Even for the most aggressive tracking performance, the device is expected to provide two years of operation. This longevity is achieved thanks in part to the ultra low power characteristics of the nRF9160 SiP.

“Exceptional battery life is a key component in the success of the Remora3, and we are confident this will be the longest battery-life asset tracker on the market,” claims Everett.

In addition, the Remora3 can operate as a Bluetooth® 5.2 gateway integrating with third-party Bluetooth sensors for tagged asset management and sensor monitoring.

Digital Matter provides an online configuration management platform, ‘Device Manager’, which allows users to remotely change device parameters and device settings such as reporting intervals, firmware, and GPS settings. The Nordic SiP supports over-the-air device firmware updates (OTA-DFUs).

“The Nordic nRF9160 offers excellent low power cellular operation, caters for both LTE-M and NB-IoT, and allows us to put our application code on to the SiP, thereby doing away with the need for an external microcontroller,” says Everett.

“We have a great relationship with Nordic and the technical support is excellent. We find that the level of attention to detail at Nordic matches Digital Matter’s requirements.”