Wireless soil monitoring solution supports sustainable green assets using Nordic Semiconductor Bluetooth LE connectivity


SoiLiNQ employs the nRF52840 SoC to provide reliable and low power wireless connectivity between soil sensors and Internet gateway

Canadian eco-friendly technology company, Ginkgo Sustainability, has launched a wireless soil monitoring solution. The ‘SoiLiNQ™’ system uses a range of sensors to remotely monitor green assets such as living walls, green roofs, landscapes, and crops to support sustainable construction, real estate, agriculture, and landscaping businesses.  

The solution comprises multifunction, IP67-rated ‘SoiLiNQ Sensors’ powered by Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52840 SoC, and a ‘SoiLiNQ Hub’ gateway employing Nordic module partner Ezurio’s (previously Laird Connectivity) ‘Sentrius™ MG100 Gateway2019, also supervised by Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC. The sensors measure soil moisture, air temperature, humidity, and other variables to create a detailed survey of the current conditions of the environment. 

Long range Bluetooth LE connectivity 

This data is relayed from the sensors to the gateway using Bluetooth® LE wireless connectivity provided by the Nordic SoC. The gateway in turn sends the data to the Cloud, where users can access it via the ‘SoiLiNQ’ web application. This, for example, enables real estate management or landscaping service providers to remotely inspect the health and performance of the green roof or wall, and automatically be notified when these green assets require attention. This eliminates many on-site inspections and improves the efficacy of those that are needed, thereby lowering maintenance costs, and extending asset life. 

“SoiLiNQ provides our customers with transparent, scientifically sound, actionable business intelligence that lowers their costs,” says Sean Militello, Director, Technology & Innovation at Ginkgo Sustainability. “Our goal is to allow more companies to enact and support sustainable practices. We also want to help the agriculture industry improve resource usage, crop quality, and yields.” 
The Nordic SoC punches well above its weight in terms of performance, helping us to deliver a sound offering at a compelling price.
Sean Militello, Director, Technology & Innovation at Ginkgo Sustainability

Powerful processor and long battery life 

In addition to providing low latency wireless connectivity between the sensors and the gateway, the nRF52840 SoC also provides ample computational resource to supervise the sensors and manage the sensor data thanks to its powerful 64 MHz, Arm® Cortex®-M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU). The sensors are powered by a 3000 mAh Li-Po cell, providing at least 18 months of battery life between recharges, thanks in part to the ultra low power consumption and fully automatic power management system of the Nordic SoC.  

“For battery operated devices, power is always a primary constraint,” says Militello. “We wanted our sensors to collect and report data over long periods of time without a recharge. The nRF52840 provided that. 

“We also want to work with businesses of all sizes, and the Nordic SoC punches well above its weight in terms of performance, helping us to deliver a sound offering at a compelling price.”