Nordic Semiconductor today announces that ProMOS Technologies, a Hsinchu City, Taiwan-based technology company, has selected Nordic’s nRF9160 low power System-in-Package (SiP) with integrated LTE-M/NB-IoT modem and GPS to power the position, physiological monitoring, and SOS alerts for its ‘ProGuard Secure Positioning Watch’.
Designed primarily for use in sports/safety applications, the 40g, 43.5 by 41 by 13.2mm wearable provides built-in GPS positioning with cellular IoT low power wide area network (LPWAN) communications as well as heart rate/blood oxygen level monitoring. For example, the smart watch could be used to remotely monitor an athlete’s heart rate during training or a competitive sports event and/or send SOS alerts alongside GPS to first-responders in an emergency situation - all without the user needing to carry their smartphone or rely on Wi-Fi for Cloud connectivity. Cellular IoT leverages the secure, reliable, established, and widespread cellular network to enable Cloud connectivity for battery-constrained devices without the need for a gateway device such as a smartphone.
Automatic cellular IoT connectivity
Using the LTE CAT-M1 (“LTE-M”) cellular IoT connectivity enabled by Nordic’s nRF9160 SiP, the user’s physiological parameters, GPS location, and SOS alerts are automatically relayed from the independently operating ProGuard Secure Positioning Watch to both an associated smartphone app and directly to a Cloud-based server platform. Through the companion app, the participant’s friends, family members, or trainers can engage with the user’s performance by viewing live updates of their status and activity.
The ProGuard Secure Positioning Watch uses a 350mAh lithium battery which along with other components helps provide up to eight hours of battery life under continuous, full operation. Nordic’s nRF9160 is a compact (10 x 16 x 1mm LGA package) low power SiP complying with the LTE-M specification and with market-leading low power consumption.
The nRF9160 SiP is certified for global cellular IoT applications and comprises a multimode LTE-M/NB-IoT modem with integrated RF front end (RFFE), GPS, and power management in a compact package. The 64MHz processor includes 1MB Flash and 256kB RAM, a range of analog and digital peripherals, automated power and clock management, Arm TrustZone™ for trusted execution, and Arm CryptoCell 310 for application layer security. The processor communicates with the LTE modem through a BSD secure sockets API and supports the application layer protocol (for example CoAP, MQTT or LWM2M) and the application itself. The nRF9160 SiP’s LTE modem supports both SIM and eSIM, offers 700 to 2200MHz LTE band support, 23dBm output power, and single pin 50 Ω antenna- and UICC-interfaces. The LTE stack layers L1-L3, IPv4/IPv6, TCP/UDP, TLS/DTLS are part of the modem firmware.
Cellular IoT development tools
The SiP is supported by the nRF9160 DK, a precertified single board development kit and the nRF Connect SDK, a software development kit which includes application layer protocols, application examples, and LTE modem firmware offered as precertified and precompiled downloads. Target applications for the nRF9160 SiP include asset tracking, smart city, smart agriculture, industrial, smart metering, wearables, and medical solutions.
“Cellular IoT already has complete geographic and wide-area coverage features, and it is possible for these devices to connect to 5G in the future,” says Min-Liang Chen, Chairman and President of ProMOS Technologies.
“We selected Nordic’s nRF9160 for the ProGuard Secure Positioning Watch due to the SiP’s level of integration, multimode capability, large memory capacity, and wireless sensitivity.
“In terms of software, the nRF9160 provides key features including built-in Zephyr OS for multi-tasking, bootloader for OTA-DFU [over-the-air device firmware update] functionality, encrypt and decrypt algorithm, and useful network operation examples such as the MQTT [Message Queueing Telemetry Transport] network protocol.”