Ultra low power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA (OSE: NOD) today announces that Swiss active RFID asset tracking specialist, AgoraBee, has launched a low cost active RFID global mobile asset tracking solution that AgoraBee claims allows everything from high-value trailers, trucks, and their cargo (e.g. temperature) to everyday items such as ladders and tools to be cost-effectively monitored anywhere in the world for a per item cost as low as tens instead of hundreds of dollars.
In operation, the DONGLE Active RFID Reader solution comprises a small (83 x 59 x 20mm), lightweight (60g) reader that employs Nordic Semiconductor proprietary ISM band nRF24L01+ (2.4GHz) and nRF905 (868/915MHz) transceivers to communicate with dual frequency, matchbox-sized ‘Krypton’ active RFID tags within a range of 50m (2.4GHz) up to 500m (868MHz).
These tags continuously communicate ‘I’m here’ status info (typically once every 10 seconds) to a truck (or office) side DONGLE reader that can automatically monitor the presence of all tags regardless of their transmitting carrier frequency. The DONGLE reader is designed to be compatible with all major brands of industrial GPS tracker and simply plugs into these units via an RS232 cable for data and a standardized 3-5V power cord. The reader is also said to connect seamlessly to mainstream GPS tracking units that tag GPS position to inventory data before it is sent via GPRS to (typically) remote application cloud servers.
An AgoraBee-developed event management engine and radio protocol is said to ensure both reliable operation and security, allied with the use of a unique ID code for each tag and advanced networking utilizing the nRF24L01+ and nRF905’s ability to rapidly wake from – and drop back into – an ultra low power sleep mode (as low as 900nA) within milliseconds (see ‘About nRF24L01+’ and ‘About nRF905’ below for more info). AgoraBee says several hundred tags can be used in close proximity and run from regular CR2032 coin cells (watch batteries) for between five (Krypton) to 10-years (Krypton+) due to the low application duty cycle.
“Large financial gains in operating efficiency can be realized by any business that relies on certain key mobile assets to operate,” comments AgoraBee R&D Director, Dr. Louis Harik. “This can range of high value trucks and trailers down to simple ladders and small but valuable hand-held tools.”
Harik continues: “What our DONGLE Active RFID solution is designed to do is remove both the cost and complexity from mobile asset tracking to allow practically any mobile asset to be tracked and monitored either standalone within a warehouse or factory over a range of up to 500 meters, or in conjunction with any mainstream GPS tracking unit for global coverage anywhere in the world.”
“Although the interoperability of Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ ultra low power wireless technologies tend to grab the headlines, there remains a sizeable market for dedicated proprietary RF solutions that do not need to communicate wirelessly with any other devices than themselves,” says Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor’s Director of Sales & Marketing. “Proprietary wireless technology can also be aggressively customized and optimized for the individual needs of an application, including ultra low power consumption, cost, and operational reliability in specific operating environments.