Digital Matter’s Yabby Edge Cellular uses Nordic low power nRF9160 SiP’s LTE-M/NB-IoT connectivity to transmit asset location data to Cloud platform

IoT technology company, Digital Matter, is using Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF9160 low power System-in-Package (SiP) with integrated LTE-M/NB-IoT modem and GPS in its ‘Yabby Edge Cellular’ indoor/outdoor asset tracking and management solution. Yabby Edge Cellular is a compact, lightweight, cellular LTE-M/NB-IoT geolocation device with IP67-rated weatherproof, ultra-rugged housing and multiple installation options for covertly securing the product to the assets being monitored. The asset tracker features a 3-axis accelerometer to intelligently detect movement and impact events.

Continuous location tracking

Yabby Edge Cellular uses the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) including GPS and BeiDou, combined with Wi-Fi positioning in the absence of a GNSS signal, enabling continuous location tracking, traceability, loss/theft prevention, and movement/impact detection of assets that frequently move between indoor and outdoor locations. The GNSS technology uses an Almanac file for assisted scans, with this file easily downloaded to the device via the cellular network. When no GNSS or Wi-Fi signal is available, cellular IoT connectivity enables location/position monitoring of assets. Tracked assets include pallets, containers, medical equipment, and livestock. Nordic’s nRF9160 SiP runs the proprietary software and algorithms that manage and perform the GNSS/Wi-Fi location lookups, and interfaces to the accelerometer for movement and high g-force (impact) events.

The Yabby Edge Cellular periodically transmits the whereabouts of the tracked item to Digital Matter’s ‘OEM Device Server’ Cloud-based platform via the cellular network. Stationary devices enter sleep mode until movement occurs to conserve battery life and limit data transfers.

 The Yabby Edge Cellular can also be managed using the Cloud platform, which allows resellers to manage and update all their devices over-the-air. The Nordic SiP supports over-the-air device firmware updates (OTA-DFUs) and remote debugging and parameter editing, as well as other device management functions.

The tracker achieves battery life of up to 10 years at once-daily position updates, or two years of battery life at once-hourly position updates. This represents around five times the battery life of the product’s previous iteration, ‘Yabby GPS’, according to the company. Combined with the advanced Cloud-based calculations, Yabby Edge Cellular’s significantly reduced power consumption is achieved thanks in part to the ultra low power characteristics of the Nordic SiP. The nRF9160 SiP is optimized for low power operation, supporting PSM and eDRX power saving modes. For example, in PSM mode, uploading 1 KB every 12 hours, the average current is 5.5 uA.

Cellular IoT functionality

“The nRF9160’s unique low power features play an absolutely critical role in extending the incredible battery life of Yabby Edge Cellular at even more aggressive tracking parameters for our customers. We spent nine months evaluating cellular modules from six different vendors and chose the Nordic solution primarily due to its low power capabilities,” says Ken Everett, CEO of Digital Matter.

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