Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Prost! Digi toasts Xbee at Electronica

Steve Rogerson
November 20, 2018

Digi says its modules are so easy to use that customers often come up with novel applications that had not even been considered. And its director of product management Mark Tekippe (pictured) was keen to demonstrate one of the more popular for managing beer kegs at last week’s Electronica trade show in Munich.
A main push though was the addition of Bluetooth to its Xbee Zigbee modules.
“This means an existing Xbee customer can add Bluetooth so it can connect with a smartphone or tablet,” said Tekippe. “To do this otherwise means you would need two chips on the board.
A typical application would be bike-sharing companies using the module to track its bicycles and customers being able to unlock them using Bluetooth on their phones.
“On the cellular side, our Xbee modules have been very popular,” said Tekippe. “Earlier this year we introduced LTE Cat M and NB-IoT cellular modules. This lets the products be remotely monitored and controlled.”
At Electronica, this was being demonstrated by controlling a remote Xbee board from a smartphone on the stand. But more interest was being attracted by the bar on the stand serving real German beer.
This was demonstrating an application by SteadyServ, which has Xbee modules linked to a scale underneath its kegs. This is being deployed by bars and restaurants in the USA that let them monitor beer consumption, giving warnings of when kegs will need changing and providing data on which beers are selling when and where.
Tekippe admitted that there were probably other interesting applications out there the company did not know about.
“Our stuff is so easy to use that people buy it and we find out later they are using it for applications we never thought about,” he said.
Also on the stand, the company was previewing its Connectcore 8X embedded systems module that uses an NXP i.MX 8X processor and will be launched next year.
“People can use them in kiosks and payment terminals,” said Tekippe. “Security is a big part of our offering. We have to think ten years ahead on security.”