Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

STM dual-radio kit allows Sigfox development

Steve Rogerson
January 24, 2019



By supporting concurrent communications over Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), sub-1GHz wireless and Sigfox, a dual-radio development kit from ST Microelectronics gives flexibility to envision, build and connect IoT devices such as smart sensors, finders and trackers, which can be configured, updated, remotely monitored and tracked using various network topologies, protocols and services.
 
Built to unleash extra creativity for smart-home or smart-building scenarios as well as asset-tracking, energy-management, smart-farming and industrial monitoring and control uses, the Steval-FKI001V1 kit brings together the Swiss electronics company’s BlueNRG-1 Bluetooth system-on-chip and S2-LP sub-1GHz transceiver. The dual-radio architecture enables simultaneous operations on various RF bands and protocols such as BLE or proprietary 2.4GHz, sub-1GHz and Sigfox.
 
Users can create smart objects that connect to each other locally through mesh or point-to-point connections and support flexible ways of connecting to the cloud. For instance, a convenient sensor ecosystem for smart homes could be forged with local sensor networking leveraging either BLE or sub-1GHz wireless link and the whole system connected to the cloud through a local gateway or directly via a seamless Sigfox ubiquitous link, for surveillance or remote monitoring purposes – all based on the same kit.
 
The BlueNRG-1 Bluetooth 5.0 certified option provides setup, configuration or modification of device settings during installation or maintenance and permits monitoring of networked node sensors through an app running on any Android or iOS device.
 
The sub-1GHz S2-LP transceiver allows local networking as well as LPWAN installations including global Sigfox connectivity, which allows capabilities such as real-time notification of events. Moreover, users can leverage out-of-the-box Sigfox-ready networking to track and remotely localise devices or assets.
 
The kit can be expanded through its Arduino Uno V3 connectors with the STM X-Nucleo, including expansion boards with MEMS sensors, motor control, GNSS receivers or industrial input-output and power drivers.
 
The development kit is also interoperable with the recently announced BlueNRG-Tile board, to empower developers’ creativity to build end-to-end smart-sensor setups including the sensor node, local gateways and global cloud connectivity.
 
Leveraging the BlueNRG-1 SoC’s interfaces and low-power Arm Cortex-M0 core with 256kbyte of embedded programme memory, users can connect their own choice of external sensors and process the data acquired locally in real time.
 
The kit comes with a software development kit that simplifies development and compresses time to market while preserving flexibility, scalability and extensibility. It could also be used with the STM BlueNRG-Mesh software package to create networking on a large-scale installation. OTA firmware update is possible via the BLE connection.
 
Based on a ready-to-use WS2118 RF dual-radio module from Jorjin, the kit provides a pre-certified option for developers to move from early concept-feasibility phase to prototyping, field trials and volume production. The programmable low-power radio module has flexible power management and wake-on-event capability that allows multi-year lifetime from a small primary battery.