Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

U-Blox and Bluvision demo NB-IoT for cold-chain monitoring

Steve Rogerson
September 26, 2017

U-Blox and Bluvision showed how NB-IoT can be used for cold-chain temperature monitoring and condition monitoring at this month’s Mobile World Congress Americas in San Francisco.
Swiss company U-Blox featured a live NB-IoT LTE Cat NB1 demo using its Sara-R410M-02B configurable LTE Cat M1 and NB1 multi-mode module with worldwide coverage.
U-Blox partnered with Bluvision, a provider of scalable end-to-end IoT platforms, to display cold-chain temperature monitoring and condition monitoring using Bluvision’s BluCell. BluCell is a narrowband gateway that uses Bluetooth to monitor hundreds of beacons wirelessly, each measuring temperature, vibration analysis, door openings, location and movement. It is is connected via the Sara module to T-Mobile’s network, expected to be the first NB-IoT network in North America.
"U-Blox has partnered with Bluvision to showcase one of the first live NB-IoT demos of a cellular module on T-Mobile's NB-IoT network," said Patty Felts, product manager for cellular at U-Blox. “We are able to illustrate how effective NB-IoT is in transmitting sensor information over the network in a use case that is typical for many IoT applications.”
The module is expected to be certified and available in early 2018 for T-Mobile’s NB-IoT network, which is expected to launch nationwide in mid-2018.
For the demo, Bluvision’s Beeks beacons with sensors for temperature, vibration, magnetic fields and ambient light were attached to a cooler. The beacons transmit telemetry data, which include a real-time and historical temperature log for the cooler and the vibration data from the compressor motor in the cooler, to the Bluzone cloud.
"NB-IoT is a game changer when it comes to the industrial applications of IoT,” said Jimmy Buchheim, CEO of Bluvision. “Through this capability, we are able to provide our customers with the ability to do remote installations of our sensor network, without the need for wifi and any other connectivity, at an extremely low cost. As a product, U-Blox has the right module that works with all cellular narrow band technologies."
Sara-R410M measures 16 by 26 mm and provides both LTE Cat M1 and Cat NB1 in a single hardware package, as well as software-based configurability for all deployed global bands.