Solar-powered IoT Asset Tracker Operate Perpetually on Solar Energy Alone

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Solar-powered IoT Asset Tracker Operate Perpetually on Solar Energy Alone

Nordic Semiconductor announced that Dutch engineering and design specialist, SODAQ is using a Nordic System-in-Package (SiP) in the world’s first solar-powered, perpetual operation cellular IoT asset tracker.

The SODAQ TRACK SOLAR device measures only 80 x 80 x 11.5 mm and weighs just 100 g. In low duty cycle applications (up to eight pings a day), the asset tracker will operate perpetually on harvested solar energy alone – an interesting solution for a wide range of logistics, offshore, site management, and general asset tracking applications.
Integrated into the tracker are a light sensor, an accelerometer, a temperature sensor, and status LEDs. The device is powered by a 0.5 W solar panel. It also offers a positional accuracy of 5-20m for GPS, 10-50m for Wi-Fi, and over 100 meter for cellular.

As the IoT moves into having hundreds of billions of devices installed worldwide, batteries suddenly become an important issue,

comments SODAQ CEO, Jan Willem Smeenk. He continues: “First there is the cost issue of having to check and replace batteries which in large IoT installations quickly become the single biggest cost factor over an IoT product or sensor’s lifetime. And this cost factor will become even more significant as the data subscription costs for cellular continue to fall to what I predict will be around $1 a year before long.

Second there is the environmental impact of having billions of battery waste a year. To me, therefore, the future of IoT really does need to be batteryless and therefore self-powered wherever possible. And so the SODAQ TRACK SOLAR is a firm a step in that direction for cellular IoT.

The SODAQ TRACK SOLAR can operate without a battery by using available hardware and software in the best possible way:

This includes the low power characteristics of the Nordic nRF9160 SiP itself, and obeying the three golden rules of low power IoT design: Sleep as often as you can, work or go active for as short a period as possible, and communicate as briefly as possible when on-air.

Supply chains and logistics rely on automation and knowing what is where and when. Cellular IoT devices such as the nRF9160 support the new long range, low power cellular standards LTE-M and NB-IoT to make these use-cases possible. Offering very long range in the 10’s of kilometers and the ability to track across cities, nations and even the globe, they are a good choice for anyone needing to track their assets.

Author: Tim Cole
Image Credit: Pixabay

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