The Internet of Things
Internet of Things (IoT) is quite the buzzword these days - who hasn't heard of it? Analysts claim that by 2050 over 100 billion IoT devices will be in circulation, with the majority of these connecting to today's cellular network infrastructure. This IoT infrastructure is actively being established, with dozens of Telecom Operators taking on "around the world" initiatives in order to improve and maintain worldwide support of IoT. In preparation for the future, two exciting new technologies have been developed to integrate into the current 4G networks seamlessly, paving the way for future devices.
These technologies are called LTE-M and NB-IoT (Narrow Band IoT). The United States, amongst others, utilizes mainly LTE-M, while other nations place their focus on NB-IoT. These two technologies will be offered side-by-side in many countries, giving millions of people the opportunity benefit from the innovative technology. Now you might be wondering how to take part in the future and start developing new projects with these technologies. Here is where we, SODAQ, come into play, with this exciting Kickstarter.
We want to ensure the absolute highest quality on anything we deliver. Swiss-based module manufacturer u-blox is one of the leading companies in the development of hardware for IoT networks. As a result, we have chosen to incorporate their SARA modules in all our designs. There are SARA modules available for NB-IoT, LTE-M but also for 2G and 3G. Despite the different names, all modules have identical size and footprint.
For this campaign we have chosen to use the following modules:
- SARA-N211 NB-IoT, band 8 and 20, for the European and African market
- SARA-R410M Dual mode LTE-M and NB-IoT module for all global bands
- SARA-R412M Triple mode module with LTE-M, NB-IoT and 2G for all global bands
The first board we proudly announce is the SODAQ SARA. The SARA is an Arduino sized and compatible development board that has the powerful Atmel SAM-D21 32 bit microcontroller on board, along with one of the three modules above. The SARA is all you need to develop a complete IoT solution with plenty of available I/O lines. You can choose to run it on battery power (it is designed to run on minimal power) or even hook up a small solar panel as it has the full solar charge circuit on board.
Forget the boring, unreliable geolocation used in other boards. The u-blox SAM-M8Q GNSS module implemented in the SODAQ SARA offers precise geolocation that goes beyond traditional GPS, as it utilizes the Beidou, Galileo and Glonass satellites for increased accurate positioning. We also added an Accelerometer/Magnetometer chip (the ST LSM303AGR), so you can use the board to detect motion or magnetic fields. Or just use it as a compass, possibilities are endless!
We wanted to make it modular, so to accommodate extra sensors we have added two Grove headers. If that's not your taste, you could even use the standard Arduino headers. Ultimately, with the SODAQ SARA, you have everything you need to start developing innovative IoT solutions on the networks within your country.
We didn't just stop there. Once it comes to technology, many believe devices have to be as unobtrusive and compact as possible. That’s why we have also created a Small Form Factor (SFF) edition of the same board. We reduced the size to 55x25mm without sacrificing any of the functionality.
With this little board, you can make your IoT solution fit inside a matchbox (literally)! The SFF board uses the same SARA modules. It further has a SAM D21 microcontroller and a solar charge circuit. We have chosen to use a smaller u-blox GPS module and an external GPS antenna. Both boards are fully compatible with the Arduino development tools (the Arduino IDE), and we have made libraries available to support the SARA modules, GPS, and onboard sensors.