Simple Cellular IoT Prototyping with Cloud Connectivity with Nordic nRF9160 SiP SiP-based Dev Kit
Nordic Semiconductor has announced that Dutch IoT R&D startup, Actinius, is now shipping a "plug & play" development board and firmware with Adafruit FeatherWing compatibility that is so fully engineered that Actinius claims there isn't a simpler or easier path into cellular IoT prototyping available anywhere in the world right now. By early next year this simplicity will be further enhanced with full cloud connectivity that Actinius says will be equally fully engineered.
The tiny 50.8 x 22.8mm Actinius Icarus IoT Board retails for around $100 and employs a Nordic Semiconductor nRF9160 System-in-Package (SiP) to offer low power GPS and multi-mode LTE-M and NB-IoT cellular IoT operation globally; a 64MHz Arm Cortex-M33 processor supported by 1MB of Flash and 256KB of RAM memory; support for both Nano SIM and embedded SIM (eSIM) technology; state-of-the-art ARM Trustzone®and ARM Cryptocell 310 security; and an over-the-air-update (OTAU) platform developed by Actinius that is said to support "always secure and up-to-date firmware". In addition, a vast range of sensor and peripheral interfaces includes an Adafruit FeatherWing compatible form factor and pinout layout to give users easy access to a vast range of add-on development options.
The Icarus IoT Board also ships with fully-developed firmware that users can either customize themselves or employ Actinius to customize via what Actinius describes as "firmware as a service". It also includes a solar panel connection which could enable solar energy to supply most of the power (depending on application and duty cycle) and thereby allow the use of very small batteries.
"Most third-party dev kits use proprietary form-factors to try to lock users into a specific ecosystem of sensor and board add-ons," comments Actinius Founder & CTO, Alex Tsamakos. "We wanted to take a much more open approach without imposing any unnecessary restrictions on developers. This gives them the freedom to take their cellular IoT prototype and pilot projects wherever they want to go in the quickest and easiest way."
Actinius says the two most popular application classes it is working on right now are asset tracking and environmental data sensing (temperature, CO2, pressure, humidity).
"Nordic Semiconductor built its leadership in Bluetooth wireless technology by abstracting away all unnecessary design complexity from the developer," adds Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor Director of Sales & Marketing. "In the IoT world we see an even greater need for this kind of simplification due to the vast range of companies and equally vast range of products and applications now relevant to the IoT. And because every one of those projects starts with a prototype or pilot demo, the easier this process is made, the easier it will be for those companies to embark on bringing new products to market."