Cloud location services support nRF9160 SiP cellular IoT customers

Customers are able to access support for fleets of cellular IoT devices, including cellular network and assisted and predicted GPS location services, and firmware over the air (OTA) updates

nRF Cloud location services enable customers to access detailed, fast and accurate commercial location services for nRF9160 system in package (SiP) -powered cellular IoT devices.

The services build on Nordic’s versatile cellular IoT connectivity enabler, nRF Cloud. Nordic customers will be able to access a full commercial location services model once their nRF9160 SiP-powered cellular IoT products are deployed. nRF Cloud will offer those same customers firmware OTA updates for devices in the field.

The nRF Cloud Location Services will initially comprise location services using single- and multi-cell location, and assisted- and predicted-GPS for indoor and outdoor applications.

The single-cell method relies on identifying in which cell the tracked device is situated and then referencing the cell identification against a database of known base station geographical locations. It offers accuracy down to the km level while extending battery life because it does not require operation of the GPS modem. Multi-cell location builds on the single-cell technique by referencing the position of several nearby base stations to offer accuracy down to several hundred meters while still keeping power consumption very low.

GPS offers even greater location accuracy (down to tens of meters). When using a cellular IoT device, a cold-start GPS modem time-to-first-fix (TTFF) on a group of satellites can take minutes and use significant battery capacity. Assisted-GPS provides near-future satellite location data to the IoT device through the cellular connection before the GPS modem is switched on. A typical result is a reduction in TTFF down to five seconds, to extend battery life. The Predicted-GPS technique builds on Assisted-GPS by providing over two weeks predicted assistance satellite data to the device. The result is a short TTFF and accurate location determination but with even greater power savings because of the lower frequency of assistance data requests to the cellular network by the IoT device compared with Assisted-GPS.

Nordic is partnering with third-parties who will provide GPS assistance data, and an inexpensive and easy to access location history with timestamp information for each of the customer’s IoT devices. The product can also be interfaced to customers’ own applications and Cloud-presence via a rest application programming interface (API) as well as integrated with third-party applications.

“With its short range and cellular IoT products and development tools, Nordic has made access to the IoT much easier and simpler for all. nRF Cloud Location Services and nRF Cloud extend Nordic’s strategy to make access to the IoT, easy and accessible, said Ville-Veikko Helppi, product manager – cloud solutions with Nordic Semiconductor.

“nRF Cloud takes away all the hassle of setting up with an untried Cloud services provider and allows the customer to choose only the service they need. And by building on the established nRF Cloud platform, nRF Cloud Location Services offers Nordic customers the familiar Nordic ‘look and feel’ but now with the high-quality and long-term commercial support needed to deploy large numbers of cellular IoT devices.”

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