Borda Technology, Silabs team on Bluetooth location services

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Silicon Labs has launched a Bluetooth Location Service using low-power Bluetooth devices to simplify Angle of Arrival (AoA) and Angle of Departure (AoD) calculations

The system, shown for the first time at the Embedded World show this week, is being used by Borda Technology in Turkey for “IoT for Healthcare” products. These support asset management, Patient Throughput Management, Patient Flow and Patient Safety through real-time location services (RTLS).

The location based capability is based on the Silicon Labs’ BG22 system in package (SiP) modules and SoCs, which can operate for up to ten years on only a coin cell battery, with advanced software that can track assets, improve indoor navigation, and better locate tags with sub-metre accuracy.

“As the largest, pure-play IoT company in the world, we focus on providing complete wireless IoT solutions for the edge, including silicon, software, tools, and support,” said Daniel Cooley, CTO of Silicon Labs. “Today’s new Bluetooth location services offering further proves our belief that we can deliver differentiated solutions to our customers by thinking of IoT as a complete platform, rather than a singular piece of hardware.”

When Bluetooth 5.1 was released in early 2019, some of the new key features were improved location services. Building off of that, Silicon Labs has developed software to maximize the location-finding capabilities of the BG22 devices. These include asynchronous continued tone extension (CTE) broadcasts from the device to the locator. This eliminates the need for synchronized transmission timings between the device and locator, enabling the locators to track a large number of assets simultaneously and multiple locators to simultaneous to see the same asset at the same time for triangulation.

The software also supports broad spectrum CTE broadcast across all 37 channels to reduce interference by moving the CTE transmissions from advertisement to data channels.

The complete solution includes the EFR32BG22 and EFR32BG24 Bluetooth SoCs and modules, a Bluetooth software stack with direction-finding support, AoA/AoD antenna array board and reference design and the BG22 dev board and asset tag reference design. There are also Bluetooth locator and asset tag sample applications and Bluetooth direction-finding tools including AoA analyzer and positioning tool.

Borda Technology is using RTLS asset tracking to reduce the time it takes to search for equipment, so staff can focus on patient care. Using the new Silicon Labs AoA and AoD software, running on BG22 Bluetooth SoCs, Borda developed tamper-proof asset tracking tags that not only can help to locate an item, but also provide staff with operational insights when making informed healthcare and business decisions.

For example, the Borda solution prevents uncalibrated equipment from being used by setting alarms that can alert staff to equipment that needs attention, thereby preventing dangerous, and at times life-threatening, accidents.

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