Development board speeds cellular IoT applications

January 11, 2022 // By Nick Flaherty
Development board speeds cellular IoT applications
The Prometheus cellular IoT development board from Next Big Thing is based on the nRF9160 SiP with integrated LTE-M/NB-IoT modem and GNSS from Nordic Semiconductor

German startup Next Big Thing (NBT) has launched an IoT sensor-based development platform designed to simplify prototyping of cellular IoT and cloud-based designs.

The ‘Prometheus’ development platform is powered by the Nordic Semiconductor nRF9160 low power System-in-Package (SiP) with integrated LTE-M/NB-IoT modem and GNSS. The SiP has a 64MHz ARM Cortex-M33 as a dedicated application processor to provide computational power to not only supervise the LTE-M/NB-IoT modem’s cellular connectivity but also all other product functionality. The SiP’s 1MB Flash and 256kB RAM supports fast response and complex application software. 

Alongside the SiP, the evelopment platform features a wide range of sensors and interfaces, a stable embedded software stack, fully encrypted communication, mesh connectivity for short-range communication, automatic switching between NB-IoT and LTE-M cellular IoT connectivity, and advanced provisioning tools. The solution is optimized for low power consumption and provides an industrial temperature range of -40 to +85°C. 

NBT’s IoT development platform comprises two main components: The hardware and embedded software platform (Prometheus); and the Cloud-based software platform (‘NBT Software Platform’). The standard configuration of Prometheus consists of a range of sensors, for example a temperature sensor (analog and digital), accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, air quality sensor, ambient light sensor, and humidity sensor.

The extended version of Prometheus also includes Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth 5.2/Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) general purpose multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide support for Bluetooth LE connectivity, as well as USB, GPS, radar, an adjustable antenna tuner, and extended temperature range. 

The development platform supports Nordic’s nRF Connect SDK (Software Development Kit). This is based on the Zephyr RTOS which greatly reduces issues arising from firmware bugs or unforeseen events associated with embedded development of constrained, energy-limited, and secure IoT products. 

The nRF9160 is certified for global cellular IoT applications, comprising the dedicated application processor and memory, multimode LTE-M/NB-IoT modem with integrated RF Front End (RFFE), GNSS, and power management in a compact 10 by 16 by 1mm package. The

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