Internet of Things

u-blox releases full-featured platform to test and validate IoT solutions


Featuring the full gamut of u-blox technologies and services, the u-blox XPLR-IOT-1 enables end-to-end proofs of concepts for IoT products and applications.

u-blox (SIX:UBXN), a leading global provider of positioning and wireless communication technologies and services, has announced the u-blox XPLR-IOT-1 IoT explorer kit, an all-in-one package to test, evaluate and validate IoT applications. Integrating all relevant u-blox technologies and services into a capable prototyping platform with a vast selection of sensors and interfacesas well as cloud connectivity, XPLR-IOT-1 makes it easier than ever to explore the potential of IoT applications.

The increasing complexity of IoT devices, which often require satellite-based positioning, Bluetooth low energy, Wi-Fi, and cellular connectivity via, for example, LTE-Mis raising the importance of prototyping and validatingideas before bringing them to production.This trend is driving demand for multifunctional application boards like the u-blox XPLR-IOT-1 over evaluation kits (EVKs), intended to comprehensively testa product’s entire feature set.

A highly capable prototyping platform

The XPLR-IOT-1 gives users everything they need to prototype low-powerIoT use cases such as logistics container trackers, industrial automation, sensor-to-cloud applications, and fleet management solutions.The board’s u-blox NORA-B106 Bluetooth LE 5.2 radio module doubles as its main MCU, hosting the application software and controlling the other modules. These include a u-blox SARA-R510S for LTE-M and NB-IoT cellular connectivity with built in cloud security, as well as a u-blox NINA-W156 for 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi.

The board also hosts an ultra-low-power MAX-M10S positioning module capable of concurrently tracking four global navigation satellite system (GNSS) constellations, delivering highly reliable location data wherever GNSS coverage is available.

The hardware is complemented by abroad selection of sensors commonly used in IoT applications, including accelerometers and gyroscopes, a magnetometer, and temperature, humidity, pressure, and ambient light sensors. A power-on switch, LEDs, and user buttons make it easy for users to interact with the device.

The NORA-B106’s powerful Arm® Cortex® M33 MCU is solely dedicated to running the application software. Clocked at 128MHz, with 1 MB of embedded flash and 512 kB of RAM, and 8MB of external flash memory, it offers a solid foundation forthe development of highly capable solutions.And integrated antennas for all featured technologies, a USB interface and USB charging, a SparkfunQwiic I2C connector, and a debug interface all contribute to a smooth product development experience.

Native support for u-blox services

The XPLR-IOT-1 offers engineers an easy way to start working with u-blox’s services offering. Included with the kit is a trial of MQTT Anywhere, whichdelivers ultra-low power by communicating data between the device and the enterprise usingthe MQTT-SN (MQTT for sensor networks) protocol.

Tracking applications with the most stringent power requirements such as freight container trackers can realize four times longer battery life with u-blox’spositioning in cloud service,CloudLocate, while the CellLocatemobile-network-based location service extends tracking beyond the reach of GNSS signals.

A starting point for commercial end-products

Developers working with XPLR-IOT-1 can use code from u-blox’subxlibGitHub repository, a library of software examples for key use cases, to speed up the prototyping of solutions, which can range from wireless sensor networks to indoor and outdoor tracking solutions to industrial or smart building gateways. Because all hardware design files, software, smartphone app, and online dashboard source code are shared, the XPLR-IOT-1 can also serve as a starting point for commercial end-product design.

“The XPLR-IOT-1 is fully geared towards rapid development, testing, and validation of IoT solutions. Offering a single platform to develop a variety of IoT use cases, the versatile explorer kit reduces the expertise required for hardware, software, and service integration and code development,” says Pelle Svensson, Senior Principal, Product Strategy Short Range Radio, at u-blox.

Once launched in June 2022, the XPLR-IOT-1 will initially be sold via Digi-Key.

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