Beacon wirelessly relays energy usage data

3rd May 2019
Posted By : Alex Lynn
Beacon wirelessly relays energy usage data

It has been announced by Nordic Semiconductor, that OneMeter, an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) startup, has selected Nordic’s nRF51822 Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the wireless connectivity for its ‘OneMeter Beacon’, a device that provides companies with the ability to monitor and manage their energy usage data in ‘real time’.

Designed for use in a broad range of industrial and commercial environments, for example production facilities, manufacturing plants, and food service companies, the OneMeter Beacon is simply plugged in to an existing electronic electricity meter via an optical port interface, enabling the beacon to receive energy usage data from the meter using the IEC 62056-21 / IEC 1107 protocol. 

Once installed, the beacon is paired to a Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) Android smartphone or tablet, where from the ‘OneMeter app’ the user can initialise and synchronise the beacon.

Once synchronised, the beacon reads data from the meter every 15 minutes, and stores it in the Nordic SoC’s Flash memory, from where the beacon automatically transmits the data to the user’s smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity provided by the nRF51822 SoC. From the app the user can review data from the most recent readout (including active and reactive energy consumption parameters), as well as view daily, weekly, and monthly energy usage charts and more.

OneMeter Cloud provides a comprehensive platform from which a company can not only monitor its metering data, but also perform accurate energy usage cost estimation, conduct effective energy audits, avoid penalties for exceeding contracted power by defining power parameter alerts, as well as manage its photovoltaic (PV) infrastructure. Certified measurement data can be shared with energy vendors enabling invoices to be set based on actual usage instead of forecasts.

The OneMeter beacon is powered by a three volt CR2032 coin cell battery, providing up to 12 months battery life before replacement, thanks in part to the ultra low power characteristics of the nRF51822 SoC which has been engineered to minimise power consumption.

Nordic’s nRF51822 is a powerful and flexible multiprotocol SoC ideally suited for Bluetooth LE and 2.4GHz ultra low-power wireless applications. The nRF51822 is built around a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 CPU, 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio, and 256kB/128kB Flash and 32kB/16kB RAM. The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S130 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 4.2 qualified concurrent multi-link protocol stack solution supporting simultaneous Central/Peripheral/Broadcaster/Observer role connections.

“We’ve received great support not just from Nordic, but also from the DevZone user community,” said Marcin Galczynski, OneMeter Business Development Manager. “Nordic engineers not only helped us with the PCB design and provided technical information and reference designs, but the SDK [Software Development Kit] was easy to use and the separation between Nordic’s RF protocol software and our application code all contributed to easing the development process.

“Battery life, package size, and RAM and Flash memory resources were also important factors for our design, and ultimately aided the decision to use Nordic’s nRF51822 SoC.”

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