IoT explorer kit makes it easy to test IoT solutions

U-blox has introduced its u-blox XPLR-IOT-1 IoT explorer kit to help designers test and validate IoT applications. The kit integrates technologies and services into a prototyping platform with a variety of sensors and interfaces as well as cloud connectivity. It supports LTE-M, NB-IoT, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GNSS.

The all-in-one XPLR-IOT-1 provides everything needed to prototype low-power IoT use cases such as logistics container trackers, industrial automation, sensor-to-cloud applications, and fleet management solutions. It enables users to prototype and validate ideas before bringing them to production, said u-blox.

IoT explorer kit makes it easy to test IoT solutions

Application for the XPLR-IOT-1 IoT explorer kit. Click for a larger image. (Source: u-blox)

The board’s u-blox NORA-B106 Bluetooth LE 5.2 radio module performs double duty as its main microcontroller, hosting the application software and controlling the other modules. The NORA-B106’s Arm Cortex M33 MCU is solely used to run the application software. It clocks at 128 MHz, with 1 MB of embedded flash, 512 kB of RAM, and 8 MB of external flash memory. The module also provides integrated antennas for all featured technologies, a USB interface, USB charging, a Sparkfun Qwiic I2C connector, and a debug interface.

The other modules include the SARA-R510S for LTE-M and NB-IoT cellular connectivity with built in cloud security and the NINA-W156 for 2.4-GHz Wi-Fi. In addition, the board includes an ultra-low-power MAX-M10S positioning module that is capable of concurrently tracking four GNSS constellations.

For tracking applications with tight power requirements such as freight container trackers, u-blox’s positioning in cloud service, CloudLocate, can deliver four times longer battery life, and the CellLocate mobile-network-based location service can extend tracking beyond the reach of GNSS signals, according to the company.

The kit also provides a variety of sensors commonly used in IoT applications, including accelerometers, gyroscopes, and a magnetometer, as well as temperature, humidity, pressure, and ambient light sensors. Other features include a a power-ON switch, LEDs, and user buttons for ease of use. Also included is a trial of MQTT Anywhere, which delivers ultra-low power by communicating data between the device and the enterprise using the MQTT-SN (MQTT for sensor networks) protocol.

Reducing the expertise needed for hardware, software, and code development, developers can use code from u-blox’s ubxlib GitHub repository, a library of software examples for key use cases. These solutions include wireless sensor networks, indoor/outdoor tracking, and 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,” said u-blox.

The XPLR-IOT-1 will be launched in June 2022 and initially sold via Digi-Key.

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