Asset Tracking with Nordic and Medium One

by Greg Toth, Mouser Electronics

Asset Tracking

This blog describes how you can quickly and easily set up an Internet of Things (IoT) development environment using the Nordic nRF9160 Development Kit (DK) to read Global Positioning System (GPS) location data and send the data to the Medium One cloud. Once the Medium One cloud receives and processes the data, you can view the GPS information on a dashboard that includes configurable widgets and a map for displaying GPS position data.

Nordic nRF9160 DK

The Nordic nRF9160 DK is an IoT development platform featuring the Nordic nRF9160 LTE Cat-M1 and Cat-NB1 (NB-IoT) System-in-Package (SiP). It provides a low-power Arm Cortex–M33 application processor with LTE wireless connectivity and a development board with built-in antennas for LTE, GPS, and 2.4GHz Bluetooth Low Energy. Using input/output pins and an Arduino Uno™ Rev 3 compatible connector pinout, you can connect a variety of sensors and actuators. The development kit provides SIM and eSIM support for connecting and authenticating to mobile network operations and includes an iBASIS eSIM card with 10MB of data credit pre-loaded. User-programmable LEDs, push buttons, and slide switches support user interaction and a built-in SEGGER J-Link interface support programming and debugging from a personal computer without requiring the purchase of additional debugger dongles. The combination of features and capabilities found on the nRF9160 DK provides a foundation for IoT rapid prototyping and product development.

Nordic nRF Connect SDK

Nordic’s nRF Connect for Desktop software, nRF Connect Software Development Kit (SDK), an Arm cross-compiler, and SEGGER Embedded Studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE) supports software development for the nRF9160 DK on Windows, Linux, and macOS computers.

Developers can be build and program applications onto the board using either command-line tools or the SEGGER Embedded Studio IDE, which both work with the board’s built-in SEGGER J-Link interface. The nRF Connect SDK offers developers an extensible framework for building applications that run on the board and source code publicly hosted on GitHub. The SDK includes the Zephyr real-time operating system along with a wide range of samples, application protocols, protocol stacks, libraries, and hardware drivers.

Nordic nRF Connect for Cloud

Nordic’s nRF Connect for Cloud serves as an IoT connectivity enabler for Nordic cellular and Bluetooth Low Energy devices. It’s an integral part of the cellular IoT development workflow and supports SIM activation, development kit management, tracking of development kit metrics and geographical location, monitoring cellular data usage, and includes an asset tracker example application based on the nRF Connect for Cloud platform.

Medium One IoT Prototyping Sandbox

The Medium One IoT Prototyping Sandbox cloud-based platform helps early-stage developers prototype their IoT project or connect their existing hardware to the cloud. It offers an IoT Data Intelligence platform enabling customers to quickly build IoT applications with less effort. Programmable workflows quickly build processing logic without requiring you to create your own complex software stack. A graphical workflow builder and run-time engine let you process IoT data as it arrives and route or transform it as needed for your application. Workflow library modules support data analytics, charting, geolocation, weather data, the Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol, Short Message Service (SMS) text messaging, and integration with Twitter, Salesforce, and Zendesk. You can also create custom workflow modules using snippets of Python code. The web-based Workflow Studio, which provides a drag and drop visual programming environment, designs and builds end-to-end workflows. Workflow versioning and debugging tools support the development, test, and deployment lifecycle. Communications take place between IoT devices and the Medium One cloud using REST APIs or the MQTT protocol. Configurable dashboards allow you to visualize application data and view real-time data in a variety of formats. Dashboard widgets are included for tabular data, charts, geopoint maps, gauges, and user inputs. Medium One’s iOS® and Android apps build simple mobile app dashboards that can communicate with your devices through the IoT Prototyping Sandbox.

Using Your Own nRF9160 DK with the Medium One IoT Prototyping Sandbox

To use your own nRF9160 DK with the Medium One IoT Prototyping Sandbox, check out our step-by-step article that walks you through the entire process of:

  • Setting up the hardware and development tools
  • Installing and running the necessary software components
  • Building the code and downloading it to the board
  • Configuring the board’s cloud connection parameters
  • Running the board to generate real-time GPS measurements that are sent to the cloud

In this article, we also show you how to observe the published data on a real-time mapping dashboard created in the Medium One environment. A set of next steps gives suggestions for how to extend and adapt the application for different IoT prototyping scenarios or to learn more.

Greg Toth

About The Author: Greg is an architect, engineer and consultant with more than 30 years experience in sensors, embedded systems, IoT, telecommunications, enterprise systems, cloud computing, data analytics, and hardware/software/firmware development. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering from the Univ. of Notre Dame and a MS in Computer Engineering from the Univ. of Southern California.