EM Microelectronic, the ultra-low-power semiconductor company of the Swatch Group, and a leading technology provider for connected objects, is constantly innovating to match the growing needs for low-power, wireless sensors that can transmit data over long distances.
The number of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors is growing fast and is expected to reach 50 Billion connected devices by 2022, mainly in applications around security, asset tracking, smart cities, smart homes and agriculture. For use cases where Bluetooth radio technology is too limited in range and where cellular communications are too energy-intensive, EM Microelectronic has developed a unique low-power, long-range and ultra-compact communication technology. This technology is the result of a cooperation with the Swatch Group Research and Development team at Asulab.
“EMWAN, our 2.4GHz ultra-long-range Wide Area Network proprietary radio, can cover over 20km outdoors, while minimizing power consumption and being extremely compact, which are essential features to build competitive green IoT sensor networks”, says Michel Willemin, CEO of EM Microelectronic. “Furthermore, we can build on our expertise in the mass production of solar-assisted wireless modules and energy harvesting products to create the next generation of long-range IoT sensor nodes that are self-sufficient in terms of energy at an affordable cost and complexity.”
For viticulture for instance, the ability to wirelessly transmit sensor data such as temperature, relative humidity, leaf and soil moisture, atmospheric pressure, rainfall, wind speed and direction is key to increase efficiency and achieve lower production costs. Other technologies available on the market to transmit data over long distances are either too energy-intensive, or too costly to implement on a large scale, without mentioning the complexity of installation and usage. Our concept brings the right balance between performance, cost, complexity of implementation, ease-of use by non-expert people, integration with sensors and environmental friendliness.
In order to address the challenges of IoT networks deployment and avoid dedicated gateways infrastructure to bridge sensor data to cloud systems, the EMWAN system developed by EM Microelectronic and Asulab has a combined capability to relay long-range data via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Sensor data transmitted over long ranges can be locally relayed to a cloud or a smartphone using the BLE functionality. This is how inexpensive IoT sensor networks can be easily deployed by the end-users, paving the way for the ubiquitous, green IoT sensor networks improving the quality of life of millions worldwide in an environmentally-friendly way.
EMWAN demonstrators and beacon prototypes are available for testing and evaluation by our lead customers and partners.