Measuring the impact: How IoT is enabling sustainability

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The ability to measure is essential for effective sustainability initiatives, and as Transforma Insights reports, 11 out of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be improved through the use of Internet of Things (IoT)1. Responsible consumption of water, electricity, and gas, meanwhile reducing waste and excess production is crucial to managing our natural resources and ensuring their availability for the future. Real-time data plays a significant role in managing resources by enabling prompt actions, such as responding to consumption patterns, detecting leaks, and optimizing distribution.

Meeting the requirements for IoT devices in sustainable consumption monitoring

Wireless transmission of consumption data requires reliable antenna solutions to ensure its successful delivery. Apart from the antenna, sensor units used for sustainability monitoring are typically compact and equipped with multiple sensors, battery, microcontroller for data processing, and a wireless communication module.

Important devices requirements:

  • Delivering reliable data transfer with long-range, even in rough environments.
  • Support for multiple communication standards.
  • High durability ensuring low maintenance.
  • Long battery life and long device lifetime.

The need to deploy these units underground, inside walls, or near metal and other materials, poses additional challenges to meet these requirements, and a compact high performance antenna solution plays a critical role.

Enabling sustainability. What role does the antenna play?

The right antenna selection and design are crucial. If the antenna’s performance is subpar, it jeopardizes the device’s battery life, range, and ultimately the effectiveness of the data transfer and resource control. At Ignion we are dedicated to ensuring that IoT device makers have an easy path to deliver on these requirements.

Let’s explore a few examples of IoT applications that play a major role in achieving sustainable consumption.

Smart Metering

Whether for water, gas, or electricity, the widespread deployment of smart meter devices allows real-time consumption monitoring at various levels, from individual housing units to large-scale infrastructure. For example, the smart electricity meter has the potential to decrease electricity consumption by 5%-12% between households and businesses and by 2030 the total number of Smart Electricity Meter connections will increase to 2.2 billion2. These meters are often installed underground or inside walls, demanding long-range connectivity and robust performance with low maintenance.

Ignion works with smart metering companies like Itron, EDMI, and many others ensuring robust and reliable antenna performance across a range of metering form factors, supporting wireless standards such as LTE Cat1, LTE-M, NB-IoT, LoRa as well as the recent popularity in the 450 MHz space. A key advantage is that the same metering antenna design can be reused in subsequent meter designs, regardless of differences in dimensions or form.

More info about the New DI Network Interface Card from Itron.

More info about the EDMI case study.

Asset Tracking

Monitoring assets enables optimal utilization, leading to sustainable consumption and reduced waste. Just in transporting assets, a tracker solution can enable up to 8% saving on fuel3. Asset trackers can be found on various items, from shipping containers traveling globally to city bikes encouraging car-free transportation, even down to small parcels containing valuable goods. These trackers require a global cellular connection for data transfer, GNSS/GPS for location determination, and often a Bluetooth connection for direct device communication via smartphones. Designing an antenna solution that performs well and delivers reliable performance used to be challenging. However, Ignion’s Virtual Antenna® technology and the Antenna Intelligence Cloud™ design tool have made it possible for any hardware engineers to achieve this feat.

More info about the ThinTrack tiny parcel tracker.

Final thoughts

While IoT does not offer a solution to all sustainability challenges, Ignion strives to lower the barriers to innovation in areas where the Internet of Things can make a difference. As part of the IoT ecosystem, Ignion collaborates with companies that share the goal of simplifying the design process and accelerating the development of impactful solutions which in the end enables the critical measurements to achieve sustainable consumption. Together, we can contribute to a positive change.

Join us and some of our partners in the IoT Summer Days panel discussing further “Why the World needs IoT”, hosted by IMC on Thursday, June 29

#Weareignion

Note:

If you want to try our antenna solution for your next sustainability project, feel free to use our free Antenna Intelligence Cloud™ tool (click the bottom on the top right of this page).

To collaborate with us in simplifying the complex IoT design journey and enabling more sustainable initiatives, contact us at info@ignion.io.

Sources:

1: https://transformainsights.com/blog/iot-critical-tool-un-sdgs

2: https://transformainsights.com/blog/electricity-smart-meter-market-geographic

3: https://transformainsights.com/blog/sustainability

the author

Johan Pedersen

Johan Pedersen is Vice President Product and Marketing for Ignion, the company behind the Virtual Antenna® technology. With more than 12 years in the IoT industry, Johan has been in…

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Revolutionary Virtual Antenna® solution for revolutionary ski boot design

28 Jun 2023 Case Studies
iot-case-study-for-asset-tracking-cactus

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Simplifying antenna integration in a healthcare device with Virtual Antenna® Technology

Ryan Pereira
22 Jun 2023 Blog
Simplifying-Antenna-Integration-in-a-Healthcare-Device-with-Virtual-Antenna®-Technology-1

Antenna integration can be a complex and challenging process, especially when dealing with small form factors and multiple frequency bands. However, with the advancements in Virtual Antenna® technology, the process of antenna integration has been greatly simplified. In this blog post, we will explore how Virtual Antenna® technology can make antenna integration easier and more efficient. We will also dive deeper into the specific challenges faced in designing a blood pressure monitor for Withings and how these challenges were overcome using Ignion’s Antenna Intelligence Cloud™ and Virtual Antenna® technology.

What are the challenges of antenna integration

When designing a device, one of the key considerations is meeting the performance requirements, particularly in terms of cellular connectivity. In the case of the Withings blood pressure monitor, there were a number of challenges. Withings was taking an existing product design, the BPM Connect which has a small, elegant design, and needed to add cellular to address a new use case for professional health providers and their patients who did not necessarily have access to a smartphone to use the Withings app. The small PCB size posed limitations on antenna performance, especially for cellular while the proximity of the antenna to the body caused signal degradation. These challenges needed to be addressed to ensure optimal antenna efficiency and a fast development schedule.

Overcoming challenges with Virtual Antenna® technology

Virtual Antenna® technology offers a solution to simplify antenna integration and optimize performance. By utilizing Ignion’s online digital twin design tool Antenna Intelligence Cloud™, engineers can input the frequency range of operation and PCB size to receive antenna recommendations, matching network requirements, and performance data. This tool allows engineers to evaluate antenna performance before starting the design process, saving time and effort and removing risk.

Simplified IoT design journey with Ignion

In the case of the Withings blood pressure monitor, the feasibility step involved using the Antenna Intelligence Cloud™ to assess antenna performance. The initial results indicated that the efficiency was relatively low due to the small PCB size. To address this, it was recommended that the PCB size be increased and employ an active circuit topology, where the various LTE bands could be tuned to be narrowed to peak efficiency.

Moving to the design step, Withings’ engineers worked on their PCB design and integrated the antenna into the enclosure. Simulation of the complete design revealed a slight detuning of the frequency and a drop in efficiency as this took into account their enclosure plus their impact on the body. The matching network was adjusted to retune the frequency and optimize performance. This process just took a week by just adjusting the matching network thanks to Virtual Antenna(R) technology while it could take several weeks with other antenna solutions.

Once satisfied with the simulated performance, the engineers proceeded to build the first prototype hardware. Physical tuning and optimization were performed using a body phantom hand in the Ignion lab in Barcelona to simulate real-world conditions. Minor detuning was observed, but with the flexibility of the matching network, the frequency was easily adjusted to achieve optimal performance.

The outcome

After the necessary optimizations, the Withings blood pressure monitor successfully achieved certifications and was ready for the market. The design journey demonstrated how Virtual Antenna® technology, combined with the Antenna Intelligence Cloud™ digital twin, simplified the antenna integration process. The use of Virtual Antenna® component allowed for easy integration into the small form factor and provided broadband and multi-band capabilities. This approach ensured consistent results and saved time throughout the design process. In fact, the product from concept to final design was done in under a year.

Conclusion

Virtual Antenna® technology offers a streamlined approach to antenna integration, enabling engineers to optimize performance and meet design requirements. The Antenna Intelligence Cloud™ serves as a valuable resource in assessing antenna performance early in the design process. By utilizing Virtual Antenna® technology and following a structured design journey, engineers can simplify the integration process and achieve optimal antenna efficiency.

By leveraging the power of Virtual Antenna® technology and embracing a customer-centric design journey, companies can simplify their antenna integration processes, save time, and deliver high-performance IoT products to the market.

the author

Ryan Pereira

Ryan Pereira leads channel marketing efforts at Ignion, where he is responsible for partner programs and business development. Ryan has a deep background in RF hardware and system design, field…

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Enabling the future of health and wellness with cellular IoT solutions

jeremy-blog-post-4

In the rapidly advancing world of health and wellness, the integration of cellular connectivity has brought forth new possibilities.

Sequans, a leading provider of 4G and 5G chipsets and modules, plays a vital role in creating medical and wellness products for companies like Withings. In this blog post, we will explore how Sequans’ products combined with the antenna connectivity expertise from Ignion contribute to the future of health and wellness by enabling seamless connectivity and enhanced user experiences.

Health and wellness IoT market sizing and projections

Sequans is uniquely positioned as the sole provider offering a complete range of 4G and 5G chipsets and modules optimized for non-smartphone applications. Their portfolio is divided into two main categories: massive IoT and broadband and critical IoT. For the purpose of this discussion, we will focus on massive IoT, which encompasses health and wellness devices.

By 2025, it is projected that there will be approximately 200 million units of IoT devices with single-mode LTE Cat 1 or Cat 1bis connectivity. Among these, around 8 million units will be medical equipment. Additionally, it is estimated that 100 million IoT devices with LTE-M connectivity will exist, with over 5 million units being medical equipment.

Sequans: Enabling cellular for the health & wellness industry

Sequans addresses the growing market for connected medical equipment by utilizing their Calliope and Monarch platform families. These platforms are specifically designed to support respectively LTE Cat 1 and LTE Cat M connectivity. With their second-generation platforms, Sequans offers optimized integration, secure connections, integrated SIM capabilities, and low power consumption. These features ensure ease of use, data security, and extended device lifetimes.

Collaboration and Support: Sequans collaborates with industry partners like Ignion to overcome RF challenges and facilitate the integration of cellular connectivity. Ignion provides Virtual Antenna® solutions, ensuring seamless connectivity without compromising device design or performance. In addition to technical support, Sequans offers a range of services to their customers, including schematic and layout review, RF and field qualification, certification, and assistance during the production phase. This comprehensive support structure enables a smooth transition from prototype to mass production.

Building the future of cellular IoT in health and wellness

Sequans’ connectivity solutions, Monarch and Calliope, play a pivotal role in shaping the future of health and wellness. By adding cellular connectivity to medical equipment, these solutions enable seamless integration into our daily lives. Complex pairing procedures are eliminated, and users enjoy an “always on” availability regardless of their location. The integration of Sequans’ solutions brings optimized real estate, secure connections, flexible connectivity management, low power consumption, and longevity benefits. Patients’ data remains secure, and devices can operate for extended periods, ensuring a reliable and sustainable solution.

The Withings BPM PRO is a result of a successful collaboration between Sequans, Ignion, and Withings. Withings, established in 2008, has been a leader in designing and manufacturing health devices for home use, including smart scales, watches, blood pressure monitors, and sleep sensors. These clinically validated devices are connected to an app that provides users with in-depth health information and personalized programs.

Withings focuses on user experience and engagement, understanding the importance of daily and long-term health monitoring. Their devices are designed to be beautiful and easy to use, with a high retention rate of 94% for scales and blood pressure monitors after 12 months.

Beyond the consumer market

Expanding beyond the consumer market, Withings aims to address the needs of patients who require blood pressure monitoring as part of their health programs. These individuals may not be equipped with smartphones or have technical expertise, so seamless onboarding and data synchronization are crucial. Withings takes responsibility for delivering the data to healthcare providers and bridging the gap between providers and patients.

The BPM PRO range, which includes the BPM Connect and BPM Connect Pro, offers simple and efficient user experiences. The BPM Connect features Wi-Fi and BLE connections, while the BPM Connect Pro adds cellular connectivity to cater to patient use cases. Although they appear the same externally, the differences lie in the internal components.

The collaboration between Ignion, Sequans, and Withings was instrumental in the development of the BPM Connect Pro (read all about it in our case study). The teams of engineers worked closely to adapt the compact design of the BPM Connect and incorporate the necessary cellular modules, SIM cards, and antennas. Sequans provided expertise in module firmware adaptation, ensuring optimal performance and secure connectivity.

Ignion contributed the right antenna technology and fine-tuning to meet the product’s requirements and the challenges of a very small form factor and proximity to the human body.  Using Ignion’s unique Antenna Intelligence Cloud™ and carefully orchestrated design journey the teams were able to retune and make adjustments every step of the way shortening the design process from idea to finished product to just 12 months.  Get more in-detail information about this successful health and wellness IoT case study here.

Final thoughts

Sequans’ commitment to advancing cellular IoT solutions for health and wellness devices has paved the way for a future where connectivity seamlessly integrates into our daily lives. With a comprehensive range of chipsets and modules, optimized platforms, and collaborative partnerships with key partners like Ignion which brings its expertise to accelerate customer design with the right performance level, Sequans is driving innovation in the industry. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect further advancements that will revolutionize the way we monitor and improve our health and well-being.

Jeremy
the author

Jeremy Gosteau

Jeremy Gosteau, Senior Director, manages IoT product marketing at Sequans Communications where he has held various positions, notably as the product manager responsible for defining the company’s first 4G LTE…

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Cost-effective and space-efficient antenna for smart meters

22 Jun 2023 Case Studies
iot case study EDMI

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Powerhouse IoT specialists Ignion and Symmetry Electronics announce global partnership

14 Jun 2023 News
symmetry-press release

Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona 14 June 2023 – Ignion, a Barcelona-based IoT antenna innovator, today announced a distribution partnership with California-based Symmetry Electronics. The agreement brings together two IoT focused companies who are driving growth with their commitment to customer service and support in the complex and difficult to navigate global IoT market.

The complexity of IoT development requires a strong engineering team, armed with the latest RF hardware technology to help device manufacturers get to market faster with optimal connectivity and reliability. Geocene and Ignion’s Virtual Antenna® technology provide the right combination of personnel and technology to drive successful designs for customers who demand solutions to complex problems and responsiveness to ever-changing market requirements.

Ignion CEO, Jaap Groot, expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration with Symmetry, stating, “Together, we aim to simplify the IoT design journey for device makers. By integrating our tailored antenna solutions, the AI driven antenna design tool, and Symmetry’s comprehensive device design support, we empower innovation. We select partners like Symmetry, known for their strong market position and exceptional customer support.”

Ignion’s complete portfolio of patented Virtual Antenna® components will be available for purchase on the Symmetry website. The Ignion antenna products boast worldwide frequency tuneability, small form factor and low-power requirements making them an ideal fit for a wide range of IoT applications, including industrial sensors, asset trackers, smart meters as well as smart home and smart healthcare devices. To accelerate time to market, Ignion’s Antenna Intelligence Cloud™, powered by AWS, provides an AI based antenna digital twin that offers free antenna design recommendations and performance reports without the need for physical prototypes. This unique service will also be available via the Symmetry website.

For more information on Ignion visit: www.ignion.io

For more information on Symmetry visit: www.symmetryelectronics.com

About Ignion

Founded in Barcelona, Spain, as an independent antenna product business in 2015, the Virtual Antenna® technology is already embedded in more than 30 million IoT devices worldwide. Ignion has assembled a leading R&D and engineering team to make RF easier and more predictable using their revolutionary antenna products and ground-breaking cloud services that meet the ever-evolving requirements of IoT wireless connectivity.

Ignion has corporate offices in Spain, USA, and China as well as several strategic partnerships with the leading module makers and transceiver OEM’s.

About Symmetry Electronics:

Symmetry Electronics is a leading global distributor specializing in wireless, audio/video, and embedded solutions. With extensive experience and a vast product portfolio, Symmetry Electronics serves a diverse range of industries, providing customers with exceptional technical support and reliable, high-quality products.

Press Contact: Mary.Miller@Ignion.io