Nordic Semiconductor specializes in ultra-low power short-range wireless communication technology, offering integrated RF ICs, development tools and reference designs based on Bluetooth LE (BLE), ANT, proprietary Sub 1-GHz and 2.4GHz radio frequencies.Nordic Semiconductor specializes in ultra-low power short-range wireless communication technology, offering integrated RF ICs, development tools and reference designs based on Bluetooth LE (BLE), ANT, proprietary Sub 1-GHz and 2.4GHz radio frequencies.
At present, the BLE technology accounted for around 50 percent of the company’s sales revenue. Its BLE chips are applied for four major categories—PC HIDs, wearable, sensor network and home automation applications. The sensor network category includes beacon and RFID; automation-related products include wireless lock, smart plug, LED bulbs, safety detectors, toys and A4WP-based wireless charging devices.
Richard Chen, Regional Sales Manager of Nordic Semiconductor believes BLE will be an important and must-have technology for edge devices and nodes in the smart home in the coming years. First of all, Apple HomeKit’s support is a major driver. Secondly, the technologies have advantages over others. In comparison with other technologies, Bluetooth could connect to the smartphone directly. Also, its low power consumption is exceptional.
Nordic Semiconductor promotes IPv6-based communication technology to enable the nodes to be connected to the cloud without a smart home gateway or hub. To accelerate the mass adoption in an easier way, and make the connected home a reality, Chen thinks it’s essential to link the nodes to the cloud through home network routers directly without buying a discrete hub.
He explained, “Our IPv6 over BLE technology, released at the end of 2014, is compatible with current networking equipment. There is no need to create a new way for connected home. We hope to break the barriers resulted from the lack of interoperability.” Also, its SoC supports IPv6 over BLE technology and OpenWrt embedded operation system, which is supported by network routers as well. “Our IPv6 over BLE technology is compatible to current networking equipments, without creating a new way for the IoT market.”
It is a trend to offer System-on-Chip (SoC). Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52832 SoC features Bluetooth Smart connectivity, and a unique on-chip NFC tag for consumer-friendly Touch-to-Pair. It utilizes Out-of-Band (OOB) pairing via NFC to simplify the process of authenticated pairing between two Bluetooth devices by exchanging authentication information over an NFC link.
The nRF52832 incorporates a powerful Cortex-M4F processor, supporting complex arithmetic requirements. The IC supports DSP instructions, a Floating Point Unit (FPU), single-cycle multiply and accumulate, and hardware divide for energy-efficient process of computationally complex operations. The SoC supports 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio, including Bluetooth Smart, ANT and 2.4GHz proprietary. In addition, the nRF52832 SoC is a power-efficient device that can run between 1.7V and 3.6V. Also, the IC has automated and adaptive power management features. These features range across the entire IC’s operation from power supply switching to peripheral bus/EasyDMA memory management, to automated shut down.
About the distribution channels, Chen indicated that the professional installed market is larger than the DIY market so far. He thinks the Google’s and Apple’s entrance could boost the DIY market in the coming years.