Hybrid System to Deliver BLE and Long-Range Mioty Transmission

By Claire Swedberg

A collaboration between BehrTech and Texas Instruments provides TI's integrated circuit and BehrTech's dual-stack software to enable companies to use BLE-based, short-range location data and forward that information at long distances and low power via Mioty, reducing costs and infrastructure needs.

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BehrTech has released a dual-stack software solution running on  Texas Instruments (TI) hardware that is aimed at enabling companies to use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) together with Mioty low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) technology for scaleable, low-power Internet of Things (IoT) deployments. The Mioty Bluetooth LE Dual Stack comes on a single multiprotocol chip, TI’s CC1352R wireless microcontroller, and is equipped with both 2.4 GHz BLE and the sub-GHz Mioty protocol so that data can be captured via BLE for relatively short-range location data, then be sent back to a server via Mioty’s long-range transmissions.

The benefit for users will be low-cost deployments that do not rely on traditional telecommunications infrastructure, which is not always available at some sites, such as Wi-Fi or cellular connections, to capture data regarding assets or inventory at a complex or remote industrial facility or campus, according to Albert Behr, BehrTech’s founder and CEO. BehrTech’s MYTHINGS platform centers around Mioty, a hardware-agnostic LPWAN protocol that leverages Telegram Splitting technology, by which data packets or messages are divided in sub-packets and transmitted at different times and frequencies.

Albert Behr

Compliant with ETSI’s TS 103 357 standard, the Mioty-protocol is being used for applications for which data is sent at a long range with relatively low power. For instance, smart buildings can use the technology to capture sensor-based data, such as occupancy, temperature, lighting and air quality. The Mioty technology also enables such IoT applications as condition monitoring, leak detection and metering. With the wireless protocol, a single base station, using BehrTech’s software, can capture data from thousands of sensors located multiple kilometers away, so that a single gateway can, for example, serve a skyscraper or a campus comprising multiple buildings.

BehrTech, based in Toronto, Canada, is a member of the  Mioty Alliance, which was launched 15 months ago, with membership including Texas Instruments, IFM,  Fraunhofer and  Diehl Metering. The dual-stack technology is designed to help companies that have existing BLE solutions capture that data, as well as expand their systems more easily and at a lower cost.

Businesses using BLE without the Mioty connectivity, Behr says, “may be capturing data via Bluetooth, but they’re paying a high cost to link those beacons to a source,” either using Ethernet cables or Wi-Fi, for instance. With Mioty and BLE combined in a single solution, he adds, “You can use the same sensors and install a single gateway to cover the whole building, and even with one or two miles around a building.”

Texas Instruments’ CC1352R chip is an ultra-low power, dual-band wireless microcontroller that supports both sub-1 GHz and 2.4 GHz, explains Casey O’Grady, Texas Instruments’ marketing manager for connectivity. The IC supports a breadth of wireless protocols, she says, including Mioty and Bluetooth 5.2 Low Energy, making it suitable for long-range industrial and consumer applications, such as use cases involving flow metering, smart cities, asset tracking and smart homes.

Casey OGrady

According to the companies, the solution will not only benefit those already using BLE, but also those launching a new IoT solution. By combining Mioty with Bluetooth Low Energy, O’Grady says, a user can, for instance, use BLE to commission and configure a new node in the network. “The benefit of using two low-power protocols, such as Mioty and Bluetooth Low Energy, is that it brings down the cost of a user’s battery solution,” she states, “and provides a better product experience.”

In addition to the CC1352R, TI offers its CC1352P chip, a dual-band wireless MCU that integrates a low-power +20dBm power amplifier (PA) enabling longer-range applications, such as outdoor environmental sensors, smart-city infrastructure and logistics. The solution is currently being provided with developers kits to help companies explore their own applications with the technology. Developers can get started with two of TI’s development kits, O’Grady reports: the LaunchPad and the LaunchPad SensorTag. The latter offers integrated environmental and motion sensors so users can build a proof of concept. “These are very low-cost boards,” she says, “that help users evaluate a new product idea without needing to design any hardware themselves.”

Companies planning full-scale deployments can then begin building out systems leveraging a small number of BLE sensors for testing before scaling to larger setups, O’Grady says, and can update the firmware using over-the-air download. “They can test out the range capabilities in their own environment,” she states, “and can update the firmware using over-the-air download. With a quick path to evaluate, end users can quickly see the value Mioty brings to long-range connected applications.”

The company has declined to describe customer deployments. However, Behr says, the benefit that Mioty offers to users is an on-premise-based, sub-GHz wireless system that is not proprietary and thus provides scalability. While LoRaWAN and Sigfox technologies, for example, provide low-cost solutions for capturing data from hundreds of sensors, Mioty is an open-standard solution, meaning it can provide large enterprises with the ability to have thousand of sensors and millions of transmitted data packets captured daily. “It comes with scaling performance capabilities you wouldn’t see with other technologies,” Behr states.