Nestwave Technology – A Hybrid Software Approach

In products such as smartphones and sports watches positioning is typically provided using a cellular modem chip for connectivity to the cellular network, a GPS chip for good outdoor accuracy and a Wi-Fi chip to support indoor location.

These implementations are, however, power-hungry, not least when it comes to the GPS IC. And while such power consumption may be acceptable for a consumer product that is going to be charged regularly, it does not fit the need of IoT solutions expected to operate over long periods of time without changing or charging a battery.

In addition, the need for three chips and associated circuitry demands a form factor that may not be suitable for many IoT implementations, as well as dictating a price that is almost certainly too high for low-cost, high-volume IoT deployment.

To address these power, size and cost challenges, Nestwave has taken a hybrid approach to IoT geolocation that combines GNSS, cellular and Wi-Fi location techniques with cloud-based processing.

Nestwave Tracking Architectures

Nestwave’s solution is based on adding positioning functionality to existing cellular IoT chipsets by implementing a GPS receiver as a software IP.  NestCore™ IP enables a very short time-to-first-fix, which allows for much lower power consumption without compromising on sensitivity or accuracy. The IP uses the modem chip’s existing radio and computing capabilities, eliminating the need for an external GPS/GNSS chipset and the software is compatible with existing devices so implementation does not require any system redesign.

In a Nestwave solution, the NestCore™ IP uses local device resources to extract timing and distance information from satellites, 5G/4G base stations and Wi-Fi access points. Unlike traditional approaches, there is no need to download assistance to the device. The processed information is then sent to the cloud in a very short message, where Nestwave’s NestCloud™ service combines this information with assistance data to determine actual location.

This approach keeps embedded IP power as low as possible by greatly reducing the time during which the IoT chipset is active and eliminating the need for power-hungry assistance downloads. Several patented GPS receiver innovations enable high-sensitivity reception for urban canyon and indoor coverage, low power consumption, small memory area and fast time to first fix.

Benefits of Nestwave Solution

Nestwave’s technologies allow designers to deliver solutions that work in every environment at the same time as simplifying hardware design, minimizing the bill of materials and reducing cost.

The dramatic reductions in power consumption enabled by Nestwave’s hybrid IP/cloud approach support significantly extended battery life, while the ability to configure the power/accuracy trade-off ensures flexibility across a variety of use-cases.

And by combining lower power consumption with the use of fewer components, Nestwave solutions contribute to environmental sustainability and reduced carbon footprints when deployed in high-volume IoT implementations.

Nestwave Technology In Action

Nestwave’s NestCore™ IP has already been integrated into a variety of chip architectures and on various state-of-the-art DSP/CPU cores. The company is also developing reference designs that show how the technology can be used in various use cases.

Collaboration with Sequans to Deliver Accurate and Efficient GNSS Positioning

“Leveraging Nestwave’s innovative technology to provide  low-power GNSS on Monarch 2 widens its capabilities and makes many types of IoT tracker use cases more affordable because there is no need for additional positioning chips or modules.”

  • Georges Karam, CEO, Sequans
Nestwave has been selected by Sequans Communications, a leading global provider of 5G/4G cellular IoT connectivity solutions, to add GNSS positioning to the Sequans Monarch 2 LTE-M/NB-IoT platform.

Integrated into the Sequans Monarch 2 GM02SP module, the Nestwave GNSS solution offers Sequans’ IoT customers accurate positioning with ultra-low power consumption while minimizing component count, cost and size by removing the need for an external positioning chipset. This makes the Sequans platform ideal for a wide variety of intermittent, power-limited tracking use cases including personal trackers, parcel and pallet location, fleet trackers as well as car, bike and scooter location and theft recovery. Cosmo Connected, a leader in urban mobility solutions, has already adopted the Monarch 2 GM02SP solution to reduce the cost and power consumption of its tracker products.

See press release here

Nestwave ThinTrack IoT Tracker Reference Design

To showcase how its technology can be used in IoT tracking applications Nestwave has developed ThinTrack, a fully functional asset tracker for logistics applications.

ThinTrack is an ultra-low-profile, compact GPS tracking solution that integrates an LTE-M/NB-IoT modem, antenna, battery, SIM and all necessary electronics into a device that measures just 82 x 35 x 3mm and weighs only 15g. A secure NFC smartphone app is used to activate the tracker and to read the individual item’s unique identifier.

Thinktrack schematic
Thintrack Box

Suitable for insertion into envelopes or the plastic pouches used for shipping documentation, this re-usable, waterproof device has a multi-year battery life and is ideal for tracking of individual items such as packages and letters where accurate positioning would not previously have been practical.

Other potential applications for ThinTrack include the tracking and theft prevention of luggage, high value designer goods and tools.