Autonomous Wireless Sensor Nodes

Recent advancements in technology and wireless communication is enabling smart environments and offering new services to people. Some new opportunities and use cases for smart cities include traffic monitoring, asset management, car parking monitoring, space detection, trash can fill level, garbage collection, and public transportation monitoring.

These new use cases are becoming possible with millions of distributed sensors sending small packets of data from all over the city. The sensors ideally work independently for very long periods of time without any supervision or human intervention. The main premise and the business case for smart city applications lie in the reduced operational cost and increased sustainability model with these low powered low maintenance sensors working round the clock to provide contextual information and enabling novel solutions.

One of the major concerns of large scale smart city projects is the growing operational cost required to maintain millions of sensors around the city. Battery powered sensors stop working after a few years leading to added operational cost and increased environmental pollution to replace millions of primary batteries. Energy harvesting provides a credible solution to address this power bottleneck and enable true autonomy. Efficiently harnessing the ambient solar, mechanical or RF energy from its environment, a sensor can unlock ‘Plug and Forget’ capability and function autonomously for very long periods of time.

Nowi’s energy harvesting PMIC provides clear advantages in the Autonomous Sensor Nodes domain. NH2 has the smallest PCB footprint which allows for versatility and independence in OEM sensor design. Coupled with the lowest BOM cost with industry leading average efficiency, the chipset is very well suited for sensor applications. It has been found to work extremely well with modules in multiple network topologies.