IoT and Sensor Network Devices

For many years it has been technically possible to connect devices to the internet using cellular technology, but the relatively high cost of doing so has meant that it was only economic for high value devices. Today, with the emergence of a range of low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) technologies it is possible to add connectivity to many millions of devices that only a few years ago would not have justified the cost. These LPWANs are fuelling a rapid growth in the Internet of Things (IoT) and enabling new applications that promise to revolutionise many aspects of life and work.

Despite the apparent simplicity of the technology, adding a wireless capability to large populations of otherwise low-tech devices (eg, a farm gate) and doing so at a price that justifies the cost remains a challenge. The many available general purpose sensor and wireless modules are perfect for building one-off demonstrators or to satisfy low volume applications, but for high volume applications needing multi-year battery life only a bespoke design will suffice.

MAC Ltd has been pioneering the development of wireless sensor networks for over 15 years and has the experience to take your idea from the initial concept phase to a deployed product. Bringing together its deep understanding of wireless technology and its skills in low power electronic design and embedded software MAC Ltd can rapidly turn your idea into reality. The following case studies illustrate MAC Ltd’s design capabilities, but are just the tip of the iceberg. So, if you have an idea for the latest and greatest widget but don’t know where to start, then start by calling us.

Sigfox Sensor Module

MAC Ltd’s generic module integrates a range of common sensors with a Sigfox transceiver and a low power microcontroller and is a convenient starting point for developing a wide variety of IoT products. Using this off-the-shelf hardware and integrating existing software modules with custom application specific code, initial concept demonstrators can be designed and iterated in a matter of weeks. When the design has been tested and validated against the user requirements MAC Ltd can quickly design an optimised hardware platform by leaving out any unused features and adding any that are not part of our generic platform. At the same time the hardware will be configured in the most appropriate form-factor for the end application and features to support high-volume manufacture will be added, as required.

The generic module can be configured to support the following sensor types, though due to input/output limitations of the processor not all combinations are possible so please call MAC Ltd to discuss your requirements.

  • Accelerometer, light sensor, tilt-switch, magnetic reed switch, temperature, digital inputs from external devices, analog inputs from external devices, digital outputs to external devices.

A battery supply between 1.8V and 3.3V can provide power to the module, so it is ideally suited to operation from two standard primary or rechargeable batteries, such as two AAA or AA cells. For off-board sensors that require a higher supply voltage, an on-board DC-DC converter can provide a 5V supply, which the microcontroller can enable and disable to conserve power.