StarPin pinpoints asset monitoring success with Quectel BG95-M2 CAT-M1/ NB-IoT, LPWAN module

LevelCon India has selected Quectel BG95-M2 module for its StarPin series product offering. It is a solar-powered asset monitoring and tracking solution. The company LevelCon India LLP is the Indian arm of Micro-Design Inc which trades under the LevelCon USA name. LevelCon has been in the telemetry business since 2002 and is a full service provider IoT company for critical data acquisition. The company focuses on providing monitoring solutions with a tracking feature. LevelCon developed its first remote monitoring application in 2002 using 2G and SMS. Today, LevelCon is a pioneer in the field of monitoring and tracking using advanced low power wide area (LPWA) networks.

LevelCon’s StarPin is a Class I Division 1, group D-certified device capable of satisfying asset monitoring and tracking use case requirements of hazardous and non-hazardous materials at any location. StarPin is completely solar powered and helps industries in reducing their carbon footprint. In addition, the product is easy to use and can work indefinitely without any need for human intervention on solar power. StarPin is capable of bi-directional communication which enables remote provisioning and remote configuration, allowing industrial organizations to configure the unit without having personnel enter a hazardous area.

The device is capable of interfacing with any industry standard sensors including 0 to 5V sensors, RS485 sensors, UART or I2C sensors. In addition, StarPin can communicate with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sensors with mesh capabilities. This creates a complete industry-ready sensor node capable of being deployed in any use case. Large numbers of StarPin units are deployed in use cases such as propane monitoring and hydrogen monitoring which require hazardous area Class I division 1 certifications.

StarPin is LPWAN based and therefore has lower power consumption and longer product life. This is essential for reliable monitoring alongside customizable reporting time and report rates. Further benefits include ease of configuration and firmware over-the-air (FOTA) updates over LPWAN, providing simple access from a single node such as a handheld device or smartphone. A plug and play sensor allows a three-minute installation and commissioning process and alert reporting keeps users aware of low inventory levels or faults occurring in their systems.

The Quectel BG95 is a series of multi-mode LPWA modules supporting LTE Cat M1/Cat NB2/EGPRS and has integrated GNSS. The module features ultra-low power consumption thanks to integrated RAM/Flash as well as the ARM Cortex A7 processor supporting ThreadX, achieving up to 70 % reduction in power saving mode (PSM) leakage and 85 % reduction in extended discontinuous reception (eDRX) current consumption compared to their predecessor. With a cost-effective SMT form factor of 23.6 mm × 19.9 mm × 2.2 mm and high integration level, BG95 enables integrators and developers to easily design their applications and take advantage of the module’s low power consumption and mechanical intensity. Its advanced LGA package allows fully automated manufacturing for high-volume applications.

LPWA BG95 Cat M1/Cat NB2/EGPRS series IoT module

“Quectel India team has helped us immensely in integrating the LPWAN technology in our products,” confirms Mihir Jariwala, the director of LevelCon India. “We are using the BG95-M2 because of its lower power consumption and global navigation satellite system (GNSS) support. Above all, we needed a module which supports the NIDD AT command. NIDD AT-command sets are extremely important for all applications which plan to connect using the Jio network in India. The Quectel India team guided us towards this module as it was already tested with Jio’s NIDD network and hence it was a no-brainer to go with BG95-M2.”

Facing two challenges, in the form of GNSS implementation and NIDD connectivity, LevelCon was able to turn to Quectel for guidance and also uses Quectel GNSS antenna solutions for StarPin. StarPin is now being deployed in India, Australia, Canada and the US, utilizing Quectel BG95-M2 for all connectivity needs.

“The quality on-time support and availability of the Quectel India team and the easy availability of the BG95-M2 modules for mass production as well as the reliable firmware support for the module has been a real advantage,” adds Jariwala. “The quality, availability and feature set of LPWA modules provided by Quectel is what differentiates Quectel from other module providers. We also appreciate the product documentation, active consumer forums and personal, over-the-phone assistance to solve critical issues in the implementation that Quectel has provided.”

Michael Wallon, SVP Sales APAC+ANZ, Quectel Wireless Solutions, comments: “We’re delighted that LevelCon has selected our BG95-M2 modules to enable connectivity for its StarPin asset tracking and monitoring device. We’re also proud that our range of GNSS antennas has been selected for this low power, high performance tracking device. It’s great that our team has been able to assist LevelCon with the complexities of LPWAN device development and help to create this appealing solution”.