At the heart of every connected product is the hardware. Today we are starting off our Hardware Spotlights series, where we are showcasing Thingsquare-compatible hardware. First off, we look at the Zolertia family of connected hardware!
The Zolertia RE-Mote
The Zolertia RE-Mote
The Zolertia RE-Mote is a development platform for connected products. It is used early in the development process to build the first prototype versions of the system in order to evaluate and assess the technical performance assumptions of the product.
The prototype can help answer technical questions like:
- Is the wireless communication fast enough for my scenario?
- Is the range good for my scenario?
- Can I connect enough devices for my product to work efficiently?
The earlier these questions can be answered, the lower the technical risk for the finished product.
In addition to lowering the technical risk, having an early prototype also helps reduce the market risk, as it can be put into the hands of prospective customers to see their reactions as early as possible.
Unlike many other development platforms, the Zolertia RE-Mote is equipped with a smooth plastic casing, making it possible to give to early users without scaring them off. This is in contrast to many other development platforms that consist of a bare circuit board with exposed connectors and chips.
The Zolertia RE-Mote buttons and connectors
A Dual Radio Platform
The Zolertia RE-Mote is equipped with two radios: one 2.4 GHz radio and one sub-GHz radio. It is possible to switch between the two radios simply by uploading a new firmware.
The two radios serve slightly different purposes. The 2.4 GHz radio runs on a world-wide license free band and is therefore ideal for products that are to be sold in all markets. But the 2.4 GHz spectrum is often crowded and the range may be too short for many products. Typical in-door range is around 50-80 meters. The sub-GHz radio has a longer range, typically some 200-500 meters, but because it uses different frequencies in different markets, the final product will need different configurations for these different markets.
Because the Zolertia RE-Mote has two radios, it is possible to experiment and evaluate both options very early in the product development process.
The Zolertia Family: from Prototype to Product
The Zolertia family
The Zolertia RE-Mote is part of a family of platforms, all using the same hardware.
- The RE-Mote, for early development
- The Firefly, for prototypes and quick products
- The Zoul, for embedding in the final product
Because they use the same hardware, the firmware can remain almost the same across the different platforms.
A Finished Product
A finished product based on the Zoul: the Lucid Wireless Solution, outside and inside
The Lucid Wireless Solution, which we’ve written about before, is an example of a product built with the Zoul module inside. The system uses the sub-GHz radio option of the Zoul module to work efficiently even in large-scale industrial installations.