The making of Treon node
Looking for a wireless mesh network node with a lot of applications, customization and smooth design? Treon has come up with a perfect solution.
Treon node opens up a multitude of possibilities in mesh networking and IoT.
”We asked ourselves what kind of data is typically collected in IoT-solutions regardless of the environment they are deployed. The first answers were along the lines of temperature, humidity, whether something is moving and how is a machine behaving, for example. These are the types of cases we were initially thinking about”, software lead Sami Mäkelä says.
The final product is capable of much more than that.
Equipped with six sensors, the node is a powerful tool for wireless sensoring and asset management in environments such as offices, schools, warehouses and industrial facilities as well as homes.
The node uses Wirepas technology and the u-blox Nina B1 connectivity module. It works in a mesh network using 2,4GHz radio communication. Each node collects data and sends it to a gateway by sharing information with other nodes in the same network. If one node breaks or shuts down, the mesh network automatically reroutes itself.
“Working with Wirepas was a logical solution for us. Not only are they our next-door neighbors, they have an industry leading solution for large scale IoT-applications”, product management lead Janne Julkunen tells.
The first Treon-branded hardware product
Tapping into the growing Wirepas ecosystem is an important factor for Treon. With its virtually countless applications, the node is a development platform for IoT solutions. While designing hardware products for other companies is a big part of Treon business, the node is the first hardware product in Treon’s own portfolio.
”There is demand for a tool for fast trials and pilots. This node is exactly that”, Janne Julkunen explains. “The node and the subsequent gateway have capabilities to go a long way, but when they reach their limit, we have a superb engineering team to customize or design a product to a purpose for our customers.”
The node can not only collect and transmit data but is also able to perform local processing. It has an additional MCU which gives it more processing capability and memory compared to many other solutions. Thanks to this intelligence, the mesh network can be efficiently optimized.
The node is stacked with temperature, pressure, light, humidity, magnetic and motion sensors. Depending on end uses, more features such as air quality sensors can be added, or unnecessary sensors removed. The visual appearance can be customized to match different brands.
Treon wanted to focus on craftmanship and design instead of creating another industrial grey product. Water and dust resistant, neat-looking round node comes in either black or white body color and features a fully customizable lid. This makes branding easy.
For example, the lid is transparent in the nodes delivered to partner u-blox. It is important in this case that the connectivity module can be seen.
”We wanted the node to stand out. It is in our DNA to design the products visually pleasing as well as functional. We don’t like to cross where the fence is lowest”, mechanics design lead Pasi Hyttinen says.
There is a variety of attachment options onto different shapes and surfaces. For example, the node can be attached to magnetic surfaces or using customizable adapter plates to virtually anything.
Mutual benefit for partners
The device is built around a 1000mAh coin cell battery. The targeted battery life is over one year. The work with extending battery life never ends, says Sami Mäkelä.
”The node is never actively waiting for anything. It is always deeply asleep and only wakes up when it purely needs to.”
Senior product marketing manager Stefan Berggren from u-blox says the Treon node is a perfect way to highlight the capabilities of the u-blox NINA-B1 Bluetooth low energy module including mesh network functionality.
The NINA-B1 series modules are small, globally certified stand-alone Bluetooth low energy modules featuring Bluetooth 5, a powerful Arm® Cortex®-M4 and state-of-the-art power performance.
The internal PIFA antenna is specifically designed for the small NINA-B1 form factor and provides an extensive range.
”We believe that our product has the best radio performance and range in the market. Range is an important factor in a mesh network. We needed a partner to be able to demonstrate this on a user-friendly solution.”
It was Wirepas that brought Treon and u-blox together.
”For us, the node is showcasing the capabilities of NINA-B1 as well as demonstrating the capabilities of mesh technology. We have different kinds of software environments that we are able to support with the Treon node including u-blox connectivity software, Nordic SDK and Wirepas Connectivity Wide area mesh.”
The experience of working with Treon has been a good one for u-blox.
”The cooperation has worked very well. They are reactive and extremely quick in replying to our requests. It is easy to see the mutual benefit of this project.”