u-blox has announced the ANNA-B4 module, a feature-rich, ultra-compact Bluetooth 5.1 system-in-package (SiP). ANNA-B4 targets applications in harsh environments such as smart lighting networks and industrial circuit breakers as well as indoor positioning use cases in manufacturing sites, warehouses, hospitals, and smart cities.
Measuring 6.5 by 6.5 mm including its integrated antenna, ANNA-B4 combines the Nordic nRF52833 chipset’s feature set with u-blox’s expertise in chipset and module design into a compact and powerful component. The SiP supports Bluetooth mesh, long range, and direction finding, Thread and Zigbee, operation up to 105 °C, and is globally certified.
The ANNA-B4 is available in two product variants. The first, ANNA-B412, is delivered with the easy-to-use u-connectXpress command API based on industry-standard AT commands for accelerated time to market. Superior security functionality including secure boot helps prevent malicious attacks by ensuring that only authenticated and authorized firmware and updates can run on the device.
The second variant is ANNA-B402, which features a powerful open CPU architecture for custom applications and adds support for the Zigbee and Thread wireless communication protocols. In addition to enabling concurrent communication over multiple wireless protocols, the module lets product developers build solutions using Bluetooth low energy, Zigbee, or Thread using one single module.
ANNA-B4 is a perfect fit for established use cases such as smart lighting networks that coordinate their light intensity in response to presence detection and ambient light sensors using mesh technology.
Indoor asset tracking solutions form a cluster of emerging applications that stand to benefit from ANNA-B4’s small size, low power demand, and, crucially, its support for Bluetooth direction finding, which lets users precisely locate tagged mobile assets in indoor environments. Indoor asset tracking is gaining traction in a variety of settings including smart buildings, factories, hospitals, and warehouses.
“ANNA-B4 packs quite a punch when it comes to enabling applications in harsh industrial environments. Its ultra-compact size, which includes a high performing antenna, Combined with the latest Bluetooth technologies, support for Thread and Zigbee, and an operating temperature of up to 105 °C enable applications in a broad range of market segments,” says Len Albertsson, Product Strategy, Short Range Radio, at u-blox.
Engineering samples of the ANNA-B4 SiP will be available in January 2022.