A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
About this project
Introducing: NB-IoT for everyone
There was a time when driving a car was considered a luxury. Sure, there were roads. And there were cars. But not until Henry Ford made them affordable and easy to get, it became the commodity we are used to now. Same with smartphones. The iPhone was by no means the first smartphone. But Steve Jobs managed to make it appealing and available for a large group of people. Now we can’t imagine a life without our smartphone. And experts agree the Internet of Things is heading the same way. It is estimated that roughly 50 billion devices are connected to the internet by the year 2020.
To achieve that, you need good networks that can securely and reliably transfer data, without using too much power. That’s why telecom providers all over the world are investing in and rolling out NarrowBand-IoT (NB-IoT) networks on their existing infrastructure. The new, 4G telecommunication standard is set to empower the future of IoT. But which hardware is going to use that new network?
That is the question we were asking ourselves. Looking back, most of the time big companies were the first and only ones having access to new technologies. They had the resources to leverage on new technologies and were able to build new competitive advantages, leaving others behind. We at SODAQ want to change that and offer you the chance to be the first: we want to put NB-IoT in your hands. Now. Today. We will do that by providing the tools that millions of makers already know how to use. And we will make those tools very affordable and usable. We are enabling exactly that with our NB-IoT Arduino Shield. It’s NB-IoT for everyone.
You've seen us here:
What is the NB-IoT Arduino Shield?
The NB-IoT Arduino Shield is an Arduino compatible board that can easily be added to any Arduino board. Just plug our shield onto any Arduino board. It is compatible with hundreds of different boards out there, varying from an original Arduino Uno, to for instance the latest ST Nucleo board. The Shield connects through the brand new u-blox Sara N2 NB-IoT module. All you need to do is pop in a sim-card (more on that below) and you can create your own NB-IoT applications. To help you get started, we already have an easy to use library of applications with which you will be sending messages on the NB-IoT network in just a few minutes.
NB-IoT for everyone means you get an easy to use hardware solution based on Arduino code, in combination with a convenient, cloud based solution to retrieve, visualize and act upon your data. This application, which allows you to manage and visualize your data and adds automation through an integrated rules engine, is called AllThingsTalk Maker.
AllThingsTalk Maker allows you to conveniently connect your NB-IOT device to the cloud and get access to your data in minutes.
NB-IoT Arduino Shield: Standard or Deluxe?
With the standard NB-IoT Arduino Shield you can let your Arduino connect to your favorite NB-IoT network. It is equipped with the u-blox Sara N2 NB-IoT module, a sim card holder and on board ceramic antenna. But we know the makers in the Arduino-community and they are always cooking up some new ideas. You’ll probably want your application to do more than just communicate. So we created a second version of the Shield.
The Deluxe shield is packed with extra features. It contains the brand new u-blox M8Q. This module does not just offer a plain vanilla GPS, but true multi-GNSS navigation. What does that mean? Well, basically this is your first and currently only chance to work with the new European Galileo network, the Russian GLONASS network and the Chinese Beidou network all at once!
No matter where you are in the world, you will have the fastest and most accurate positioning. It has an integrated antenna that is optimally tuned for these networks.
We have also added the latest, state-of-the-art MEMS sensors by ST Microelectronics.
Narrowband IoT (NB‑IoT) is a Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technology specifically designed for the Internet of Things (IoT) and connects devices efficiently on existing mobile networks. It can be seen as a far more superior and future-proof replacement for 2G data communication for devices that is commonly known as M2M (machine to machine). We believe it will open up a wide variety of new types of applications from which not only many industries and businesses, but also society in general will profit.
You can use NB-IoT to send small amounts of 2‑way data, securely and reliably. It is designed to have very low power consumption and deep penetration into buildings resulting in a secure, stable and robust communication network for devices like smart sensors such as room occupancy monitors.
Traditional cellular networks are not optimized for applications that only transmit small amounts data and don't offer power saving capabilities, which makes these unsuitable for inexpensive devices that require battery lives of several years. Since NB-IoT operates in the licensed spectrum of the telecom operators, it is secure and reliable providing guaranteed quality of service.
In the Netherlands? Free access by T-Mobile!
Several telecommunication companies started or have announced the roll out of NB-IoT. In the Netherlands we have teamed up with T-Mobile and all the backers from the Netherlands will get a free T-Mobile SIM card and free access to the NB-IoT network for a period of 12 months!
Not from the Netherlands? No worries! The NB-IoT shield is not tied to a specific network and can connect to any NB-IoT network in the world. We are working hard to get similar deals in other countries. The board is ready for it! All you have to do is get your hands on a (NB-IoT) SIM card. Any NB-IoT network in the world is supported!
Fresh of the MWC: NB-Iot goes worldwide
So when you're not in The Netherlands, you're out of luck? Not so fast! We're currently in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress 2017. And boy, is there a lot of buzz surrounding NB-IoT. Thankfully it's not just talk about a distant future. Check out the map below: in green are the countries that have an active NB-IoT network this year.
NB-IoT networks are rolled out quickly all over the world. Huawei just announced it will deploy its NB-IoT networks in more than 30 countries this year, representing 32% of the global population. T-Mobile announced it will add Germany, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia and Croatia to their NB-IoT coverage in 2017. Vodafone is already active in the UK, Spain and The Netherlands, and they announced they will also start in Ireland. We'll keep you updated about any new plans coming from the MWC in Barcelona.
Which reward to choose?
We’re currently offering three rewards.
NB-IoT Arduino Shield standard version:
The original NB-IoT Arduino Shield features the u-blox Sara N2 NB-IoT chip, antenna and micro-SIM card holder. Attach it to any Arduino and you’re ready to get connected. If you’re living in the Netherlands, this reward includes a T-Mobile NB-IoT SIM card with 12 months free access to the network!
NB-IoT Arduino Shield Deluxe version:
Just connecting to the most reliable IoT network is not enough, you want to have all the options and hardware to create any application you can think of. This Deluxe board has got you covered. Not only does it feature a wide array of sensors such as a accelerometer, pressure sensor and thermometer. This Deluxe version is also equipped with the brand new u-blox M8Q positioning module, offering you the chance to navigate using every available positioning system, including the brand new European Galileo.
And yes: if you’re living in the Netherlands, this reward also includes a T-Mobile NB-IoT simcard with 12 months free access to the network!
Excited but not sure where to start? This might be a good option. Pledge €299* and we’ll personally teach you all about NB-IoT, Arduino and the NB-IoT Arduino Shield. And after that, you can get your hands dirty yourself. This reward includes a battery powered Arduino board and the Deluxe version of the NB-IoT Arduino Shield. Yours to keep. In our offices we’ll help you get started with the vast library of applications already available and have you creating your own stuff in no time. And because tinkering makes you hungry, we’ll throw in a lunch as well.
*Travel expenses are not included, so for this reward you need to be able to make it to Hilversum, the Netherlands, on your own. If you’re not in the Netherlands, but are nevertheless interested in a workshop (in English) for a group, please contact us through DM.
Or pick any combination of the rewards above: Can't choose? Or do you want it all? Whatever the reason, maybe you want to order 'off the menu'. For instance, if you want to order both a Standard and a Deluxe option. Since Kickstarter allows only one pledge, this requires a bit of a workaround. But no worries, it is pretty straightforward. Simply pick a reward (ie. the Standard Shield). Raise the amount of money you want to pledge (ie. €125 for both the Standard and Deluxe Shield including shipping), and send us a message through Kickstarter detailing your order. We'll make sure you receive the right order, right on time.
How future proof is the NB-IoT shield from SODAQ since developments are going fast?
Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT) is a Lower Power Wide Area (LPWA) technology. In 2016 the mobile industry agreed on technology standards for the Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) market including NB-IoT. These standards have been accepted by 3GPP as a global standard. That makes the NB-IoT shield from SODAQ future proof!
Why is T-Mobile supporting SODAQ’s initiative in the Netherlands?
Here’s what T-Mobile says: “We see the Internet of Things with NB-IoT technology as the beginning of something new, something big. Therefore we want to explore with others what IoT will mean. We're just as curious as you and would like you to start working using our network. We aspire to provide access to Internet of Things for everyone. Since connected hardware (like a NB-IoT component) is a prerequisite for making use of Internet of Things, T-Mobile promotes the initiative of SODAQ by providing SODAQ with the opportunity to bundle the Shield with one year connectivity for free. By joining the community, we learn from you how easily you can use it and for what new kind of cases you like to use it. In this way we gather valuable insights how T-Mobile can serve you in the best way in future.”
What is my direct relationship with T-Mobile?
T-Mobile provides the SIM cards and free access to SODAQ. SODAQ will be the owner of the SIM cards and has the right to bundle the SIM card with the Shield for Dutch backers to provide you with one year free access to T-Mobile’s NB-IoT network in the Netherlands. There will be no contractual relationship between you and T-Mobile.
What happens when T-Mobile's SIM card expires after one year?
After one year the free connectivity to T-Mobile’s IoT network will be terminated automatically. By then you will have the choice to contract T-Mobile’s IoT service (or other telecom operators) commercially. Please take into account that at that time you may have to update the software of your application to make use of the commercial NB-IoT services.
Are there any restrictions on the usage of T-Mobile’s SIM card?
During the trial period of one year, the SIM card can only be used for usage via the NB-IoT network of T-Mobile within the Netherlands. No restrictions are set on the free usage of the SIM card, although a fair use policy will be applied to prevent from inappropriate use. No further restrictions are set on usage of the SIM card. Please note that the technology itself is restricted by design and physics in terms of bandwidth.
Please be aware that you can experience differences within the commercial service (after the one year trial period) in comparison to your trial period. Technical restrictions can be applied on the commercial service. Please be informed before contracting the commercial service.
Can I use the SIM card to have access to 2G, 3G and 4G network?
No, usage of the SIM card is restricted to the NB-IoT network only. It is also linked to the NB-IoT shield of SODAQ.
Can I use the SIM card outside the Netherlands?
No, usage of the SIM card is restricted to the NB-IoT network of T-Mobile within the Netherlands. If we find providers in other countries available for similar deals, we’ll publish an update and include it in the reward if necessary.
Is the NB-IoT shield (hardware) restricted to T-Mobile’s network?
No, the NB-IoT shield is not restricted to T-Mobile’s network. It can be used on NB-IoT network of other operators as well.
For what type of usage is NB IoT appropriate?
NB-IoT can be used for transporting small amounts of data during short lasting sessions (some seconds). With NB-IoT you can transport small amounts of data several times per day or even a few per hour. Please be aware that NB-IoT cannot be used for transporting large amounts of data, neither can NB-IoT be used for long-lasting sessions.
If I have connectivity problems, who should I contact: SODAQ or T-Mobile?
If you face connectivity problems, please contact SODAQ since all SIM cards are registered to SODAQ. In complicated cases SODAQ will be backed by the support from T-Mobile to solve your case.
Why do I have to give permission to SODAQ for sharing my contact details with T-Mobile Netherlands when making use of the 12 months free usage offer?
Without permission, SODAQ is not permitted to share your contact details to third parties since the SIM card are registered to SODAQ.
In return for the 12 months free usage, T-Mobile request your contact details to get in touch with you. T-Mobile likes to gather your feedback and inform you when T-Mobile is going to launch its commercial NB-IoT-services.
Risks and challenges
During our last three campaigns we promised to ship on time, and managed to do so for the products we created. We are planning to keep that promise this time around, too. We have produced prototypes of the boards and tested these extensively. They work! So we know we can start the mass production which will take place in the Netherlands.
We have existing production and delivery agreements in place with our selected component suppliers and manufacturers. From small numbers to larger volumes, our relationship with these same suppliers has given us confidence in their ability to deliver what we will need in the future.
However, past performance is not always a guarantee for the future. There’s always a small risk involved while producing hardware. In the overall scheme of things, the SODAQ NB-IoT shield will probably remain a small production item for these suppliers. As much as possible, we will use our excellent relationship with them to ensure that production of the SODAQ shields remains on track.
If on the other hand we have a much larger number of orders to fulfill, we will be facing additional challenges in supplying and packaging the kit. We don't want to slip on the timeline, so if it looks like numbers might grow sufficiently during the campaign, we will be putting in place contingency arrangements with our primary PCB, assembly and packaging providers.
Handling communication with you, our wonderful backers, might prove to be another challenge while we're all busy producing, sorting, packing and sending out the kits. Our team has some experience in large scale communication and the experience from our previous Kickstarter campaigns will prove very useful. The whole team will be available in both the Kickstarter Q&A forum, and by email, to address any requests for information or limitations you might encounter when using the board and kits.
Be one of the first in the world to get started with NB-IOT. In this full day training workshop at the SODAQ Office, you will learn everything about NB-IoT and the workings of the Deluxe NB-IoT shield and all its features. At the end of the day you will have made a battery powered IoT device that uses Global Satellite networks to know its position and communicates this over the T-Mobile NB-IoT network. And you keep all the hardware and the T-Mobile SIM.