I'm currently working on an IoT project. The principle is to have a box that could connect to a phone over Bluetooth on some NFC contact. After the phone and the box will communicate messages over Bluetooth to the phone.

The box must be able to pair with the phone and when an NFC contact is triggered send a message to the phone using Bluetooth.

I've started by developing a truly basic prototype of it using a raspberry pi and an NFC PN532. I now want to develop a new version of it using some dedicated hardware, the idea is to get as near as possible of an industrial version.

I've seen two different hardware to do so:

My problem is that as I have no experience at all in IoT and I am more of a software engineer than hardware engineer I don't really know which one is the better for my project.

I then have two questions:

  • Do you know any other hardware piece that allows Bluetooth and NFC ?

  • Which one would you advise for me ? How can I truly differentiate them ?

Thx for reading me.

PS: please pardon my English I'm still learning ;)

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    Hi Thorarm, whilst this is a relevant question, it is not one we can answer because the question is partially subjective, and partially depending on some specific details of your project (maybe). There are some questions here which address the 'how to chose', and they may help you. Feel free to edit the question if you find a specific aspect of this choice that you want input on. Please try and avoid questions that won't have a clearly 'right' or 'best' answer. Sep 6, 2018 at 15:44
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    Examples which might or might not guide your selection; price, suitability of off the shelf dev-board for prototype, software stack provided, toolchain supported, part cost, clock speed, RAM/EEPROM/RTC/TRNG present, sleep mode power, etc, etc. Sep 6, 2018 at 15:47
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    iot.stackexchange.com/questions/880 and iot.stackexchange.com/questions/1812 are relevant, but are more about how to chose. Sep 6, 2018 at 15:51
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    Hi, sorry if the question was too approximate I'll go deeper in my reflexion then edit if needed. Thanks for the links etc ...
    – Sebz
    Sep 10, 2018 at 15:21
  • You would need to look at the support (by the oem and community), as well as long-term support. They may be microcontroller that support nfc and ble. However, sometimes it may be cheaper to use popular microcontroller (such as arduino or mbed) and interface with nfc and ble. You could power on and off ble and nfc to conserve power when they are not used. There is no perfect solution for everyone. You may have to ask yourself about technical complexiity, cost and long-term maintenance.
    – yoonghm
    Sep 22, 2018 at 10:56

2 Answers 2


First draw your block diagram in boxes, and write down your required hardware protocols, e.g., Bluetooth module would need a UART port, NFC would need some other protocol. You will end up with the block with your communication requirements and then you would want to look up the triangle: a) cost, b) time and c) performance. Both the aforementioned microcontrollers in the links scare me because I am relatively weak in programming and I would go with Arduino-based micro's. I would gain in cost and time to develop, but going in more industrial gives a a performance advantage and, of course, expandability for future versions.


If you want to choose a micro-controller/Processor for your project, first you should search for its resources and see if there is any library for your use case.

In that point I did a little research for you and I think you can build your project with ESP8266 microcontrollers.

ESP8266 is a microcontroller made by Espressif that was built for IoT projects, it has a lot of documentations and an active community

You can take a look at its features in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESP8266

There is a very simple and powerful Interface for programming these controllers called Arduino (I'm sure you've heard of that): https://www.arduino.cc

And if you want to setup your project with Esp8266 and arduino IDE you should do these steps here: https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-huzzah-esp8266-breakout/using-arduino-ide

In your case it's good to take a look at this reference: https://github.com/Robotto/ESPnfc

It's a library and project examples for building NFC projects with esp8266

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    This does not address the OP's question of selecting between two specific devices, and I think the OP is asking for a production quality design, not a hobby project (although this is not explicit) Sep 20, 2018 at 11:18
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    The project might indeed get industrialized, so I need to produce a code base that would allow me to start this process. Though I want to develop the intermediate version between rasp pi and industrialization. Maybe the ESP 8266 is a good solution for that. I have to dig a bit more
    – Sebz
    Sep 24, 2018 at 9:39
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    @SeanHoulihane why do you think the ESP 8266 is not a good option ?
    – Sebz
    Sep 24, 2018 at 9:40

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