RFID News Roundup

CAEN RFID intros fixed reader for retail, warehousing; STMicroelectronics launches new payment system-on-chip; Industrial Internet Consortium announces contestants for IoT smart buildings challenge; BehrTech, MAJiK Systems partner on IoT connectivity for industrial brownfield environments; Impinj extends support for Japan's electronic tag initiative at convenience stores, drug stores.
Published: October 17, 2019

Presented here are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
the Industrial Internet Consortium;
BehrTech, MAJiK Systems; and

CAEN RFID Intros Fixed Reader for Retail, Warehousing

CAEN RFID has announced the availability of its Quattro fixed UHF RFID reader intended for retail and warehousing installations. The Quattro reader has four antenna ports capable of 31.5 dBm of power, enabling users to build RFID portals for long-range reading.

The device’s slim form factor makes it easy to install, the company reports, even when limited space is available. It offers a Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) and USB communication interface to simplify installation, both for large and single read point solutions. The PoE capability allows users to provide power to and communicate with the reader via a single cable.

The USB host port, combined with the internal computing architecture, permits users to connect USB peripherals such as barcode scanners, keyboards and printers, which the company says makes the Quattro reader a versatile identification platform. The Quattro is based on an embedded Linux platform and is configurable using an internal Web-based interface.

System integrators can customize the reader’s behavior by installing Java code that, with access to all RFID features and interfaces, permits full customization. The reader complies with and can operate in both European and U.S. regulatory environments. Due to its multiregional capabilities, the Quattro is suitable for RFID solutions requiring compliance with different geographical regions’ mandates.

STMicroelectronics Launches New Payment System-on-Chip

STMicroelectronics has released the next generation of its STPay system-on-chip (SoC) payment solution, designed to increase contactless performance and protection, reduce power demand, and improve the user experience. The STPay-Topaz solution comes ready for embedding in smart cards, features payment applications running on the certified JavaCard platform, and meets all required security and payment-scheme certifications, according to STMicroelectronics.

As the first such device manufactured in 40nm Flash technology, the STPay-Topaz is based on the ST31P450 secure microcontroller with cyber-protection. This includes the latest Arm SecurCore SC000 32-bit RISC core and cryptographic accelerators to block advanced forms of attack.

Support for a range of international and domestic payment schemes simplifies product management for card developers, the firm reports, enabling deployment in numerous markets worldwide. These include the global Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Discover, JCB and CUP payment schemes, as well as domestic schemes including Brazil’s Elo, India’s RuPay, Interac in Canada, BankAxept in Norway, eftpos Payments Australia, the Thai Bankers Association and the JCB Japanese Bankers Association.

MIFARE Classic, MIFARE Plus and MIFARE DESFire libraries are also proposed as options when transportation applets are required along with a banking applet. STPay-Topaz is available as sawn wafers or micro-modules, as well as in contactless or dual-interface configurations qualified with a range of industry-standard inlay and antenna technologies for easy integration in plastic cards.

The STPay ecosystem includes tools, sample scripts and support by local ST engineers to assist script development, validation and personalization, boosting flexibility and time to market. Samples of STPay-Topaz are available now.

Industrial Internet Consortium Announces Contestants for IoT Smart Buildings Challenge

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has announced that it has approved 39 entries from 26 contestants for its Smart Buildings Challenge, a program designed to give smart building technology suppliers the ability to collaborate with customers to create targeted, outcome-based solutions for smart buildings. The contestants come from around the world and include early-stage startups and global corporations focused on Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and blockchain technologies.

The challenge presents contestants with a set of smart building problems faced by building operators and investors, as well as parameters required of the solutions. Technology suppliers will develop solution proposals, alone or with partners, and compete to deploy pilot implementations to fulfill the requirements outlined by the challenge. A jury will select the winners from the pool of entries at the end of the challenge. Prizes for winners will include the opportunity to deliver a live proof of concept in a shopping mall supported by Deka Immobilien, ECE and TÜV SÜD. Technology partners providing tech for the challenge include Bosch, Microsoft and SAST.

The contestants will participate in a workshop and hackathon hosted by Bosch on Nov. 19 in Munich, Germany. Registration is open to the public. The Smart Buildings Challenge is one of the IoT Challenges co-organized with the Trusted IoT Alliance. The challenges are open to industry vendors, organizations, teams and individuals worldwide and are designed to advance and validate IIoT applications and solutions.

Initial use cases for the Smart Buildings Challenge include smart space flow analytics (tracking, zones and anonymized tracking); smart metering in multi-tenant commercial buildings (smart metering, energy consumption and a focus on electric energy); smart automated building (HVAC, control technical equipment, demand oriented control of equipment and sustainability); and smart building cockpit (management tool, sales tool, overview, digital twins and augmented reality).

Listed alphabetically, the contestants are AASA, Aedifion, Cloud Studio, Cubelizer, Dell Technologies, G2K Group, GridX, Hansheng, the IOTA Foundation, Limitless Insight, Metrikus, Moeco, the Obyte Foundation, Oriient New Media, Qlair / MANN+HUMMEL, Rapid Lab, Simplifa, Slant, Smart Engine & WTEC, SmartPlants, Thing Technologies, Tridium, Umajin, Visualix, Wipro and YPTOKEY.

BehrTech, MAJiK Systems Partner on IoT Connectivity for Industrial Brownfield Environments

BehrTech and MAJiK Systems have signed a strategic partnership to bring wireless connectivity to legacy programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Together with BehrTech’s MYTHINGS wireless connectivity platform and MAJiK’s PLC data-monitoring and analytics software suite, the integrated PLC solution provides long-range and scalable connectivity for PLC data communications in remote and complex industrial environments.

“Together with MAJiK, we are bridging the gap between information technology and operational technology across legacy systems and environments,” says Wolfgang Thieme, BehrTech’s chief product officer, in a prepared statement. “This PLC integration solution enables you to tap into valuable production data that was previously inaccessible in isolated, closed-loop systems.”

The MAJiK integration platform collects critical data points (i.e. PLC tags) from brownfield PLCs. Through a connection to the MAJiK platform, a MYTHINGS transceiver reliably and securely transfers this data to a remote base station. Data can then be relayed to an enterprise cloud platform or on-premise application system, such as a manufacturing execution system or an enterprise resource planning solution for storage, analytics and visualization. The solution does not require PLC reprogramming and supports multiple cross-vendor PLCs and physical interfaces.

“Most legacy industrial assets, machines, and facilities are not designed to connect beyond campus networks. This creates huge data silos,” said Jared Evans, MAJiK Systems’ COO, in the prepared statement. “Our PLC integration solution enables companies to transform their brownfield plants into digital factories without absorbing the costs and complexities of building an entirely new greenfield plant or reprogramming legacy PLCs.”

According to the two companies, the partnership’s first deployment was at a remote mining site for a large Canadian gold and silver mining company. The firm wanted visibility into its heap-leaching process, but, due to harsh environmental conditions, Ethernet cabling and legacy wireless solutions were not feasible. Using BehrTech’s and MAJiK’s PLC integration solution, the company was able to transmit critical PLC data from a previously isolated and disconnected lime silo around a 300-foot heap leach to an administration building. It can now monitor lime silo levels in real time, providing the operational visibility required to avoid expensive production delays and over-ordering, while improving worker productivity and safety.

Impinj Extends Support for Japan’s Electronic Tag Initiative at Convenience Stores, Drug Stores

Impinj, a provider of RFID solutions, has extended its support for electronic tagging in Japan’s convenience stores and drug stores. Technology innovations provided by the company’s M700 endpoint IC family enable wireless connectivity for individual items, such as food, beverages and medications, thereby enhancing inventory visibility and facilitating consumer self-checkout.

The M700 family of endpoint ICs are designed to provide connectivity for an estimated 100 billion items per year in Japan, according to the company. Smaller, higher-performing endpoint ICs will enable smaller, higher-performing inlays that can be embedded in product packaging. Shrinking and enhancing the endpoint IC logic will enable loss prevention while boosting efficiencies and costs, Impinj notes.

The IC family’s capabilities align with the goals set in declarations by the Japanese Government, major convenience store chains and the Japan Association of Chain Drug Stores to attach RFID tags to all items those stores sell in Japan by 2025. Rollouts follow multiple pilots in which convenience stores added RFID tags to improve inventory visibility and enable consumer self-checkout.

“We are excited to deliver products that expand the Internet of Things to encompass every item in convenience stores and drugstores,” said Chris Diorio, Impinj’s founder and CEO, in a prepared statement. “Impinj’s vision to connect every item in our everyday world to the cloud is fully aligned with Japan’s convenience store and drugstore initiatives. Our new family of Impinj M700 ICs shows the path to embedding 100s of billions of Impinj RAIN RFID ICs into everyday items.”