RFID News Roundup

Primera Technology intros on-demand color RFID label printer ••• Seagull Scientific releases labeling software for RFID, smart cards, more ••• Blue Bite, r-pac International partner on RFID supply chain solution ••• Avery Dennison opens intelligent label solutions lab in India ••• UWINLOC unveils new line of industrial tracking tags ••• PragmatIC reaches 20-million order milestone for flexible ICs ••• Eclipse Foundation releases IoT developer survey results.
Published: April 18, 2019

Presented here are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
Primera Technology;
Seagull Scientific;
Blue Bite, r-pac International;
Avery Dennison;
PragmatIC; and
the Eclipse Foundation.

Primera Technology Intros On-Demand Color RFID Label Printer

Primera Technology, a designer and manufacturer of specialized digital printers, has announced that its RX500 Color RFID Label & Tag Printer is now available for shipping. The RX500 is a full-color, on-demand RFID built-in label and tag printer that prints, encodes, verifies and prints labels in a single pass. Finished labels are then cut with an internal guillotine-style cutter and are dispensed one at a time. According to the company, on-demand printing makes the printer suitable for such applications as visitor or trade show badges, for which printing a single label at a time with unique information is required. Batches of multiple labels or tags at a time can also be encoded and printed.

The built-in UHF RFID reader-encoder module is supplied by Honeywell. It is compliant with the EPCglobal Gen 2 Class 1 and ISO 18000-b and -c specifications for a range of deployments in real-world applications. The machine offers print resolution of up to 4,800 dpi and print speeds of up to 2.5 inches (63.5 millimeters) per second.

“Printing full-color RFID labels and tags adds a new, value-added feature to the technology,” said Mark D. Strobel, Primera’s VP of sales and marketing, in a prepared statement. “With RX500, you can add color coding, graphics and high-resolution photos to RFID labels and tags. With color, you’re essentially adding an extra layer of accuracy and safety in applications such as medical file folder labels, visitor badges, photo wristbands and specimen tracking labels.”

Supported substrates include matte and gloss inkjet papers, vinyl, polypropylene and polyester. A high degree of water, smudge and smear resistance is achieved via dye-based inks and the print surfaces of inkjet labels, Primera reports.

Seagull Scientific Releases Labeling Software for RFID, Smart Cards, More

Seagull Scientific has announced the availability of its BarTender 2019 software for transforming business information into labels, bar codes, RFID tags, smart cards, documents, packing slips and pallet labels. The improved BarTender Designer feature introduces grids, tables, text wrapping and the ability to use multiple database records in a single document. Intelligent Forms allow the creation of complex print-time processes and automation.

The new Data Builder feature provides a built-in database allowing users to create and manage data securely within BarTender, reducing the need for external databases. Customers that use external data can leverage improved connectors, write data back to most SQL-based databases, import data from an XML file and use Azure-hosted databases. The new Process Builder automates many manual processes without extensive programming. Improved database connectors facilitate the use of data from existing business systems and formats, such as XML, Azure SQL Database, and Microsoft Excel and Access.

“We’re excited about the industry-leading capabilities we’ve added to BarTender 2019,” said Harold Boe, Seagull Scientific’s president and CEO, in a prepared statement, “but we’re equally excited about the work we’ve done behind the scenes to simplify and streamline processes for our customers and partners. Our goal is to always be the easiest enterprise labeling software company to do business with. “

In conjunction with the release of BarTender 2019, the company is also launching a redesigned website and new URL: BarTenderSoftware.com; an improved partner program; a new Web portal for customers and partners: portal.SeagullScientific.com; and a free edition of BarTender to introduce customers to the features of the three main editions—Enterprise, Automation and Professional.

Blue Bite, r-pac International Partner on RFID Supply Chain Solution

Blue Bite and r-pac International have announced a strategic partnership to create an end-to-end solution allowing brands to digitally connect with consumers through physical products. The partnership enables brands leveraging RFID technology to track products through the supply chain, deliver relevant content and contextual information, and gain consumer insights after the sale.

The combination of r-pac’s manufacturing expertise with Blue Bite’s patented cloud platform allows brands to efficiently digitalize their products, the companies report, changing the way in which consumers interact with the world and how brands communicate with consumers. R-pac operates 30 offices around the globe, providing 40 billion products annually, while Blue Bite has offered digital product experiences for 12 years.

The two companies have worked together previously, including partnering with Smartrac Technology Group and its customer Spyder to enable the U.S. Ski Team jackets. R-pac produced a waterproof Spyder logo patch with a Smartrac NFC inlay, and Blue Bite converted the jackets into interactive products that provided contextual information like weather conditions, trail maps and snow reportss.

“With Blue Bite we have the opportunity to manage the entire product lifecycle,” said Torsten Strauch, r-pac International’s VP for Europe, in a prepared statement. “With this partnership, we can enable a consumer experience at scale for our retail partners.” The partnership allows both companies to provide customers with a path to digitally enabling physical objects.

“Our platform is ultimately activated through physical products,” said Mikhail Damiani, Blue Bite’s CEO and cofounder, in the prepared statement. “R-pac helps us bring that platform to life in a wide variety of products, and simplifies the embedding process for our brand partners.”

Avery Dennison Opens Intelligent Label Solutions Lab in India

Avery Dennison, a provider of intelligent label solutions and UHF RFID technology, has opened its first intelligent label innovation space in the Asia Pacific and Sub Saharan Africa region. The new Avery Dennison I.Lab, located in Pune, India, is an interactive facility that provides customers and partners with hands-on experiences, live demonstrations and technical support, to help converters and partners explore the opportunities surrounding intelligent label solutions and RFID adoption.

“We are thrilled to be the third global I.Lab in India,” said Pankaj Bhardwaj, Avery Dennison’s senior director and general manager for South Asia, in a prepared statement. “Through I.Lab, we are well-positioned to advance the creation, delivery and adoption of intelligent label solutions for businesses in various industries.”

Modeled after the first concept lab in Oegstgeest, Netherlands, this new I.Lab will demonstrate how Avery Dennison’s intelligent labeling solutions can bring items to digital life in such industries as aviation, apparel, beauty and food. By connecting the physical and digital world through unique item-level digital identities, the company explains, businesses can benefit from improved inventory management and increased efficiencies throughout the supply chain.

“Tomorrow’s business requires smarter solutions that bring positive changes to the way we live, work and play,” said Anil Sharma, Avery Dennison’s VP and general manager for South Asia Pacific and Sub Saharan Africa, in the prepared statement. “This investment in I.Lab reaffirms our commitment to spearhead co-creations of innovative solutions for tomorrow’s needs with our customers, partners and other stakeholders, in our communities across this region.”

“This new I.Lab is set to pioneer change and accelerate the development of intelligent labels that will bind the digital and real worlds together,” added Marcel Cote, the company’s strategic marketing director for South Asia Pacific and Sub Saharan Africa, in the prepared statement. “Here in Pune, India, the I.Lab will be further augmented by our strong R&D capabilities at the Avery Dennison Innovation and Knowledge Centre (ADIKC) as we collaborate with customers and partners to develop more advanced intelligent labeling solutions across various industries.”

The I.Lab center in Pune is a fully immersive space, taking visitors through the entire supply chain, from back-end to front-end environments. Visitors can experience first-hand how Avery Dennison’s intelligent labeling solutions can capture and store information and wirelessly transmit that data in order to keep businesses informed.

UWINLOC Unveils New Line of Industrial Tracking Tags

UWINLOC, which provides a battery-less connected tracking system, has launched a new line of tags to address use cases in the manufacturing and logistics sectors. The system is designed to offer reliable precision tracking based on energy harvesting. The platform connects clients to tagged items (spare parts, equipment, machinery and so forth) for supply chain visibility and smoother production flows.

The system features UWINLOC’s battery-less Standard Tag. The company reports that its R&D team has added improved geolocation capabilities in metallic environments, longer reading ranges, quick refresh rates, light infrastructure configuration and reliable tracking accuracy. In addition to a new line of products, UWINLOC’s software platform includes additional application features for tracking data into valuable insight for an entire production site.

UWINLOC also plans to release its Flexible Tag and Intelligent Tag. The Flexible Tag will be the first geolocation tag in flexible form, the company reports, meaning it can adapt to a range of products in different sizes and shapes. The Intelligent Tag will allow users to locate materials in real time without batteries, and will integrate sensor characteristics such as temperature and speed measurements. Both tags will be intended to increase the addressable market for indoor location applications.

“Our clients themselves are experiencing the value that the UWINLOC solution brings to the sector,” said Eric Cariou, UWINLOC’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “We’ve introduced the first battery-less technology in the market to exist, one that is reliable and adapted to a multitude of use cases at a fraction of the cost but sticking to a quality product. By doing this, we’re enabling businesses to transform and optimize their sites worldwide.”

PragmatIC Reaches 20-Million Order Milestone for Flexible ICs

PragmatIC, a provider of flexible electronics, has announced that it has received orders for more than 20 million flexible integrated circuits (FlexICs). Orders have been placed from customers in Europe, North America and Asia, utilizing PragmatIC’s technology platform as a solution for introducing connectivity into mass-market applications.

“These initial volume orders highlight the attractiveness and uniqueness of our ConnectIC product line,” said Scott White, PragmatIC’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “Global companies, eager to enhance their digital presence, have quickly identified a variety of exciting use-cases for connectivity in everyday items.” PragmatIC will ramp production in the United Kingdom throughout 2019, while working with its partners to enable other companies to deploy FlexICs for high-volume applications.

The PR1100 ConnectIC series, launched in February 2019, is designed for use in closed HF RFID systems, and enables the rapid detection of objects by integrated custom readers. These ICs are intended for such applications as hierarchical inventory management, item identification and tracking, supply chain assurance and brand authentication.

Other products in the ConnectIC family are presently in development, addressing a range of use scenarios from open standards-based environments to customer-bespoke solutions. ConnectICs are targeted at market segments such as food and beverage, personal and home care, pharmaceutical and health care. According to the company, they support the introduction of digital interactivity into physical toys and games, bringing the dynamic nature of online gameplay into the real world.

“The RFID market is already worth $11 billion in 2018, rising to $13.4 billion by 2022,” said Raghu Das, the CEO of market research firm IDTechEx, in a prepared statement. “The rapid adoption of PragmatIC’s ultra-low-cost technology has the potential to increase the addressable market by an order of magnitude or more.”

Eclipse Foundation Releases IoT Developer Survey Results

The Eclipse Foundation, a platform for open collaboration and innovation, has released its “2019 IoT Developer Survey” that canvassed more than 1,700 developers regarding their Internet of Things (IoT) efforts. The survey was conducted by the Eclipse IoT Working Group in cooperation with member companies including Bosch Software Innovations, Eurotech and Red Hat, with support from the IoT community at large.

The survey indicates that IoT developers are driving commercial outcomes, as evidenced by the fact that two-thirds of respondents said they were working on IoT projects professionally. Their top three concerns in building out IoT systems were security (38% of respondents), connectivity (21%), and data collection and analysis (19%). Performance (18%), privacy (18%) and standards (16%) were also areas cited as particularly challenging for IoT development.

“This year’s survey results reflect the opportunities and challenges surfaced by the accelerating market adoption of IoT solutions and services,” said Mike Milinkovich, the Eclipse Foundation’ executive director, in a prepared statement. “Developers are contending with interoperability and performance challenges across key areas like constrained devices, device gateways, and scalable cloud platforms. Connectivity, in particular, is a rising developer concern because of the proliferation of incompatible networking technologies in the market.”

IoT cloud platforms (34%), home automation (27%) and industrial automation / IIoT (26%) were the respondents’ three most common industry focus areas. The top three CPU architectures for constrained devices used by respondents were ARM-based, with significant use of niche 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit MCUs. Respondents cited 70% usage of gateways and edge nodes with ARM variants, and 42% gateways and edge nodes with Intel x86 and x86_64 CPUs. Communication security (38%), data encryption (38%) and JSON web tokens (JWTs) (26%) were the top three security technologies cited in the survey, with virtualization also starting to play a stronger role in IoT security.

C dominated as the programming language of choice for constrained devices, while Java was most popular for gateways, edge nodes and the IoT cloud. AWS, Azure and GCP are the leading IoT cloud platforms, according to the survey, and 45% of respondents said they used the Eclipse IDE for their IoT developments, while 32% used Visual Studio. HTTP (49%), MQTT (42%) and Websockets (26%) were the top three communications protocols used by IoT developers.

“MQTT is clearly the dominant IoT-specific protocol, second only to HTTP itself,” Milinkovich said in the prepared statement. The Eclipse Tahu project is now the home of the Sparkplug specification, which extends MQTT with well-defined topic and payload structures to improve interoperability of industrial devices, while leveraging the bandwidth efficiency and low latency features of MQTT.

The findings of this survey support the idea that IoT development is expanding at a rapid pace, the organization reports, fueled by the growth of investments in predominantly industrial markets. The sustained focus on areas like IoT platforms, home automation and industrial automation suggests these are likely to continue to be key targets for developer activity in IoT.