RFID News Roundup

Smartrac, 4E Antenna form partnership to strengthen sustainability in RFID products ••• Fleetilla, Polte collaborate to extend supply chain and equipment visibility via IoT ••• Inseego expands Industrial IoT product family with gigabit edge routers ••• IIoT company DataOnline rebrands as Anova ••• FIME brings NFC Forum certification services to Japan ••• LoRa Alliance, DLMS User Association bring Internet of Things to utilities.
Published: April 11, 2019

Presented here are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
Smartrac Technology Group, 4E Antenna AB;
Fleetilla, Polte;
DataOnline, Anova;
FIME, the NFC Forum;
the LoRa Alliance, and the DLMS User Association.

Smartrac, 4E Antenna Form Partnership to Strengthen Sustainability in RFID Products

Smartrac Technology Group, a provider of RFID products and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, and 4E Antenna AB, a Walki Group associated company and a producer of paper-based antennas and circuits, have announced a technology partnership to strengthen sustainability in RFID products and applications.

In compliance with Smartrac’s Green Tag Program, both companies will jointly develop RFID inlays and tags that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. These new products are intended to address businesses that recognize the importance of a reduced carbon footprint and environmental impact, in smart packaging, supply chain management, retail and other markets.

Smartrac announced its Green Tag Program earlier this year, regarding the manufacture of RFID products that meet strict criteria regarding the use of recyclable substrates, the avoidance of heavy metals and the non-use of chemical etching in the production of aluminum antennas. By joining forces with 4E Antenna AB, Smartrac says it can now produce Green Tags in volume, utilizing paper substrates and aluminum antennas made without the use of chemicals, while offering the same performance as standard RFID tags. This results in the complete recycling of aluminum residues, the absence of PET substrate and a reduction in adhesive usage, significantly reducing carbon footprint.

Smartrac presented one of its first new Green Tags, the WEB Green inlay, at last week’s RFID Journal LIVE! conference, held in Phoenix, Ariz. The WEB Green inlay is compliant with other comparable WEB inlays in terms of performance and applications, the company reports. These inlays are designed for the unique identification of items such as apparel and electronics, and are suitable for item-level retail applications. Volume production of the WEB Green inlay is expected to commence by June 2019.

“Specifically, the production process for 4E Antenna’s paper-based RFID antennas begins with a special laminate of aluminum and paper substrate,” said Lars Granbom, 4E Antenna’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “A laser is then used to precision-cut an antenna design from the aluminum layer. By leveraging Smartrac’s proven global expertise in designing and producing premium RFID inlays and tags, the benefits of this innovative manufacturing approach will have a significantly positive environmental and economic impact worldwide.”

“Our technology partnership with 4E Antenna AB complements our ‘Innovation first’ strategy and underscores our continuous commitment to high-quality and truly sustainable RFID products and solutions,” said Frank Kriebel, Smartrac’s senior director of research and development, in the prepared statement. “Smartrac’s innovation pipeline of ‘green’ RF design, process engineering and materials science powered by our significant IP portfolio enables us to be on the leading edge of RFID sustainability. We will continue to make every effort to fulfill our promise to protect the environment.”

Fleetilla, Polte Collaborate to Extend Supply Chain and Equipment Visibility via IoT

Fleetilla, a provider of asset-tracking, fleet-management and related Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, and Polte Corp., a supplier of cloud-location-over-cellular (C-LoC) technologies, have announced a collaboration to integrate Polte’s location technologies into Fleetilla’s asset-tracking and freight-visibility solutions.

Fleetilla develops battery-powered asset-management solutions designed to work in challenging environments. Its FL950 series hardware, along with its cloud-based asset-management application and application programming interfaces (APIs), can manage semi-trailers, rail wagons, land-based inter-modal containers, rental equipment and other assets. With the addition of Polte’s location technology, which offers indoor and outdoor tracking, Fleetilla will be able to offer freight and equipment visibility across a supply chain. Polte’s C-LoC solution leverages available 4G and 5G signals and cloud-based machine learning to enable accurate locationing. Its patented algorithms offload location calculations from the device and instead compute them in the cloud.

“Location is the foundation for all of the supply chain visibility and digital freight revolution that we are witnessing today,” said Pradeep P. Kumar, Fleetilla’s president and CEO, in a prepared statement. “In order to connect the dots seamlessly, equipment and freight (particularly LTL) need to be tracked on the road, as well as at the factory and the warehouse. Polte’s breakthrough location technologies, coupled with Fleetilla’s nearly two decades expertise in design and deployment of long-life, wide area outdoor location solutions, will allow us to now offer seamless end-to-end supply chain and equipment visibility, indoors and outdoors.”

“We are excited to collaborate with Fleetilla to bring visibility to their customer’s assets not previously possible,” added Ed Chao, Polte’s CEO, in the prepared statement. “Our software-only solution enables Fleetilla to rapidly get to market since it does not require changes to existing hardware designs. In addition to accurate indoor and outdoor positioning, this collaboration brings an added level of value to their customers through improved battery life and added security. Polte’s solution brings additional functionality to their already impressive lineup of fleet tracking devices.”

Inseego Expands Industrial IoT Product Family With Gigabit Edge Routers

Inseego Corp., a provider of 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) device-to-cloud solutions, has announced additions to its Skyus Industrial IoT (IIoT) portfolio: the Skyus 300 and Skyus 500 gigabit edge routers, powered by MiFi iQ technology. Both are built to futureproof and simplify complex deployments, the company reports, while lowering the cost of connecting critical remote and mobile assets for industrial, public-safety, transportation and infrastructure applications.

The Skyus 300 and Skyus 500 are IIoT routers designed to provide secure LTE Advanced Pro peak speeds of up to 1.2 Gbps, in a rugged design that conforms with the IP64 and MIL-STD 810G military-grade specifications. The Skyus 500 is intended for high-performance use cases, such as in-vehicle connectivity, the company indicates, while the configurable Skyus 300 is suitable for tight space constraints, such as in outdoor kiosks or remote infrastructure enclosures.

Power-over-Ethernet offers a power source for external devices that require a network connection, such as camera systems. The routers’ dust-proof and water-resistant housing is suitable for such use cases as smart agriculture, remote oil and gas operations, and in-vehicle connectivity. According to the company, the devices are designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions, including -40 degrees to +70 degrees Celsius in operating mode, -40 degrees to +85 degrees Celsius in storage mode and extreme humidity.

“Today’s industrial enterprise applications require more speed and bandwidth than ever before,” said Ashish Sharma, Inseego’s EVP of IoT and mobile solutions, in a prepared statement. “Our new Skyus 300 and 500 edge routers meet that challenge with the latest Cat 18 LTE technology and allow our customers to operate securely and reliably in challenging industrial environments—with a return on investment unmatched by competing solutions. We continue to evolve our Skyus portfolio to meet our customers’ needs with the latest 4G LTE -A Pro technologies. In addition to delivering proven gigabit LTE speeds, these solutions support the CBRS and LAA bands, giving our customers access to significant spectrum and bandwidth when available and activated within service provider networks.”

Commercial availability of the Skyus 500 is slated to commence in April 2019, with commercial availability of the Skyus 300 set to begin in May.

IIoT Company DataOnline Rebrands as Anova

DataOnline, a provider of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions, has announced that it has formally rebranded as Anova. The new brand incorporates DataOnline and its wholly owned businesses, WESROC, Wikon and iTank. These businesses have collaborated since coming together in 2018; rebranding as Anova formalizes the relationship to optimize resources and enhance delivery of service to customers across the geographies and markets Anova serves.

“Uniting our operations under the Anova brand positions us as the global leader in IIoT across industrial gases, chemicals, oils, propane, water and other sectors,” said Chet Reshamwala, Anova’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “Now all our customers and partners know that, regardless of their business or region, they can turn to Anova for powerful remote monitoring solutions, more than 30 years of industry expertise and personalized service. In addition, a single brand enables us to collaborate more efficiently with customers who span multiple end markets.”

“The Anova brand represents a renewed commitment to innovation and global customer engagement,” Reshamwala added in the prepared statement. “Our clients will also benefit from a consolidated engineering team that is better able to leverage our entire knowledge base to deliver innovations in critical areas such as improved battery life, emerging wireless technologies, mobile apps and predictive maintenance.” Anova will continue to use its legacy brands for industry-specific product lines during the coming year, in order to ensure a smooth transition for customers.

FIME Brings NFC Forum Certification Services to Japan

FIME, a testing laboratory in Japan, has been accredited to provide NFC Forum testing and certification services in that country. As a result, the company reports, Japanese card, terminal and mobile device manufacturers can now benefit from local end-to-end testing support.

“With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on the horizon and government initiatives to increase cashless payments, contactless technologies are high on the Japanese agenda,” said Takahide Kadoyama, FIME’s country manager for Japan, in a prepared statement. “Since setting up our Tokyo office in 2013, we’ve played a significant role in the market’s digital transformation. Delivering NFC Forum testing, in addition to our other services, is empowering local players to compete at home and abroad.”

“From mobile devices to tags, an important objective of the NFC Forum is to create standards and specifications ensuring contactless devices operate seamlessly,” said Paula Hunter, the executive director of the NFC Forum, in the prepared statement. “As a supporter of, and contributor to, our efforts for nearly a decade, partners like FIME are integral to the successful implementation of these solutions. It’s great to see the growing global demand for this technology; this news is an important milestone for NFC, both in APAC and beyond.”

LoRa Alliance, DLMS User Association Bring Internet of Things to Utilities

The LoRa Alliance, a global association of companies backing the open LoRaWAN protocol for the Internet of Things (IoT) low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs), and the DLMS User Association (DLMS UA), a non-profit organization driving utilities and meter manufacturers to develop and support a standard for smart meter data exchange, have announced that they have signed a liaison agreement to define a new DLMS communication profile for LPWAN technologies such as LoRaWAN. The two organizations will share knowledge, develop documentation and jointly educate the market ecosystem about the benefits of using the DLMS application protocol and data model over LoRaWAN networks.

“With more than 500 members, over 100 LoRaWAN network operators and coverage in over 100 countries, LoRaWAN is the most adopted LPWAN protocol for the IoT,” said Donna Moore, the LoRa Alliance’s CEO and chairwoman, in a prepared statement. “DLMS is a well-recognized application standard for utilities worldwide. By using the open LoRaWAN network protocol, utilities will profit from its unique benefits, such as flexibility in choice of network models and having a best-in-class certification program for end devices. LoRaWAN’s low power consumption and deep penetration are key aspects that will allow utilities to deploy long-lifetime IoT devices in buildings and underground, and use these to connect assets, create new services and accelerate their digitization.”

By using DLMS over LoRaWAN networks, utilities can achieve network connectivity that supports smart metering use cases—gas, electricity, thermal energy and water—across many different IoT applications. This, the organizations explains, will allow utilities to increase services and integration into smart homes, buildings, industries and cities.

“We at the DLMS UA are enthusiastic about this Liaison Agreement with the LoRa Alliance,” said Tony Field, chairman of the DLMS UA Board of Directors, in the prepared statement. “The collaborative creation of the new profile will open new possibilities for users of DLMS/COSEM over LPWAN IoT network technologies such as LoRaWAN. This development leverages the flexibility, efficiency and security of DLMS/COSEM, and its inbuilt ability to operate over virtually any communications technology.”