RFID News Roundup

Tageos RFID products certified for aviation baggage tracking ••• Astrocast, Leaf Space forge agreement for ground-station IoT network ••• Avnet releases gigabit network FMC module for Internet of Things ••• Hippo Insurance offers customers Notion smart-home sensors ••• Vodafone to double size of NB-IoT network ••• Cubic Telecom launches IoT platform with connectivity-management, service-enablement capabilities ••• Taoglas intros NB-IoT antenna in multiband range ••• Siemens, A.I. company Flutura partner on Industrial IoT solutions.
Published: September 20, 2018

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
Astrocast, Leaf Space;
Hippo Insurance, Notion;
Cubic Telecom;
Siemens, and Flutura.

Tageos RFID Products Certified for Aviation Baggage Tracking

Tageos has expanded its presence in the aviation industry by announcing certification of a new product for airline baggage tracking applications. The EOS-409 UHF RFID inlay has been approved by Auburn University’s RFID Lab for its “Tagged Performance Specification U.” This broad specification is designed to test RFID inlay performance in many baggage tracking use cases and across multiple frequency ranges, making it applicable worldwide.

Auburn’s “Spec U” is a challenging benchmark, having very few RFID inlays currently certified. Tageos manufactures two of those. The EOS-409 joins on the list the EOS-410, which was previously certified. With this addition, Tageos can provide “Spec U” certified products embedded with the most current RFID chip options from leading silicon manufacturers – the Monza R6 from Impinj and the UCODE 8 from NXP.

Matthieu Picon, Tageos’ CEO and Co-founder, says the aviation industry is a focus for his company. “RFID use in aviation will increase rapidly for multiple use cases, but especially in electronic baggage tracking with new industry mandates. Tageos is uniquely positioned to assist airlines and airports in achieving compliance.”

McLeod Williamson, Tageos’ Director of Business Development, also commented on the company’s position in the market. “Not only is Tageos first to market with certified products powered by the NXP UCODE 8 and Impinj Monza R6 chips, but our patented manufacturing process also creates inlays that are more eco-friendly and cost-effective than our competitors,” says Williamson. He notes that Tageos products are truly ‘world’ RFID inlays that perform well across the multiple RF frequency ranges used in different countries and regions, something that is very important in such a globally connected industry as aviation.

Williamson adds, “Tageos is currently engaged in large scale projects with multiple airlines, airports, and baggage tag converters across multiple continents, and we expect that activity to grow in the near future.” Both the EOS-409 and EOS-410 inlays are currently available from Tageos.

Astrocast, Leaf Space Forge Agreement for Ground-Station IoT Network

Astrocast and Leaf Space have announced an agreement for Astrocast’s use of Leaf Space ground stations. The agreement calls for up to 12 antennas to be utilized by the Astrocast IoT network, a 64-unit nanosatellite constellation, which is scheduled to be launched in phases. The antennas included in the agreement will be built and operated by Leaf Space and will be strategically located across six locations, providing dedicated service solely to Astrocast and its worldwide customers.

This new ground segment solution, named Leaf Key, has been developed by Leaf Space to address high capacity and high efficiency missions, such as Astrocast’s constellation. “We are pleased to engage Leaf Space for ground communication services,” said Fabien Jordan, co-founder and CEO of Astrocast. “With the ability to develop and operate dedicated antennas, and to scale alongside our network, Leaf Space is the right partner for us.”

The Astrocast IoT and machine-to-machine communications network will provide cost effective services to customers spanning key global industries worldwide. Coverage will span the 90 percent of the globe not currently serviced by existing cellular systems. The constellation will consist of eight orbital planes, each encompassing eight operational spacecrafts along with two spare satellites.

The Leaf Space agreement provides Astrocast with the use of additional antennas each time the Swiss-based IoT provider launches a new plane of satellites. Current Astrocast constellation deployment plans include: the Spaceflight-organized launch of two demonstration satellites onboard Falcon9 and PSLV in the 4th quarter of 2018; an undisclosed launch of the constellation’s first plane of Astrocast satellites during the third quarter of 2019 and the recently announced D-Orbit-led launch of a second plane of nanosatellites in late 2019 or early 2020. The roll-out of Leaf Space antennas will align with these satellite deployment phases.

“We worked really close with the Astrocast team to develop a service able to reduce the ground segment to a predictable recurring cost even for such a big constellation,” said Giovanni Pandolfi Bortoletto co-founder and CTO of Leaf Space. “Leaf Key is a flexible and scalable system that follows step by step the constellation deployment, providing the right performance at the right time.”

Offering remote IoT and M2M capabilities, Astrocast’s constellation is designed to enable substantial operational efficiencies and cost advantages within key global sectors including maritime, oil and gas, mining, supply chain and logistics, transportation, utilities, agriculture, and many others.

“There are numerous businesses operating remotely which simply don’t have access to key IoT capabilities because those services don’t currently exist in those regions,” added Jordan. “The Astrocast network will be a game changer for these enterprises and Leaf Space’s ground station capabilities will be a key component of our solution.”

“This is the first time a single ground segment provider has been awarded to support a full-deployment nanosat constellation,” said Jonata Puglia, co-founder and CEO of Leaf Space. “It’s exciting to see space startups like ours working closely together to achieve their goals. This is a clear sign that the smallsat market is consolidating and entering its mature stage.”

Avnet Releases Gigabit Network FMC Module for Internet of Things

Avnet (Nasdaq: AVT), a leading global technology solutions provider, has introduced the Avnet Network FMC Module, offering designers of emerging industrial Internet of Things (IoT) applications industry-leading Gigabit Ethernet switching at less than half the cost of devices currently available on the market. Optimized for Xilinx FPGA and SoC-based industrial Ethernet digital communications systems, the new Dual 1000 Mbps Networking FMC Module supports applications such as cloud-based data centers and industrial automation.

“By bringing together key technologies from Microchip, Avnet and Xilinx, we have succeeded in developing a Network FMC Module that satisfies customer needs for gigabit Ethernet, while dramatically reducing the cost to deploy,” said Kevin Keryk, technical marketing manager, Avnet. “This Network FMC Module opens up a world of possibilities for designers to accelerate development of industrial IoT and connected factory systems, including Gigabit Ethernet switches, industrial IoT gateways, hardware-accelerated routers and real-time Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN).”

This versatile new module has several reference designs that are compatible with Avnet’s own UltraZed family of boards, plus this VITA 57 standards-based module is also compatible with other Xilinx Zynq-UltraScale+ boards available on the market today.

Now available to customers in the Americas, EMEA, Asia and Japan, the Network FMC module (AES-FMC-NETW1-G) is priced at $149. For more information, visit http://avnet.me/fmc-network1. Reference designs using the recommended equipment can be found on the Reference Design Page for the UltraZed-EG + PCIe Carrier Card. Additional reference material is available on the Network FMC accessory page, http://avnet.me/fmc-network1-doc.

Hippo Insurance Offers Customers Notion Smart-Home Sensors

Notion, the complete home monitoring solution powered by a multi-purpose IoT smart home sensor, has announced an ongoing partnership with Hippo Insurance to arm new Hippo customers in qualifying states with Notion Smart Home Starter Kits when they sign up for an insurance policy. By installing and utilizing the complimentary Notion kit, Hippo customers will also receive a Smart Home discount on their home insurance policy, helping reduce their premiums.

The installation of Notion smart home sensors will allow Hippo customers to prevent in-home incidents, like water leaks and other costly insurance claims, before they create significant damage to the home. The partnership between Notion and Hippo marks one of the first times a U.S.-based insurance provider has created a policy that fully integrates an IoT sensor.

“More than sixty-five percent of all homeowner insurance claims are a result of a catastrophic event that insurance companies then need to handle after the damage is already done,” says Brett Jurgens, CEO of Notion. “Using a fully-integrated connected home offering through Notion, Hippo customers will prevent disastrous events from destroying their home, saving them money, headaches and allowing for a better relationship with their insurance provider.”

Notion’s affordable and easy-to-install Smart Home Starter Kit packs multiple capabilities into a single device. Each sensor is identical, yet multi-purpose, offering a homeowner the flexibility to monitor and receive instant alerts on things happening across their entire home—from motion and temperature changes to water leaks and sounding alarms. Now, those same alerts will be delivered to Hippo customers to prevent incidents before they occur, in order to significantly reduce the number of reported insurance claims.

Hippo clients will receive everything they need right out of the box, including their welcome booklet and the Notion Smart Home Starter Kit. By proactively leveraging Notion for home alerts, Hippo customers are receiving a meaningful discount on their insurance premium.

“Smart home devices are driving a new wave of change in the insurance industry, which closely aligns with our focus on proactive home insurance – helping our clients care for their homes, years after they become Hippo customers,” said Assaf Wand, CEO and Co-founder at Hippo Insurance. “While other insurance providers have been slow to do their part in analyzing IoT and smart home insights we’ve been developing smart home partnerships that allow our customers to respond to an incident before it happens and can learn from their IoT triggers to build a better insurance product.”

Since its public launch in 2016, Notion has delivered more than nine million peace-of-mind messages to homeowners and has helped them save more than $1 million in property damages in the last year alone.

Vodafone to Double Size of NB-IoT Network

Vodafone will double the number of European cell sites in its 5G Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network footprint by the end of 2019. The major prioritization of NB-IoT within Vodafone’s existing capital expenditure plans reflects the demand it has seen from enterprise customers. The world’s biggest, international NB-IoT network will be available in 10 European countries, including planned launches in the UK, Romania and Hungary.

NB-IoT is the ‘industrial grade’ Low Power Wide Area technology that will provide connectivity to many smart city applications such as streetlights, connected healthcare monitors and wearable devices at low cost and with equivalent security to 4G. It will also significantly benefit the agriculture industry in rural areas, giving rise to new crop monitoring systems, automated feeding for crops and herds and even support for animals giving birth, all helping to shape the connected farm of the future.

NB-IoT operates in licensed spectrum to guarantee customers quality of service, provides strong coverage over large areas – even when devices are underground or deep within buildings (+20 decibels coverage vs GSM) – provides greater power efficiency, so devices can run on batteries for 10 years or more on a single charge, and provides Vodafone with the ability to support upwards of 50,000 devices in a single cell without congestion for the first time.

Outside of Europe, Vodafone will also expand its existing NB-IoT networks in South Africa and Turkey.

Vodafone IoT director Stefano Gastaut commented “NB-IoT gives businesses access to 5G capabilities a year before we expect large-scale consumer availability and I believe this will be a catalyst in the widespread use of IoT by enterprises. Our NB-IoT network reinforces our position as the premier telecoms company for IoT and means that our customers can connect the next generation of devices to the world’s largest and most secure international network.”

Vodafone is the global leader in managed IoT, with 74 million connections and an international network and services platform supporting a wide range of business critical applications. Vodafone IoT technologies are embedded within connected vehicles built by Audi, BMW, Daimler Benz, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Porsche, SEAT, VW and Yamaha motorbikes. Vodafone’s IoT network and services also support smart meter capabilities for energy companies including Centrica, EDF and nPower and provide connectivity for consumer electronics products such as the Amazon Kindle and devices manufactured by Bosch, Panasonic, Philips Lighting and TomTom.

Cubic Telecom Launches IoT Platform With Connectivity-Management, Service-Enablement Capabilities

Cubic Telecom, a leading connectivity technology enabler, at Mobile World Congress Americas, announced the launch of its next-generation platform, the Global Connectivity Management Platform offered as a Service. With the platform now available to IoT device manufacturers worldwide, the ability to connect any object anywhere and enable any connected application has become a reality. The first devices hosted on the platform are already being managed in Europe, the USA, and South Korea, with the rollout of locally compliant service to continue across all regions.

This unique platform solution brings industry-first capabilities, including standards-based remote SIM provisioning use and cloud-native advanced connectivity management functions such as zero-touch device registration and connectivity activation across different mobile networks, regions and regulatory conditions.

With the number of cellular IoT connections set to reach more than 3.5 billion by 20231, manufacturers and providers of connected devices and IoT applications expect these connected services to work anywhere in the world. Cubic Telecom’s next-generation IoT platform has entirely new integration capabilities, making it easy for device manufacturers from an array of different industries to deliver a truly global connectivity solution to end-users through one global SIM and one platform.

The Global Connectivity Management Platform has open interfaces and flexible workflow operations, allowing device makers to choose their preferred mobile network operators, IT systems, service providers and vendors for any region or country, and Cubic’s technology will integrate the end-to-end solution seamlessly. As Cubic’s software platform integrates to multiple OEM IT systems and mobile operator platforms with Cubic’s own dedicated global Core Network, there is no need for multiple separate integrations – Cubic provides a single point of control. The new platform is built for maximum business flexibility, including the ability to dynamically onboard different mobile networks at any point in a product’s lifetime. No other technology companies are currently offering this entire suite of services.

“With our new platform we are putting control back in the hands of our customers, the connected device makers,” stated Barry Napier, Cubic Telecom CEO. “By listening to the needs of the customers we communicate with daily, our expert in-house team of software, data and network engineers have built a world-class IoT platform, enabling us to deliver seamless connectivity anywhere.” No matter how the device maker chooses to compose its global connected service infrastructure, Cubic Telecom’s Global Connectivity Management Platform can integrate an end-to-end solution efficiently.

“This solution provides advanced connected services through one global partner and platform across all regions, with complete freedom of vendor choice,” continued Napier. “With this added flexibility device makers now have the power to control their service experience end-to-end. We are proud to be the first to market with this advanced intelligent solution.”

Taoglas Intros NB-IoT Antenna in Multiband Range

Taoglas, a leading provider of IoT and automotive antenna and RF solutions, has announced the first three antennas in its Extensis range of narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) antennas, including the world’s smallest ceramic NB-IoT antenna that covers Bands 5, 8 and 20 simultaneously with a single matching configuration, and an ultra-thin, flexible multiband antenna that supports all LTE bands—including the new Band 71 that will be used for NB-IoT in the U.S. The antennas are specifically designed to provide device manufacturers cost-effective global reach and high efficiency in a small form factor as they develop NB-IoT solutions. Taoglas will showcase the Extensis NB-IoT antennas at Mobile World Congress Americas (Stand S.2606), September 12-14, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The low-profile, highly efficient NCP.5820 is a NB-IoT ceramic surface mount multiband antenna that supports Bands 8 (880-960 MHz) and 20 (791-862 MHz), as well as Band 5 (824-894 MHz) to allow IoT devices—such as asset trackers—to work across different regions and different carriers. Its low profile (2mm) and small footprint (14.1mm x 8.3mm) make it the world’s smallest NB-IoT antenna.

The NCP.5820 is designed with the patent-pending Taoglas Boost technology, which delivers up to a 2 dB improvement in antenna performancewhen integrated into small devices. Taoglas Boost is particularly suited to designs with shorter ground planes, allowing IoT and other device designers to bring to market a wider range of smaller devices that would otherwise not have been able to meet certain stringent carrier certification requirements.

Another Extensis antenna, the NCS.5820, is a surface-mount onboard antenna that also supports Bands 5, 8 and 20. Its low-profile (1.6mm) and small footprint (11mm x 20mm) allows the NCS.5820 to be integrated into even the smallest of IoT devices. As it is a larger antenna, it demonstrates higher efficiency, and Taoglas Boost is also available with this antenna, and any Taoglas onboard antenna.

The third antenna in the Extensis range is the patent-pending FXUB64 flexible ultrawideband antenna, which has been designed for all working frequencies in the 600-3000 MHz spectrum, covering all Cellular, 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, ISM and AGPS, including LTE Band 71. The ultra-thin (130mm x 20mm x 30*0.2mm) polymer antenna is delivered with a flexible peel-and-stick body with excellent efficiencies on all bands. Taoglas is the world’s first to include LTE Band 71 in an off-the-shelf cellular antenna product. The antenna is compliant to T-Mobile’s new 600MHz over-the-air (OTA) requirements when properly integrated into the customer’s device.

Service providers around the world are rolling out NB-IoT network upgrades to support the growing demand to connect IoT devices to support a variety of applications, ranging from bicycle tracking and parking in urban environments to water management to smart metering in remote locations. NB-IoT delivers a wealth of benefits to end users, including low-date-rate transmission, low-power to extend battery life, extended coverage in challenging environments, proven LTE-based security mechanisms, and the ability to support a massive number of connections. Taoglas supports these benefits by providing highly efficient, low-cost, easy to integrate, reliable antennas in a very small form factor that are suitable across a range of NB-IoT and LPWA (LoRa, Sigfox and ISM) devices and applications.

“Narrowband IoT is emerging as a go-to LPWAN option for applications that need to support a large number of devices, especially in challenging environments such as indoors or underground,” said Ronan Quinlan, co-CEO, Taoglas. “The incredibly low profiles and small footprints of the Extensis antennas along with their multiband capabilities make them an excellent choice for device designers who need to shrink their devices without sacrificing performance. Having access to three bands on one antenna also allows them to plan for global deployments.”

Siemens, A.I. Company Flutura Partner on Industrial IoT Solutions

Flutura, a disruptor in the Artificial Intelligence powered Industrial IoT (Internet of Things) solutions space, has announced its partnership with Siemens to help drive the adoption of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The partnership will enable customers to benefit from pre-built industry-specific applications (Cerebra NanoApps), built on Cerebra SignalStudio, Flutura’s artificial intelligence platform specifically designed for asset- and process-heavy industries, and MindSphere, the cloud-based, open IoT operating system from Siemens. MindSphere connects products, plants, systems, and machines, enabling businesses to harness the wealth of data generated by the IoT with advanced analytics, while Cerebra will transform the treasure of data collected into actions driving business results.

“The industrial world is rapidly advancing towards digitalization. With MindSphere, Siemens has developed an innovative cloud-based open IoT operating system with high performance capability to meet this growing demand. As a leader in engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality, it is our privilege to partner with Siemens and help industrial customers unlock massive business value,” said Krishnan Raman, CEO and Co-founder of Flutura.

“The Cerebra platform, with its advanced analytics capabilities and ability to integrate physics, heuristics and artificial intelligence to provide advanced diagnostics and prognostics solutions, can deliver tremendous value to the industrial market,” said Paul Kaeley, SVP of the Global Partner Ecosystem at Siemens PLM Software. “With Flutura bringing Cerebra’s pre-built industry solutions into the MindSphere ecosystem, we can continue to help deliver innovative IIoT Intelligence solutions globally.”

Flutura will initially focus the partnership on the speciality chemicals and oil and gas industries. Speciality chemicals offers huge possibilities to drive transformational improvements in product quality and yield. With the oil prices looking up and activities on an upswing, oil and gas presents a unique opportunity for digitalization to drive asset uptime and throughput to new levels.