RFID News Roundup

Stora Enso, Atos partner on sustainable automated retail solutions; PragmatIC, Schreiner MediPharm team up for smart labels; Understory, MSI GuaranteedWeather intro weather sensor for auto insurance; Altair Semiconductor unveils automotive IoT chipset; the Industrial Internet Consortium updates its IIoT technical report; PT Next acquires RFID software company CodeNameWhat; Triax Technologies, Skanska to co-present at Autodesk University on IoT systems.
Published: November 14, 2019

Presented here are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
Stora Enso, Atos;
PragmatIC, Schreiner MediPharm;
Understory, MSI GuaranteedWeather;
Altair Semiconductor;
the Industrial Internet Consortium;
PT Next, CodeNameWhat;
Triax Technologies, and Skanska.

Stora Enso, Atos Partner on Sustainable Automated Retail Solutions

Stora Enso has entered into a global partnership with digital transformation company Atos to create automated retail solutions and services based on the concept of intelligent cabinets. Such cabinets are RFID-enabled e-kiosks designed for on-the-go purchasing using smartphones or standard card payments.

The partnership will commercialize Stora Enso’s New Retail as a Service solution, which combines the company’s technologies and service delivery experience with Atos’s methodology. The New Retail solution merges in-store and online shopping and uses sustainable RFID tags to track and trace stored items. These tags are paper-based, providing a plastic-free and recyclable solution for packaging authentication.

To buy a product from an intelligent cabinet, a consumer requires only a compatible payment app or card. When the cabinet door is closed, the consumer is charged via the app for the items removed. A back-end solution helps retailers track transactions and replenishment orders.

Atos’s digital services for retail and manufacturing will be used to enhance the New Retail solution. These services are based on Codex for Retail, a modular portfolio of solutions and services for connected retail services with Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, underpinned by end-to-end services. This establishes a set of digital business services for retail with the capability for scaling.

“While retail is aiming at convenience and efficiency all at once, we drive innovations to combine the localization of brick and mortar with digitalization,” said Martin Ros, the head of Stora Enso’s Intelligent Packaging unit, in a prepared statement. “With our partnership with Atos, we are entering the automated new retail market, where our sustainable RFID technology can bring the unmanned consumer experience to the next level.”

“For any retail company and consumer goods brand, the topics of sustainability, product control and consumer experience are key values for their point of sales,” said Philippe Miltin, Atos’s group senior VP, in the prepared statement. “Combining the Stora Enso smart tracking solutions with Atos’ Codex enablement and end-to-end service management, we jointly ensure that customers experience these values every time.”

PragmatIC, Schreiner MediPharm Team Up for Smart Labels

PragmatIC, a provider of flexible electronics, and Schreiner MediPharm, a supplier of specialty labels for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry, have entered into a strategic partnership to add smart labels based on PragmatIC’s ConnectIC family of flexible integrated circuits into Schreiner MediPharm’s product portfolio.

“PragmatIC’s unique solutions will enable us to add connectivity and intelligence to a much wider range of products than was previously possible,” said Thomas Schweizer, Schreiner MediPharm’s president, in a prepared statement. “We are developing innovative smart labels for packaging and multiple device types that will improve usability and safety for both patients and healthcare professionals.”

The use of RFID in the pharmaceutical industry offers a variety of applications through the assignment of a unique ID number that is practically non-reproducible—for instance, the secure identification and traceability of individual products in devices and processes. The ConnectIC devices are designed to be low in cost, the company reports, while the thin and flexible FlexICs are suitable for embedding into a range of substrates.

“This partnership with Schreiner MediPharm highlights how our ground-breaking ConnectIC product line is set to accelerate the deployment of RFID-based digital solutions in the healthcare sector,” said Scott White, PragmatIC’s CEO, in the prepared statement. “We are really pleased to see adoption of our technology by leading global suppliers like Schreiner MediPharm and look forward to working closely with them to develop new use cases for their products.”

Understory, MSI GuaranteedWeather Intro Weather Sensor for Auto Insurance

Understory has released its Auto-Hail Safe system, a data-driven hail insurance product for automotive dealers to address billions of dollars in hail damage. Understory’s Dot sensors are designed to capture ground-truth weather data. Using proprietary technology to provide coverage, reduce processing times and process quick payouts, Understory partnered with MSI GuaranteedWeather to bring Auto-Hail Safe to market.

Understory is intended to simplify insurance complexities with a single platform that empowers insurers and insured. In the case of a hailstorm, the on-location Dot sensor automatically sends precise information about hail size to the insurance company. When a claim is triggered, an auto dealer receives a check within one to two weeks.

“Understory is introducing a paradigm shift to the insurance industry,” said Alex Kubicek, Understory’s founder and CEO, in a prepared statement. “Our precision sensors… enable innovative products and fulfill the promise of insurance digitization… We are talking about parametric insurance: a data-driven approach to financial risk, backed by the most trusted names in the business like MSI GuaranteedWeather, a first tier reinsurer, and many others. “

A single hailstorm can cause millions of dollars in damages to an auto dealer’s inventory due to open-lot vehicle exposure. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, more than 4,600 destructive hailstorms hit the United States in 2018, resulting in more than $8 billion of damage. Until now, the insurance industry has lacked the technology and data required to accurately price hail-related policies with the uncertainty and volatility introduced by climate change.

This absence left the auto industry vulnerable, the company explains. Many insurance carriers in high-risk states, such as Texas, Colorado and Kansas, have either refused to underwrite open-lot policies or have skyrocketed prices. In order to afford open-lot insurance, auto dealers have been left purchasing policies that lack critical coverage and are unable to fix or replace their damaged inventory. In some areas, deductibles now exceed the value lost, resulting in high premiums misaligned to the damage caused.

Auto-Hail Safe provides parametric insurance that can be used to cover economic damage from vehicles, roofs, property loss, revenue loss, advertising and other expenses. Each Dot sensor collects 125,000 measurements per second, including hail, wind, rain, temperature, air pressure, humidity and solar radiation. This data is then uploaded wirelessly from each solar-powered sensor. When grouped over larger areas, the Dots create a network that tracks conditions, gathers data and understands the DNA of each storm that passes over dealership lots or farms.

Insurance brokers can sign-up to sell Auto-Hail Safe at understoryweather.com. Understory will install and maintain a rooftop Dot sensor on each policy holder’s dealership to provide precise weather measurements. Once hail reaches the conditions agreed upon in the policy, the sensor will activate claims to the insured, with auto dealers no longer required to file paperwork.

Altair Semiconductor Unveils Automotive IoT Chipset

Altair Semiconductor, a provider of cellular Internet of Things (IoT) chipsets, is supplying the cellular IoT technology that powers the new PassTime Encore automotive tracking device. The unit employs Altair’s ALT1250 cellular IoT chipset.

The chipset’s low power consumption enables the Encore unit to maintain functionality for several years with only a small internal battery, the company reports. This allows dealers to place the device almost anywhere inside a car unobtrusively. The multi-year battery life enables dealerships and automotive lenders to track a vehicle throughout the life of a loan. The wire-free, self-powered unit doesn’t require the services of a professional installation technician and can be placed inside a vehicle within minutes. This reduces the logistical challenges and overall costs of vehicle tracking, according to Altair.

“Encore is a revolutionary product for auto dealers, auto finance companies and car fleets,” said Todd Goodnight, PassTime’s executive VP of product management, in a prepared statement. “It was enabled by Altair, the only vendor capable of delivering a cellular IoT chipset with the multi-year battery life in the chassis size our solution required.”

“The Encore is a really innovative application of our chipset,” added Dima Feldman, Altair’s head of product marketing, in the prepared statement. “It utilizes the ultra-low-power consumption and compact size of the ALT1250 to facilitate vehicle tracking and opens new opportunities in the vehicle telematics market.” Altair’s cellular IoT chipsets feature a hardware-based security framework and a set of host, peripheral and sensor interfaces, making them suitable for integration in a range of industrial and consumer IoT applications.

Industrial Internet Consortium Updates Its IIoT Technical Report

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), an organization dedicated to transforming business and society by accelerating the adoption of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), has announced V2.2 of its “Industrial Internet Vocabulary Technical Report,” one of six IIC technical reports that serve as de facto IIoT industry guidelines on vocabulary, architectures, security, analytics, connectivity and business strategy. According to the IIC, the report provides a common set of definitions for IIoT terms for anyone working in the IIoT across a range of industries.

The report includes a new definition for “digital twin” and eliminates “virtual entity” in favor of “digital representation.” Other terms added to the report include “physical entity” and “physical entity of interest,” describing a physical object such as factory equipment that could be monitored or that is already being monitored by an IoT system. “IoT sensor” and “IoT actuator” were also added.

“We update the ‘Vocabulary Technical Report’ annually with new terms that align with key IIoT trends,” said Bob Martin, the co-chair of the IIC Vocabulary Task Group and the IIC Steering Committee Member, and a senior principal engineer at MITRE Corp., in a prepared statement. “This year, the report focuses on digital twins—software replicas of physical devices that run simulations of systems and leverage IoT, AI and analytics technologies.”

“Vocabulary terms can be quite concise, accurate and sometimes terse,” said Erin Bournival, the co-chair of the IIC Vocabulary Task Group and a distinguished engineer in the Office of the Corporate CTO at Dell EMC, in the prepared statement. “However, a definition can be expanded to give the big picture for a broader understanding of the vocabulary term. For example, the definition of digital twin is a digital representation sufficient to meet the requirements of a set of use cases. That definition can be expanded by adding the definition of digital representation and so on. While it may sound complicated, an agreed upon vocabulary helps authors create definitions and documentation that answers stakeholders’ questions.”

The IIC will continue to revise the IIC “Industrial Internet Vocabulary Technical Report” with definitions for new IIoT terms. The report and a list of IIC members that contributed to it can be found at the IIC website.

PT Next Acquires RFID Software Company CodeNameWhat

PT Next, the technology arm of Pac Team Group, has announced the acquisition of software-development company CodeNameWhat. Founded by RFID software veteran Peter Shoemaker, CodeNameWhat worked with PT Next on the development of ARGOS, its RFID-based platform for the jewelry and timepiece industry.

Shoemaker will remain aboard as PT Next’s director of software engineering. “We started CodeNameWhat to follow a shared passion for how inventory visibility will transform the retail experience,” he said in a prepared statement. “Now joining PT Next, we add our passion to a team that is transforming an industry.”

“With the acquisition of CodeNameWhat, PT Next can continue to lead the design, development and implementation of cutting-edge technology solutions that are specifically designed to address our customer’s retail challenges in the jewelry and timepiece industry,” added Eric Zuckerman, Pac Team Group’s president, in the prepared statement. Founded in 1949, Pac Team Group provides luxury brand displays, packaging, fixtures and exhibition solutions.

Triax Technologies, Skanska to Co-Present at Autodesk University on IoT Systems

Triax Technologies, a provider of technology for connected jobsites, has announced that Bob Dolan, its national sales director, and Robert Hartelust, a senior project manager at construction and development company Skanska, will present a session at the Autodesk University Connect & Construct Summit, taking place next week in Las Vegas. They will address how Internet of Things (IoT) systems are providing visibility into construction operations and safety incidents, while helping companies mitigate operational risks and enhance safety and efficiency on jobsites.

As a key segment of the annual Autodesk event, Connect & Construct brings together leaders in construction and technology to discuss the technologies and trends shaping the future of the industry. “With limited resources and increased pressure to deliver value to clients, contractors are looking for ways to leverage technology to enhance productivity while maintaining safe worksites,” Dolan said in a prepared statement. “This presentation will focus on the opportunities, challenges and best practices of using IoT technology and real-time location systems [RTLS] to build safer and more efficiently.”

The session, titled “Building the Future: Connecting the Jobsite with IoT-Based Real-Time Location Systems,” will be offered in Lando 4301B, Level 4, at The Palazzo on Nov. 18. In addition, Triax Technologies will exhibit its IoT-based Spot-r system, which several contractors are using to automate data capture and provide actionable insight in order to streamline processes and improve jobsite safety.

The Connect & Construct summit that takes place during Autodesk University. The conference, which connects more than 10,000 professionals from the construction, manufacturing, architecture, engineering and media-creation sectors, will feature four days of learning, networking and knowledge-sharing.