RFID News Roundup

Connect&GO signs strategic partnership with Amusement Services International ••• Ambrosus launches blockchain-IoT platform to improve supply chain transparency ••• Edwards selects MapR Technologies for real-time data-analysis solution ••• Ayla Networks announces IoT platform with improved wireless module, application-development capabilities ••• Neology drops lawsuit against STAR Systems International ••• Zigbee Alliance says 3.8 billion ZigBee chipsets expected to be sold by 2023 ••• Industrial Internet Consortium, Internet of Things Alliance Australia announce liaison.
Published: August 9, 2018

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
Connect&GO, Amusement Services International;
Edwards, MapR Technologies;
Ayla Networks;
the Zigbee Alliance;
the Industrial Internet Consortium, and the Internet of Things Alliance Australia.

Connect&GO Signs Strategic Partnership With Amusement Services International

Amusement Services International (ASI), an attraction and park company serving the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, has announced that it is adding Connect&GO‘s RFID solutions to its portfolio. The two companies signed an agreement earlier this year while attending the Dubai Entertainment Amusement & Leisure Exhibition. Connect&GO offers RFID solutions for access control, cashless payments and experiential activations, designed for the amusement park and leisure entertainment industry. ASI will help the Canadian company to expand its permanent installation business with major clients in the Middle East market.

“We are very proud of our partnership with ASI,” said Anthony Palermo, Connect&GO’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “To have our solutions and our brand represented by such a major player in the region shows a huge vote of confidence in our products.” Connect&GO’s RFID solutions for the leisure and entertainment industries include security features designed for families and children, ranging from child-parent pairing to allergy alerts and instant messaging.

“We are indeed pleased to partner with Connect&GO to develop unique solutions for exclusive consumer experiences and thus increase secondary revenue streams for our customers,” said Prakash Vivekanand, ASI’s managing director, in the prepared statement. “We have been on the lookout for a reliable RFID based technology partner who can enable us to deliver experiential features to any L&E facility from security and tracking solutions to driving footfall via event activations and cross promotions, scavenger hunts, enhanced redemption features, social media interaction, etc.”

Connect&GO has deployed RFID technology at such events as the Super Bowl and the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. The firm is now moving toward more permanent installations and has signed a ski resort contract for the 2019 winter season. Connect&GO recently deployed its Parkpass connected-experience solution at multiple amusement parks, including Six Flags, Canobie Lake Park and Jungle Island.

Ambrosus Launches Blockchain-IoT Platform to Improve Supply Chain Transparency

Ambrosus, which provides a blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) platform for quality assurance in food and pharmaceutical supply chains, has announced the launch of its mainnet, known as AMB-NET 1.0. The mainnet lets companies record public and private supply chain data on the Ambrosus blockchain to ensure product quality. The platform has created a universally verifiable, community-driven ecosystem to guarantee the safety and origins of essential products—such as medicine, food and commodities—in real time, the company reports. Organizations can record their supply chain data through the Ambrosus network using the AMB native token, by putting their public data and certain aspects of their private data on the Ambrosus blockchain.

“The supply chain industry to date has been subject to the limitations of human error and antiquated record-keeping systems,” said Angel Versetti, Ambrosus’ CEO and co-founder, in a prepared statement. “The Ambrosus mainnet represents a significant step forward toward the creation of a truly transparent and traceable global supply chain. Through the implementation of the Ambrosus mainnet, we can guarantee that the quality of every product created by our partner companies—including essentials like food and pharmaceuticals—meets with the high standards required by their valued customers.”

The mainnet introduces masternodes to the blockchain platform, ensuring improved service and uptime for companies that use the Ambrosus network. Under the new masternode system, the updated Ambrosus application programming interface (API) allows networked device sensors or applications to send information to Ambrosus. Each masternode ensures the verification and security of these companies’ data. In addition, the cost of storing such data is defined with respect to the financial value that the system provides to each company.

AMB-NET 1.0 features updates that facilitate efficient interactions with business’s existing IT systems. Core functions of AMB-Net 1.0 include the designation of asset identity, as well as the ability to track the storage, transportation, delivery and temperature conditions of assets throughout the supply chain lifecycle.

Edwards Selects MapR Technologies for Real-Time Data-Analysis Solution

MapR Technologies, a company that provides a data platform for artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics, has announced that Edwards, a vacuum and abatement solutions firm, is using MapR’s data platform to develop semiconductor industry solutions to analyze data from equipment within customer sites to deliver predictive maintenance and near-real-time anomaly detection.

“The manufacturing of modern semiconductors include up to 1,000 process steps with a significant and increasing proportion requiring vacuum and abatement systems and a typical plant may have Edwards assets measured in the 1,000s as critical sub-systems for these processes,” said David Hacker, Edwards’ strategic marketing manager, in a prepared statement. “Our vision is to have all of these assets delivering near real-time information on their performance and the detection of anomalies that may occur with a deeper level of scrutiny. This allows us to create more evidence based, relevant information on quality of vacuum service to enhance the knowledge provided to customers so that they can quickly adapt to any situation to deliver more efficiency and better quality of process outcomes. Along with this, the data will enable increased and predictable overall equipment availability along with ‘adaptive triggers’ for scheduled maintenance.”

Edwards chose MapR to enable the capture and processing of diverse data from a range of sources, to help it build machine-learning models that will underpin smart systems. “Our current and medium term aim is to include sensor data to enhance the intrinsic Edwards asset data,” Hacker said in the prepared statement, “and to be able to make this service available to other critical sub-system providers to create a more granular and broader understanding of the environment that will ultimately lead to adaptive control based on data analytics.”

The first deployment of the MapR platform is currently under way in a joint project between Edwards and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, as part of a cooperation that involves research, development and evaluation of specific sensor and IIoT technologies, with the aim of generating and securing data to feed advanced analytics. Key to this is research into the correlation between process and pump behavior, to be piloted in the semiconductor cleanroom environment of Fraunhofer EMFT.

Machine-learning techniques will be used to detect anomalies in sensor data. For this purpose, data fusion of several sensor data for combination and pattern recognition, as well as algorithms for detection of specific states of instability, are required. The aim is to improve the process of predictive maintenance by exploring new machine-learning algorithms fed with sensor data from above and below the cleanroom floor, to predict future performance and anomalies.

A secure connection will be implemented to allow data, machine-learning models and equipment status to be exchanged in real time between secure locations—on-premises at the Fraunhofer EMFT CMOS line, and remote in the cloud or at Edwards’ headquarters. As well as reducing response time for service, this simplifies analytical model development and deployment. The aim, according to the company, is to demonstrate a new reference architecture consistent with the principles of RAMI 4.0, but tailored to meet the demands for data and IP security imposed by the semiconductor manufacturing sector.

Ayla Networks Announces IoT Platform With Wireless Module, Application-Development Capabilities

Ayla Networks, whose IoT platform-as-a-service allows for device management and application enablement, has announced new capabilities for its IoT platform. This new platform release is intended to overcome restrictions on choosing wireless modules to connect to Ayla’s IoT cloud, and to streamline the creation of enterprise applications employing IoT device data.

A new Ayla portable software agent reduced the amount of time needed to get to market with IoT initiatives, by allowing manufacturers to select any cellular or Wi-Fi module and have it connect to Ayla’s IoT cloud. For makers of IoT solutions and service providers, the platform has added new application-enablement capabilities to make it faster and easier to build mobile and Web-based enterprise applications utilizing IoT data.

“IoT applications and use cases continue to grow in size and complexity, and Ayla Networks is committed to keeping our IoT platform technology a step ahead of what the market needs,” said Jonathan Cobb, Ayla Networks’ CEO, in a prepared statement. “Our new portable device agent allows business priorities, rather than connectivity technology, to dictate the basis for choosing hardware modules to connect devices to the IoT cloud. And our expanded application enablement capabilities will be particularly useful for enterprises, service providers and manufacturers that are getting started on IoT projects and want to scale quickly and innovate faster.”

To connect to an IoT cloud, devices use an embedded cellular or Wi-Fi module, comprising a hardware chip and a software agent, which provides wireless cloud connectivity. Previously, IoT software agents have had to be built and certified to work with a specific chip and module type—an expensive process that could take a year or more and involve significant certification overhead, the company reports.

The new portable agent circumvents this problem, according to Ayla, by enabling connectivity to the IoT cloud from any cellular or Wi-Fi module—without the lengthy process of certifying a different software agent for each chip or module variation, and without having to generate source code to port the agent to a chosen module. As a result, IoT solution providers that want to connect to Ayla’s IoT cloud are not restricted to a list of certified cellular or Wi-Fi modules. The portable agent includes source code, reference implementation, a porting guide, and a test suite for both cellular and Wi-Fi solutions. In addition, Ayla can recommend development partners to perform porting work for enterprises that lack in-house IoT firmware development expertise.

Zigbee Alliance Says 3.8 Billion ZigBee Chipsets Expected to Be Sold by 2023

The Zigbee Alliance, an organization of hundreds of companies creating, maintaining and delivering open, global standards for the Internet of Things, has announced that findings from market-research firm ON World project a favorable market for connected devices leveraging Zigbee Alliance technologies during the next five years.

ON World, which offers global business intelligence regarding the IoT, has indicated that half a billion Zigbee chipsets have been sold to date. Its analysts predict that 802.15.4 mesh chipset sales will skyrocket to 4.5 billion by 2023, with the majority of those based on Zigbee Alliance technology standards. The firm’s most recent findings cite Zigbee as the leading IoT connectivity technology for the smart home. Estimates state Zigbee Alliance technologies will account for 3.8 billion (85 percent) of the 4.5 billion IEEE 802.15.4 units projected to ship by 2023.

“ON World has closely followed the IEEE 802.15.4 category for the past 15 years and has tracked Zigbee technology since before its flagship specification was ratified in December 2004,” said Mareca Hatler, a principal analyst at ON World, in a prepared statement. “Since then, our team has conducted extensive, year-round primary research on wireless sensing, tracking and control in dozens of ecosystems—interviewing and surveying thousands of companies of all sizes across the entire value chain. Our findings indicate Zigbee leads the wireless mesh sensor network market and will continue to do so.”

“ON World’s projections validate the success we’ve been experiencing behind the scenes as we work with hundreds of innovative companies and developers to design and market Zigbee-based mesh products,” said Katie Gengler, the Zigbee Alliance’s head of marketing, in a prepared statement. “2018 is already on track for a record year for Zigbee certifications, and to date the Alliance has qualified thousands of different smart product types that are part of today’s most popular and thriving IoT ecosystems, including those from Amazon,Comcast, Huawei, IKEA, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), SOMFY, and Samsung SmartThings.”

Several segments in the IoT market are experiencing tremendous growth, including connected lighting, smart meters, and climate control and comfort automation. According to the research, technologies shaping the future of the IoT market include:

Zigbee 3.0: Zigbee is the only complete, open IoT solution, from mesh network to the universal language that allows smart objects to work together. It’s built on the Zigbee PRO networking stack and adds security layers so manufacturers can build full-stack, low-power, interoperable IoT devices, certified by the Zigbee Alliance, and backed by a global ecosystem of platforms, products and support.

Dotdot: Already at the heart of Zigbee devices, Dotdot is the critical component in the wireless networking stack responsible for providing a universal application layer that makes it possible for different IoT devices to speak the same language, whether running over Zigbee, Thread, IP or other networks. Dotdot enables smart objects to seamlessly and securely connect to each other across a wireless network, and expands possibilities for both developers and users as they look to build out ecosystems and explore the Internet of Things.

Smart Energy (from the Zigbee Alliance): Smart Energy is a standard for interoperable products that monitor, control, inform and automate the delivery and use of electricity, gas and water. The Smart Energy standard and certification program ensure that smart energy products can deliver robust wireless networking performance and interoperability.

Industrial Internet Consortium, Internet of Things Alliance Australia Announce Liaison

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), an organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of IIoT, and the Internet of Things Alliance Australia (IoTAA) have announced that they have agreed to a liaison. Under the terms of the agreement, the IIC and IoTAA will work together to harmonize aspects of the Industrial Internet, in order to improve the digital economy.

Joint activities between the IIC and the IoTAA include collaborating on standardization, realizing interoperability by harmonizing architecture and other elements, aligning work in vertical domains, developing benchmarks for IoT adoption and formulating global best practices. “Global alignment and sharing of best practice is critical for realizing the economic benefit of IoT,” said Frank Zeichner, the CEO of the IoT Alliance Australia,” in a prepared statement. “We are, therefore, delighted to be working with the Industrial Internet Consortium.”

“We are excited to begin working with IoTAA on IoT interoperability, best practices, data sharing and more,” said Gary Stuebing, Cisco‘s IoT standards manager and the IoTAA’s IIC liaison officer, in the prepared statement. “Working together, the IIC and IoTAA can ensure that IoTAA members have the information they need to help accelerate the adoption of IoT across the Australian economy.” The IoTAA and the IIC have agreed to meet regularly to exchange information and to joint workshops.