RFID News Roundup

Identiv intros tamper-proof RFID labels for anti-counterfeiting, brand protection ••• Checkpoint Systems releases new solutions leveraging RFID ••• Rockwell Automation showcases IIoT applications ••• Scandit raises Series B funding to bring IoT to everyday objects through computer vision, augmented reality ••• Soracom adds provisioning service for IoT devices in field, serverless visual dashboard for IoT application services ••• Tencent joins LoRa Alliance, announces LoRaWAN network and IoT solutions.
Published: August 2, 2018

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
Checkpoint Systems;
Tencent, and the LoRa Alliance.

Identiv Intros Tamper-Proof RFID Labels for Anti-Counterfeiting, Brand Protection

Identiv has announced its Tamper-Proof RFID Label, the latest addition to its radio frequency identification (RFID), Near Field Communication (NFC) and inlay portfolio. The label, according to the company, is compatible with any NFC inlay.

The Tamper-Proof RFID Label integrates an aluminum-etched antenna and a tamper-proof release coating. The antenna bridge is designed to destruct if the label is torn from any applied surface, including glass, paper, plastic and other non-metal environments. The design renders it impossible to tear off the complete antenna or label, the company claims; once torn from an adhered surface, the label is no longer functional and cannot be reassembled. The destructive label is suitable for uses cases in which an end user needs to ensure an asset is genuine. After being removed, the label cannot be reapplied to a new, non-authentic product.

The International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) estimates that counterfeit goods equate for nearly 5 to 7 percent of world trade, or approximately $600 billion. In a report released this year, P&S Market Research values the global anticounterfeit packaging market at $114.4 billion in 2017, and projects $208.4 billion by 2023. Identiv’s new Tamper-Proof RFID Labels address the security needs for anti-counterfeiting and brand-protection in the retail, transportation and pharmaceutical industries, and are designed for simple use on wine and spirit bottles, pharmaceuticals and any item in transport that requires broken-seal detection or tamper prevention. The labels can be personalized with custom artwork, different sizes or chip combinations, providing different security levels. Additionally, each label can be delivered with variable data, including a bar code, numbering or an end user’s name.

As a generic design, the secure labels work with most of Identiv’s antenna sizes. The first available version is delivered with a die cut of 38 millimeters by 18 millimeters and either an NXP NTAG or iCODE SLIX chip. Other chips and antennas are available to meet various customer requirements.

“With the addition of this tamper-proof design, our tag portfolio grows to provide even more innovative RFID solutions for a variety of applications,” said Stephane Ardiley, Identiv director of product management for credentials and transponders, in a prepared statement. “Beyond the traditional physical/visual security of anti-counterfeiting hologram tags, we’ve incorporated RFID technology to deliver a more secure, advanced inlay solution. Identiv’s Tamper-Proof RFID Label brings peace of mind to our customers through an affordable, guaranteed destructible inlay solution.”

The Identiv team is expert in designing and manufacturing high-frequency (HF) and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) transponders for embedded use in everyday objects, like medical devices, books, toys, athletic apparel, perishable food items and pharmaceuticals. Transponder form factors include dry inlays, wet inlays, labels and tickets. Identiv’s RFID, NFC and inlay portfolio delivers smart identities and security to the Internet of Things (IoT).

The new Tamper-Proof RFID Label joins the Identv’s selection of cutting-edge, customizable RFID labels, including RFID Tag on Metal (TOM) Labels, and Giant NFC Labels, and complements Identiv’s Tamper-Detection Tags. Identiv’s Tamper-Proof RFID Labels are available now.

Checkpoint Systems Releases New Solutions Leveraging RFID

Brick-and-mortar stores play an important role in the retail industry, providing customers with a chance to interact with merchandise and experiment with different items. To make the in-store experience more engaging, Checkpoint Systems has released InterACT, a range of solutions that leverage RFID to increase sales.

The increasing demands of today’s “always-connected” shoppers are redefining the in-store buying experience, Checkpoint explains. Ensuring merchandise is always available through improved inventory accuracy is vital, the company notes, but customers expect to be able to explore products and see how they might look or work before making a purchase.

InterACT is a range of interactive solutions that utilize the data collected from RFID-tagged merchandise. Historically used to simply improve inventory accuracy, the new solutions enable retailers to use RFID-based inventory data to provide customers with recommendations and additional information about a product.

Using consumer-friendly touch screens, the new solutions sense when a RFID tag approaches and provide shoppers with information about the product, as well as which other sizes and colors are available in a store. According to a study conducted by McKinsey and Company, Amazon estimates that 35 percent of its sales are generated by the site’s recommendation engine. InterACT allows shoppers in a store environment to find additional items that complement the potential purchase, thus increasing sales potential.

The solution is intended to be used by apparel stores as an extension to how retailers currently utilize mannequins. A smart mirror option not only allows browsers to see what an item of clothing will look like when worn, but also displays different combinations of merchandise and guides shoppers to product locations.

InterACT is available in a range of specifications that can be used on the sales floor, in fitting rooms or on smaller devices mounted on display tables. A store associate version has been developed to provide staff members with a mobile solution to better serve customers by delivering more information about products and accessories.

“It’s clear that stores need to evolve in order to meet the demands of today’s consumers,” said Alan Tamny, Checkpoint Systems’ global product manager, in a prepared statement. “The in-store experience is very closely aligned to the store’s overall success and according to one piece of research, 4 in 5 shoppers said they’ll never come back if they receive a poor experience. InterACT is a unique way to use RFID data, helping engage the customer, improve satisfaction and boost sales.” Checkpoint has a full working InterACT system available for demonstration at its newly renovated Customer Experience Centre in Melbourne, Australia.

Scandit Raises Series B Funding to Bring IoT to Everyday Objects Through Computer Vision, Augmented Reality

Scandit, an enterprise technology platform for mobile computer vision, bar-code scanning and augmented reality, has announced that it has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by GV, with participation from NGP Capital and existing investor Atomico, among others. Scandit has previously raised $13 million.

The new funding will enable Scandit to accelerate global expansion and further develop its mobile computer vision platform to support advanced capabilities across any camera-equipped device. The funding is intended to propel Scandit’s long-term vision of bringing the Internet of Things to everyday objects. Scandit achieves this by harnessing smart devices and their commodity cameras as universal sensors through mobile computer vision and augmented reality (AR), leading to the seamless convergence of physical and digital worlds.

“Scandit delivers high performance across different smartphones by combining deep learning and machine learning with more traditional computer vision heuristics, creating an entirely new approach to computer vision applications for the enterprise. Combined with the technical strength of the founding team, Scandit’s mobile data capture platform is well-positioned to shape how enterprises and consumers interact with everyday objects and augmented reality,” said Tom Hulme, GV’s general partner, in a prepared statement.

Companies in such industries as retail, transportation, logistics, manufacturing and health care use Scandit’s technology to create and power mobile apps for crucial enterprise workflows like mobile point of sale, mobile shopping, self-checkout, inventory management and proof of delivery.

“We’re thrilled to have GV and NGP Capital as partners. Both have a deep understanding of the opportunities that exist for advanced mobile computer vision,” said Samuel Mueller, Scandit’s CEO, in the prepared statement. “This new funding will enable us to keep up our rapid growth, but also, looking at the bigger picture, it’s going to increase the overall adoption of mobile computer vision and augmented reality in the enterprise, which will help to streamline operations and lead to cost savings.”

“The Scandit team has demonstrated great execution, ingenuity, and persistence since founding the company. As a team of world-class entrepreneurs, we are very proud to back Scandit in the next phase of their journey,” added Bo Ilsoe, a oartner at NGP Capital, in the prepared statement.

Soracom Adds Provisioning Service for IoT Devices in Field, Serverless Visual Dashboard for IoT Application Services

Soracom, a provider of a cloud-native connectivity-as-a-service platform for the Internet of Things (IoT), has announced the release of its Krypton service that securely provisions connected devices in the field. Krypton uses SIM authentication to identify each unique device the first time it is connected to a cloud service. This allows the shipment of devices with a common firmware image to end customers, who can then add unique device information and keys at deployment using the Soracom Web console or an application programming interface (API).

While the Krypton service utilizes SIM authentication, it is effective when the device is connected via cellular, Wi-Fi, Ethernet or low-power radio network links, the company reports. This gives developers and user organizations the flexibility required for secure deployments and in-field updates to devices.

“Secure embedding of unique authentication information for connected edge devices is critical to IoT security,” said Kenta Yasukawa, Soracom’s CTO and co-founder, in a prepared statement. “Using the Soracom Global Air SIM as the basis for authentication is a straightforward, cost-effective way to manage production and management of devices for IoT deployments at any scale, from prototype to multinational roll-out.”

Typically, the management of individual device authentication and security key provisioning at the time of manufacture and delivery can add complexity and costs to production supply chains. With Krypton, the firm reports, authentication becomes easier with regard to connecting a device in the field and provisioning cloud and network services. The process corresponds to issuing appropriate certificate credentials for cloud services. The service can also be used to share keys between customer IoT devices and third-party authentication systems.

In addition, Soracom has added the Lagoon data-visualization dashboard to its suite of application and network services. Developers and user organizations that use the Soracom’s Harvest service to capture and record data in the cloud now can track multiple data sets and build real-time actions such as allowable thresholds and automated alerts without using dedicated server side databases or visualization applications.

Lagoon dashboards can be created and shared via a URL that gives authorized users access to data for monitoring and collaboration. Based on the Grafana open-source visualization platform, the dashboard can be dynamically configured with dropdown menus and can accommodate additional data sources.

“General availability of Soracom Harvest triggered customer requests for easy-to-implement data visualization options within our overall platform,” said Kenta Yasukawa, Soracom’s CTO and co-founder, in a prepared statement. “Lagoon is a powerful and flexible solution for developers’ toolboxes, providing a fast path to realization of greater value in the systems they design.”

Since the launch of its flagship Soracom Air data-communications platform in 2015, Soracom has released more than a dozen new network and application services. In connectivity, the company now enables private and direct line links and traffic flow management. Application services span device authentication, secure provisioning and management, resource allocation and data management, data collection and, now, data visualization.

Tencent Joins LoRa Alliance, Announces LoRaWAN Network and IoT Solutions

The LoRa Alliance, a global association of companies backing the open LoRaWAN standard for Internet of Things (IoT) low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs), and Tencent Holdings, a provider of internet value-added services in China, have announced that Tencent has joined the LoRa Alliance at the highest level to help accelerate the adoption of LoRaWAN technology.

“The number of relevant use cases for the IoT continues to grow with new applications in continuous development,” said Donna Moore, the LoRa Alliance’s CEO and chairwoman, in a prepared statement. “Projections for China’s IoT market are significant, and LoRaWAN is very well positioned in the LPWAN space. Having Tencent join the LoRa Alliance is very valuable for our ecosystem and strengthens our presence in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Tencent has invested significantly in technology and applications for LoRaWAN and will support further development of the LoRaWAN ecosystem. The company has also announced plans to build a LoRaWAN network in Shenzhen with local partners. Finally, it provides device-edge-cloud LoRaWAN solutions on its network for a variety of IoT applications and end users, such as government public services.

“It is clear that LPWANs are essential for the IoT technology and applications,” said Hongtao Bie, the vice president of Tencent Technologies, in a prepared statement, “and the market is quickly growing in China, especially in areas like government public services, industry manufacturing, personal IoT devices, etc.”

Huixing Wang, Tencent Cloud’s VP, added in the prepared statement: “LoRaWAN has seen rapid growth, and we feel it is highly complementary to NB-IoT in the LPWAN market. Joining the LoRa Alliance will allow us to influence LoRaWAN development, advance IoT adoption, and strengthen our cloud business by building close partnerships with other LoRaWAN vendors around the world.”