RFID News Roundup

CISC Semiconductor extends its RFID reader and tag portfolio; CAEN RFID intros fixed reader for industrial and outdoor installations; iDTRONIC offers Android 9-based handheld RFID readers; IoT company Particle raises $40 million in funding led by Qualcomm Ventures, Energy Impact Partners; NiceLabel unveils new ABAP package that supports RFID.
Published: November 7, 2019

Presented here are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
CISC Semiconductor;
Particle, Qualcomm Ventures, Energy Impact Partners; and

CISC Semiconductors Extends Its RFID Reader and Tag Portfolio

CISC Semiconductor has announced the launch of its extended Xplorer portfolio supporting a high-speed reader, inlays and tags. The Xplorer portfolio consists of the company’s RAIN Xplorer Inline Tester and RAIN Xplorer Reel2reel Tester, as well as an Impedance Emulator feature.

“[RFID] solutions connect billions of everyday items in applications like aviation, healthcare, retail and smart manufacturing, where security, interoperability and reliability are a self-evident requirement,” said Josef Preishuber-Pfluegl, CISC Semiconductor’s CTO and business manager for RFID and NFC, in a prepared statement. “Our new RAIN Xplorer portfolio is the trust anchor along the development and production phase to ensure that only high-quality products will be launched in the market.”

The RAIN Xplorer Inline Tester spots anomalies during the production process in real time. The device is flexible to create a performance matrix for enhanced analysis and enables performance testing on multiple frequencies on a single RFID inlay or tag at high speed. The RAIN Xplorer Reel2Reel Tester offers RFID tag testing on a reel at high speed for efficient production time. It complies with industry standards ISO/IEC 18000-63, EPC UHF Gen 2V2 and RAIN RFID, and has been tested on multiple frequency and power-levels pairs to quality tags for a particular application based on performance.

The Impedance Emulator feature for the tester allows testing of reader behavior under different error conditions. It debugs final RFID installations based on whether an error is on the reader or tag side, the company reports, and can perform irrespective of the deployment.

CAEN RFID Intros Fixed Reader for Industrial and Outdoor Installations

CAEN RFID has announced that its Proton reader comes with four antenna ports capable of a 31.5 dBm maximum power, enabling users to build RFID portals for long-range reading. Its compact form factor makes it easy to install, according to the company, and its IP65 protection permits installations in outdoor or harsh environments. Featuring Power-over-Ethernet, RS232 and GPIOs via industry-standard M12 connectors, the Proton is suitable for industrial automation and Industry 4.0 solutions, the firm indicates.

The Proton is based upon an embedded Linux platform and can be configured using an internal Web interface. Systems integrators can customize the reader’s behavior by installing Java code that, with access to all RFID features and interfaces, enables full customization.

The Proton reader complies with and can operate in both European and U.S. regulatory environments. Due to its multiregional capabilities, the device is intended for RFID solutions requiring compliance with different geographical regions.

iDTRONIC Offers Android 9-based Handheld RFID Readers

iDTRONIC has announced that its Android 7 RFID handheld series has evolved into its Android 9 RFID handheld series. The Android 9 Pie has been adapted to current Internet of Things (IoT) requirements, the company reports. The new operating system focuses on performance, stability and energy efficiency, in order to provide a longer battery life. This is achieved using artificial intelligence. Android 9 is intended to improve the security of smartphones, according to iDTRONIC. The background activities of apps will be more limited with the new version. As a rule, applications will now only have access to the camera and microphone if they are running in the foreground.

The company’s C9 RFID Handhelds are available in three different versions. iDTRONIC offers its C9 Handheld, a related GUN version and the C9 Tablet. The smart devices are designed for the latest Industry 4.0 and IoT applications. The C9 Black is a compact RFID handheld computer that resembles a smartphone. The identification of RFID tags and transponders can be accomplished via and integrated RFID HF and NFC reader operating at 13.56 MHz. It supports the ISO 14443 A/B, ISO 15693, NFC-IP1 and NFC-IP2 standards.

The C9 Black is suitable for near-field applications in a 5- to 8-centimeter reading range. Optionally, the RFID handheld is available with a 1D or 2D barcode scanner, which can be used for warehousing processes. Its 4.900 mAh Li-Ion Battery is designed to withstand a working day without problems, the company reports, due to Android 9’s intelligent battery-consumption function.

The C9 Black GUN is an extension to the firm’s C9 Black RFID handheld computer. The RFID handheld is equipped with an ergonomic grip. The identification of RFID tags and transponders can be accomplished via an integrated RFID UHF, HF NFC or LF reader. It supports the ISO 18000-6C, ISO 14443 A/B, ISO 15693, ISO 11784 and ISO 11785 standards. The C9 Black GUN is intended for long-range applications, covering up to a 10-meter reading range. Optionally, the RFID handheld is available with a 1D or 2D barcode scanner.

IoT Company Particle Raises $40 Million in Funding Led by Qualcomm Ventures, Energy Impact Partners

Particle, a provider of an Internet of Things (IoT) platform, has announced that it has raised $40 million in Series C funding led by Qualcomm Ventures LLC and Energy Impact Partners. This round also includes prior existing investors Root Ventures, Bonfire Ventures, Industry Ventures, Spark Capital, Green D Ventures, Counterpart Ventures and SOSV. This brings Particle’s total venture capital funding to $81.3 million to date.

The funding round follows significant growth in demand for Particle’s enterprise IoT platform. The company has experienced 150 percent year-over-year revenue growth, driven largely by fast-growing customers bringing their Particle-powered IoT products to market. Particle’s customers also benefit from the security, reliability and scalability that a full-stack platform provides, the company reports; customers are gathering more than 22 billion sensor data points a year.

Particle’s IoT platform provides software, hardware and connectivity as an integrated solution. This allows a variety of companies, ranging from traditional manufacturers to fast-growing startups, to bring IoT products to market quickly without having to build their own software infrastructure.

“Over the last seven years, we’ve seen a wide range of business embrace IoT, especially those driving innovation in traditional industries,” said Zach Supalla, Particle’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “More and more of our customers are in old-fashioned, even unglamorous, businesses like stormwater management, industrial equipment, shipping, or monitoring any number of compressors, pumps, and valves. These businesses are diverse, but the common thread is that they need to monitor and control mission-critical machines, and we see it as our mission to help bring their machines, vehicles, and devices into the 21st century.”

“Creating a bridge from the physical to the digital world is far more complex than most people realize, ” said Carlos Kokron, Qualcomm Technologies’s VP and managing director for the Americas, in the prepared statement. “From the device itself to the network to cloud connectivity and software functionality, there are a lot of moving parts and complexities. Particle’s full-stack platform for IoT technology development accounts for all of these vital elements in a highly secure and flexible environment. We have been very impressed with Particle’s technology and market traction and are excited to continue to support their growth.”

NiceLabel Unveils New ABAP Package that Supports RFID

NiceLabel, a global developer of label design software and label-management systems, has announced the launch of version 2 of its ABAP package, which supports RFID technology. This new version supports both SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA, allowing organizations to digitize their labeling quality-assurance process and reduce both labeling errors and shipping delays. NiceLabel’s label-management system is configured so that businesses can make label changes faster and reduce the burden on IT.

Included with the NiceLabel Label Management System is an ABAP package that allows for rapid system deployment and configuration. Within the SAP environment, the company explains, this can result in reduced development costs, as businesses need not configure all their own code in order to allow print operators and label approvers to view and authorize labels.

“Many organizations are striving to modernize their ERP systems from SAP ECC to SAP S4/HANA as they edge toward the cloud,” said Ken Moir, NiceLabel’s VP of marketing, in a prepared statement. “We have the tightest integration and ‘know-how’ for both versions. Our ABAP package means that businesses don’t have to write their own code to be able to preview labels within SAP. This helps to eliminate many of the inefficiencies arising from relying on IT-developed SAPscript, SmartForms or Adobe Forms.”

Moir added: “It’s not uncommon for label changes to take up to three weeks for some businesses. Our latest ABAP package integrates with both SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA. It can be transported into the SAP system within seconds and can streamline the SAP printing process in a matter of hours, giving businesses a quicker and more agile label production process.”

NiceLabel offers support for a range of RF tag data-encoding options, including both HF tags (TagIt, iCode and ISO) and UHF tags (Class 0, Class 1 and Class 1 Gen 2). Supported standards include EPC Gen 2; Philips: ICode , ICcode EPC, ICode UID and ISO 15693; Texas Instruments: Tag-it and ISO 15693; Infineon: ISO15693 and My-d; Matrics: EPC Class 0 (64/96/128/256 bit) and Class 0+; Alien Technology: EPC Class 1 (64/96 bit); Inside Tech: Pico Tag and others; NXP Semiconductors: U-Code (G2, G2XL, and G2XM); Rafsec: Omni (313, 342, and 478); and Impinj: Propeller.

NiceLabel supports the encoding of NDEF messages (Near Field Communication) into HF RFID tags and special NFC tags: NTAG203, NTAG210, NTAG212, NTAG213, NTAG215, NTAG216, Mifare Ultralight, Mifare Ultralight C and my-d move NFC.