RFID News Roundup

NXP offers edge-connected platforms for IoT product development; Bosch Sensortec launches longevity program for IoT applications; IoT company Altair Semiconductor renamed Sony Semiconductor Israel; UWB RTLS provider Sewio opens U.S. office; Avnet intros single-board computer to foster IoT project development; Fact.MR predicts dual-interface smart-card market growth.
Published: July 30, 2020

Presented here are news announcements made during the past week regarding the following organizations: NXP Semiconductors, Bosch Sensortec, Altair Semiconductor, Sewio, Avnet, and Fact.MR.


NXP Offers Edge-Connected Platforms for IoT Product Development

NXP Semiconductors has announced that its Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combos and i.MX RT MCU crossover processors are now supported within its MCUXpresso software, which is designed to simplify product development. With this integration, NXP aims to expand the connectivity capabilities of its EdgeVerse edge-computing and security platform.

By pre-integrating driver support within its MCUXpresso SDK, NXP is providing developers with scalable platforms to help them accelerate compliance, shorten time-to-market, and streamline Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo deployments. These platforms make it possible to mix and match MCUs and Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo devices, the company reports, enabling developers to meet the specific performance and power requirements of their Internet of Things (IoT), industrial, automotive and communications infrastructure applications.

“With this new connected-edge platform, NXP continues to deliver on its investments in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth by providing developers with the flexibility to easily pair our i.MX RT MCUs and advanced connectivity solutions for more seamless and cost-effective implementations,” said Ron Martino, NXP’s senior VP and general manager of edge processing, in a prepared statement. “This new integration brings a one-stop-shop approach to platform development with NXP’s highly differentiated offerings that are fully tested and certified, allowing developers to easily and quickly deploy wireless devices at scale.”

NXP has pre-integrated its Wi-Fi/Bluetooth drivers and communications stacks around FreeRTOS, targeting i.MX RT crossover processors to simplify and accelerate application development. With the MCUXpresso SDK, developers can combine wireless connectivity with artificial intelligence and machine-learning capabilities, and with display controllers and graphics accelerators integrated into the i.MX RT family.

The drivers have been verified and tested for several scenarios, the company indicates, including iPerf Utility to test device-to-device performance; Wi-Fi Direct to scan and connect mobile devices to networks; Command Line Interface to set Wi-Fi parameters and network properties, and to experiment with various Wi-Fi settings and parameters; Use Case Development for IoT, industrial, automotive and communication infrastructure applications; and Amazon Web Services for use as a framework for IoT products, as well as device, gateway, phone and cloud connection.

NXP has partnered with such module vendors as Azurewave, Murata, Panasonic and u-blox to deliver certified, platform-integrated modules for developer designs, with other partners now being added. Developers can thus choose the right module for their particular applications, as well as reduce design complexity, development costs and time to certification.

Bosch Sensortec Launches Longevity Program for IoT Applications

Bosch Sensortec has announced that it is launching a longevity program and expanding its product portfolio to meet the needs of industrial applications. The program ensures that the company’s products will remain available for ten years. In industrial and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, Bosch explains, customers often require components to be available for a long span of time, due to design cycles lasting two years or more. Cost, the risk of new development, and re-qualification expenses are also factors, the company notes.

Applications with long-lifecycle products that may require this extended longevity include the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), industrial robots, logistics, factory and building automation, agricultural equipment, smart homes, home appliances and white goods. Bosch Sensortec is offering three products under its longevity program: the BMI090L Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), the BMA490L accelerometer and the BMP390L barometric pressure sensor. These devices are available via Bosch Sensortec’s distributors, with a minimum order quantity of 2,500 pieces.

The BMI090L IMU is designed for IIoT, robots, agricultural equipment, drones, white goods and home appliances. Due to its vibration robustness and temperature stability, the BMI090L enables such use cases as navigation, motion tracking and asset tracking. The sensor’s gyroscope offers a bias instability of less than 2 degrees per hour.

The BMA490L acceleration sensor is geared toward the IIoT, logistics, agricultural and industrial robots, white goods, home appliances and power tools. The sensor’s temperature stability, low noise and low offset make it suitable for numerous use cases, the company reports, such as predictive maintenance, asset tracking and vibration monitoring. In the low-power operation mode, current consumption is reduced to 14 µA, making it suitable for always-on applications.

The BMP390L barometric pressure sensor is suitable for such industrial and IoT applications as logistics, white goods, home appliances, precision agricultural machinery, robots and drones. The sensor offers temperature stability of ±0.6 Pa/K and relative accuracy of ±0.03 hPa, the company reports, making it useful for such applications as water level detection, asset tracking and navigation.

IoT Company Altair Semiconductor Renamed Sony Semiconductor Israel

Four years after being acquired by Sony, Altair Semiconductor is being renamed Sony Semiconductor Israel. “We have been honored to be part of Sony for the past four years, playing a key role in the company’s core business,” said Nohik Semel, Sony Semiconductor Israel’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “To better reflect our long-term commitment to our partners and customers, as well as the quality of our offering, we have decided to change Altair’s company name to Sony.”

Terushi Shimizu, Sony Semiconductor Solutions’ representative director, president and CEO, added, “We expect to see great innovations in the field of IoT and sensing as we continue to make it easier for machines to talk to each other and to build AI capabilities directly into our semiconductors and solutions.” These include low-powered cellular IoT chipsets, IoT security developments, and technologies in the area of AI signal processing and sensing.

Sony Semiconductor Israel is a provider of cellular IoT chipsets. Its globally certified chipsets provide low power consumption and enable extended battery life for numerous IoT applications, the company reports. Altair-based solutions power smart meters; vehicle telematics devices; personal, logistical and pet trackers; and connected wearable devices. In addition, the company offers the AI Digital Signal Processor, included in the recently announced IMX500/IMX501 intelligent vision sensor.

UWB RTLS Provider Sewio Opens U.S. Office

Sewio, a provider of UWB-based real-time location system (RTLS) technologies, has opened a new office in Huntsville, Ala., to accommodate the rapid growth in demand for precise indoor-tracking solutions in North America. With the majority of Sewio’s solution partners already based in the United States, the expansion will allow its team to be in closer touch with its existing U.S. customer base, and to grow in the American market.

The new office is Sewio’s third international location since its inception in 2014, as it also has offices in Stuttgart, Germany, and Brno, Czech Republic. As a center of advanced technology and manufacturing, Huntsville is located near the busiest airport in the United States, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta.

The new office will be operated by Eric Richards, who joins Sewio as its VP of channel partners. Richards is responsible for business-development initiatives, provides input for Sewio’s future development and maintains strategic alliance partnerships. He has more than 13 years’ experience in growing business and strategic partnerships in the RTLS and RFID industry, with previous positions at Redpoint Positioning and Q-Track.

“Our global partner network grows our strength in the U.S., and the USA already stands for more than a third of our revenues,” said Petr Sedlacek, the company’s VP of sales for North America, in a prepared statement. “This makes the decision to expand our presence in the USA a logical step in our business growth strategy.”

“We’ve been able to build remarkable partnerships with our U.S. partners, providing them with precise UWB-powered indoor-tracking solutions,” Sedlacek added. “The new office will allow us to continue to strengthen our current relationships and advance the technology that will fuel the next great chapter of Sewio.”

Avnet Intros Single-Board Computer to Foster IoT Project Development

Technology solutions provider Avnet has announced plans to add the MaaXBoard Mini single-board computer to its portfolio of hardware for IoT developers. Based on NXP’s i.MX 8M Mini processor, the MaaXBoard Mini is built for embedded-computing and smart-edge IoT applications. The product is Avnet’s latest addition to its product-development ecosystem intended to help users bring projects from idea to design, and from design to production.

The MaaXBoard Mini joins Avnet’s range of single-board computers for IoT developers, following the release of the MaaXBoard in 2019. The new board adds a hardware video encoder to power such video applications as monitoring, visual inspection and video conferencing. The board is also available at a reduced price point, in order to give developers flexibility in their budgets as they build IoT devices.

“When developers build IoT solutions, two of the greatest pressures are prototyping and actual deployment,” said Jim Beneke, Avnet’s VP of products and emerging technologies, in a prepared statement. “Avnet provides hardware, software, expertise and support to relieve this pressure. In particular, the MaaXBoard Mini has been designed specifically to provide flexibility to design and implement IoT concepts more quickly and efficiently.”

The MaaXBoard Mini provides the tools required for a developer to support and create a Linux, Android, Windows 10 IoT Core, or other OS-based system. The platform offers several on-board peripherals, including 2 GB of DDR4 memory, a Gigabit Ethernet port, quad USB 2.0 host ports, MIPI-DSI, MIPI-CSI, WiFi, Bluetooth Low Energy and a MicroSD card slot. A Raspberry Pi hat-compatible expansion connector provides interfaces for UART, SPI, I2C and GPIO, making it suitable for investigating AI, IoT and multimedia applications.

Each MaaXBoard Mini is shipped with a custom passive heatsink and a quick-start guide to assist developers with commencing hardware or software development. A user-supplied 5V/3A USB Type C power supply is required to power the board, and a 16 GB microSD card and a UART USB Serial translator are recommended. To assist with development, Avnet offers Android 9.0 and Yocto images for downloading, as well as connectivity into Avnet’s IoTConnect cloud platform. For software debugging, an optional Microchip USB-to-UART evaluation board is recommended, allowing USB terminal access through a UART port on the 40-pin expansion connector.

Fact.MR Predicts Dual-Interface Smart-Card Market Growth

According to a new report from Fact.MR, the telecommunications industry accounts for a majority share in the dual interface smart card market. Mounting demand for customized and secured smart cards with automatic updating properties will create market opportunities for dynamic operating system dual interface smart cards during the forecast period, the company reports. The study is available here.

With retail stores and clubs adopting customer loyalty programs as part of their marketing strategy, the market will see increasing opportunities in the coming years, according to the report. Microprocessor-based dual interface smart cards are gaining popularity as a result of the surging e-commerce and telecom industry.

The dual interface smart card market is poised to progress at a value CAGR of 6 percent and is expected to create a value opportunity of $8 billion by the end of 2030. The global market is expected to create a value opportunity of around $8 billion during the forecast period, adding 1.8 times more value in 2030 as compared to 2020. The dynamic application-based operating system smart-cards segment will continue to dominate demand, the study indicates, accounting for more than two-thirds of the global market share.

The telecommunications industry, with respect to dual interface smart cards, is set to grow at a high rate, facilitated by a surging demand for smartphones and advancements in backbone infrastructure to provide network stability. The global dual interface smart card market is expected to witness a rise in emerging countries, such as India, China and Brazil, due to increasing disposable income and a mounting demand for automotive products.

The Asia Pacific region is estimated to be the most lucrative market in terms of revenue generation, as it is currently valued at $3.9 billion and is expected to show prolific expansion during the forecast period. The North American market is poised to expand at a CAGR of 6.5 percent, creating a value opportunity of $1.7 billion by 2030. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to manufacturing and supply chain issues, the company reports, in addition to a reduced demand for consumer electronic products, thereby restraining the market from reaching its full potential.

 Prominent players in the market include American Banknote, Bartronics India, Cardcom Technology, CardLogix, CPI Card Group, Eastcompeace Technology, Giesecke & Devrient, GOLDPAC Group, Hengbao., IDEMIA, Infineon Technologies, Ingenico Group, Inteligensa Group, Kona I, NXP Semiconductors, Perfect Plastic Printing, Identiv, Square, Thales Group, VALID, VeriFone Systems, Watchdata and Wuhan Tianyu Information Industry. Key players are adopting aggressive growth strategies for establishing their presence in regional and global markets. These players are also focusing on product innovation and capacity expansion to meet increasing demand related to associated application usage.

 In the study, Fact.MR presents analysis of the global dual interface smart card market, including historical demand data (2015 to 2019) and forecast statistics for the period of 2020 to 2030. The report offers insights on the basis of substrate (PVC, composite, PC paper, teslin/synthetic paper and others), embedded chip (microprocessors, I2C straight memory cards, stored value memory cards, protected segment memory cards and serial data flash), operating system (fixed file structure and dynamic application system), and application (SIM cards and telecommunications, loyalty and stored value, securing digital content and physical assets, e-commerce, bank-issued smart cards, healthcare informatics, embedded medical device control, and enterprise and network security), across five major regions.