RFID News Roundup

Checkpoint Systems, IMCo sign reseller agreement ••• Mid-States Poker Tour, The Venetian use RFID to let viewers watch poker matches ••• GlobalPlatform, IoT Connectivity Alliance sign memorandum of understanding ••• Ecofit, ServiceChannel partner on asset-management solution ••• STMicroelectronics to demo Internet of Things solutions in Asia.
Published: March 29, 2018

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
Checkpoint Systems, IMCo;
the Mid-States Poker Tour, The Venetian Las Vegas;
GlobalPlatform, IoT Connectivity Alliance;
Ecofit, ServiceChannel; and

Checkpoint Systems, IMCo Sign Reseller Agreement

Checkpoint Systems, a supplier of electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems and RFID solutions, and IMCo, a Germany-based provider of smart-shelf technology that offers loss-prevention solutions to help retailers combat organized retail crime, have announced an agreement by which Checkpoint will resell select IMCo’s products in North America. Under the terms of the agreement, Checkpoint will market two solutions for addressing risks posed by professional thieves: Shelf Alert and Peg Hook Alert.

Shelf Alert uses specially designed shelf pushers to keep products organized and in front of shoppers. Its pattern-recognition algorithms identify when individuals remove products, then trigger a muted beep. In the case of unusual incidents, including products sweeps, the system sounds a louder alarm, which can be connected to existing security systems, such as video-monitoring or public-address systems. This alerts store personnel to approach the individual proactively at the shelf in a customer-friendly way.

The system enables retailers to present at-risk merchandise openly at all times, thus increasing sales while reducing theft. Shelf Alert is designed for merchandise such as cosmetics, facial care products, perfumes, shaving lotions, contraceptives, pregnancy testing kits, alcoholic beverages, coffee, infant formula and more.

Peg Hook Alert has an in-built mechanical slow-feed function to ensure that products can only be removed from each unit one at a time. It detects product removals and indicates them with a muted beep each time a product is taken. The system alarms if multiple goods are taken within a set period of time, providing a deterrent to shoplifting without compromising open merchandising.

Through the audible beeps and alarm, Peg Hook Alert notifies employees if potential shoplifters remove articles from shelves. This allows store associates to approach an individual in a service-oriented manner, minimizing the risk of escalation before they can reach an exit. Like Shelf Alert, it enables retailers to make high-risk merchandise fully accessible to shoppers, increasing sales while reducing shrinkage.

Peg Hook Alert is suitable for tracking razor blades and other products typically displayed on peg hooks (memory cards, ink cartridges, batteries, etc.). “ORC continues to play a large role in retail shrink losses,” said Stuart Rosenthal, the VP of sales and marketing for Checkpoint’s Alpha High-Theft Solutions, in a prepared statement, “and this agreement with IMCo enables us to provide a broader and highly preventive solution to our customers.”

“We are excited about our partnership with Checkpoint in the North America,” said Georg Hachmann, IMCo’s CEO, in the prepared statement. “Thousands of our intelligent products have already been installed around the globe and retailers have seen, on average, losses reduced by 50 percent and sales increased by 10 percent. We expect similar results for Checkpoint customers.”

The Shelf Alert and Peg Hook Alert solutions are both available immediately.

Mid-States Poker Tour, The Venetian Use RFID to Let Viewers Watch Poker Matches

Season nine of the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) is expanding its summer offerings in conjunction with The Venetian Las Vegas to five events. Radio frequency identification technology will be used throughout the tour.

In 2014, the MSPT and The Venetian partnered for the MSPT Venetian $1,100 Main Event. The tournament has turned into an annual event that grew to 3,273 entries last year. This year, the event will take place on June 3-8 and will offer four starting flights. There will be a tournament on June 9-13, followed by three additional tournaments. The final tables from those events will be broadcast worldwide using RFID technology, allowing viewers to see the hole cards. The $1,100 MSPT Venetian Main Event will be live-reported on MSPT’s live blog.

“The MSPT Venetian has grown into one of the biggest tournaments on the poker calendar,” said Bryan Mileski, MSPT’s president, in a prepared statement. “We’re excited to expand on our partnership by offering five events this summer, and even more excited that, for the first time ever, we’ll be live-streaming the final table action straight from The Venetian.”

GlobalPlatform, IoT Connectivity Alliance Sign Memorandum of Understanding

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been agreed between industry associations GlobalPlatform and the IoT Connectivity Alliance (ICA). The two technical bodies will work to develop and promote a standardized approach to Internet of Things (IoT) security based on secure component technology. This will reduce the cost and streamline the development of large-scale consumer and industrial IoT deployments.

The ICA is committed to promoting the establishment of an open, interconnected and secure ecosystem for the global IoT market—which, according to the McKinsey Global Institute, is expected to reach $11 trillion by 2025. One of its key priorities for the year ahead is the development of secure authentication for IoT devices and cloud services, to tackle the issue of IoT security fragmentation in the Chinese market.

GlobalPlatform standardizes two secure component technologies, Secure Element (SE) and Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), both of which address various functional and security requirements in the IoT, including the protection of authentication services, device attestation and cloud enrolment. Collaboration between the two associations will foster the adoption of GlobalPlatform SE and TEE standards as security baselines for IoT devices, and simplify their integration. This work will enhance interoperability and reduce the cost and complexity of secure IoT deployments.

“It is expected that the market scale of China’s commercial IoT will grow from $2,155 billion to $3,610 billion by 2020,” said Fang Qiang of the Security Standard Work Group, in a prepared statement. “However, the security incidents that we have seen recently have resulted in fragmentation of the IoT market and its related technology.”

“To solve this problem, the standardization of IoT security mechanisms is desperately needed,” Qiang said in the prepared statement. “Combining the ICA’s in-depth understanding of China’s IoT market, and key chip-related technologies, with GlobalPlatform’s nearly 20-year history as the international standard for the secure management of digital services and devices will help resolve the fragmentation problem, both in China and internationally.”

As key players in driving the adoption of open and interoperable standards, GlobalPlatform and the ICA will collaborate on alternative interfaces for the connection of embedded SEs based on serial peripheral interface (SPI) and inter-integrated circuit (IIC) devices. This is part of the IoT roadmap defined by GlobalPlatform’s Consumer and Industrial IoT Task Forces, which are working to identify, define and evaluate the business and technical requirements needed for the secure deployment of IoT services.

“The connected device landscape is expanding rapidly; new devices need to enroll to different cloud platforms and support different device operating systems,” said Gil Bernabeu, GlobalPlatform’s technical director, in the prepared statement. “While this evolving market has the potential to revolutionize today’s digital service offering, it also represents widespread security and interoperability challenges for device makers, service providers and cloud platform providers… Our partnership with the ICA will ensure security, while also supporting privacy, to give stakeholders the additional tools needed to help manage risk for a range of current and new use-cases.”

Ecofit, ServiceChannel Partner on Asset-Management Solution

Ecofit, an Internet of Things (IoT) solution provider to the fitness industry, has announced that it has joined ServiceChannel‘s solution partner ecosystem to provide proactive equipment monitoring and predictive failure resolution for health and fitness facility owners and managers. The collaboration and technical integration with ServiceChannel, an online marketplace and software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for facilities managers, contractors and technicians, simplifies and automates the identification of an equipment-related problem, thereby speeding resolution, lowering cost and improving customer satisfaction.

The streamlined process will help ensure optimal operation and uptime for critical equipment, such as treadmills, strength equipment, spin bikes and more. When Ecofit’s smart sensor solution detects an issue, all information related to the equipment problem will be instantly shared with ServiceChannel, which will automatically dispatch an appropriate service provider and track the ensuing workflow, thereby saving critical time, minimizing equipment downtime and allowing for transparency in the resolution process.

ServiceChannel and Ecofit have many fitness brands as joint customers. The integration of the two systems will provide the fitness industry with a real-time equipment-management solution to address critical asset-management challenges. Last year, ServiceChannel announced its solution partner program, in which validated partners such as Ecofit can develop an integrated solution with the ServiceChannel platform, granting customers a broader set of capabilities, greater system transparency and automation through a common user experience.

“As we continue to move toward a more deeply automated world, it’s critical that every company arm itself with the proper tools to keep pace,” said Tom Buiocchi, ServiceChannel’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “We’re thrilled to count EcoFit as a partner to help further simplify and automate its IoT-fueled platform for fitness facilities.”

“ServiceChannel’s advanced service automation marketplace and ability to quickly bring visibility and transparency to equipment issues are the obvious next steps to Ecofit’s issue identification abilities,” said Dave Johnson, Ecofit’s VP of business development, in the prepared statement. “Our goal is to make the life of the facilities manager easier by taking that in-between responsibility off of them and drastically reduce downtime when an issue occurs.”

STMicroelectronics to Demo Internet of Things Solutions in Asia

STMicroelectronics, a semiconductor company, has announced that it will demonstrate its latest solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart driving at the IoT Asia Singapore Expo, on Mar. 21-22, 2018. ST will showcase the company’s range of automotive products and will demonstrate solutions for mass vehicle-to-everything communication deployment, connected-driving use cases, intrusion detection and prevention, infotainment solutions in diverse applications, and automotive satellite-positioning solutions.

In the area of secure and contactless solutions, ST will show its Near Field Communication (NFC) tag with tamper detection for product identification and anti-cloning, an NFC sensor node to monitor environmental and motion variations, a mobile point-of-sale machine using the ST25R3911B NFC/RFID reader for contactless payment, and a battery-less application enabled by the ST25DV NFC tag and STM32L4 MCU. A lighting application will demonstrate device authentication with a remote server to manage the authenticity of IoT devices using the STSAFE-A100 secure solution.

For connectivity applications, ST will showcase STM32 solutions for NB-IoT and 3G/2G cellular connectivity, LoRa solutions with STM32, and long-distance communication LPWAN technology required for machine-to-machine (M2M) and IoT applications. ST will display its latest STM32L4+ MCU for wearable graphics applications, voice recognition using Alexa Voice Service with STM32, and a voice-processing and -transfer platform (BlueCoin) using ST’s MEMS microphones and BLE.