RFID News Roundup

Published: August 24, 2023

Seoul Metro tests BLE transit payments; CPG brands embed RFID in their packaging labels; Panasonic Industry and Symbiotech to offer Wirepas Mesh Demo Kit for BLE module; Simbe raises $28 million to enhance robotics-based inventory management solutions for retailers.

Seoul Metro Tests BLE Transit Payments

Transit system Seoul Metro, based in South Korea, is testing what it calls a tagless fare payment system that leverages Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to capture passenger payments via their smartphones. The BLE system consists of readers that capture the payment information linked to an individual’s smartphone as they pass through a subway gate at four metro stations in Seoul.

Participants simply activate the Bluetooth functionality on their phone and use the Seoul Metro payment app. They then enter the metro gate, and the phone data is transmitted automatically, A second transmission occurs as participants leave their destination.

The Seoul Metro goal is to gain 95 percent accuracy of data capture at each site, including passenger identification and collecting payment information. The system will also test whether individuals can be identified as they get off the subway and determine processing speeds, as well as the accuracy of the fair transaction. The pilot program began last month.

CPG Brands Embed RFID in Their Packaging Labels

RFID label provider Meyers says consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies have begun adopting its passive UHF RFID labels to track their products when entered into the supply chain or by retailers. The company has begun embedding RFID functionality directly into brands’ labels as an alternative to the separate adhesive RFID labels some companies have been attaching to their labels.

The company says it has a vision for smart packaging that allows brands to address their UHF RFID mandates from retailers without disrupting the aesthetics of their existing labels. The use of RFID, according to Meyers, will enable more streamlined delivery of goods and improve customer satisfaction.

Meyers creates packaging, labels, and retail displays for companies such as Frito-Lay, Estee Lauder, and Saucony. The company has a sustainability pledge to operate as a carbon neutral firm by 2024.

Panasonic Industry and Symbiotech to Offer Wirepas Mesh Dem Kit for BLE Module

Panasonic Industry announced last month that it has partnered with Finnish firmware company Symbiotech to leverage the company’s Wirepas Mesh connectivity, using BLE, in Panasonic’s PAN1780 Bluetooth 5 Low Energy Module. The Panasonic module is based on the Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 single-chip controller.

Panasonic industry provides sensor nodes that leverage long wireless transmission range. Symbiotic has developed software that enables a demo kit to help developers capture sensor data and gain insight into the health of a BLE network.

The PAN 1780 will use Wirepas’ multi-hop wireless mesh technology and Symbiotech’s software design to help companies build IoT applications. The Wirepas technology was designed to help solution providers increase performance or to scale up their IT solutions for industrial IoT projects. Symbiotech specializes in customized software productivity tools dedicated to simplifying Wirepas deployments. These include commissioning app, provisioning app, firmware upgrades for devices – to optimize battery – and secure flashing mechanisms.

Simbe Raises $28 Million to Enhance Robotics-based IoT Solutions for Retailers

Simbe Robotics, maker of an RFID-enabled robotics system to track store inventory, says it has raised $28 million in its Series B equity financing round. With the funds, the company says it will improve on the performance of the data related to inventory and operations for its retailer customers. Funding from venture firm Eclipse will help the company as it grows its solutions, Simbe reports.

Simbe offers retail automation solutions that combine AI and robotics in a single platform to help retailers gain profitability and enhance their business operations. The solution consists of a robotic device known as Tally, which moves through store aisles to identify products, as well as determine when goods are misplaced, mispriced, or out of stock. The platform leverages proprietary AI, computer vision, and UHF RFID, as well as edge computing technology to improve visibility of goods on a retailer’s shelves.

The Simbe solution is deployed across the country, in a range of store environments, and performs fully autonomously. The robot has a built-in RFID reader that captures the tags attached to products and shelf labels to help identify stock levels and pricing. The Simbe solution is designed to help drive sales, improve margins, and increase resilience within the retail industry by providing visibility into stocking levels and accuracy.

Simbe recently introduced Tally 3.0, the latest iteration of the solution, with advancements in camera systems and data capture, as well as 2D and 3D imaging, to provide refined machine learning and AI models that deliver greater insights into store environments. Already this year, Simbe developed new capabilities specifically tailored to the warehouse club format to prepare Tally for chainwide deployment across BJ’s Wholesale Club locations,