RFID Journal LIVE! IoT News Roundup

By Rich Handley

Tyco Retail Solutions offers IoT-enabled RFID inventory-visibility systems; SDG Systems announces data-collection middleware, partners with Swiftsure Group on IoT-based reader solution; Identiv intros temperature-datalogging solution for cold-chain management; Smartrac showcases solutions for smart Internet of Things; R.R. Donnelley & Sons reveals RFID solutions powered by printed electronics; NXP Semiconductors creates RAIN RFID solutions for inventory management, smart cities.

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The following are among the news announcements made at RFID Journal LIVE! 2017, held this week in Phoenix, Ariz.:

Tyco Retail Solutions Offers IoT-enabled RFID Inventory-Visibility Systems

Tyco Retail Solutions showcased its portfolio of Internet of Things-enabled RFID solutions, designed to provide real-time in-store visibility and inventory insights. The company’s RFID products are intended to help retailers transform store operations with real-time visibility into available inventory throughout the store and across the supply chain.

Tyco’s TrueVUE Inventory Intelligence solutions, featuring the Tyco Retail RFID Fitting Room, enables retailers to optimize the customer experience and gain real-time insights into fitting room inventory, customer preferences and potential loss situations. Retailers can leverage these new data insights to combat shrinkage, increase sales, enable in-room merchandising and promotional opportunities, and provide an enhanced, personalized shopper experience.

Leveraging RAIN RFID technology and cloud-based analytics, the Supply Chain Track & Trace application tracks and controls inventory throughout the supply chain. This application offers retailers real-time access to product flow data, providing smarter brand and customer protection from counterfeiting and gray market diversion.

RFID Cycle Counting functionality allows rapid and frequent cycle-counting activity and analytics to drive inventory accuracy and efficiencies through a mobile sled with iOS and Android devices. Regular RFID cycle counts can help retailers minimize out-of-stocks and overstock conditions, the company reports, as well as maintain a consistent level of inventory accuracy of up to 95 to 99 percent.

Sensormatic Synergy Loss Prevention functionality connects multiple technologies in a single storefront system. This intelligent, interconnected and modular detection system helps companies manage store shrinkage. Synergy leverages RAIN RFID technology to provide real-time shrinkage visibility, in order to capture and link actionable data across key operational areas, thereby helping to optimize store performance and profitability.

SDG Systems Announces Data-Collection Middleware, Partners With Swiftsure Group on IoT-based Reader Solution

SDG Systems, a provider of data-collection software, announced its Blue ID-Engine middleware solution for Android and Android Things. ID-Engine is a modular software framework that supports UHF RFID and bar-code scanning hardware from multiple vendors. A Java software developer’s kit (SDK) can be integrated with Android Studio to quickly build and deploy intelligent automatic-identification and Internet of Things solutions.

“We built the ID-Engine software for Android for a couple of significant reasons. First, the Android support from RFID module and bar-code scanner manufacturers is often non-existent or difficult for developers to integrate with their software,” said Todd Blumer, SDG Systems’ CEO, in a prepared statement. “Additionally, we are seeing a noteworthy increase in the number of Android-based embedded solutions that require RFID, including gate proximity and control systems, inventory management, environmental sensing, and industrial equipment usage.”

Swift-ID SID400

One such Internet of Things solution is being implemented with RFID Ready and the Swiftsure Group. Together, the companies are helping a solution provider in the pharmaceutical industry to build an intelligent, cloud-based, inventory-management solution. “The Blue ID-Engine software allowed us to quickly address the needs of our customer,” said Tim Buckley, the company’s VP of sales for RFID, in the prepared statement. “We were able to provide them with a demonstration and sample source code in just a few days.”

SDG Systems supports Android Things as a step toward giving IoT solution providers or hardware vendors the resources they need to quickly implement their solution. Supporting the hardware components with ID-Engine gives the solution provider the ability to focus on their customer solution rather than implementing support for RFID or bar-code readers. Using Android or Android Things on the endpoint, the company indicates, allows the solution provider to increase the intelligence and capabilities of the edge device.

Blue ID-Engine is a third-generation software product that replaces SDG Systems’ previous two independent products, EPX-Barcode and EPX-RFID. The software can be extended to support other types of devices through its DeviceManager module. Blue ID-Engine is currently in beta testing for multiple projects, including an industrial Modbus TCP implementation for RFID. For bar-code scanning, ID-Engine can use a hardware scanner or the device’s camera and a software decoder.

In addition, the Swiftsure Group and SDG Systems announced the release of the Swift-ID SID400 and IOT180, designed to help solution providers create intelligent RFID edge solutions. The combined solution is suitable for inventory management, access control, kiosk solutions, asset tracking and industrial automation.

The Swift-ID SID400 is a USB-connected EPC UHF Gen 2 RFID reader-writer powered by a RAIN-compliant Impinj Indy RS2000 module, and accommodates four antennas. In addition to RFID functionality, the SID400 provides a 16-pin terminal block with four GPIO ports, as well as 5V and 12V outputs with magnetic lock support.

IOT180

The Swift-ID IOT180 is an embedded Android computer. Running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, it offers 2GB of RAM and 16GB of Flash Storage, providing sufficient memory and storage for sophisticated applications. The included Google Mobile Services (GMS) allows the IOT180 to provide integrated Android management capabilities and Google-specific services. The IOT180 connects to the cloud or private networks using Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and optional 3.75G HSPA+ cellular.

The SID400 can be controlled with the IOT180 using the Blue ID-Engine middleware from SDG Systems. ID-Engine provides an SDK to control RFID reading and writing, device settings and GPIOs. With additional software from SDG Systems, the IOT180 can be configured into kiosk mode and then be managed remotely.

“The Swift-ID system is a high-performance RFID automatic data-collection solution for inventory, resource and process management,” said Bruno Riegl, Swiftsure’s group CEO, in a prepared statement. “It meets customers’ needs for affordable solutions that excel in challenging environments, from pharma cold chain to steel manufacturing. It provides a competitive edge and healthy ROI.”

The flexibility of the SID400 and IOT180 gives RFID cloud and fog computing options to solution providers. It enables developers to build applications that process data at high speeds, the company reports, providing shorter response times and better analytics. For example, using Google TensorFlow, edge devices can perform on-device machine learning and computer vision.

“We are offering a modern, innovative approach to RFID solutions,” Blumer said in the prepared statement. “Android is now the most popular operating system in the world. We want our partners to quickly implement their solutions by leveraging the growing pool of Android developers and software building blocks, like ID-Engine. For those companies who have existing software, the SID400 will work with the Impinj Indy libraries.”

The Swift-ID SID400 and IOT180 are expected to be made available in June 2017.

Identiv Intros Temperature-Datalogging Solution for Cold-Chain Management

Identiv announced the next generation of its uTrust Sense Temperature Tracker solution. This Internet of Things-based solution includes a secure, portable smart sensor label that tracks and stores temperature readings. It can be read locally by Near Field Communication (NFC) readers, including mobile devices, and can be uploaded to the internet for analysis.

The self-adhesive uTrust Sense Temperature Tracker datalogger solution is suitable for monitoring and tracking temperature-sensitive products for cold-chain applications, smart packaging, medical products and pharmaceutical logistics, the firm reports, as well as for other fragile goods. The tag’s temperature accuracy makes it suitable for use with perishable goods, the company adds, including fresh fish, caviar, wine, blood, vaccines and flowers, thereby protecting product and brand integrity.

Identiv’s uTrust Sense Temperature Tracker

Identiv’s solution addresses the needs of businesses requiring temperature control during transportation vis air, insulated van or refrigerated container. uTrust Sense Temperature Tracker is secured by a cryptographic algorithm to protect the integrity of each temperature measurement, and the record transmission to the cloud platform is secured to prevent unauthorized entities from altering measurements.

“Identiv’s uTrust Sense Temperature Tracker is an unrivaled solution addressing the growing challenges in the IoT concerning data integrity and originality,” said Stephane Ardiley, Identiv’s director of product management, in a prepared statement. “This intelligent tracking device delivers an effective and secure end-to-end solution for tracking the temperature of any goods.”

A demonstration kit featuring two tags and access to the Android mobile app and cloud platform for data analytics is available at smartlabeldemo.com.

Smartrac Showcases Solutions for Smart Internet of Things

Smartrac presented its Proofs solution, which is designed to increase customer loyalty and minimize counterfeiting. Proofs combines RFID and Internet of Things technologies. A Proofs-empowered Near Field Communication (NFC) tag is embedded into a physical product, enabling companies to turn goods into a media hub and deliver secure, exclusive mobile content to consumers.

The system helps users to verify product authenticity and minimize counterfeiting. It leverages Smartrac’s NFC tags, equipped with NXP Semiconductors‘ NTAG 413 DNA chip, and its Smart Cosmos enablement platform.

Smartrac also showcased its passive RAIN RFID sensor family, including the Sensor Temperature DogBone and Sensor Tadpole, a passive water sensor tag that works on metal surfaces, such as automobile chassis. The Sensor Temperature DogBone, a passive temperature-sensing inlay, enables gapless temperature monitoring at the package or item level, thus allowing unbroken cold chains in the pharmaceutical and food industries. The sensor family is equipped with RFMicron‘s Magnus chips, to create passive UHF single-chip sensor solutions.

“The Internet of Things is a reality, and our innovative solutions are actively shaping it and actually making it smarter—that is Smartrac’s message at RFID Journal LIVE! 2017,” said Ted Danhauser, Smartrac’s VP of sales for the Americas, in a prepared statement. “At Phoenix, we are for the very first time presenting our Proofs solution, which is—pun intended—an impressive proof of that message. In addition, we are showcasing products that underline our continuing ability to innovate and give impetus to the RFID industry.”

R.R. Donnelley & Sons Reveals RFID Solutions Powered by Printed Electronics

R.R. Donnelley & Sons (RRD), an antenna designer, inlay manufacturer, label and tag converter, and RFID systems integrator, showcased its portfolio of RFID smart labels and technology at the conference. RRD’s CustomWave RFID and Internet of Things solutions are intended to help businesses improve operations, efficiency and supply chain management.

“We continue to develop innovative RFID solutions to solve our customers’ most complex challenges,” said Ronnie Sarkar, the senior VP of RRD’s Digital Solution Group, in a prepared statement.

“Our strong partnerships with leading RFID inlay, hardware and software providers, coupled with our own proprietary printed electronics-based transponders and sensory circuits, enable us to deliver custom RFID and IOT solutions that add immediate return on investment for our customers,” Brad Hull, the company’s VP of printed electronics, added in the prepared statement.

NXP Semiconductors Creates RAIN RFID Solutions for Inventory Management, Smart Cities

NXP Semiconductors, a provider of RAIN RFID technology, announced that it has expanded its portfolio of secure RAIN RFID products with the UCODE DNA Track and UCODE DNA City Tag ICs for inventory and supply chain management, as well as smart-city applications. The new UCODE DNA tags combine long-range UHF technology with higher security to support the accelerated adoption of secure RAIN technology in the areas of logistics operations, as well as smart-city applications. These include transport ticketing, event management and access control in the interconnected system infrastructures to help communities and services better serve their customers.

“Our customers want RAIN RFID solutions that provide more operational efficiency without compromising security to drive better customer experiences, streamline processes and enable more cost savings,” said Mahdi Mekic, NXP’s marketing director for RAIN RFID, in a prepared statement. “These ICs are designed to deliver reliable long-range identification and secure authentication. Specifically, UCODE DNA Track can enhance inventory and supply chain management use cases with cryptographic authentication to protect brands and fight fraud. With UCODE DNA City, solution providers who are offering systems based on contactless cards in a variety of smart city applications can upgrade their existing offering to include longer-range capability which can then open the door to more services and convenience for consumers.”

“With NXP’s new UCODE DNA Track, we are very pleased to be able to further expand our enhanced product and solution portfolio to important markets and new applications. The latest addition to the UCODE family ideally complements our offerings to support our customers in their migration to higher security in long-range read performance applications,” said Peter Walendy, Smartrac’s senior VP of sales, in the prepared statement. “Many RAIN RFID use cases like supply chain and inventory management can be easily supplemented to help strengthen brand protection and fraud prevention.”

“We are proud to partner with NXP to introduce the latest member of the RAIN RFID security chip product family—PRELAM with UCODE DNA City, for contactless card and ticket applications,” said Daniel Lim, Linxens Group’s head of business line transport, in the prepared statement. “The long-range capability and privacy based on cryptographic security (128-bit AES key and an AES digital core) will enable us to bring increased convenience to various smart city use cases such as hands-free access, crowd management and ease of registration at events. Users will receive better consumer experience and satisfaction.”