RFID News Roundup

By Rich Handley

Southco intros RFID access controller for electronic credential management ••• Zebra Technologies offers Android enterprise smartphone for small- and medium-sized businesses ••• DeltaTrak adds new data security feature to BLE monitoring solution ••• Tadbik unveils RFID label converting personalization machine ••• Kerlink gateways support DIGIMONDO LoRaWAN IoT network in Europe.

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The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
Zebra Technologies;
Tadbik Advanced Technologies;
Kerlink, and DIGIMONDO.

Southco Intros RFID Access Controller for Electronic Credential Management

Southco has expanded its line of electronic=access solutions with an access controller designed to simplify the integration of keyless access into equipment-level applications. Southco’s EA-P3 High Frequency RFID Access Controller facilitates electronic credential management, the company reports, without a user having to connect to a network or install additional hardware or software.

The EA-P3 device enables electronic access control using contactless smart cards and is simple to install, set up and operate, according to the company. It accepts MIFARE contactless smart cards and incorporates an integrated LED that provides visual feedback of card acceptance. The system includes an adjustable door release timer and is compatible with existing credentials for use with building access control.

“The EA-P3 High Frequency RFID Access Controller provides simplified and affordable access control for remotely controlling electronic locking solutions,” said Sonny Van Ngo, Southco’s global product manager, in a prepared statement. “The controller accepts MIFARE contactless smart cards for higher security, and is designed for quick, easy installation and use.”

Zebra Technologies Offers Android Enterprise Smartphone for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses

Zebra Technologies has introduced its TC20 rugged mobile computer, designed to meet the needs of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The TC20 is a light, durable device developed for indoor use for SMBs in such sectors as retail and hospitality. The TC20 provides a built-in scanner, longer battery life and increased connectivity, the company reports.

The TC20 comes in models designed for 1D and 2D bar-code scanning. Pairing the device with Zebra’s RFD2000 UHF RFID sled adds UHF RFID tag reading, writing and locationing capabilities, making it suitable for retail store environments. Small businesses can benefit from integrated bar-code and RFID tag reading, the firm reports, thereby eliminating the need for unreliable, slower and power-intensive smartphone cameras.

The TC20 is designed to withstand dusty environments and accidental drops. With Zebra OneCare, LifeGuard for Android provides extended security updates, ensuring the operating system’s security.

The device comes with a 4.3-inch screen and an Android interface. Available in all-touch or “touch and keyboard” form factors, the TC20 enables employees to spend more time focused on customers. Designed as an enterprise smartphone, the TC20 is powered by Mobility DNA and its ecosystem of software, such as Datawedge, StageNow, PowerPrecisions and Mobility Extensions.

Using Zebra’s Workforce Connect Push-to-Talk Express, staff members can perform voice communications via a wireless local-area network (LAN) to communicate one on one or in groups. This, the company reports, allows users to coordinate and react to changing needs in real time, and to improve customer service. A range of accessories, such as a snap-on power pack to support continuous use, hand straps, holsters and a snap-on trigger handle, allow personnel to use the TC20 for a variety of tasks with reduced strain and improved efficiency.

“Zebra’s TC20 provides a compelling case for smaller businesses to set aside familiar, consumer-centric mobile devices in favor of a dedicated, versatile and purpose-built device,” said Bryan Bassett, an IDC Research analyst for mobile enterprise device solutions, in a prepared statement. “Improved battery life, durability and better scanning all have the means of improving productivity for workers in a wide range of industries and sectors.”

“Zebra offers the industry’s largest range of Android mobile computers and the introduction of the TC20 enterprise smartphone reinforces our position as a leader in the enterprise Android space,” said Joe White, Zebra’s senior VP of enterprise mobile computing, in the prepared statement. “Until now, small- and medium-sized businesses had limited options: either struggling with the risk and frustration of using consumer devices or running their operations manually with pen and paper. The cost-effective TC20 gives SMBs a better choice while delivering a powerful customer experience.”

DeltaTrak Adds New Data Security Feature to BLE Monitoring Solution

DeltaTrak has announced the addition of a new data security feature to its FlashLink BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) Wireless Monitoring Solution. “With the new security feature, shippers have the option to require receivers to enter an access code before they can see or download data from the BLE loggers,” explained Frederick Wu, DeltaTrak’s president and CEO, in a prepared statement. “This gives them that extra layer of data security.”

A smartphone app sends information from a mobile device to the BLE Web application, where it can then be viewed remotely by authorized users. The solution is suitable for three types of applications, the company reports: 24-7 facility monitoring, pre-cooling operations and delivery routes. FlashLink BLE loggers provide customers with secure access to data, immediate alert notifications, and reports in PDF and CSV formats.

The FlashLink BLE logger is intended to help suppliers maintain continuous visibility of temperature and humidity during facility monitoring and pre-cooling operations. It is designed for use in cold-storage warehouses, distribution centers, greenhouses, temperature-controlled processing areas, and packing and staging areas. Alert notifications are sent to personnel, allowing them to take corrective actions before products are compromised by changes in temperature conditions.

With the FlashLink BLE Wireless Monitoring Solution, the company indicates, pre-cooling operations can improve efficiency, increase pallet throughput and extend product shelf life. The loggers can monitor produce in cooling tunnels; once specified temperatures are reached, alerts can be sent via email or SMS text notifications. This automates tracking and provides real-time temperature conditions. Employees can then analyze the collected data to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their operations, and to assure that products are adequately cooled, while eliminating the problem of pallets not being cooled for a sufficient length of time.

For delivery routes, receivers can read temperature history data from the FlashLink BLE Logger without opening vehicle doors or locating a logger inside a truck. As soon as a vehicle arrives, the smartphone application accesses data from the logger from a distance of up to 100 feet, making information immediately available.

The device’s settings are customizable, including device name, logging interval, and high and low alarm limits. All data is available in the cloud, where temperature and location information can be reviewed remotely for the purpose of tracking shipments in progress, as well as making cold-chain management decisions and reports for audits, HACCP and FSMA documentation.

Tadbik Unveils RFID Label Converting Personalization Machine

Tadbik Advanced Technologies, a provider of flexible packaging, labels, RFID, and in-pack promotion and packaging systems, has announced that it has received a specially designed converting personalization machine. Tadbik says it has advanced its production capabilities with the smart label assembly equipment.

The PL30000, manufactured by Mühlbauer, allows for multiple converting and finishing functionalities in-line, including printing, encoding, serialization, lamination, die-cutting and product stacking. According to the company, the machine can handle variable data printing and tag encoding faster and more accurately than alternative methods. It supports roll-to-roll and roll-to-single units, which allows for flexible delivery options.

“The upgrade of our production capabilities is dramatic. We can now produce tags with variable data printing and encoding, high-quality and high-capacity in shorter time,” said Osnat Gur, Tadbik Advanced Technologies’ CEO, in a prepared statement. “We believe it is a game-changer. The PL30000’s capabilities are designed to meet the dynamic RFID labels and tags market needs.”

Kerlink Gateways Support DIGIMONDO LoRaWAN IoT Network in Europe

Kerlink a provider of network solutions dedicated to the Internet of Things (IoT), and DIGIMONDO, an IoT solution provider, have announced that Kerlink’s gateways are being integrated into DIGIMONDO’s LoRaWAN network rollouts in Germany and across Europe.

DIGIMONDO offers a LoRaWAN network server called firefly. Along with E.ON, DIGIMONDO recently completed one of Germany’s largest LoRaWAN IoT rollouts using firefly software and Kerlink hardware in the city of Gehrden and surrounding areas. The deployment involved the installation of more than 1,100 smart electricity meters and smart-parking sensors. Powered by Kerlink’s Wirnet iBTS Compact stations, the network generates efficiency of higher than 97 percent uninterrupted connectivity, the company reports, compared to approximately 80 percent efficiency of meters in basements with classic mobile radio connectivity, such as LTE.

The firefly server, offered both as software-as-a-service (SAAS) and on-premises, connects objects to DIGIMONDO’s public and site-specific, customer-owned private networks. Firefly-based networks have delivered 99.99 percent uptime, according to the company. DIGIMONDO plans to launch an upgrade for firefly during the fourth quarter of 2017, with such features as a transport layer security (TLS) protocol to protect data, and the MQTT IoT and M2M protocols. The LoRaWAN 1.1 standard is expected to be implemented in the upcoming release.

“The Internet of Things is the next major step towards a digital future, and DIGIMONDO is committed to playing a leading role in that evolution with both rapid network deployments and reliable cloud services,” said Marcus Walena, DIGIMONDO’s founder and CTO, in a prepared statement. “We are one of the big providers of LoRaWAN end-to-end service, including connectivity across Europe for smart-solution use cases, and Kerlink’s proven gateways assure reliable, high-performance and stable networks that help maintain our momentum for network rollouts.”

“Integrating Kerlink gateways in DIGIMONDO’s IoT networks helps the company rapidly deliver a scalable, turnkey LoRaWAN solution for large and small deployments, and supports Kerlink’s goal to bring LoRaWAN technology to countries around the world,” said William Gouesbet, Kerlink’s CEO, in the prepared statement. “We expect this partnership to demonstrate that our combined technologies efficiently and reliably deliver the benefits of the IoT for smart applications across a variety of sectors and in any location.”