RFID News Roundup

By Rich Handley

Splashtop achieves IoT validation from Zebra Technologies ••• Tech Data adds analytics, IoT technologies to its solution factory ••• DELO, Mühlbauer, Impinj intro RFID label manufacturing solution ••• Polte announces U.S. beta launch of mobile IoT location platform ••• Savi Technology offers global sensor to eliminate in-transit blind spots ••• Hub Group launches real-time shipping system ••• Future Market Insights unveils report on RFID in pharmaceuticals.

image_pdfimage_print

Presented here are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
Splashtop, Zebra Technologies;
Tech Data;
DELO, Mühlbauer, Impinj;
Polte;
Savi Technology;
Hub Group; and
Future Market Insights.

Splashtop Achieves IoT Validation from Zebra Technologies

Splashtop, a provider of remote-access and remote-support solutions, has announced that it has completed Zebra Technologies’ Validated Program for its Splashtop Rugged & IoT Remote Support product. As part of Zebra’s PartnerConnect Independent Software Vendor (ISV) program, the Validated Program indicates to customers and partners that Splashtop Rugged & IoT Remote Support has been successfully tested, confirming its performance and functionality with select Zebra devices.

The Rugged & IoT Remote Support system is designed to support Zebra’s Remote Control Event Injection Service. As a result, customers can perform remote support for Zebra rugged devices and manage computers. Users have full control of the device screen, allowing them to inject key and touch events into the system while troubleshooting remotely.

Zebra Technologies’ Validated Program enables eligible channel partners to test the interoperability of their software with select Zebra mobile computers, scanners, printers and RFID readers, to meet users’ application-specific needs while reducing risks and deployment times. Working with Zebra’s engineering teams, Splashtop has tested for the interoperability of its Rugged & IoT Remote Support with Zebra’s TC52 mobile touch computer.

“We are very pleased to have our Splashtop app Zebra-validated,” said Mark Lee, Splashtop’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “With this validation, Splashtop Rugged & IoT Remote Support is the ideal solution for companies who want to deploy, manage, and support selected Zebra devices, including those running on the Android operating system.”

Tech Data Adds Analytics, IoT Technologies to Its Solution Factory

To help businesses accelerate opportunities in the areas of analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT), Tech Data has introduced its Analytics and IoT Solution Factory. This new offering expands on the solutions available in the Tech DataCloud Solution Factory to create vetted analytics and IoT solutions that focus on specific use cases in key vertical markets to facilitate simplified deployments and outcomes for partners.

Tech Data has included an array of technologies, including analytics and IoT solutions featuring Intel IoT Market Ready Solutions. “The Solution Factory is a great example of how Tech Data is aggregating pre-packaged, tested and proven solutions to speed time from deployment to outcome,” said Colin Blair, Tech Data’s VP of analytics and IoT solutions for the Americas, in a prepared statement. “There is a huge opportunity for our customers to deploy profitable Analytics and IoT solutions. Tech Data’s Solution Factory enables repeatable solutions resulting in a faster time to market.”

Industry analyst firm IDC projects that by 2021, more than 65 percent of partners will focus efforts by vertical or functional use cases. “Tech Data’s Solution Factory complements its successful Practice Builder methodology to provide partners with outcome-driven, complete solutions,” said Pam Miller, IDC’s director of infrastructure channels research, in the prepared statement. “This model offers end customers digital transformation with demonstrable business value, while allowing partners to jump-start their own transformation to the digital economy. This type of enablement is what has been needed for the channel to scale in analytics and IoT and capitalize on the revenue opportunity provided by the third platform.”

Examples of outcomes within the Analytics and IoT Solution Factory include smart-city solutions, such as outdoor edge security for school safety and smart security for remote areas for public safety and situational awareness; wayfinding and location services that can enhance the shopper experience by leveraging Wi-Fi, beacons and/or GPS to improve store operations and reduce restocking time and overhead; and clinic interconnect for the ambulatory care market that connects care teams and patients across multiple facilities.

DELO, Mühlbauer, Impinj Intro RFID Label Manufacturing Solution

DELO Industrial Adhesives, Mühlbauer and Impinj have teamed up to create the DELO MONOPOX AC6545 solution, which supports the high-speed assembly of copper-bonded RFID chips such as Impinj’s Monza 6 family on Mühlbauer high-speed assembly lines. The new adhesive enables the manufacturing of 100,000 RFID labels per hour on a single assembly line. This is intended to allow inlay manufacturers to increase throughput and reduce operating costs, enabling RFID tagging to scale across such high-volume industries as apparel, retail, shipping and baggage tracking.

The MONOPOX AC6545 enables the high-speed assembly of copper-plated chips. The solvent-free, anisotropic conductive adhesive (ACA) can be applied by jetting technologies and is intended to improve performance with gold-bonded chips. It allows for curing times as low as one second when used with a thermode at 230 degrees Celsius; at higher temperatures, shorter curing times can be achieved, the companies report. With such curing times, Mühlbauer’s Direct Die Attach (DDA) can now produce more than 40,000 UPH. Mühlbauer hopes to increase machine capacity to 100,000 UPH, for full automation across the inlay production chain to improve the yield and reliability of the final assembly.

“The fact that our adhesives are in 80 percent of the billions of RAIN RFID labels produced annually is a result of our high commitment to advancing the industry,” said Karl Bitzer, DELO’s head of product management, in a prepared statement. “We have always taken the challenges of our customers very seriously and with this latest innovation, we continue to solve their problems.”

“With our activities, starting as the first equipment supplier for chip attach in RFID 23 years back, the close collaboration between all involved partners allows outstanding innovations and strategies to push acceptance and growth of RAIN RFID to the next level,” said Gerald Niklas, Mühlbauer’s business-development manager, in the prepared statement. “We shared our Concept 2020 with the RAIN RFID community in 2014, and today we have realized a big step to reach this future vision for extremely cost-sensitive, ultra-high volume applications.”

Polte Announces U.S. Beta Launch of Mobile IoT Location Platform

Polte Corp., a provider of cloud location over cellular (C-LoC) solutions, has announced the commercial beta launch of its Mobile IoT location platform. Polte’s Strategic Partner Program (SPP) allows early adopters to integrate C-LoC into their products and solutions. SPP members will have access to Polte-enabled Mobile IoT devices, engineering support and the Polte Cloud API. Polte will work with SPP members during development and deployment to help them improve supply chain management, loss reduction, pallet tracking and spoilage prevention.

“Mobile IoT (NB-IoT, LTE-M/ Cat-M, 4G LTE) networks are rolling out globally, and together with Polte’s C-LoC, we enable a whole new category of low-cost, long battery life devices with location that outperforms what is available on the market today,” said Ed Chao, Polte’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “Through the SPP, starting in select regions of the US, companies have an opportunity to get a head start on creating highly differentiated IoT solutions. We’re excited to work with other innovative companies that want to fundamentally change what’s possible with Mobile IoT.”

The C-LoC system enables IoT solution providers to eliminate the need for GPS and GNSS radios by leveraging globally available Mobile IoT networks. In addition to providing wide-area outdoor coverage from rural to dense urban settings, Polte’s location solution offers accurate tracking indoors, even when objects are inside vehicles or in shipping containers.

Early interest in the program has garnered the attention of fleet-management firms, beverage manufacturers, large-scale manufacturing firms and consumer/wearables companies. Polte is now taking applications for its Strategic Partner Program.

Savi Technology Offers Global Sensor to Eliminate In-Transit Blind Spots

Savi Technology, a provider of big-data and machine-learning analytics solutions, supply chain management software and sensor technologies, has announced the newest addition to its suite of sensors. Savi Locate for global multi-modal shipments is built to operate on all available 4G, 3G and 2G cellular networks to ensure shippers have live, streaming visibility to goods in transit, as well as the up-to-the-minute data needed to mitigate the risk and cost of delayed or lost shipments.

Visibility gaps in global multi-modal shipping occur when a shipment is transferred from land to sea or sea to land. Traditional Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) carrier messages provide delayed milestone information. In the case of land-to-sea shipments, a “loaded on vessel” message, indicating that a container has been loaded onto a ship, is typically sent one to five days after loading has been carried out. Whereas EDI does not offer real-time location information, the company reports, Savi Locate provides real-time in-transit visibility data. The system utilizes GPS sensors and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sensors with a battery life ranging from six months to five years.

“Our customers have already witnessed the benefits of real-time visibility solutions in their supply chains, such as a pharma company saving $15M worth of inventory from spoilage and an industrial manufacturer reducing in-transit damage from shock,” said Rich Carlson, Savi Technology’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “Now, Savi’s new Locate sensor offers the broadest coverage available today to help shippers measurably improve customer delivery performance and reduce carrying costs. This product continues Savi’s history of innovation in sensor technology and end-to-end solutions for today’s global supply chains.”

Savi Locate is available to both commercial and government customers.

Hub Group Launches Real-Time Shipping System

Hub Group, a supply chain solutions provider, has announced a new solution intended to offer real-time, dynamic, shipment-level ETAs. The firm leverages its GPS-equipped container fleet, as well as railroad data and a combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. This allows Hub Group to constantly analyze the transit of freight and consider more than 10 million data points to provide continuous, real-time arrival updates, allowing for more accurate planning.

“As the supply chain grows increasingly more complex, our customers need accuracy and visibility at every step,” said David Yeager, Hub Group’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “We’re combining our nearly 50 years of supply chain solutions experience with emerging technology to raise the stakes on what a sophisticated supply chain should look like, delivering the real-time, trusted ETA data essential for our customers’ success.”

Hub Group’s data-capture system and use of IoT technology allows for an in-depth look at dynamic ETAs and estimated time to ground (ETG) through the lens of historical and real-time data, the company explains. Inputs are continually updated based on transit events, truck speeds, traffic and weather conditions, and hours of service requirements, as well as other variables. This real-time information is delivered in a manner that works best for a given customer, such as APIs, EDI feeds or Hub Group’s Hub Connect customer portal.

“It is imperative to us that our innovations in technology align directly with what will drive real impact for our customers’ businesses,” said Vava Dimond, Hub Group’s chief information officer, in a prepared statement. “End-to-end visibility will arm our customers with a new level of insight and drive greater efficiency by allowing them to plan with the greatest accuracy possible, which will ultimately enable smarter business decisions.”

Future Market Insights Unveils Report on RFID in Pharmaceuticals

A new study finds that the use of radio frequency identification in the pharmaceuticals sector was valued at more than $950 million in 2018 and is estimated to register a growth of approximately 10 percent this year. Prospects remain remarkable for the industry, the study indicates, as efficiency-led actions of players continue to enhance the reliability and accuracy of business operations.

The study finds that drug-tracing systems remain the most lucrative application of RFID in pharmaceuticals, accounting for approximately 60 percent of sales. Efforts of the FDA, in collaboration with pharmaceutical suppliers, to maintain a secure drug supply in the wake of rising counterfeit drugs prevalence has encouraged the industry to use RFID in combination with Electronic Product Codes (EPCs) for the real-time tracking, tracing and authentication of medicines.

According to the study, such preventative measures against the infiltration of counterfeit drugs are likely to have a positive economic influence on legitimate companies that are focused on the deployment of anti-counterfeiting solutions. The focus of organized players in the pharmaceuticals sector to safeguard the authenticity of their products, while creating moats for counterfeiters, will continue to favor the growth of RFID in the pharmaceuticals market.

According to the study, chipless RFID continues to gain robust attractiveness in the drug industry, as it eliminates the hardware-related challenges associated with chipped counterparts. Additionally, RFID without ICs allows for a cost reduction for components. Complexities linked with the design and development of chipless RFID, such as data transmission and encoding, continue to sustain the demand for chipped RFID to a certain extent; the study finds that sales of chipless RFID will remain more than double that of chipped RFID in 2019.

The study expects RFID readers to remain the core component of RFID in the pharmaceuticals market, with a growing focus of drug suppliers on the effective identification of products prior to their collection, storage and shipping. Gains in the market will remain complemented by sales of RFID tags, with revenues in 2018 accounting for more than a third of market share.

The application diversity of RFID in the pharma sector has led its adoption among end users that range from drug manufacturers and wholesalers to hospitals and clinics. The report estimates that manufacturers account for leading shares of the market, as they are focused on ensuring the authenticity of their products. Adoption is expected to witness high-growth among wholesalers, hospitals and clinics, which collectively account for more than two-fifths of the market.

The study predicts that North America will remain the leading market for RFID in pharmaceuticals, with Europe following suit. The supremacy of developed economies in the market is attributed to stringent standards and regulations implemented for serialization, and the relative greater prevalence of OTC and generic drugs in these regions. Additionally, the focus of players in developed markets remains strong on brand protection and preventing packaging-related product recalls, which bodes well for the growth of RFID in the sector. The market is envisaged to record a CAGR of more than 8 percent through 2028.