RFID News Roundup

By Rich Handley

Spanset acquires stake in CoreRFID ••• Central Admixture Pharmacy Services, Kit Check add serialized RFID tags to pre-filled syringes ••• STMicroelectronics offers NB-IoT starter kits for Amazon FreeRTOS ••• Libelium releases cloud-connectivity service for IoT devices ••• Soracom launches technology accelerator program to drive IoT innovation ••• Tuya Smart intros smart-home IoT security system using facial recognition.

image_pdfimage_print

Presented here are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
Spanset, CoreRFID;
Central Admixture Pharmacy Services, Kit Check;
STMicroelectronics;
Libelium;
Soracom; and
Tuya Smart.

Spanset Acquires Stake in CoreRFID

SpanSet, a Swiss multinational company that produces lifting and height-safety products, has acquired a stake in software firm CoreRFID. CoreRFID’s CheckedOK solution is designed to help businesses comply with rules regarding safety and maintenance inspections.

SpanSet provides lifting, load-control and height-safety products and services from its bases in 14 countries around the world. The firm has invested in CoreRFID via its U.K. subsidiary, SpanSet UK, which holds a 33 percent stake in the company. The collaboration will support CoreRFID’s international expansion via the SpanSet Group.

SpanSet UK’s managing director, Pete Ward, said in a prepared statement that his company recognized the need to incorporate an IT solution in its products. “Working with Core, an established provider of RFID and asset management software, proved to be very positive,” he said. “As we progressed it became evident that our services committed SpanSet quite closely to CoreRFID and its technology. We also realised that our perspective from the end-users of lifting and height safety products meant that we were able to help Core develop its offer further. To secure such a positive partnership it seemed like an obvious step to invest in the company.”

Munzi Ali, CoreRFID’s managing director, added in the prepared statement: “SpanSet has been a customer for many years. Meanwhile CoreRFID has set its sights on international opportunities, having dominated the UK and Ireland market for years With SpanSet’s global presence and CoreRFID’s market leading technical solution, this partnership makes complete sense. Both companies will now work together to make the CheckedOK system a global brand.”

Central Admixture Pharmacy Services, Kit Check Add Serialized RFID Tags to Pre-Filled Syringes

Central Admixture Pharmacy Services (CAPS) has announced a collaborative agreement to embed Kit Check‘s serialized RFID tags on CAPS’ pre-filled anesthesia syringes, effective immediately. The syringes with embedded tags will be recognized automatically by Kit Check software, which is in use at more than 400 hospitals throughout the United States. No additional steps will be required by hospitals, other than ordering pre-filled syringes with the serialized embedded tags. This technology is designed to help hospital pharmacies improve patient outcomes and operational efficiencies.

Enabling CAPS’ anesthesia syringes with Kit Check RFID streamlines the inventory-management process, the companies report, by insuring the correct syringes are automatically stocked in the anesthesia kits. Each RFID tag is registered with Kit Check’s readers, and inventory is managed via the cloud-based software.

“The convenience of CAPS’s ready-to-use pre-filled syringes is now enhanced with Kit Check’s RFID system for additional patient safety and improved workflow,” said Todd Jones, the company’s VP of CAPS Marketing, in a prepared statement. “CAPS has always insisted that patient safety drive our pharmacy service offerings.”

CAPS’ 503B-registered outsourcing facilities offer pre-filled anesthesia syringes designed to prevent common compounding and labeling errors that occur in the operating room, while maintaining sterility and potency for extended-beyond-use dating. CAPS’ pre-filled syringes are prepared in a controlled environment and have undergone stringent release testing for sterility, potency and endotoxin designed to meet the FDA’s new quality-control requirements.

STMicroelectronics Offers NB-IoT Starter Kits for Amazon FreeRTOS

STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor company serving customers across a range of electronics applications, has announced extended support for Amazon FreeRTOS, with new starter kits for the company’s STM32 family of 32-bit Arm Cortex-M microcontrollers.

ST is leveraging Amazon Web Services to boost designers’ efforts to create easily connectable Internet of Things (IoT) nodes with the combination of ST’s semiconductor building blocks and the Amazon FreeRTOS microcontroller open-source operating system. Based on the FreeRTOS kernel, Amazon FreeRTOS has been extended with software libraries that enable users to securely connect small, low-power devices to AWS cloud services, such as AWS IoT Core, or to more powerful edge devices running AWS IoT Greengrass.

The B-L475E-IOT01A Discovery kit provides out-of-the box support for Amazon FreeRTOS and enables a variety of applications by using Wi-Fi, multiway sensing and an ARM Cortex-M4 core-based STM32L475. The kit supports LTE Cat-M/NB-IoT connectivity using an X-Nucleo expansion board hosting an LTE modem and ST SIM card, coupled via the Arduino Uno V3 connector present on the board.

For the LTE Cat-M/NB-IoT network, STMicroelectronics is providing a cellular driver library (initially published in ST’s X-Cube-Cellular expansion package) that allows embedded developers who are not cellular experts to create new applications. It is architected to abstract the AT commands from a variety of modems with a BSP-like API. The board includes a state machine to manage the connection, exchange data and manage errors (such as connection loss) that are critical for cellular networks. It also includes the GSMA TS34/35 subset, which is required for cellular certification.

The same kit, upgraded to Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) 4.2 with SPBTLE-1S, implements an IoT node that connects to the cloud via the AWS Smartphone and Tablet app, acting as a gateway. It showcases ST’s preview support for Amazon FreeRTOS for BLE (announced recently in Beta). Wired connectivity is enabled on a Nucleo-H743ZI / STM32 Nucleo-144 board, powered by the ARM Cortex-M7 core-based STM32H743 MCU, with support for Ethernet and expandable through an Arduino connector.

STMicroelectronics is also offering support for the AWS IoT Device Tester, a service aimed to assure full compliancy of its solutions to the AWS Device Qualification Program. The AWS IoT Device Tester allows ST and AWS shared customers to save time by reducing test-infrastructure and test-suite development.

“With pre-built security and connectivity libraries, Amazon FreeRTOS was designed to provide a turnkey solution to develop cloud-connected devices using STM32 microcontrollers,” said Tony Keirouz, STMicroelectronics’ VP of IoT strategy, ecosystem and partnerships, in a prepared statement. “With all the new connectivity options our aim is to jumpstart any IoT design using the combination of AWS node-to-cloud vertical solutions and the broad portfolio of ST’s IoT solutions and products including sensors, processing, security, connectivity, and power.”

Libelium Releases Cloud-Connectivity Service for IoT Devices

Libelium has announced a new cloud connectivity service, known as the Hive, for the Internet of Things (IoT). The Hive allows users to send information from any IoT device to the world’s main cloud platforms simultaneously and without having to implement each specific cloud protocol or authentication methodology, including Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Cumulocity, IBM Bluemix, Microsoft Azure, MQTT, SAP by Techedge and Telefonica.

The Hive service is intended to allow devices to have direct, secure and reliable connectivity to the cloud, so as to provide end-to-end data privacy. David Gascón, Libelium’s CTO, said in a prepared statement, “IoT projects can benefit now from being compatible with any cloud platform just supporting one HTTPS call and even more, all the messages are point to point encrypted so developers do not have to cope with security issues.”

By using a unique HTTPS request, any device utilizing NB-IoT, 4G or Wi-Fi can be connected to cloud platforms without having to support their own specific connectivity protocols, by sending the data to a unique server. The system is compatible with other wireless protocols that do not support HTTP calls, such as LoRaWAN, ZigBee and Sigfox. Middleware may be installed in gateways, base stations and servers to connect these LPWAN networks with the Hive.

The device’s nodes implement double encryption methodology: one between the node and the Hive, and a second between the node and the final cloud. Thus, information remains encrypted during the entire transfer and can only be read after reaching its final destination. An online demonstration of the Hive can be found at Libelium’s website.

Soracom Launches Technology Accelerator Program to Drive IoT Innovation

Soracom, which provides a platform to connect and manage Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, has announced the launch of the Soracom IoT Technology Accelerator Program, which is designed to accelerate market entry for teams and companies developing connected devices and services. Organizations selected for the program will gain access to a range of services from Soracom and partner companies, aimed at speeding development from proof-of-concept and prototype stages to full commercial release.

“Soracom was founded with a mission to build a more connected world by removing barriers to IoT development,” said Eugene Kawamoto, Soracom Americas’ CEO, in a prepared statement. “Our success providing wireless connectivity specifically for IoT use cases gives us a unique opportunity to help grow the IoT ecosystem worldwide. Through the Soracom IoT fund, we are already active in strategic investments supporting companies like resin.io (now balena.io) and Unabiz. Now, through the Soracom IoT Technology Accelerator Program, we are excited to be able to share resources, technical knowledge, and ecosystem relationships that support promising projects at earlier stages.”

The principal benefits of the Accelerator Program, according to the company, include access to cellular and LPWAN connectivity during prototyping and early deployment; specialized technical consultation from Soracom architects and ecosystem partners; hardware development boot camps; product, business development and go-to-market mentoring; introductions to investors with a specific interest in the IoT and devices; and access to a global network of manufacturing partners suitable to all stages of development.

Each participant will follow a custom-designed curriculum developed with a Soracom mentor. Company mentors will coordinate services, provide technical consultation, and engage support from industry mentors and Accelerator Partners, including Breadware (prototyping and production expertise) and Carbon Five (product vision and software expertise). Participants also may consult about financing opportunities with Soracom’s IoT investment team, which oversees a $50 million fund.

The first round of applications for the IoT Technology Accelerator Program is now open. Companies or teams with relevant knowledge and experience who are working to bring new connected experiences to market are invited to apply.

Tuya Smart Intros Smart-Home IoT Security System Using Facial Recognition

Tuya Smart, which produces the AIoT (AI+IoT) platform, has unveiled a smart-home security system that uses facial-recognition technology, rather than a camera-only system. Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and facial recognition, the system can identify each member of a family via a photograph, then integrate security into the home and respond to a variety of scenarios.

For example, if the facial-recognition platform detects a stranger lurking around the home, it can automatically turn on smart lights and music to deter the intruder. Tuya Smart has been working on facial-recognition technology for three years, training its algorithms so they can be put into products made by any smart-home technology manufacturer.

“We’ve all been entertained by smart homes seen in science fiction movies, but that technology is now a reality for consumers,” said Alex Yang, Tuya Smart’s co-founder and COO, in a prepared statement. “Now, your smart home devices are connected via our platform and trigger responses to ensure safety. For example, when the system knows all family members are home, it locks the doors and sends an alert if something isn’t closed.”

Working off of unique algorithms for different scenarios that affect household safety and comfort, the platform combines sensors and alarms, and can be integrated with other products, such as Alexa and Google Home.