RFID News Roundup

By Rich Handley

Schreiner ProTech intros on-metal RFID label ••• STMicroelectronics unveils mode-changing MEMS accelerometer for Industrial IoT ••• Kontakt.io opens IoT platform to third-party devices ••• SensLynx offers IoT solution to reduce network downtime ••• Inmarsat research finds Industrial IoT reduces environmental impact of global supply chain ••• PrecisionHawk acquires drone company Uplift Data Partners.

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Presented here are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
Schreiner ProTech;
STMicroelectronics;
Kontakt.io;
SensLynx;
Inmarsat;
PrecisionHawk, and Uplift Data Partners.

Schreiner ProTech Intros On-Metal RFID Label

Schreiner ProTech, a German manufacturer of labels for engineering-based industries, has announced its new ((rfid))-DistaFerr Global Label. The label comes with an integrated, dual-band antenna capable of reading the frequency bands of both the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI, in Europe) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC, in the United States). Typically, the company explains, components exported to multiple regions require different RFID labels, but the ((rfid))-DistaFerr Global Label covers both frequency ranges.

As the latest member of Schreiner ProTech’s RFID on Metal label family, the ((rfid))-DistaFerr is intended to boost RFID readability on metallic substrates, including metal components, containers and transport items, via specialized shielding materials. The label, measuring 50 millimeters by 40 millimeters (2 inches by 1.6 inches) and 1.7 millimeters (0.07 inch) in thickness, offers a read range of up to 3 meters (9.8 feet). A longer-range version has a read range of up to 6 meters (19.7 feet).

The ((rfid))-DistaFerr Global label is intended to be easy to apply, making it a viable alternative to hard tags. It can be custom-printed and programmed onsite, and can be automatically dispensed off the roll. According to the company, the label is suitable for use in process-automation and logistics applications.

STMicroelectronics Unveils Mode-Changing MEMS Accelerometer for Industrial IoT Applications

STMicroelectronics has announced its IIS2DLPC three-axis microelectromechanical system (MEMS) accelerometer, which can change operating mode from ultra-low-power to high-resolution. The sensor can provide continuous contextual awareness to wake the host system when action is required, the company reports, and can take accurate measurements before returning to ultra-low-power operation.

Since the accelerometer has multiple working modes, an Internet of Things (IoT) system—independently from human decision—can switch among several options, optimizing performance with power consumption to match what the battery-operated system can accept at any given moment. Such optimization can occur in many industrial applications, ranging from gas meters to motion tags and shipment trackers.

Due to this flexibility, STMicroelectronics reports, users can build longer-lasting, battery-powered industrial sensor nodes or medical devices, tamper-proof smart meters, or smart power-saving or motion-activated functions. In addition, the opportunity for extremely low power consumption enables smart accessories for industrial machinery or robotics to be created as battery-powered add-on modules requiring minimal integration.

A choice of four reduced-power modes lets users optimize consumption in wide-ranging application scenarios. Low noise, down to 90μg/√Hz in high-resolution mode, permits high measurement accuracy, according to the company. Additional features offer extra control over power consumption, including one-shot data conversion and a 32-level FIFO (“first in, first out”) process for storing batched data to reduce CPU intervention. An integrated temperature sensor and built-in self-test capability are also provided.

Suitable for industrial applications, the IIS2DLPC is specified over a temperature range of -40 degrees to +85 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees to +185 degrees Fahrenheit). The IIS2DLPC is in production now, packaged as a plastic land grid array (LGA) device measuring 2 millimeters by 2 millimeters (0.08 inch by 0.08 inch) and 0.7 millimeter (0.03 inch) in thickness, and is priced at $1.10 each for orders of 1,000 pieces or more.

Kontakt.io Opens IoT Platform to Third-Party Devices

Kontakt.io has announced that its Cloud Platform, including its Cloud Backend and Location and Telemetry application programming interface (API), will be open to third-party devices. Additionally, the firm has released three new Bluetooth products. The Cloud Platform will provide a modular, end-to-end Internet of Things (IoT) platform, allowing customers to onboard third-party Bluetooth devices for real-time location tracking, condition monitoring, and safety and security solutions.

“We believe that in order for the IoT to scale successfully in the following years, companies need to spend less time worrying about the technological feasibility and more time focusing on the business outcomes” said Philipp von Gilsa, Kontakt.io’s CEO in a prepared statement. “Opening our platform to third-party devices will give customers the ability to choose which hardware is best-suited for which use case without worrying about how to onboard, secure, configure and manage the location and telemetry data of a growing fleet of diverse devices.”

The Cloud Platform interface will display the integrated third-party Bluetooth devices, together with Kontakt.io’s beacons and tags. Data regarding temperature, humidity, location and other factors is gathered and analyzed. This includes non-traditional beacons, such as panic buttons, thermostats, environmental sensors and door locks.

“A proven framework for transforming data into business decisions and the ability to manage applications from the firmware to the API gives Kontakt.io significant leverage in this regard,” von Gilsa added in the prepared statement. “It is a win-win for customers and solution providers alike.”

SensLynx Offers IoT Solution to Reduce Network Downtime

Network downtimes can cost small and midsize businesses (SMBs) from $5,600 per minute to between $8,600 and $74,000 an hour. With regard to business continuity for users in the retail point-of-sale (POS), construction, banking, insurance, restaurant and hospitality sectors, as well as connectivity for end users in utilities, transportation, security, municipalities, kiosks, ATMs and digital signage, IT failures have far-reaching repercussions that can result in client loss, missed deadlines and devalued brands. SensLynx has announced a new solution designed to address these issues.

Backup options tend to be complex or costly, SensLynx reports. The fleet- and asset-tracking system provider says it has designed its new suite of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions with this in mind. The company’s integrated plug-and-play bundle, intended to help users prevent service interruption, includes software, hardware and connectivity, plus managed services and monitoring built in through its Cloud Manager services.

SensLynx’s Seamless Failover system automatically rescues lost primary wired or broadband connections to maintain business continuity. The firm’s Seamless LTE system deploys primary connectivity to new or temporary (popup) locations, while functioning as a backup or secondary connection. Its applications encompass trade shows, oil and gas remote monitoring, in-vehicle use, mobile or portable uses, disaster recovery and other primary connectivity categories.

SensLynx’s Seamless SD-WAN system is designed to provide reliable IT connections, as well as faster speeds and broader throughput. This solution combines multiple wireless or wired networks (cable, DSL and broadband) into an unbreakable connection—if one goes down, the company explains, the others will continue to function. “I’ve worked with the most prominent wireless communications companies in the world and founded two IoT/M2M corporations in the last 20 years,” said Rob Garry, SensLynx’s co-founder and CEO, in a prepared statement, “but until now, I’ve never been more confident in the potential success of our new solutions.”

Initially, SensLynx’s IoT solutions will focus on cellular carriers, master agents, telecom value-added resellers (VARs) and managed service providers (MSPs.) The company says it is currently in development on a synergistic channel partner and reseller program to support indirect sales avenues as well. “By simplifying IoT and providing SMBs with bundled, affordable solutions, worry-free wireless failover and primary connectivity,” said Tom Maguire, SensLynx’s COO and CMO, in the prepared statement, “SensLynx is fulfilling its vision of bettering businesses with cost savings and efficiencies.”

Inmarsat Research Finds Industrial IoT Reduces Environmental Impact of Global Supply Chain

Improving the environmental sustainability of operations through the adoption of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies is a crucial priority for organizations engaged in the global supply chain, according to a study undertaken on behalf of mobile satellite communications company Inmarsat. To download the report, titled “IIoT on Land and at Sea,” visit the company’s research microsite.

Across the supply chain, 46 percent of respondents cited monitoring environmental conditions (such as water, soil and air quality) and improving resource efficiency as the two largest drivers behind the adoption of IIoT-based solutions. According to the company, many global supply chain organizations are realizing sustainability objectives through the use of IIoT technologies.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents with fully deployed or trial-stage IIoT solutions said they were achieving environmental sustainability improvements. Access to reliable and resilient connectivity is essential for IIoT technologies to function, Inmarsat explains, enabling the constant transmission of data to optimize operations. With many global supply chain organizations operating in remote regions or at sea, where terrestrial networks are unavailable, satellite communications networks are often vital.

Reported early successes in achieving sustainability objectives have been seen in the implementation of smart electrical grids, smart street lighting, environmental monitoring and fuel efficiency monitoring and telemetry. However, the researchers observed that organizations with unreliable connectivity were far less likely to achieve improved environmental sustainability, reinforcing the importance of connectivity for successful IIoT deployments.

“The global supply chain is faced with a multitude of challenges, tasked with reducing its impact on the environment and adhering to stricter government regulations, while accommodating the needs of a growing population,” said Paul Gudonis, Inmarsat’s president, in a prepared statement. “Our research shows that organizations are adopting IIoT to help them achieve these goals, and that many are succeeding in this aim.”

“However, it is clear that without the right connectivity networks, IIoT deployments won’t succeed in delivering the improvements in sustainability they are capable of,” Gudonis added in the prepared statement. “The global nature of the supply chain means organizations need reliable connectivity to gather mission critical data from every area of their operations and analyze it in real-time, though patchy terrestrial coverage makes this challenging. With global and reliable coverage, only satellite communications offers the levels of connectivity organizations need to make IIoT a success.”

PrecisionHawk Acquires Drone Company Uplift Data Partners

PrecisionHawk, a provider of drone technology for enterprises, has announced that it has purchased Uplift Data Partners, which specializes in the delivery of turnkey inspection services for the construction, building information management (BIM) and real-estate industries. The construction sector has experienced a rapid uptake in the adoption of commercial drones, the company reports. Drones are among the leading technologies transforming construction processes, since they can help companies to decrease the need for lengthy visual inspections, reduce planning time, improve worker safety and identify problems.

Uplift Data Partners has provided drone services for several national and global brands. Its nationwide network of commercially trained drone pilots will join PrecisionHawk’s Droners.io network of more than 15,000 drone pilots, while Suzanne El-Moursi, Uplift’s CEO, will join PrecisionHawk’s executive leadership team.

“This acquisition displays PrecisionHawk’s commitment to strengthening our technology and expertise in high-growth markets,” said Michael Chasen, PrecisionHawk’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “By combining PrecisionHawk’s leading-edge products and services with Uplift’s industry experience and training standards, our customers will receive best-in-class aerial data and analytics for complex construction and facility inspection projects through a simple and easy to procure process.”

Uplift Data Partners was formed in 2015 as an integrated subsidiary of Clayco, an architecture, engineering, design-build and construction firm. Through the acquisition, Clayco will exclusively source its construction projects to PrecisionHawk, and will serve on the firm’s Board of Advisors to support the growth of its services and software in the construction industry.

“PrecisionHawk is leading the commercial drone market by combining superior technology with deep expertise in the markets that they serve,” said Bob Clark, Clayco’s CEO, in the prepared statement. “Through this acquisition, Clayco customers gain access to a new level of technological sophistication for more scalable and robust operations, while continuing to benefit from Uplift’s deep understanding of the demanding nature of engineering and construction industry drone missions.”

“Our mission at Uplift is to support the modernization of the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry by creating tools and training that improve the accessibility of drone services, thereby delivering true value to construction projects,” El-Moursi said in the prepared statement. “The construction industry is uniquely rugged, yet defined by innovation and intelligence, and we are thrilled to join PrecisionHawk, a company that is both aligned to this mission and committed to the growth and expansion of the industry.”