RFID News Roundup

By Rich Handley

NedCard intros RFID SMD package with NXP ICs for industrial applications ••• Decawave, Runtime announce support for open-source RTLS ••• Q-Free, Silicon Labs partner on IoT solution to alleviate urban traffic ••• IoTize wins NFC Forum innovation award ••• Industrial Internet Consortium, Fira Barcelona partner on Spanish IoT event ••• IoT company Teslonix, chip maker Farsens sign business collaboration agreement.

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The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
NedCard, NXP Semiconductors;
Decawave, Runtime;
Q-Free, Silicon Labs;
IoTize, the NFC Forum;
the Industrial Internet Consortium, Fira Barcelona;
Teslonix, and Farsens.

NedCard Intros RFID SMD Package With NXP ICs for Industrial Applications

NedCard has announced its MicroSON-3 SMD with UHF Gen2v2-compliant UCODE 8 and UCODE 8m RFID chips from NXP Semiconductors. The MicroSON-3 is a small outline no-leads (SON) SMD package that can be embedded in industrial applications via a printed circuit board (PCB).

The MicroSON-3 is small and thin enough to withstand harsh industrial processes and high temperatures. The plastic encapsulated package comes with a copper lead frame substrate. The leadless package makes electrical contact by soldering the bottom surface terminals to the PCB. The small size of the MicroSON-3 design makes it a suitable package for RFID tag chips, the company reports.

RFID-enabled tracking in industrial applications helps companies to automate item identification and data-capture in order to improve quality, efficiency and work processes. Tracking reusable items and tools saves time and replacement costs, the company explains.

“Our UCODE 8 chip platform provides unparalleled RFID performance across a broad range of Industry 4.0 applications and is optimized for fast and accurate inventory of dense RAIN RFID tag populations,” said Mahdi Mekic, NXP Semiconductors’ marketing director for RFID solutions, in a prepared statement. “By collaborating with NedCard on their new rugged MicroSON-3 offering, we’re enabling an extremely small and robust RFID package solution that can be integrated into the harshest of industrial and manufacturing processes.”

Decawave, Runtime Announce Support for Open-Source RTLS

Decawave and Runtime have announced support for the open-source Apache Mynewt operating system on Decawave’s DW1000 ultra-wideband (UWB) transceiver. The combination of these technologies provides developers of real-time location system (RTLS) applications with an open and reusable development environment and a framework for device-to-cloud lifecycle management and messaging.

Decawave, a provider of UWB-based silicon for RTLS and proximity applications, and Runtime, an IoT platform-as-a-service and open-source solution provider, worked collaboratively on the implementation of Apache Mynewt support for the DW1000. The addition of the Apache Mynewt OS enables support for multiple hardware platforms and a range of network protocols, allowing Decawave to offer a unified code base across its development kits and hardware platforms. This lowers barriers to the adoption of UWB technology and reduces time-to-market for developers. Decawave’s contribution to the Apache Mynewt OS expands Runtime’s portfolio of wireless transport options, which already include Bluetooth 5 (BLE), Bluetooth Mesh, Wi-Fi, NFC, LoRaWAN and uCIFI sub-GHz mesh.

“Decawave has delivered RTLS solutions across 40 different verticals and sold more than 5.5 million chips to date,” said Paul Kettle, Decawave’s VP of strategy enablement, in a prepared statement. “The diversity of applications is exciting but also represents a real challenge as almost every customer requires a bespoke hardware platform with combinations of MCUs and wireless technologies like BLE to interface with handheld devices or long-range radio technologies for data backhaul. Today’s announcements make handling that complexity a breeze for customers.”

“Support for Mynewt on Decawave’s hardware is a huge win for RTLS application developers,” said James Pace, Runtime’s CEO, in the prepared statement. “Customers can now leverage a modular, reusable OS while mixing and matching the short- and long-range network transports best suited for their products. Building atop embedded open source, developers can further leverage Runtime’s Device Platform for device lifecycle management, end-to-end security, and messaging at scale.”

The indoor location-based services market is forecast to grow to over $40 billion by 2022, with use cases that range across operational efficiency in fleets, factories, employee safety, robot navigation, retail, precision agriculture, lighting and alarm sensors. Drivers and associated software for Apache Mynewt on the DW1000 can be found at www.github.com/decawave and will run out of the box on the DWM1001 module, DWM1001 Dev board and MDEK1001 HW.

Q-Free, Silicon Labs Partner on IoT Solution to Alleviate Urban Traffic

Q-Free and Silicon Labs have announced a collaboration on a new outdoor parking Internet of Things (IoT) sensor solution that makes it faster and easier for automotive drivers in urban areas to locate open parking spots. The companies have worked together to create Q-Free’s ParQSense Smart Parking Sensor, which uses Silicon Labs’ Wonder Gecko wireless microcontroller (MCU) for control and sub-GHz connectivity. The Q-Free solution was deployed as a pilot this year in the European Union and North America, and is slated to be released for commercial use on Sept. 17.

“The Q-Free ParQSense Smart Parking Sensor is a great example of how IoT ingenuity can improve our lives and the overall urban experience,” said Dennis Natale, Silicon Labs’ VP and general manager of IoT products, in a prepared statement. “As the demand for smart city solutions accelerates, IoT innovators like Q-Free are choosing Silicon Labs’ low-power wireless connectivity technologies for their solutions.”

With more than 30 years in the intelligent transportation market, Q-Free has focused its resources on developing ways to reduce traffic flows. Q-Free provides a range of transportation technologies, including electronic tolling, vehicle counters, surveillance technologies and parking-management solutions. The ParQSense Smart Parking Sensor is one of the company’s first products to support outdoor parking needs, the firm reports.

“To develop an IoT sensor solution for outdoor parking that would succeed in today’s market, we had to deliver a combination of low-power, long-range wireless connectivity and high performance,” said Brage Blekken, a project manager in Q-Free’s R&D department, in the prepared statement. “Silicon Labs helped us overcome this challenge by providing best-in-class wireless technology capable of transmitting data over long distances in the sub-GHz band. TheEZR32WG Wonder Gecko wireless MCU was the perfect fit for our application needs.”

The ParQSense solution uses dual radar and magnetic field technology to sense, with greater than 99 percent accuracy, whether a vehicle is present in a parking space. The application transmits data to centralized base stations over ultra-long distances using narrowband sub-GHz wireless connectivity. During product development, Q-Free recognized low-power wireless connectivity would be crucial in ensuring the solution’s viability. The primary product design obstacle was offering a combination of high-accuracy components with low-power consumption.

IoTize Wins NFC Forum Innovation Award

On June 27, the NFC Forum has announced that IoTize‘s TapNLink has won its NFC Innovation Award for Best Emerging Concept. For users of industrial systems, the TapNLink NFC-BLE module (TnL-FIR103) is intended to simplify and secure the connection of industrial systems to information appliances, such as smartphones.

With the tap of a smartphone to a TapNLink-equipped system, the ST25DV-I2C Dynamic NFC tag from STMicroelectronics wakes up and pairs the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) interface and launches the appropriate app on the smartphone. Via TapNLink, it is then possible to configure the system, monitor its operation, log data and update firmware using a smartphone app.

“From the inception of our technology, we included NFC—it is truly a remarkable technology for systems that require on-site connection by users,” said Francis Lamotte, IoTize’s president, in a prepared statement. “Combining these technologies in TapNLink allows us to lower unwanted RF emissions and power consumption while providing an intuitive, responsive and secure way to connect to any machine or appliance.”

For companies that are integrating NFC and BLE connectivity in their products, TapNLink can be added within minutes and with no code development or hardware redesign, the company reports. TapNLink uses patented technologies to connect directly to the processor in their systems via available general-purpose IO pins (GPIOs). All communication and security features are implemented by configuration only. This enables IoT proofs-of-concept within minutes, slashes time-to-market for fully qualified connectivity-enabled products, and facilitates maintenance and evolution.

The TnL-FIR103 modules feature NFC connectivity based on the ST25DV-I2C Dynamic NFC Tag IC from STMicroelectronics, offering a 13.56 MHz long-range interface and a BLE interface. “The ST25DV-I2C Fast Transfer mode and long range brings undisputed added value to the overall solution,” Lamotte added in the prepared statement, “by enabling quick firmware upgrades of the ‘iotized’ system though an NFC contactless interface.”

IoTize and the TapNLink products are recognized by the ST partner program, which speeds customer development efforts by identifying and highlighting companies with complementary products and services. The program’s certification process assures that all partners are periodically vetted for quality and competence.

Industrial Internet Consortium, Fira Barcelona Partner on Spanish IoT Event

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), an organization that promotes the adoption of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), is partnering with Fira Barcelona to bring IoT Solutions World Congress (IOTSWC) to Barcelona, Spain. With exhibits spanning two halls, 300 exhibitors and more than 14,000 visitors from 120 countries expected, IOTSWC has become a global reference for industrial IoT and the annual meeting for industry stakeholders to establish new partnerships.

The Congress, which will take place on Oct. 16-18, 2018, will be co-located with Blockchain Solutions World and AI & Cognitive Systems Forum. At the Congress, 300 speakers will discuss how the IIoT is transforming industries, improving efficiencies, reducing costs, changing business models and creating new service revenue streams. IIC builds thought leadership, with 25 percent of the Congress represented by speakers from the global talent from IIC member companies.

“IOTSWC will continue to explore the latest industrial IoT innovations to bring visitors the expertise and strategies they need to capitalize on IoT,” said Richard Soley, IIC’s executive director, in a prepared statement. “Regardless of where your organization is in its IoT journey, the Congress is where you will the gain the knowledge to move forward into the next phase of your IoT vision.”

In the IIC Member Pavilion (hall 2, stand D411), the following IIC members will showcase their industry-specific solutions to customers: Asavie, Basler AG, Entrust Datacard, FogHorn Systems, Fraunhofer IOSB, Juniper Networks, Kx, Lynx Software Technologies, Moxa, NetApp, Real-Time Innovations (RTI), Rubicon Labs, TCS/NetFoundry, Thales eSecurity and Wibu-Systems. The following IIC member demonstrations will also be on display:

• The Smart Factory Web Testbed, led by IIC members Fraunhofer IOSB and Korea Electronics Technology Institute (KETI), forms a network of smart factories that share production resources and assets to improve order fulfillment. The testbed provides insight into how to connect factories to a smart factory web and exchange data reliably; how to provide information securely to authorized partners; and how to adapt production capabilities quickly and efficiently in response to orders.

• The Automotive Security Demonstration will address safety violations resulting from cybersecurity compromises. The demo validates assurance scenarios for safety and cybersecurity within a vehicle, orchestrates security threats and vulnerability compromises in a vehicle. The demo includes a LiFi-based V2X wireless communication system that transmits real-time data about brakes, steering, safety and security.

At IOTSWC, the IIC will launch the IIC Resource Hub, a new interface to its library of knowledge and a web-based tool guiding users through the analysis and planning of their own IIoT projects, referencing IIC resources and providing actionable intelligence. This library of knowledge is represented in IIC foundational documents, testbed insights, toolkits, demos and relationships with standards and industry groups around the world. The IIC Member Pavilion will feature a demonstration of the Resource Hub designed to make it easier for IIoT project managers and system architects to access the IIC library of knowledge.

In the IOTSWC testbed area, attendees will see live demonstrations of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) in action, and will learn how such solutions can benefit their organizations. The IOT Solutions Awards is set to recognize the work, leadership and transformation that stand out in IoT, blockchain and AI solutions for both the public and private sectors in the areas of innovative technology, business transformation, testbed and industry. Nominees will be notified this month and will receive their awards on Oct. 17 in Barcelona.

IoT Company Teslonix, Chip Maker Farsens Sign Business Collaboration Agreement

Teslonix, a provider of Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity and management solutions, and Farsens, a chip manufacturer for wireless and battery-free sensors, have announced that they have signed a business-collaboration agreement. This agreement will facilitate collaboration in a number of areas, including joint marketing and technical projects when mutually beneficial.

Teslonix’s SmartKick is a device-connectivity platform to read and monitor large deployments of RFID tags with less infrastructure compared with comparable solutions. The system delivers improved read rates and an efficient communication channel to deliver strategic inventory data to the cloud.

“We are delighted to sign this agreement with Farsens today. Recently it became clear it would be mutually beneficial to formalize the arrangement,” stated C. Paul Slaby, Teslonix’s CEO, in the prepared statement. “The combination of Farsens’ passive sensor solutions with the extended range delivered by our IoT SmartKick solution makes cost-effective passive Smart Spaces and many Industrial IoT applications practical.”

“Our relationship with Teslonix is helping both companies improve their solutions and expand market awareness. The time is right to fomalize the relationship,” said Mikel Choperena, Farsens’ CEO, in the prepared statement. “Our collaboration with Teslonix has proven that Farsens’ innovative battery free sensor tags can be used in even more IoT applications due to enhanced read ranges.”