RFID News Roundup

By Rich Handley

Telaeris intros RFID-enabled Android handheld security badge reader ••• Identiv joins RAIN RFID Alliance ••• Gallup, Urbanova launch people-centered smart-city platform ••• C3 IoT, Google Cloud announce partnership to accelerate IoT app development ••• Murata invests in MEMS sensor manufacturing in Finland.

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The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
Telaeris;
Identiv, the RAIN RFID Alliance;
Gallup, Urbanova;
C3 IoT, and Google Cloud.

Telaeris Intros RFID-enabled Android Handheld Security Badge Reader

Telaeris has announced that its XPID Series handheld badge reader can read security badges from a ruggedized Android device. With an XPID handheld, the firm reports, users can perform physical access-control functions whenever reading an RFID-enabled proximity badge is required.

The XPID devices feature Android 7.0 and a 5-inch Gorilla Glass screen, as well as GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE functionalities. The units can be provided in a PDA form factor (the XPID100) and in a pistol form factor (the XPID101). The XPID family provides options for high-resolution 1D and 2D bar-code reading, an integrated Crossmatch biometric fingerprint sensor and Near Field Communication (NFC) sensing technologies.

The XPID Series comes with Telaeris’s dual-frequency XPressProx reader, which is capable of reading all LF and HF badges, including HID Prox, Indala, Casi-Rusco, iClass Legacy, SEOS and others. RFID options include Farpointe, Legic, UHF and active RFID badge technologies, for a variety of use cases. The devices, combined with Telaeris’s XPressEntry software, allow users to verify access and enroll visitors. The system can be integrated with all major access-control systems, the company indicates, providing the ability to account for employees during emergency events.

The XPID/XPressEntry combination has been used for a variety of verification applications, the firm reports. This includes oil and gas, mining, manufacturing, large-scale office environments, employee busing, remote parking, off-site events, visitor management and training compliance tracking.

Identiv Joins RAIN RFID Alliance

Identiv has announced that it has joined the RAIN RFID Alliance, which is focused on how RFID technology connects billions of items to the Internet of Things (IoT). Identiv says its membership will enable businesses and consumers to identify, locate, authenticate and engage with each item.

During the next several years, Identiv predicts that major markets in UHF RFID transponders will include fashion and retail, for which self-checkout rollouts, in addition to traditional inventory management and asset tracking, are driving demand. Smart logistic applications, including RFID-based baggage tagging, will grow into a larger trend moving forward, the company says, while automatic vehicle identification, as well as other e-document applications, will generate additional significant demand.

The RAIN RFID Alliance promotes the universal adoption of UHF RFID in a way similar to other wireless technology organizations, including the NFC Forum, the WiFi Alliance and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. RAIN uses GS1’s UHF Gen2 protocol, which ISO/IEC has standardized as 18000-63. Identiv’s team focuses on the design and manufacture of embedded HF and UHF transponders for such objects as medical devices, books, toys, athletic apparel, and perishable food items and pharmaceuticals. Identiv’s RFID, NFC and inlay portfolio features various transponder form factors, including dry inlays, wet inlays, labels and tickets.

These transponders are positioned to deliver RFID connectivity to any object in the IoT market, and applications range from brand authenticity, consumer engagement and item-level tracking to tamper detection and embedded sensors. Identiv is entering the UHF market with a range of generic designs and the intention of creating custom products at its RFID lab.

“The RAIN RFID Alliance is at the forefront of advocating for UHF RFID technology and truly complements Identiv’s core competencies. Together, the sky’s the limit,” said Manfred Mueller, Identiv’s COO, in a prepared statement. “With over 15 years in the RFID space and over a billion transponders produced, expert engineers, global presence, flexibility, quality management, and an ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified production facility, Identiv is positioned to consistently adapt to the needs of the market in an industry that is innovating on a minute-by-minute basis.”

Gallup, Urbanova Launch People-Centered Smart-City Platform

Gallup and Urbanova have partnered to develop a people-centered smart-cities platforms designed to give municipalities and their stakeholders the data and insights they need to improve the social, economic and environmental equity and resiliency of their neighborhoods.

This partnership pairs Gallup’s global analytics insights with Urbanova’s industry players, including Avista, Itron and McKinstry, as well as the City of Spokane and Urbanova’s many public and non-profit sector collaborators. Together, the companies indicate, they will create a platform able to promote dynamic, sustainable and equitable economic growth. Solutions will be created based on a city’s problems according to its own citizens, businesses and visitors.

Gallup and Urbanova will develop, test and deploy smart-city initiatives using findings from the Community Impact Evaluation System, which captures previously unavailable behavioral, attitudinal and emotional indicators. The team will engage residents in a panel experience that, according to the two organizations, will serve as a research tool and a form of continuous citizen engagement. This will allow members to share concerns and ideas, as well as express preferences regarding issues and priorities that impact the neighborhood and city in which they live.

Cities require assurance that they are correctly identifying the pain points their constituents experience every day, the companies explain, and they need evidence on which to base their recommendations to policy makers. This platform will thus serve as a proving ground to identify community priorities and assess the feasibility and potential effectiveness of deploying technology solutions to address problems. Moreover, it will measure results and provide transparency on how measures implemented are impacting the citizen-selected metrics of focus.

“This approach will enable Urbanova, our partners and stakeholders to make investments that are recognized for the tangible benefit to the local population,” said Kim Zentz, Urbanova’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “Together with Gallup, we are demonstrating the power of a people-centric smart cities operating model that aligns objectives, capabilities and outcomes to real-world citizen needs.”

“The operating platform that Gallup and Urbanova are engineering is truly unlike anything else. The models and frameworks developed through this project will provide a new template for how to assess the return on investment of smart cities initiatives everywhere,” said Justin Bibb, the head of Gallup’s Global Cities Practice, in the prepared statement. “This work represents an important next step in the Gallup-Urbanova partnership, resulting in a replicable, scalable and sustainable model for cities across the world.”

C3 IoT, Google Cloud Announce Partnership to Accelerate IoT App Development

C3 IoT has announced a strategic partnership with Google Cloud to accelerate artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) application development for enterprise digital transformation. With this partnership, the two firms have developed an integrated solution that provides the C3 IoT Platform—a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for rapidly developing and operating big data, predictive analytics, AI and IoT software applications—on the Google Cloud platform, leveraging its infrastructure and AI services. The companies will execute co-marketing, co-selling and co-training initiatives to scale distribution globally and accelerate customer success.

C3 IoT and Google Cloud hope to allow organizations to digitally transform their operations by enabling next-generation applications. C3 IoT’s strategic and technical differentiation, the company reports, is its model-driven AI architecture manifested through the C3 Type System. The C3 Type System provides reusable microservices through which application developers and data scientists can access the C3 IoT Platform, allowing programs, algorithms and data structures—written in different programming languages, with different computational models—to interoperate without knowledge of the underlying physical data models, dependencies, or the bindings between various cloud infrastructure services and components.

According to the two companies, the C3 IoT model-driven AI architecture accelerates the development of complex AI applications through its low-code, high-productivity application PaaS, while taking advantage of the differentiated Google Cloud Platform and infrastructure services. The combined C3 IoT and Google Cloud offering is intended to accelerate the development and deployment of transformative AI-driven applications across an expanded set of strategic industry sectors, such as anti-money laundering in financial services, AI-enabled CRM in retail, and dynamic inventory optimization in discrete manufacturing.

“The Google Cloud and C3 IoT partnership creates a solution that dramatically speeds up our customers’ digital transformations to allow them to attain new levels of operational efficiency, productivity, and competitive advantage,” said Ed Abbo, C3 IoT’s president and CTO, in a prepared statement. “Together, we are delivering on a powerful vision for AI-driven digital transformation at the world’s leading organizations.”

“We’re excited to bring the intelligence of Google Cloud to IoT through our work with partners like C3 IoT,” said Nan Boden, Google Cloud’s head of global technology partnerships, in the prepared statement. “Bringing advanced AI and machine learning capabilities to IoT can unlock powerful insights for customers. C3 IoT’s expertise in industries like manufacturing, retail, financial services and more will be a tremendous asset to help customers do just that.”

Murata Invests in MEMS Sensor Manufacturing in Finland

Murata has announced that it is expanding its MEMS sensor manufacturing by building a new factory in Vantaa, Finland, to increase its sensor production capacity. The total value of the investment is five billion yen ($45 million). With the expansion, the company expects to create between 150 and 200 new jobs in 2018 and 2019. The MEMS sensors manufactured by Murata in Finland are used in such applications as car safety systems and pacemakers.

Murata, a manufacturer of electronic components, has been increasing its global production capacity, including most recently at its factory in Finland. After having purchased the previously leased buildings, the company plans to construct a new building spanning approximately 16,000 square meters (172,000 square feet). The new facility is scheduled to be completed by the end of next year.

“The market for advanced driver-assistance systems, self-directed cars, healthcare, and other emerging technologies are expected to be significant growth drivers,” said Yuichiro Hayata, Murata Electronics Oy’s managing director, in a prepared statement. “MEMS sensors are critical solutions for these applications and deliver proven measurement accuracy and stability in a variety of conditions.”

“With the construction of this new production building, we will significantly increase our MEMS sensors production capacity,” stated Makoto Kawashima, the director of Murata Manufacturing’s sensor product division, in the prepared statement. “Moreover, by responding to the strong demand of gyro sensors, accelerometers, and combo sensors in the automotive, industry and healthcare fields, this will strengthen our business base in the automotive market, industrial equipment and medical devices market, while contributing to the economy and employment of Finland.”

With the factory expansion in Finland, Murata expects to strengthen its R&D and manufacturing operations, with a long-term perspective for increasing the utilization of this facility. Murata acquired Finnish firm VTI Technologies—now known as Murata Electronics Oy—in 2012. It is the only Murata factory that manufactures MEMS sensors outside of Japan. The Finland site also hosts R&D space and one of the largest clean room facilities in the country.