RFID News Roundup

By IOT Journal

NorthWestern Energy signs contract with Itron to modernize energy grid ••• Zebra Technologies validates Tego's MROHistorian system ••• HID Global showcases trusted-identities technologies portfolio ••• Unisys Digi-Pet service lets pet owners monitor and chat with pets during airline transport ••• Tech Data to host IoT on Wheels roadshow in Europe ••• Electric Imp, Microsoft partner to accelerate secure IoT and simplify connectivity for industrial, commercial customers ••• Industrial Internet Consortium publishes IoT security maturity model white paper ••• Nanotron, ClearBlade forge location data analytics partnership for real-time tracking ••• SURE Universal predicts telcos will take over Internet of Things.

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The following are news announcements made during the past week:


NorthWestern Energy Signs Contract With Itron to Modernize Energy Grid

Itron, Inc. (NASDAQ: ITRI), a world-leading technology and services company dedicated to the resourceful use of energy and water, has signed a contract with NorthWestern Energy (NWE) to modernize its electric and gas systems in South Dakota and Nebraska with Itron's OpenWay Riva IoT solution.

NWE provides electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving approximately 718,300 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. With the solution, NWE aims to reduce operating costs while improving service to customers and laying the foundation for future smart grid applications in South Dakota and Nebraska.

"We have been making significant investments in technology across the company and I'm very confident that our investment in advanced metering will help us provide even better service reliability to our customers in South Dakota and Nebraska," said Curt Pohl, vice president, Distribution at NorthWestern Energy. "Itron's OpenWay Riva solution will help us advance this mission by modernizing our energy infrastructure and enabling advanced functionality."

NWE will benefit from OpenWay Riva's secure, resilient multi-application network infrastructure and technology platform that features distributed computing power at every level of the network, including in every electric and gas meter. This enables real-time analysis of data and secured peer-to-peer communication among meters and intelligent devices within the network to manage rapidly changing electric grid conditions and ensure the safe delivery of gas. The solution also features adaptive communications technology to deliver high-performance communications with reliable connectivity in all types of service environments.

These capabilities will enable NWE to operate its system more efficiently and reliably as well as deliver new services and value to its customers. In addition to smart metering, the utility has the option to push various applications to edge devices, including revenue assurance and theft detection; outage management; high impedance detection and other safety diagnostics; transformer load management; demand response; and management of distributed generation at the sub-transformer level.

"Itron is enabling NorthWestern Energy to better serve its customers and communities, drive down costs and deliver new services and revenue opportunities," said Mark de Vere White, president of Itron's Electricity business line. "We have worked with NWE for many years and look forward to helping transform NWE's operations and create the foundation for a smarter energy future with OpenWay Riva."


Zebra Technologies Validates Tego's MROHistorian System

Tego Inc, a registered ISV partner of Zebra Technologies, is proud to announce the validation of MROHistorian on both iOS and Android devices through Zebra's Global Solution Center. Tego's MROHistorian has demonstrated it is fully interoperable with Zebra TC56, TC75X, and RFD8500 handheld technologies, as well as all applicable wireless infrastructure and mobility management software in use in Zebra environments.

MROHistorian provides an "out-of-the-box" embedded edge solution for digitizing asset management. The solution is built upon Tego's award-winning Asset Intelligence Platform already in widespread use within aerospace manufacturing. MROHistorian offers a standalone solution for automating, storing and managing business processes on assets and products themselves. With MROHistorian, Tego is entering new markets including pharmaceutical manufacturing, rail and renewables to name a few. These markets all need and want one edge platform to provide visibility into their assets' complex lifecycle history. MROHistorian has been certified by Zebra to meet any user-specific need, while minimizing risk and deployment time.

"We believe this development will speed the transition to a new era of maintenance, repair and overhaul efficiencies, so that businesses can benefit from viable edge management rather than have to rely on EAM only," said Tego Founder and CEO Tim Butler. "We are extremely excited to work hand-in-hand with Zebra in executing on this mission."

Specifically, when used in conjunction with Zebra mobile readers, MROHistorian allows companies to store all varieties of critical, digitized information on capital assets such as manufacturing details, part specifications, authenticity certificates, and progressive maintenance activity. Whenever these assets need to be inspected, cataloged, updated or repaired, maintenance personnel have that information at their fingertips, at the point of use.

The advent of digitized asset maintenance will save countless hours of tracking paper logs, enable tighter control of upkeep for more profitable asset utilization, and even improve skill acquisition procedures for new hires.


HID Global Showcases Trusted-Identities Technologies Portfolio

HID Global, a worldwide leader in trusted identity solutions, will showcase its portfolio of solutions that power trusted identities in HID booth #11063 at next week's ISC West in Las Vegas. The company will also present in several Security Industry Association (SIA) educational sessions and local community events during the conference. HID Global teams with Mission 500 to help children and families in need:

HID is participating in a number of charitable events within the Las Vegas community in partnership with Mission 500, a non-profit organization that works closely with the security industry to provide aid to children and families living in poverty across the US. On Wednesday, April 11, HID will work with the organization to assemble 500 Hygiene Care Packs that will be donated to the Children's Health Fund. HID is also an Event Sponsor for the Mission 500 Security 5K Run and 2K Walk taking place on Thursday morning, April 12. All proceeds generated by the race will be contributed to Mission 500. Click here to register or find out more about each event.

HID presents on the connected workplace, mobility and secure access control systems:

• Wednesday, April 11, from 9:45-10:45 AM: Ian Lowe, Director of Product Marketing, Enterprise Physical Access Control, will present "How Advanced IoT Technology Can Create the Connected Workplace of the Future" in Sands 304, Level 1.

• Thursday, April 12, from 2:30-3:30 PM: Matt Barnette, President of Mercury Security, part of HID Global, will host a panel discussion, "How to Deploy a Cyber 'Hardened' Access Control System for Enhanced Security," in Sands 302, Level 1. Panel participants include Bill Bozeman, President and CEO of PSA Security Network, and Sal D'Agostino, Founder and CEO of IDmachines.

• Thursday, April 12, 2018, from 11:00 AM-12:00 PM: Neil Fallon, Manager, Government Sales Identity & Access Management, will participate in the "Using a Mobile Device as a Multipurpose Credential" panel discussion in Sands 307 Level 1.

See live demonstrations in HID Global booth #11063 at ISC West from April 10-12, 2018. Visit the HID Global booth #11063 at the Sans Expo and Convention Center for live demonstrations of the company's solutions and services that address specific needs for issuing, authenticating, managing and monitoring trusted identities. HID will also feature partner solutions that represent a broad spectrum of applications and capabilities that are powered by HID technology.


Unisys Digi-Pet Service Lets Pet Owners Monitor and Chat With Pets During Airline Transport

Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS) announced Digi-Pet, a new solution designed to take the stress out of transporting pets in aircraft cargo holds by providing pet owners with the ability to monitor and talk to their pets via their personal devices such as smartphones. Digi-Pet enables airlines to offer niche pet transport services featuring a high-quality customer experience for both the pet and pet owner.

Unisys Digi-Pet uses Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology via smart sensors attached to the pet's kennel or carry case to monitor and transmit key metrics such as temperature, oxygen levels, vibration and light, and automatically alert the pet owner and airline staff if any factors require action. Pet owners can also subscribe to live video streaming, photos and voice exchanges so that they can see and talk to their pet via an app on their smart phone or tablet.

"We are emotionally attached to our pets and it can be distressing to be separated from them when traveling by air," said Venkatesh Pazhyanur, senior industry director of Freight Solutions for Unisys. "Large pets – whether accompanied or not – must travel in the cargo hold. Unisys Digi-Pet uses IoT sensors to provide pet owners with full visibility of their pet's comfort and the environmental conditions, as well as enabling them to talk to their pet – calming both the pet and owner."

Digi-Pet is part of the Digistics suite of innovative digital logistics solutions for air cargo carriers. The 20 global carriers that subscribe to Unisys Digistics transport more than 180,000 animals annually.

"Unisys Digi-Pet uses innovative IoT technology to enable air carriers to offer niche pet travel services, allowing them to enter and capture a high yield growing market while improving customer experience and loyalty as pet owners don't need to find specialised pet or other transport modes for their needs," said Pazhyanur.

Digi-Pet assists airlines to comply with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animals Regulations (LAR), the worldwide standard for transporting live animals to ensure all animals are transported safely and humanely by monitoring the pet's environmental conditions from the point of drop-off through to delivery to the final destination.

In addition to transporting domestic pets, this service can be used by shippers and carriers that transport other animal cargo such as horses, day-old chicks or hatching eggs, which require consistent heat, oxygen and light.


Tech Data to Host IoT on Wheels Roadshow in Europe

Tech Data (Nasdaq: TECD) announced that it will host its IoT on Wheels Roadshow 2018 from April to June, visiting nine cities in five countries throughout Europe. The roadshow will demonstrate how Tech Data can help partners easily incorporate IoT into their portfolios and deliver innovative business outcomes for their end-user customers in the retail, transport and logistics, smart spaces and manufacturing sectors.

Packed with real-life, production-ready IoT solutions, the roadshow will visit the following cities: Madrid, Spain, 16-17 April; Barcelona, Spain, 19-20 April; Lyon, France, 26-27 April; Cologne, Germany, 2-3 May; Munich, Germany, 7-8 May; Newbury, UK, 15-16 May; Manchester, UK, 21-22 May; Nantes, France, 29-30 May; and Milan, Italy, 6 June.

Abel Smit, director, IoT Consulting and Customer Success, Europe at Tech Data, said: "The Tech Data IoT team and our sponsors are excited to showcase the art of the possible in a very simple way. Through the IoT on Wheels Roadshow, we want to create a unique experience for our channel partners and show how to make IoT easy to understand, deploy and sell. IoT is a tremendous opportunity for organisations to bridge the worlds of IT and operations. Those that can deliver meaningful business insights by connecting the physical world with the digital world will gain significant advantage."

The evolution of "intelligent things" is one of Gartner's Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018, driving broad industry impact and significant potential for disruption . Tech Data's IoT on Wheels Roadshow 2018 will demonstrate the power of a connected ecosystem and offer networking opportunities to partners and vendors.

During the eight-week roadshow, Tech Data will have support from leading technology vendors, including Platinum sponsors Cisco, Microsoft, APC by Schneider Electric and Vodafone; Gold sponsor Panduit and Silver sponsor Advantech.


Electric Imp, Microsoft Partner to Accelerate Secure IoT and Simplify Connectivity for Industrial, Commercial Customers

Electric Imp, Inc., a global leader providing secure edge-to-enterprise IoT connectivity, has announced that it will offer Azure-based managed services on its IoT platform. Commercial and industrial users can take advantage of Azure IoT Hub and Electric Imp's scalable and secure connectivity platform to simplify retrofits of new and existing products for end-to-end IoT applications. The new offering expands Electric Imp's cloud options to include a public impCloudTM on Azure, enabling existing and new Microsoft customers to implement Azure-based IoT solutions.

"With access to Azure and Electric Imp's powerful IoT platform, Microsoft Azure users are gaining pre-integrated connectivity that virtually eliminates the complexities of deploying, commissioning, securing, and managing IoT devices at scale," said Hugo Fiennes, CEO and Co-founder of Electric Imp. "Industrial and commercial customers can now easily and securely connect new and retrofit IoT applications to Microsoft Azure IoT Hub and fully realize the value of Microsoft's advanced data analytics, machine learning and other powerful tools."

Electric Imp's integration with Microsoft Azure IoT Hub includes the advanced functionality required for real-world product and service deployments, including secure device on-boarding, custom in-flight data processing and transformation, and fail-safe device management at scale. The integration enables customers to securely integrate real-world data with the myriad of offerings from Microsoft -- including Azure IoT Central, Azure IoT Suite, Power BI, and Dynamics.

"Securely connecting devices to the Azure Cloud is a critical step for organizations on the path to digital transformation," said Kevin Dallas, corporate vice president, IoT and intelligent cloud business development, Microsoft. "Enabling the application of Microsoft's intelligent cloud services including AI, machine learning and deep neural networks through IoT leaders like Electric Imp makes it easier for customers to implement IoT solutions that deliver business impact."

The Electric Imp IoT platform, already deployed on more than one million devices with over 100 customers worldwide, includes a secure, purpose-built Edge-to-Enterprise IoT Platform-as-a-Service ("PaaS"); the first and only IoT platform certification for UL 2900-2-2 (Cybersecurity for Industrial Control Systems); managed security and platform maintenance; customization to a wide array of commercial and industrial applications ranging from asset and energy management to remote monitoring; and public and private Azure Cloud support.

The partnership builds on Electric Imp's earlier integration with Microsoft Azure IoT Hub, which enables customers to use Microsoft's storage and advanced data analytics while simplifying the setup and management of communications between the edge and cloud.


Industrial Internet Consortium Publishes IoT Security Maturity Model White Paper

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), the world's leading organization transforming business and society by accelerating the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), announced the publication of the IIC IoT Security Maturity Model: Description and Intended Use white paper. Building on concepts identified in the IIC Industrial Internet Security Framework, the Security Maturity Model (SMM) defines levels of security maturity for a company to achieve based on its security goals and objectives as well as its appetite for risk. This enables decision makers to invest in only those security mechanisms that meet their specific requirements.

"The Internet of Things has brought a lot of innovation to industries, but it also introduces new security threats. The security landscape is complex and always changing," said Ron Zahavi, IIC Security Applicability group co-chair, the white paper Co-Author and Chief Strategist for Azure IoT Standards at Microsoft. "It can be challenging for organizations to understand where to focus their security budgets, especially with limited resources. The Security Maturity Model provides organizations with an informed understanding of security practices and mechanisms applicable to their industry and scope of their IoT solution."

"Over one-third of operational technology professionals in the enterprise identified security concerns as the largest impediment to production deployments of IoT projects, (Source: 451 Research, Voice of the Enterprise: Internet of Things OT 2018)," said Christian Renaud, Research Director, Internet of Things, 451 Research. "This is consistent with the feedback we have received from information technology professionals over the last two years, and highlights the criticality of a common, extensible model for IoT security to move the industry forward."

Organizations apply the SMM by following a process. First, business stakeholders define security goals and objectives, which are tied to risks. Technical teams within the organization, or third-party assessment vendors, then map these objectives into tangible security techniques and capabilities and identify an appropriate security maturity level. Following this, organizations develop a security maturity target, which includes industry and system-specific considerations, and capture the current security maturity state of the system.

"By periodically comparing target and current states, organizations can identify where they should make improvements," said Sandy Carielli, white paper Co-Author and Director of Security Technologies at Entrust Datacard. "Organizations achieve a mature system security state by making continued security assessments and improvements over time. They can repeat the cycle to maintain the appropriate security target as their threat landscape changes."

The IIC IoT Security Model: Description and Intended Use white paper is an introduction to the SMM. The IIC Security Maturity Model: Practitioners Guide will be released in the coming months and will contain the technical guidance for assessment and enhancement of security maturity level for appropriate practices.

The full IIC IoT Security Maturity Model: Description and Intended Use white paper and a list of IIC members who contributed can be found on the IIC website at http://www.iiconsortium.org/pdf/SMM_Description_and_Intended_Use_2018-04-09.pdf.


Nanotron, ClearBlade Forge Location Data Analytics Partnership for Real-Time Tracking

Nanotron Technologies GmbH and ClearBlade, Inc. has announced a partnership to add ClearBlade's industry-leading Internet of Things (IoT) and Edge Computing platform to nanotron's advanced tracking software. This cooperation will enable nanotron to offer advanced Location Data Analytics (LDA) capabilities, adding a whole new dimension of capabilities to its tracking technology platform.

Nanotron creates deep, powerful insights into complex business processes by applying a flexible, scalable, and location technology-independent approach that generates consistent position information connected to application-specific reference data. ClearBlade's platform provides the necessary flexibility while handling all maintenance and security functions, leaving nanotron to focus on its core competency: Location Data Analytics. This creates a powerful yet easy-to-use LDA solution.

The ClearBlade platform will become a standard part of nanotron's location awareness and LDA solutions. By providing a combination of IoT Edge and IoT Cloud platforms, ClearBlade's software will enable nanotron's customers to seamlessly roll out large projects in multiple locations worldwide.

Nanotron's CTO, Rainer Hach, said, "We undertook a rigorous and methodical search for a middleware partner. We sought a leading-edge vendor that could support real-time processing, modularity, complete security, edge/cloud, remote provisioning, extensive databases, and provide tight integration with our software platform. ClearBlade was far and away the only vendor that fulfilled all of our strict criteria, and we are truly delighted to be able to work with the market leader in this field. Event-based analytics will reap the business benefits of location awareness. By working with ClearBlade, nanotron is getting ready to deliver a powerful LDA tool."

Aaron Allsbrook, CTO at ClearBlade, said: "Nanotron is a dominant player in location awareness, and ClearBlade's platform will enable nanotron to offer market-leading LDA solutions. We expect this to be a successful long-term relationship that will benefit both our companies and our customers."

Initially, the ClearBlade platform is being used by nanotron to showcase ultra-precise patient tracking across multiple operating wards in hospitals. The solution is based on chirp spread spectrum (CSS) and ultra-wideband (UWB) location technologies, utilizing additional information from sensors and underlying building maps. It automatically detects all pre-defined treatment events, displays them in real-time, and logs them for further analysis in a database.

Nanotron is a wholly-owned German subsidiary of Sensera Limited (ASX: SE1), a leading designer and manufacturer of end-to-end sensor solutions and services for the rapidly-growing Internet of Things (IoT) market.


SURE Universal Predicts Telcos Will Take Over Internet of Things

As the IoT continues its explosive global growth, "smart" hardware devices have been taking up all the media headlines. However, smart devices are only as valuable as the software that runs them. The smart money is migrating to software, recognizing the benefits and services software brings to consumers, and the business opportunities it creates for vendors.

"The IoT can't reach its potential without a standard-based solution and a sustainable economic model," says Viktor Ariel, PhD, Founder and CEO of SURE Universal, makers of the first universal software platform for IoT devices that's compliant with the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) standard for interoperability and security. "Hardware is ultimately a commodity business, and devices only offer value through software. "Through its ability to control the complete ecosystem of connected devices, our software brings IoT hardware to life. Connected devices are the 'things', while SURE software platform is the soul of the IoT."

Telcos in particular are well-positioned to dominate the smart home/IoT space says Ariel, because they hold an insurmountable lead on hardware and services penetration of households. "Products like Amazon's Alexa and Google Voice may get all the headlines, but both of them are dwarfed by the number of mobile phones, Internet routers, and set top boxes out there," says Ariel. "The Telcos are already in your handset, already in your living room; they rule the hardware world, and already handle service, support and data easily.

For Telcos and other service providers, the missing pieces aren't new gadgets, but interoperability, security, and most importantly, a business model that can work alongside their existing models. SURE Universal's OCF-compliant software offers all of these benefits; we make new IoT and smart home deployments easy, fast, safe, and profitable."

Using SURE Universal Platform, the operators can choose their own IoT hardware based on any existing radio protocol, such as, Wi-Fi, BLE, ZigBee, Z-Wave, Lora, NB-IoT while SURE is providing the API for connection between the OCF application layer and the smart device radio protocol. This way the operators avoid the hardware supplier lock while enjoying the interoperability and security of the OCF standard.

SURE Universal is employing Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) business model because it is completely aligned with the most prevalent Telco revenue model. For Telcos and other providers, SURE Universal's revenue model is a low-overhead business extension that also provides an interoperable, secure, accessible, and cost effective solution for the many devices used in today's smart home and IoT.