RFID News Roundup

By Rich Handley

Semtech releases LoRa smart-home device for IoT apps; MachNation offers software for IoT platform performance testing; STMicroelectronics, Fieldscale add touch-sensitive controls to smart devices; Roambee raises funding to help shippers monitor and automate supply chains; DeltaTrak intros real-time loggers; PVH Corp. seeks RFID rollout coordinator.

Presented here are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
STMicroelectronics, Fieldscale;
DeltaTrak; and
PVH Corp.

Semtech Releases LoRa Smart-Home Device for IoT Apps

Semtech, a supplier of analog and mixed-signal semiconductors and algorithms, has announced the launch of its LoRa Smart Home, designed for LPWAN-based smart-home, community and consumer applications. The transceiver provides low-power broad coverage for indoor and neighborhood Internet of Things (IoT) devices that connect to sensors and actuators.

"With its simple and flexible network architecture, Semtech's new LoRa Smart Home device offers a unique opportunity to accelerate the consumer adoption of smart home connected solutions. As an end-to-end solution, or as a complement to Wi-Fi, LoRa Smart Home broadens smart home solutions by enabling connectivity for low cost and battery powered end points both indoors and outdoors," said Pedro Pachuca, the director of IoT wireless in Semtech's Wireless and Sensing Products Group, in a prepared statement. "The new LoRa Smart Home device provides a flexible and cost effective solution for low latency smart home applications, including smart key locks and lighting, enabling low cost network extension and providing a bridge to the many LoRaWAN-based B2B and B2C solutions available in the IoT market today."

The transceiver is intended for battery-powered sensors with multi-year operation, the company reports. It features 600nA of sleep current and 4.6 mA of active receive current consumption. With support for LoRa modulation for low-power LAN use cases and (G)FSK modulation for legacy use cases, the device is compatible with existing LoRaWAN-based networks and supports proprietary protocols.

Continuous frequency coverage from 150 MHz to 960 MHz allows the support of all major sub-GHz ISM bands around the world, the company adds. Product features include high sensitivity to less than 126 dBm; greater than 22 dBm output power with high efficiency PA; the ability to work well when the signal is 10dB below noise; minimal external BOM/matching; a small footprint (24-pin 4x4); the ability to work with existing LoRaWAN-based gateways; less than 5 mA RX current consumption; 25 mA TX at more than 14dBm; integrated DC-DC and LDO; and support for LoRaWAN and other protocols.

MachNation Offers Software for IoT Platform Performance Testing

MachNation, a testing and benchmarking firm for IoT platforms, has launched its MIT-E Performance (MIT-E Pf) software platform. MIT-E Pf, intended for performance and scalability testing of IoT platforms and solutions, is designed to verify the platform performance of up to 10 million IoT devices and 1 million IoT messages per second. According to the company, it meets all requirements for IoT platform performance testing.

MIT-E Pf simulates real-world IoT message flows while identifying and tracking every message. It scales to match customer needs while orchestrating spin-up and spin-down processes. Customers can use MachNation's pre-designed templates or design custom test templates. MachNation's developers and data scientists have built a MIT-E Pf reporting and big-data engine that offers analytics reports and makes data available for customers' BI tools, the company reports. What's more, MIT-E Pf is supported by developers and testers at MachNation who use IoT platforms daily.

The system provides enterprises, service providers and IoT platform vendors with an independent and reproducible way to measure IoT performance without impacting field deployments, according to the company. "MachNation, a company known for exceptional technology skills and fact-based insights, is entering a new phase by launching performance testing software for IoT platforms and solutions. MIT-E Pf will revolutionize the way enterprises design, procure, and test IoT platforms," said Steve Hilton, MachNation's president, in a prepared statement. "No longer will enterprises need to rely on IoT vendors' claims about the scalability of their solutions."

MachNation can deploy MIT-E Pf on premises or in the cloud. Leveraging serverless microservices and containerized load generation, the firm says it has created an infrastructure-as-code tool that can test dynamic and scalable IoT platforms. "We have designed MIT-E Pf from the ground up with the IoT user in mind. We saw a huge void in the market for IoT-centric performance testing software, so we started with a clean sheet of paper and have built a tool that is template-based, simulates real-world IoT message flows, and is API driven," said Samuel Hale, the company's technology analyst and MIT-E Pf head architect, in the prepared statement.

MachNation plans to add new functionality, testing templates and metrics to MIT-E Pf. The platform provides four performance categories, 20 performance tests and 67 metrics per load schedule.

STMicroelectronics, Fieldscale Add Touch-Sensitive Controls to Smart Devices

STMicroelectronics, a semiconductor company serving customers in the electronics sector, has partnered with Fieldscale, a provider of simulation software, to simplify the development of touch-enabled user interfaces for smart devices containing ST's STM32 microcontrollers (MCUs).

According to ST and Fieldscale, touch-sensitive controls can enhance product reliability, ingress protection and cost-effectiveness, though development can prove challenging. The two companies are introducing support for ST's Arm Cortex-based 32-bit MCUs to Fieldscale's SENSE development platform. Fieldscale SENSE is an end-to-end solution for the design, schematic capture and system-level simulation of capacitive touch sensors. The latest version lets STM32 users design the touch sensor and PCB layout for virtual system simulation purposes.

The cloud-based development platform implements electromagnetic algorithms that allow accurate prediction of system performance, the companies report. Users can optimize design and re-simulate to finetune performance before committing to hardware. With greater assurance that prototypes will deliver close to desired performance levels, the partners explain, users can lower development costs and accelerate time to market.

"At Fieldscale, our goal is to offer to all capacitive-touch design engineers a complete software solution supporting them end-to-end, from the early design up to the tuning of the final system. Integrating STM32 support is a major achievement towards this goal and we couldn't be more satisfied," said Yiorgos Bontzios, Fieldscale's CEO and co-founder, in a prepared statement. Patrice Hamard, ST's microcontroller product marketing manager, added in the statement: "Customers using our STM32 microcontrollers can now take full advantage of Fieldscale SENSE to implement simple and intuitive touch-based controls for smart devices and give their products a competitive edge."

Fieldscale SENSE is available now as an online service and comes with a flexible pricing model. As a cloud-based development platform accessed via a Web interface, Fieldscale SENSE enables users to evaluate touch sensors using proprietary field solvers and algorithms. Unlike with conventional PC-based software, the company indicates, there are no installation challenges or system-performance limitations.

Roambee Raises Funding to Help Shippers Monitor and Automate Supply Chains

Roambee, an on-demand shipment- and asset-monitoring platform company serving the manufacturing, logistics, transportation, finance, pharmaceutical and automotive industries, has announced a $15.2 million additional Series B financing. Led by Anchor Group, a Swiss-based investment firm focused on industrial innovation platforms, and Comcraft, a global investment group, the funding also includes investments from Intuitive Ventures, logistics conglomerate Jebsen & Jessen, Indonesian wireless service provider Telkomsel and industrialist Anant Singhania.

Roambee's sensor logistics platform uses IoT sensors to collect data, artificial intelligence to deliver insights and foresights, and robotic process automation to automate enterprise operations. Anchor Group reviewed nearly 400 companies in logistics and supply chain tracking and digitization before choosing Roambee. "As the only company to collect, translate and transform data into actionable intelligence operating globally, [Roambee] is already materially disrupting the logistics industry and [is] well poised to drive and benefit from further transformation of supply chains," said Dweep Chanana, Anchor Group's managing partner, in a prepared statement.

"Roambee delivers a proven end-to-end goods and asset monitoring solution," Chanana added in the statement. "As a first step to creating connected supply chains, their integrated approach has resonated strongly with major enterprises who are undertaking major deployments—establishing Roambee as a clear leader in this field. We are excited to support them in scaling up to meet demand as more organizations recognize the need for and value from real time supply chain monitoring,"

Sanjay Sharma, Roambee's CEP, said in the prepared statement: "Customers begin by using our service as an early warning system to eliminate disruptions and reduce risks in their supply chain. We then extend our value proposition by providing insights and foresights to streamline and optimize their operations. Anchor's investment is a strong validation of our technology and our team."

DeltaTrak Intros Real-Time Loggers

DeltaTrak has announced its FlashLink RTL Prime 2G and 3G In-Transit loggers. Frederick Wu, DeltaTrak's president and CEO, said in a prepared statement: "Not only do both devices offer the benefits of a 2-in-1 logger with real-time reporting and a PDF backup report when cellular service is unavailable, each includes a longer battery shelf-life and can be switched to flight mode during use on aircraft." According to the company, the RTL Prime 3G model features a light sensor to provide an extra layer of security during shipping.

Intended for monitoring locations and temperatures during the transport of live poultry, the RTL Prime 2G and 3G loggers feature customizable high and low alarm settings. A 24-hour cloud service, which uploads data every 10 minutes, allows the real-time tracking of perishable, temperature-sensitive shipments, whether on trucks or in overseas containers. The ability to store data in the cloud, the company reports, ensures HACCP and FSMA compliance, as well as audit protection.

The RTL Prime loggers provide a 60-day trip duration, one-button activation and a visible shipping card. The 3G logger monitors location, as well as temperature and light levels, allowing businesses to see every time a truck or container door is opened during shipping. The 3G model enables exporters to track shipments to Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and the United Kingdom. When the 3G logger is used for shipping to a country that operates on 2G, however, it will work there as well, the company reports.

The RTL Prime loggers transmit data using GSM cellular networks, which means they will operate in areas where GPS trackers will not function, according to the company. A Vodafone subscriber identity module is included.

PVH Seeks RFID Rollout Coordinator

PVH Corp. is rolling out a radio frequency identification solution for electronic article surveillance (EAS) at all of its Tommy Hilfiger North America retail stores. To that end, the company is looking to hire an RFID rollout coordinator to work as a liaison between the company, end users and external vendors, coordinating and validating the installation of the RFID EAS system. This position will be a weekday shift and is expected to continue for at least six months.

Primary responsibilities will be to act as a partner to deliver new technologies; partner with business stakeholders by contributing to planning sessions with third-party service providers and internal IT teams; manage deployment activities, including internal and external resources; oversee timelines and the project's overall health; monitor and ensure deliveries of equipment and installation materials, as well as the disposal of old equipment; prepare and maintain installation schedules and resource plans; validate installation completion and device functionality with the field; and provide assistance and support for incoming queries and issues related to project status.

In addition, the RFID rollout coordinator will escalate outstanding problems to appropriate resources for resolution; maintain frequent communication with the project lead and business stakeholders to ensure they are aware of unusual or critical problems; follow up with the appropriate resources to ensure problem resolution; and provide daily and weekly status reports to business and technology stakeholders. The candidate must be willing and available to work off-hours and holidays, the company notes, during which rollout activities may be conducted. Experience with planning and rollout coordination is required, as is a working knowledge of PC hardware and retail environments. Project- and/or program-management experience is a plus, and a college degree is preferred.

PVH requests candidates who can offer the following skill set: technically savvy, with an understanding of technology concepts and terminology; a basic understanding of business process management concepts and terminology; a dynamic personality and creative thinking; strong written, verbal, interpersonal and phone communication skills; highly organized, detail-oriented and a team player; the ability to multitask and react in a fast-paced environment; strong analytical, problem-solving and follow-up skills; and knowledge of the Microsoft Office 2016 suite. Those interested in applying for this position should click here.