RFID News Roundup

By Rich Handley

SimplyRFID offers CSL, Avery Dennison tech for monthly fee; Kerlink, ClearBlade intro IoT tech for smart cities and agriculture; Zigbee Alliance launches Europe Interest Group; Senet receives patents for cloud-based IoT network architecture; Everactive upgrades IoT wireless networking protocol; Swissbit extends storage solutions for IoT and more.

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Presented here are recent news announcements regarding the following organizations: SimplyRFID, Convergence Systems Ltd., Avery Dennison, Kerlink, ClearBlade, the Zigbee Alliance, Senet, Everactive, and Swissbit.

SimplyRFID Offers CSL, Avery Dennison Tech for Monthly Fee
SimplyRFID has announced that its inventory-management and asset-tracking systems are now available for a monthly pricing structure. According to the company, its solutions are designed to help organizations modernize inventory processes, free up hundreds of weekly labor hours, increase inventory turnover and lower costs. The software and hardware development company manufactures RFID systems for tracking IT servers, trash cans, pharmaceuticals, military equipment, laptops and other assets.

The inventory-management and supply-chain technology provider says its RFID systems, previously priced between $5,000 and $10,000, are now available for $99 a month. SimplyRFID includes the necessary hardware and software for an RFID deployment, without the need for an IT expert to help users get started. “SimplyRFID is always innovative and an industry leader in bringing user-friendly and affordable applications to our RFID marketplace,” said Jerry Garrett, the managing director of  Convergence Systems Ltd. (CSL), in a prepared statement.

Wineries, tree farmers, automotive dealers, jewelers and other businesses have complex inventories that require accurate asset counts at least once daily, SimplyRFID explains, so its offerings are designed to facilitate such counting. The labor-intensive, error-prone task of manually scanning thousands of barcodes can take hours, the company notes, whereas RFID tags can be read quickly from up to 10 feet way. With SimplyRFID’s Wave handheld and Wave app, users can accomplish this task with greater accuracy within minutes, the firm reports, noting that a single handheld unit can manage inventories of up to 50,000 items.

Data is securely managed on Amazon Web Services’ cloud, running SimplyRFID’s Pogi Data Server. The system, designed to handle millions of inventory items online and offline via the Wave app, is compatible with Apple iOS. The solution comes with CSL’s CS108 Sled Handheld for reading RFID tags and 2D barcodes, and it can be expanded as an organization grows; each additional handheld costs another $99 a month.

Included with the package are tags from  Avery Dennison. “We believe in a future where every physical item will have a unique digital identity and digital life,” said DJ Lee, Avery Dennison Intelligent Labels’ sales director, in a prepared statement. “Our partnership with SimplyRFID underlines that vision, as customers around the globe will now have access to the broadest portfolio of high-quality RFID products in the market at a very affordable price.”

Kerlink, ClearBlade Intro IoT Tech for Smart Cities and Agriculture
Kerlink, a provider of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, and  ClearBlade, an IoT platform and edge-computing software company, have announced a smart-city and smart-agriculture asset-monitoring solution utilizing the companies’ gateways and device-management, edge-application, LoRaWAN network-management and IoT platform capabilities. With this secure, flexible and zero-touch solution, the firms report, cities, agribusinesses, transport companies and others can thwart the theft, loss and damage of critical, high-value assets.

Kerlink provides public and private LoRaWAN IoT network owners with industrial-grade equipment, network cores, operations and management software, and value-added applications. The company has more than 120,000 installations throughout 69 countries, and its partnership with ClearBlade will integrate its Wirnet iStation, Wirnet iBTS, Wirnet iBTS Compact, Wirnet iFemtoCell and Wirnet iFemtoCell Evolution with ClearBlade’s IoT Edge Platform.

The platform enables companies to take in, analyze, adapt and act on data in real time and at scale, the companies explain, and is designed to operate consistently in edge, cloud and on-premises environments. This asset-tracking and -monitoring solution features real-time deployment and flexible operation support, while the zero-touch feature ensures remote updating and configuration of network software. According to ClearBlade, the platform is built to be futureproof for new architectures, devices, protocols, enterprise integrations and cloud services.

“As Kerlink continues its expansion in the U.S. market, this joint solution will demonstrate the flexibility of the company’s best-of-breed, robust stations to ensure maximum performance in any size of smart-city or smart-agriculture tracking or monitoring application,” said Carlos Briceño, the VP of Kerlink Americas, in a prepared statement. “These networks will reliably deliver critical data from edge devices to the operations centers of network owners and allow them to more efficiently track and protect high-value assets.”

“ClearBlade is the leader at helping smart-city, smart-agriculture and other key verticals collect and use edge data from their LoRaWAN networks because it provides an enterprise-ready, durable, hardened and flexible solution,” said Eric Simone, ClearBlade’s founder and CEO, in the prepared statement. “By partnering with Kerlink, ClearBlade delivers these features with robust and easy-to-deploy stations that have been proven effective around the world.”

 

Zigbee Alliance Launches Europe Interest Group
The Zigbee Alliance, an organization of companies that create, maintain and deliver open, global standards for the Internet of Things (IoT), has announced the launch of its Europe Interest Group. The new group, comprising volunteer members with a focus on topics relating to Alliance technologies and the European market—including the  Connected Home over IP Project—was created to facilitate conversations and collaboration among members to strengthen its standards globally. Membership is open to all Zigbee Alliance participants and promoters, and the group is chaired by Alliance Board member and IoT architect Ulf Axelsson of  IKEA Smart Home.

“I am looking forward to collaborating on new levels with fellow Alliance companies from an EU perspective and fostering more regular interaction between our members that are interested and invested in the European residential or commercial IoT markets,” Axelsson said in a prepared statement. “We are creating a structure to provide better visibility into the important developments happening across the Zigbee Alliance, and our Europe Interest Group provides an efficient avenue for more two-way dialogue and information exchange between regions, countries, companies and individuals all working toward the same technology goals.”

The group, which operates under the supervision of the Alliance’s Board of Directors, will provide input regarding European technology needs and current events; collect, capture and share ongoing information about E.U. regulations and standards to the Working Groups within the Alliance, to aid in the development of global, open IoT standards; share regular Project CHIP updates to E.U. member companies; facilitate discussions around Project CHIP interoperability across Europe, while providing insight to shape future endeavors for the European landscape; and coordinate and engage with Alliance marketing teams to support E.U. events and speaker programs.

“The formation of this European-centric group will take Alliance-wide cooperation and communication to new levels, which is essential as our game-changing Project CHIP initiative comes into focus and to the market in early 2021, and we continue to drive openness and interoperability through our flagship Zigbee standards,” said Bruno Vulcano,  Legrand‘s R&D manager and the Zigbee Alliance’s Chairman of the Board, in the prepared statement. “We’re fortunate to have Ulf of IKEA Home smart leading this charge as he brings an ideal blend of technical experience, regional expertise and peer leadership to this role.”

 

Senet Receives Patents for Cloud-Based IoT Network Architecture
Senet, a provider of cloud-based software and services platforms designed to enable global connectivity and on-demand network build-outs for the Internet of Things (IoT), has announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued patent numbers 10,735,521, titled “IoT Network Controller / Server,” and 10,778,752 for LVN technologies, titled “System and Method for Low Power Wide Area Virtual Network for IoT.”

According to Senet, the patents protect the company’s efforts to facilitate the deployment of flexible and targeted LPWAN connectivity to instrument the physical world in support of the IoT solutions market. According to research firm  IoT Analytics, LPWAN sensor-enabled devices are estimated to grow by 51 percent between 2019 and 2025, and to exceed 2.7 billion by 2025. IoT solutions using LPWAN connectivity span several markets, with smart metering for water and gas utilities representing the largest segment, followed by supply chain and logistics, asset tracking, smart cities and buildings, and infrastructure, as noted in IoT Analytics’ “LPWAN Market Report 2019-2025.”

The IoT Network Controller / Server patent challenges traditional telecommunications infrastructure, Senet claims, and is fundamental to its cloud-based operating system, which is designed to support billions of IoT devices. This connectivity architecture, optimized for network operators and solution providers, is being used by Senet to manage the largest public carrier-grade LoRaWAN network in the United States.

Senet’s Low Power Wide Area Virtual Network (LVN) enables organizations in the IoT ecosystem to contribute to the build-out of Radio Access Network (RAN), the company reports, and to benefit from revenue sharing based on their level of participation. Under a cooperative model, the Senet LVN offers connectivity without the need for roaming contracts, and it provides standardized global device activation and deployment processes, as well as single billing for global device connectivity.

“These significant achievements by the Senet team illustrate our long-standing commitment to delivering innovation and reducing the barriers to success for organizations across the IoT ecosystem,” said Dave Kjendal, Senet’s CTO and COO, in a prepared statement. “Enabling IoT connectivity with less overhead and no boundaries offers end user customers across markets the opportunity to increase efficiencies, lower costs, and provide new and enhanced services, delivering on the promise of the Internet of Things.” 

Everactive Upgrades IoT Wireless Networking Protocol
Everactive has announced upgrades to its proprietary Evernet wireless networking protocol, an enabler in the technology company’s battery-free Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Everactive recently released a new product line for continuously monitoring the vibration signatures of industrial machinery that incorporates these wireless upgrades.

Evernet, an FCC-compliant wireless protocol, connects more than 1,000 of its self-powered sensors to a single IoT gateway, with a non-line-of-sight range of 250 meters (820 feet) through wireless interference and physical obstacles; in line-of-sight paths, the range increases to 1 kilometer (0.62 mile). With the company’s low-power networking scheme, each sensor continuously listens and transmits at configurable intervals, typically once per minute. A duty-cycled Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radio consumes 5 milliwatts of power, the company reports, whereas Everactive’s radio requires only 0.0002 miliwatt.

“Evernet is designed around always-on, ultra-low-power receiver technology that is 1,000 times lower power than Bluetooth. Everactive is now in the third generation of development of these radios, which continue to improve on power, range, and data rate,” said David Wentzloff, Everactive’s co-founder and co-CTO, in a prepared statement. “Such a technology is perfectly suited for IoT applications, which must reliably and continuously connect an extremely high volume of devices through many obstacles. Evernet gives our customers the ability to deploy large-scale, and truly maintenance-free, networks across their facilities with as minimal an infrastructural footprint as possible.”

A white paper recently released by Everactive outlines how the Evernet protocol can help to address the Internet of Things’ wireless-networking challenges. The full paper is now  available for download.

Swissbit Extends Storage Solutions for IoT and More
Swissbit has announced its latest miniaturized storage solution with the launch of its EM-30 device, which comes with an e.MMC-5.1 standard interface. The BGA package combines a modern controller with an industrial-grade 3D-NAND and firmware designed to support demanding applications, the company reports. The EM-30 is available in capacities ranging from 16 GB to 256 GB. Applications range from embedded systems to POS and POI terminals, factory automation, routers, switches, Internet of Things (IoT) solutions and medical systems.

The EM-30 product series complies with the e.MMC-5.1 specifications and is downward-compatible, according to the company. With a temperature range of -40 degrees to +85 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees to +185 degrees Fahrenheit), the product family is suitable for embedded applications. Sequential data rates are up to 300 MB per second for reading and 230 MB per second for writing.

The EM-30’s firmware supports automatic background data refresh of read-only areas that occur with boot media. This feature, coupled with error-correction functionality, ensures that data availability is always reliable, the company explains, even if that data has not been accessed under prolonged periods of exposure to high temperatures. A further feature is increased protection against data corruption in the event of a sudden power loss, which can occur in regions with an unstable power supply, particularly involving medical devices or embedded systems.

According to Swissbit, the e.MMC series is intended to address the demand for embedded systems and chipsets, which typically require ultra-small, vibration-proof form factors with ever-increasing data-storage capacities. “Extended Lifetime Monitoring support, combined with potential in-field firmware updates without data loss and typical Swissbit longevity, makes the new EM-30 series a future proof solution for our customers,” said Roger Griesemer, Swissbit’s general manager for memory solutions, in a prepared statement.

Swissbit has also announced its N-20m2 SSD module, which features a small M.2 2230 form factor. The module utilizes Swissbit’s recently launched EN-20 PCIe-BGA component to minimize PCB space requirements, while offering a storage-capacity range of up to 480 GB, as well as 4-lane PCIe-3.1 and NVMe-1.3 compliance. The memory storage solution is targeted at small embedded systems and routers. Alongside the M.2 2230 size, the module is also available in standard dimensions of 2242 and 2280.

The new product range features an industrial-grade 3D-NAND that supports an ambient temperature range of -40 degrees to +85 degrees. The SSD-module features NAND flash chips, a sophisticated PCIe controller and firmware that supports demanding applications. The PCIe 4-lane interface, with backwards compatibility to single- or dual-lane system designs, operates according to the latest PCIe-3.1 specification and offers bandwidth up to 1,600 MB per second for sequential read and 770 MB per second for sequential write. Random performance surpasses 145,000 and 130,000 IOPS for read and write, and nearly doubles the bandwidth of SATA SSDs, the company reports.

The SSD-module N-20m2 has an HMB (host memory buffer) feature, which uses system DRAM memory to maintain the flash translation table. Intelligent thermal management protects the long-term stability of the controller and maintains a continuous bandwidth even at the highest specified temperature of 85 degrees ambient. Other features include End-to-End Data Path Protection (ETEP), AES-256 encryption, LDPC error correction with full-page fail recovery and a protection against sudden power loss. Data care management adds protection of the stored data at high operating temperatures. The N-20m2 is designed with a 30-µinch gold-plated connector. The NVMe protocol uses the bandwidth with a native nonvolatile memory command set, resulting in ultra-low latency.

“The N-20m2 is our dedicated solution for the latest PCIe based industrial and NetCom systems that demand increased performance without sacrificing stability, thermal resistance and endurance,” said Roger Griesemer, Swissbit’s general manager for memory solutions, in a prepared statement. “With the development of our EN-20 BGA our designers have created a really small but powerful and robust module. Comprehensive and detailed SMART information combined with our monitoring tool lets users easily control the life time status of the SSD and schedule maintenance. What you get is a product that perfectly meets the requirements of the next generation of IoT systems.”