RFID News Roundup

By Rich Handley

Avery Dennison extends NFC inlay line with EM Micro IC; Vizinex RFID adds Impinj chips to its products; BehrTech, WEPTECH launch LPWAN gateway for IoT; Aramark LoRaWAN solution uses tech from Kerlink, Microshare; Sewio releases RTLS design planner for UWB; Kalypso, AVATA partner on digital transformation for Oracle clients; UrsaLeo expands into EMEA region.

Presented here are recent news announcements regarding the following organizations: Avery Dennison Smartrac, EM Microelectronic, Vizinex, BehrTech, WEPTECH, Aramark, Kerlink, Microshare, Sewio, Kalypso, AVATA Partner and UrsaLeo.

Avery Dennison Extends NFC Inlay Line With EM Micro IC
Avery Dennison Smartrac has extended its Near Field Communication (NFC) product line with its Circus Pro and Circus Pro Flex NFC inlays, featuring  EM Microelectronic's em|linq (EM4332) chip. These additions to the portfolio enable brand-protection solutions requiring an encrypted digital birth record for packaged products, as well as a trusted product identity validation service and platform-agnostic consumer-engagement capabilities for customers in the consumer packaged goods, food and beverage, apparel and beauty markets.

The em|linq chip boosts the security offered by the Circus Pro family's encryption features, the company reports. The NFC Type 2-compliant IC's cryptographic hardware provides Web authentication brand protection to consumers' smartphones using a dynamically generated HMAC-SHA1 code appended to the URL stored in the NDEF container. This, the firm explains, allows for a secure tag with product-authentication capabilities built in, as well as one-to-one consumer engagement.

"NFC inlays and tags have become extremely popular and essential for enabling impactful consumer experiences anytime, anywhere with ubiquitous smartphones," said Hal Hikita, Avery Dennison Smartrac's head of product management, in a prepared statement. "Our new em|linq-powered additions to our Circus Pro product family dramatically enhance the value of NFC by way of secure product-authentication capabilities that protect against cloning and counterfeiting of exclusive dynamic content, thereby unlocking new and robust capabilities for engaging and captivating consumers."

"EM is excited to support Avery Dennison Smartrac's solutions with its Swiss-engineered technology" added Christophe Ratajczak, EM Microelectronic's smart systems BU manager, in the prepared statement. "We trust this partnership will unlock the full market potential behind the NFC-based product authentication." The inlays are compliant with the ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 standards to ensure a reliable product capable of meeting various application requirements. The products are available as wet inlays with cryptography algorithms and a choice of memory options; they work with all NFC-enabled devices and support real-time tag and message authentication.

Vizinex RFID Adds Impinj Chips to Its Products
Vizinex RFID, which develops and manufactures RFID tags tailored to specific applications, has added  Impinj's m750 chip to its Sentry line of tags. The RFID integrated circuit is designed to offer strong RF performance and a long read range, the company reports. Vizinex provides RFID technology for the automotive, aerospace, rental, oil and gas, asset-management, yard-management, medical-device, data-center and manufacturing industries.

"To be a leader in a technology industry, you need to move quickly to incorporate the latest innovations into your products, so Vizinex is the first tag producer to incorporate this new generation of chips across its full product line," said Ken Horton, Vizinex's CEO and co-founder, in a prepared statement.

"The changes were made with no impact to form factor or the price of our tags," Horton added. "Our customers just get an immediate benefit of better RFID performance with no impact on their costs or how they deploy the tags. Vizinex is committed to advancing the technology of RFID and making product changes quickly, so that our customers are the first to reap the benefits of the newest developments. Their RFID investment yields better payback more quickly."

Vizinex's Sentry application-specific tags are based on a printed circuit board platform, the company reports, using a manufacturing process designed to allow reliability and consistency in read-range performance. The tag is made from a fiber-reinforced composite material to make it more rugged. This patented tag design enables fast prototyping and customization, according to Vizinex.

BehrTech, WEPTECH Launch LPWAN Gateway for IoT
BehrTech, a provider of wireless Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity solutions, has partnered with  WEPTECH, a provider of engineering and manufacturing technologies and systems for wireless communication, to introduce the MYTHINGS AVA certified gateway for mioty low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs). The mioty LPWAN protocol provides scalable wireless connectivity for large commercial and industrial IoT deployments.

The AVA bidirectional IoT gateway is integrated with the ETSI-standardized mioty wireless stack. It comes with preconfigured BehrTech MYTHINGS Central software, a network- and device-management platform built to manage large-scale mioty LPWANs. With MYTHINGS' one-click registration and scalable cloud service for processing and management, the gateway is intended to enable customers to quickly deploy and test mioty networks.

"Between legacy proprietary solutions and costly third-party managed networks, there is strong demand for inexpensive, easy-to-deploy and highly flexible IoT connectivity solutions," said Wolfgang Thieme, BehrTech's CTO, in a prepared statement. "Together with WEPTECH, we're making this powerful new LPWAN technology more accessible, interoperable and consumable for companies worldwide."

The gateway is available through WEPTECH as an evaluation kit to simplify the adoption of mioty and to test the reliability, range and scalability of mioty LPWANs. It supports the 868 MHz (Europe) and 915 MHz (North America) frequency bands and can be connected to a local network via Ethernet. The device comes with a MYTHINGS Central MQTT interface; cloud connectors for Azure, AWS and Cumulocity; and a plugin architecture allowing customers to integrate the solution with external systems, third-party applications and IoT platforms.

"We are happy that we could win BehrTech as a partner on the platform side at this early stage," added Wolfgang Esch, WEPTECH's head of sales and marketing, in the prepared statement. "With this collaboration, we are able to give the customer even easier and faster access to this game-changing technology."

Aramark LoRaWAN Solution Uses Tech from Kerlink, Microshare
Kerlink, a provider of IoT solutions, and  Microshare, an IoT data-management solutions company, have announced that their stations and sensors are powering a new building- and asset-management solution created by  Aramark, a supplier of food, facilities management and uniforms. Designed to help facility owners and operators offer a safer workplace, the Aramark Intelligent Workplace Experience (AIWX Connect) platform uses digital inputs from building systems and wireless sensors, combined with occupant feedback to provide real-time data regarding building performance, occupant satisfaction and space utilization.

One feature of the platform is increased flexibility for facility owners and managers to help protect building occupants from the coronavirus. "COVID-19 has increased the need for building managers to better understand employee traffic patterns and how workspace is utilized, to ensure the office is properly maintained," said John Hanner, the president of Aramark's Facilities Services division, in a prepared statement. "AIWX Connect combines the power of data with the knowledge of operations, to create safer environments and improved building performance."

Based in Philadelphia, Aramark developed AIWX Connect to determine when, where and how to allocate resources to vital areas based on demand. The platform leverages real-time data gathered by Microshare's IoT platform and transmitted by Kerlink equipment to identify actionable insights, the companies explains. These actions are integrated into an operating delivery model and planning programs to improve the user experience and building performance.

"Smart IoT solutions that closely monitor both occupancy and status of buildings and facilities are key to reopening spaces that had to close because of the pandemic's spread," added Charles Paumelle, Microshare's chief product officer, in the prepared statement. "By combining Kerlink's and Microshare's expertise, which was jointly demonstrated in our 2020 collaboration to enable contact tracing, we have helped deploy systems that will bring buildings into the IoT era." Last year, Kerlink and Microshare launched a LoRaWAN-based contact-tracing system to help workers feel safer in their workplaces while protecting their privacy.

"Powerful and responsive smart solutions such as those developed by Aramark for AIWX Connect are another on-point example of the robustness and flexibility of Kerlink's products and their compatibility with Microshare's technology," said Stéphane Dejean, Kerlink's chief marketing officer, in the statement. "This solution's adoption by Aramark, a diversified, global operator, highlights LoRaWAN's ability to expand the IoT's applications to a new level of health protection."

Sewio Releases RTLS Design Planner for UWB
Sewio, a provider of real-time location system (RTLS) products based on ultra-wideband (UWB) technology, has released its RTLS Planner to help users streamline and optimize the design of RTLS projects by identifying the best locations for UWB anchors (location signal receivers) and their types. This, Sewio explains, is intended to provide users' required level of accuracy and reliability while lowering project costs.

The RTLS Planner is a browser-based cloud application with a user-friendly interface, designed to help companies avoid technically challenging and costly anchor location updates. The tool allows users to follow best design practices and collaborate with Sewio consultants by sharing their projects' design progress via a single click. "With the RTLS Planner," said Lubomír Mráz, Sewio Networks' CTO, in a prepared statement, "we are bringing our clients the easy-to-use, precise and collaborative tool they need to plan their project's deployment, reveal any possible gaps in coverage and optimize the number of anchors for an even more positive ROI."

Sewio's real-time location system is intended for indoor tracking purposes, for use by companies in the intralogistics, retail, sports, entertainment and livestock industries. The system is built on UWB technology and comes with RTLS Studio, a suite of remote-management and visualization software.

Kalypso, AVATA Partner on Digital Transformation for Oracle Clients
Kalypso, a services firm focused on helping customers discover, create, manufacture and sell products digitally, has announced a partnership with  AVATA, a services provider for  Oracle's cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain management (SCM) and enterprise performance management (EPM) solutions. The partnership is intended to help companies accelerate digital transformation initiatives with Oracle's suite of applications, the partners report.

Kalypso and AVATA have long-established Oracle practices. The partnership will enable them to provide SCM, ERP, product lifecycle management (PLM) and enterprise data management (EDM) solutions through Oracle's cloud-based technology. AVATA offers strategic and implementation services related to Oracle's SCM, ERP and EPM solutions, while Kalypso provides services for Oracle's PLM, EDM and emerging applications, such as those involving the IoT, blockchain and data science. According to the companies, the partnership will provide coverage across Oracle's portfolio to accelerate digital innovation and Industry 4.0 initiatives.

"We're excited to combine forces with AVATA to deliver increased value for our rapidly expanding Cloud client base," said Nigel Hallett, Kalypso's Oracle practice managing director, in a prepared statement. "As digital transformation and cloud have become even more critical to business success as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this partnership will enable us to better support our clients by helping them leverage the power of Oracle's comprehensive, integrated cloud solutions."

Oracle's customers will be able to migrate legacy or on-premises applications to the cloud, develop solution roadmaps for digital transformation, enable the digital thread with Oracle enterprise solutions and accelerate innovation by increasing connectivity and insights in the enterprise value chain, the company reports. "We're honored to partner with Kalypso to help our clients maximize the value of Oracle's cloud applications," added Kevin Martin, AVATA's VP of sales and solutions, in the prepared statement. "Kalypso's strategic expertise complements ours well, and we look forward to joining forces to help our clients expand and make the most of their digital investments."

UrsaLeo Expands Into EMEA Region
UrsaLeo, an enterprise software company that helps users visualize operational data in a photorealistic 3D representation of their facility or product, has announced plans to expand its presence into the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region with the opening of an office in the United Kingdom. The company has also hired a new senior VP of EMEA, Glenn Jarrett, who will be responsible for account management, staffing, developing overall sales strategy, identifying technology and distribution partners, and working in UrsaLeo's three key markets: manufacturing, energy and construction.

"With North America not far behind, EMEA-based companies are among the earliest adopters of digital-twin technology and recognize the value, cost savings and other benefits that this innovation brings to the table and the bottom line," said John Burton, UrsaLeo's CEO, in a prepared statement. "As we continue to expand into new regions, Glenn's background in startups, his expertise in 3D technology, and connections across this region will help us quickly enter into this burgeoning marketplace, while also securing important partnerships to further our technology."

The ongoing trends of cloud computing, big-data analytics and the IoT are allowing innovation across the European market, the company reports, and as the European Commission invests in hardware and Internet infrastructure, the IoT market will continue to grow. To support this growth, the EC launched the  Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation, one of Europe's largest IoT associations.

During the past year, UrsaLeo says it has noticed increased interest and activity across the EMEA for IoT and digital-twin solutions. "Europe, Middle East and Africa is the home to a great deal of the innovation in Industry 4.0," Jarrett said in a prepared statement. "The term itself was coined in Germany, and we see Germany, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Italy and the Netherlands as home to some of the top IoT providers, with a ready-made customer base focused on precision and high-end manufacturing. With our focus on manufacturing, energy and construction, EMEA is a vitally important market for UrsaLeo."