RFID News Roundup

By Rich Handley

Janam Technologies releases rugged smartphone with RFID, NFC capabilities ••• Quuppa launches tag module for indoor positioning ••• Cypress Semiconductor offers software suite to accelerate IoT product designs ••• CenTrak intros hybrid ultrasound-Gen2IR IoT location and sensing solution ••• Sonitor Technologies announces ultrasound-based indoor positioning platform for smartphones, mobile devices ••• Silicon Labs provides battery-operated Wi-Fi devices for Internet of Things ••• Avery Dennison RBIS to offer panel discussion on brand protection, connected products.

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The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
Janam Technologies;
Quuppa;
Cypress Semiconductor;
CenTrak;
Sonitor Technologies;
Silicon Labs; and
Avery Dennison RBIS .

Janam Technologies Releases Rugged Smartphone With RFID, NFC Capabilities

Janam Technologies, a provider of rugged mobile computers that can scan bar codes and communicate wirelessly, has announced the launch of a rugged new touch computer. The XT100 offers the power and performance of an industrial rugged mobile computer, the company reports, in a slim smartphone design built to survive demanding work environments.

The pocket-sized XT100 can withstand repeated 4-foot (1.2-meter) drops to concrete, according to the company, and conforms to the IP65 standard for protection against water, dust and extreme temperatures, in order to provide reliable performance in the retail, field-service, hospitality, warehouse, distribution and direct store delivery industries. A standard two-year warranty is supplied at no additional cost.

With support for the Android 6 operating system, the XT100 has a user interface designed to help reduce training times and drive productivity gains for businesses of all sizes. Certification of Google Mobile Services (GMS) enables users to access all Google APIs, including those for Google Play, Google Maps and Chrome.

Featuring a 4.3-inch touch screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, a wide-viewing angle and daylight readability, the XT100 provides can operate either indoors and outdoors. The device is designed to address demanding data-capture requirements, with integrated Honeywell N6603 2D bar-code scanning technology, 13MP/2MP rear- and front-facing cameras, and NFC and RFID reading capabilities. It also comes with 4G LTE connectivity, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS, providing immediate access to business-critical information and allowing mobile workers to respond to customer needs quickly.

The XT100 includes a removable and rechargeable 3000mAh Li-ion battery for uninterrupted performance. Optional wireless charging capabilities increase productivity, efficiency and safety in industrial applications, the company reports.

“Whether it’s for a startup, mom-and-pop shop or multinational company, Janam is committed to providing the right features at the right price to businesses of all sizes,” said Harry B Lerner, Janam Technologies’ CEO, in a prepared statement. “With its robust feature set, the XT100 unleashes the potential for maximum productivity and embarrasses the competition in terms of power, performance and price advantage.”

Quuppa Launches Tag Module for Indoor Positioning

Quuppa, a company that supplies indoor positioning technology, has announced the launch of its Quuppa Tag Module, a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) hardware module designed to help tag manufacturers speed precision location solutions to market. Third-party manufacturers can use the module to build a Quuppa-compatible device with precision location capabilities. Its PCB-based form factor allows it to be used in a variety of devices, and the firm’s partners are utilizing the system to build Quuppa-locatable keycards, ID badges, bracelets, asset tags and other items.

“There are an infinite number of possible devices that require precision location capabilities,” said Kimmo Kalliola, Quuppa’s CEO and co-founder, in a prepared statement, “and with those devices come myriad use cases, sensing capabilities, environmental requirements such as waterproof and impact-proof, other radio technologies such as NFC, and passive RFID, form factors, colors and other characteristics.”

“No one company can possibly develop all of these,” Kalliola said. “The Quuppa Tag Module is a key building block for device manufacturers, providing them the highest level of precision, and allowing them to spend their time and resources to develop the form factor and sensing capabilities that best suit the needs of their use case.”

The Quuppa Tag Module has been radio-certified for several markets (CE, FCC, IC, Japan and Korea), allowing device manufacturers to speed their products to market without having to focus on costly and lengthy certification requirements. “The Quuppa Tag Module, with its easy-to-launch testing and radio certifications in place, helped Bitwise develop the smart puck in a very short time,” said Mika Hulkki, Bitwise’s product manager, in the prepared statement. “The robust design and long battery life of the Quuppa Tag Module was also a key design criteria when choosing to use it for the smart puck development.”

Cypress Semiconductor Offers Software Suite to Accelerate IoT Product Designs

Cypress Semiconductor, a provider of embedded solutions, has announced a unified software tool suite built to streamline product designs for the Internet of Things (IoT). The ModusToolbox suite offers the design resources of Cypress’s Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices (WICED) IoT connectivity libraries, along with the analog and digital peripherals libraries of its PSoC microcontrollers, within open-source Eclipse Integrated Design Environments.

The software enables IoT developers to design in connectivity, processing, sensing and security functionalities, leveraging Cypress’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and combination solutions, as well as its low-power and secure PSoC MCUs. Developers can personalize their user experience in the software to meet the requirements of their specific development with plug-ins, libraries and solutions from Cypress’s partners, as well as from the open-source community.

“The Internet of Things cuts across a diverse range of markets and applications—from smart factory automation equipment to connected toothbrushes—but these smart products all share common, basic building blocks: connectivity, processing, sensing and security,” said Sudhir Gopalswamy, the senior VP of Cypress Semiconductor’s Microcontrollers and Connectivity Division, in a prepared statement. “Cypress’ ModusToolbox provides a single, easy-to-use software suite that enables our customers to integrate these building blocks while leveraging the differentiating features of Cypress’ industry-leading IoT connectivity and MCU solutions. ModusToolbox gives developers the familiar design experience of Eclipse IDEs and the flexibility to choose partners from Cypress’ IoT ecosystem that fit the specific needs of their designs.”

WICED is an integrated, interoperable wireless software development kit supported in ModusToolbox. The SDK includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth protocol stacks, as well as application programming interface (API) technologies. The WICED SDK supports Cypress’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth combo solutions and its Bluetooth and BLE devices. The firm’s wireless connectivity solutions integrate a coexistence engine that enables dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi and dual-mode Bluetooth/BLE 5.0 applications simultaneously.

ModusToolbox supports Cypress’s PSoC 6 MCU, which is purpose-built for the IoT. PSoC 6 leverages ultra-low-power 40-nanometer process technology, low-power design techniques, a dual-core Arm Cortex-M4 and Cortex-M0+ architecture, and configurable analog and digital resources.

A Peripheral Driver Library (PDL) enables developers to expand the ultra-low-power, dual-core PSoC 6 architecture to extend battery life and provide efficient processing capacity, according to the company. The library includes proximity- and touch-sensing solutions based on Cypress’s CapSense capacitive-sensing technology. ModusToolbox also enables developers to protect sensitive data in their applications with the PSoC 6 MCU’s hardware-based security features, such as its isolated execution environment, integrated secure element functionality and crypto-accelerators.

Cypress’s new PSoC 6 Wi-Fi Pioneer Kit works with ModusToolbox’s unified design flow to improve design cycle times for IoT device applications. The kit features a PSoC 62 MCU and a module based on Cypress’s CYW4343W Wi-Fi and Bluetooth combo chip. With the PSoC 6 MCU’s low-power, secure processing and its internal digital and analog resources, the kit allows IoT developers to implement wireless connectivity to support cloud ecosystem providers, and also enables a longer battery life and small form factors.

CenTrak Intros Hybrid Ultrasound-Gen2IR IoT Location and Sensing Solution

CenTrak has announced the addition of its IRUS hybrid locating technology to its Internet of Things (IoT) location and sensing offering. IRUS was specifically developed for use cases requiring clinical-grade locating in open spaces, the company reports, such as infusion areas, preoperative and post-anesthesia care units, and emergency departments. IRUS supplements the firm’s Enterprise Location Services platform, and is suitable for use in location-enabled clinical solutions, including hand hygiene monitoring, rounding compliance, contact tracing and nurse call automation.

The system’s combination of Gen2IR and ultrasound provides the accuracy and speed necessary for automating clinical workflow and improving patient care, the firm explains. The technologies help to overcome interference challenges that users can experience from ultrasound locating in buildings with commercial lighting-control systems.

IRUS is interoperable with CenTrak’s waterproof tags, including a patient tag designed without seams, screw holes or crevices for easy sterilization. The IRUS infrastructure may be wired or battery-powered, with a five-year battery guarantee, and is supervised and configurable using Connect, CenTrak’s configuration, system-health monitoring and battery-management platform. The technology can be deployed in conjunction with other native CenTrak technologies, including BLE, Wi-Fi, LF, active UHF and passive RFID.

“The development of IRUS was driven by CenTrak’s continued commitment to transform patient care using the most advanced Internet of Things (IoT) technologies,” said Ari Naim, CenTrak’s president and CEO, in a prepared statement. “We continue to invest significantly in R&D to expand our breadth of supported location and sensory technology, ensuring CenTrak meets the industry’s ongoing challenge to improve the patient experience.”

Sonitor Announces Ultrasound-Based Indoor Positioning Platform for Smartphones, Mobile Devices

Sonitor Technologies, a provider of indoor positioning technology, has announced the introduction of an ultrasound-based positioning platform called Forkbeard. The system enables smart mobile devices to become accurate indoor positioning tools offering an alternative to standard real-time location system (RTLS) tags or badges.

Lyra, the first release of this platform, enables wayfinding to within 1 foot in a corridor, as well as 100 percent room-level accuracy and update rates of one to two seconds. Forkbeard is compatible with the various iOS, Android and Microsoft Windows smart devices on the market. The system leverages the capacity of a smartphone’s microphone and processor, requiring no modifications or accessories to transform the phone into a positioning device or tag.

“Forkbeard represents a fundamentally new approach to ultrasound decoding developed to deliver accurate distance measurements and to find powerful Doppler effects when a device is in motion,” said Wilfred Booij, Ph.D., Sonitor Technologies’ CTO and lead developer, in a prepared statement. “The result is a scalable and accurate indoor positioning platform that delivers GPS-like performance indoors.”

“Forkbeard is a major technology breakthrough with applicability in healthcare and other industries, such as retail and warehousing, where reliable and accurate indoor positioning can deliver significant value,” said Anne Bugge, Sonitor’s President and CEO, in the prepared statement. “With the ubiquity of consumer and professional smart devices, and the fact that we spend over 80% of our life indoors, Forkbeard has the potential to make transformative changes across multiple markets.”

Forkbeard was the nickname of Tveskæg, a Scandinavian king who dethroned his father, King Harald “Bluetooth” Blåtand Gormsson, in 986 A.D. Bluetooth was known as a unifier and communicator, and Forkbeard as a navigator and conqueror. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology was developed for short-range radio communication by a special interest group initiated by Intel, Ericsson and Nokia in the 1990s, and has evolved into a globally adopted short-range RF communication technology.

Silicon Labs Provides Battery-Operated Wi-Fi Devices for Internet of Things

Silicon Labs has introduced a new Wi-Fi portfolio to simplify the design of power-sensitive, battery-operated Wi-Fi products, including IP security cameras, point-of-sale terminals and consumer health-care devices. Designed for increased energy efficiency, the company’s WF200 transceivers and WFM200 modules support 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, the company reports, while delivering the performance and connectivity necessary as the number of connected devices increases in home and commercial networks.

“We’ve delivered the first low-power Wi-Fi portfolio designed specifically for the IoT, enabling breakthroughs in secure, battery-powered connected device designs that simply weren’t possible until now,” said Daniel Cooley, Silicon Labs’ senior VP and general manager of IoT products, in a prepared statement. “It’s no surprise we’re seeing strong customer demand for Wi-Fi technology that fits within the tight power and space budgets of battery-operated devices, freeing end users from the need to connect to ac power sources.”

Developers can speed time to market and miniaturize battery-operated Wi-Fi products with the WFM200, a pre-certified system-in-package module with an integrated antenna. Silicon Labs’ WF200 transceiver is suitable for high-volume applications, according to the company, and offers developers the flexibility to meet unique system design requirements, such as using external antennas.

The WF200 transceiver and WFM200 module can be used for Wi-Fi-enabled IoT applications. They provide low transmit (TX: 138 mA) and receive (RX: 48 mA) power; 200 µA Wi-Fi power consumption (DTIM = 3), contributing to low system power; a link budget of 115 dBm for long-range Wi-Fi transmissions; a 4-millimeter by 4-millimeter QFN32 transceiver and a 6.5-millimeter by 6.5-millimeter LGA52 SiP module for space-constrained applications; a secure boot and host interface; hardware cryptography acceleration supporting AES, PKE and TRNG; pre-certification by the FCC, CE, IC, South Korea and Japan; and development tools and a wireless starter kit, including embedded and Linux host drivers.

Silicon Labs is sampling WF200 transceivers and WFM200 SiP modules to selected customers. Production parts are planned for this quarter, according to the company.

Avery Dennison RBIS to Offer Panel Discussion on Brand Protection, Connected Products

With the global trade in counterfeit goods worth an estimated half a trillion dollars a year, Avery Dennison Retail Branding and Information Solutions (RBIS), a provider of apparel and footwear branding, labelling and RFID solutions, is providing technologies such as RFID and Near Field Communication (NFC) to authenticate products.

At this year’s South by Southwest conference, Julie Vargas, Avery Dennison RBIS’s director of digital solutions and brand protection, along with Graham Wetzbarger, The RealReal‘s chief authenticator, will lead a panel discussion titled “Faux Real: Brand Protection and Connected Products.” The panel will take place this Friday at the Four Seasons Hotel, located in Austin, Texas.

The discussion will explore the current grey market and counterfeiting landscape, showcase new trends in both physical and digital authentication, and explore the future of brand protection through smart solutions. Attendees will have the opportunity to personalize totes with a variety of external embellishments, such as woven patches and HD heat transfers, designed by Avery Dennison. The custom totes unlock an AR experience by ARILYN, with QR codes linking users to a study on digital emotional intelligence.