RFID News Roundup

By Rich Handley

Identiv, STMicroelectronics expand NFC/HF partnership; Aruba Networks joins RTLS group PI North America; Guardian RFID offers virtual learning for corrections; Digital Twin Consortium, OPC Foundation team up; Avnet releases IoT platform based on AWS collaboration; Wilson Electronics acquires UWB company Zinwave.

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Presented here are recent news announcements in the radio frequency identification and Internet of Things industries.

Identiv, STMicroelectronics Expand NFC/HF Partnership

Identiv, a provider of digital security and identification solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT), has announced an expansion of its partnership with STMicroelectronics (ST) to offer new Near Field Communication (NFC) inlays for luxury goods, wine and spirits, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, consumer packaged goods, apparel and smart packaging applications. Identiv is offering specialized NFC and HF RFID products with STMicroelectronics’ ST25TN Type 2 NFC chips..

ST’s products are designed for use cases in consumer engagement and smart labeling, as well as product identification, configuration and information management. “This collaboration extends our long-standing relationship going to market with ST,” said Amir Khoshniyati, Identiv’s VP and general manager for transponders, in a prepared statement. “Expanding our product portfolio with ST25TN chips provides our customers with specialty solutions across the segments where we operate and provides an additional level of encryption for their many highly secure requirements.”

The ST25TN complies with the ISO/IEC14443 Type A and NFC Forum Type 2 tag specifications, operates at 106 kilobits per second, and embeds the TruST25 digital signature, which ensures tag authenticity and defends brands against counterfeiting. The ST25TN chips are Type 2 tags and comply with the NFC Forum’s NFC-A technology specification. The data stored on the NFC tags is transferred to NFC smartphones or NFC/RFID readers that support the NFC Data Exchange Format.

The ST25TN series offers user memory ranging from 512 bits to 1.6 kilobits and includes a contextual automatic NDEF messaging service. This allows the tag to respond with dynamically generated content after a tap by end users via their NFC mobile phones. Customers selecting the ST25TN-enabled NFC solutions can create direct-to-consumer branded communications via Identiv’s bitse.io IoT platform, and experiences can be designed to create unique personalization and end-user engagement.

Aruba Networks Joins RTLS Group PI North America

PI North America, a non-profit member-supported organization, has announced Aruba Networks, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, as its latest Omlox member. Together with PROFIBUS, PROFINET and IO-Link, Omlox is an open-standard real-time location system (RTLS) technology focused on vendor-neutral, interoperable open interfaces for location tracking.

The Omlox Core Zone hardware component defines the air interface between tags and satellites for location tracking based on ultra-wideband (UWB) technology. The Omlox Hub software component abstracts the source of UWB, RFID, 5G, BLE, Wi-Fi and GPS RTLS data, allowing an application vendor to write a single interface to access all RTLS data, regardless of origin. The design, according to the company, is intended to save time and money during initial installation, while allowing adds, moves and changes to the RTLS and underlying technology without the API needing to be changed.

Aruba provides location-based services, secure wired and wireless networking infrastructure, SD-WANs, user experience monitoring and IoT infrastructure. “Aruba brings a depth of secure networking and device onboarding experience that complements Omlox open services,” said Michael Bowne, PI North America’s executive director, in a prepared statement. “Combining Aruba’s security and networking expertise with PI’s open RTLS standards initiatives will help expedite the convergence of IT infrastructure and OT location tracking services.”

Michael Tennefoss, Aruba’s VP of IoT and strategic partnerships, added in the statement: “Hewlett Packard Enterprise is committed to data sharing, collaboration and the use of open standards. The benefits of open systems accrue both to end users, who can avoid vendor lock-in, and also to our industry more generally because it stimulates creativity and innovation. Aruba’s participation in Omlox is a measure of our commitment to the open data space.”

Guardian RFID Offers Virtual Learning for Corrections

Guardian RFID, a provider of officer experience platforms and inmate-tracking systems, has announced the unveiling of its Academy Unlimited virtual-learning platform. Staff turnover is at an all-time high in the corrections field, according to the company, and facilities are struggling with recruitment and understaffing nationally. Therefore, Guardian RFID has chosen to offer online, self-paced learning. Academy Unlimited is a subscription-based service that features dozens of video lessons focused on building competency on Guardian RFID products and solutions.

A subscription provides unlimited user access from any Internet-connected device. Currently available lessons include “How to Build Shift Logs and Inmate Log Reports,” “How to Use Inmate Log Reports for Investigative Purposes,” “How to Log Recreation,” “How to Log Contraband” and “How to Log Supplies,” among others. The lessons are presented by Guardian RFID product trainers who collectively have nearly 40 years of corrections expertise. New lessons are expected to be published each quarter.

“As facilities nationwide grapple with officer recruitment and turnover, we wanted to provide additional professional development resources to train and onboard new team members in a quick, accessible, and enjoyable way,” said Guardian RFID’s Ken Dalley in a prepared statement. “We know that strong officer training can positively impact facility safety, and these tools demonstrate our commitment to helping every officer get home safe.”

Digital Twin Consortium, OPC Foundation Team Up

The Digital Twin Consortium (DTC) and the OPC Foundation have announced a liaison agreement to accelerate the development and adoption of digital twin-enabling technologies. The two organizations have worked together in open-source reference implementation projects on GitHub and have agreed to collaborate more closely. The consortia will now exchange information through regular consultations, joint contributor relations, seminars, open-source projects and other activities.

The DTC and the OPC Foundation have agreed to collaborating on standardization requirements; realizing interoperability by harmonizing technology components and other elements; and aligning work in horizontal domains for adoption in vertical domains and use cases, proofs-of-concept and value-innovation platform programs, including technology, terminology and taxonomy. They will also work together on security and trustworthiness; conceptual, informational, structural and behavioral models; enabling technologies, such as simulation and artificial intelligence; technology stacks across the digital twin lifecycle; case study development; and developing and understanding open-source reference implementations

“The OPC Foundation maintains the global standard for secure industrial interoperability for information modeling and data exchange, which, as part of this relationship with DTC, benefits all who wish to create semantically identical digital twins,” said Stefan Hoppe, the OPC Foundation’s president, in a prepared statement. “Our involvement to liaise with DTC further strengthens the user’s ability to model each data aspect quickly and precisely, creating and interacting with any digital twin. Digital twins will be fully compatible with the OPC UA framework used in the run-time components within the operational domain.”

“We are excited about working with the OPC Foundation,” added Dan Isaacs, the DTC’s GM and CTO, in the statement. “Through our collaboration, we will influence interoperability standards and processes that will advance the use of digital twins in manufacturing across many industries.”

Avnet Releases IoT Platform Based on AWS Collaboration

Avnet has announced that its first release of IoTConnect on Amazon Web Services (AWS) is intended to help IoT original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) simplify and decrease their time to market by more than 50 percent. The IoTConnect platform is designed to help OEMs create cloud-connected solutions. The first release of IoTConnect on AWS aggregates services such as AWS IoT Core, Amazon Simple Storage Service and AWS Lambda, while future releases will include support for AWS IoT Greengrass, FreeRTOS, AWS IoT Analytics and AWS IoT SiteWise.

Adding IoT capabilities to OEMs’ product offerings, Avnet explains, often strains such organizations, since IoT technology requires additional software, security and cloud-management skillsets. Customers can accelerate their efforts and reduce overhead, the company adds, while focusing on their unique intellectual property, with access to pre-integrated and abstracted capabilities that they can assemble and deploy.

Powered by AWS, IoTConnect will provide pre-integrated edge-to-cloud hardware support and full-lifecycle secure device and identity management. It will provide OEMs with scalable solutions that include hardware-agnostic edge designs, as well as tailored business applications and analytics. These capabilities will be delivered via a single aggregated experience, Avnet says, combined with solution-accelerator software via the IoTConnect platform, allowing OEMs, systems integrators and software developers to secure, monetize and support end-customer solutions.

“Today’s introduction of our first product using AWS technology represents the beginning of a journey that will help OEMs design, build, deploy and manage cloud-connected devices, applications and solutions at scale,” said Lou Lutostanski, Avnet’s VP of IoT, in a prepared statement.

Wilson Electronics Acquires UWB Company Zinwave

Wilson Electronics, a provider of cellular signal repeater technologies, has acquired Zinwave, a supplier of UWB RF-over-fiber solutions. This transaction is anticipated to extend Wilson’s capacity to serve organizations of various sizes, including entertainment venues and large campuses. With Zinwave’s fiber-delivered distributed antenna systems (DAS), Wilson says it will be able to serve all bands from 150 to 5,000 MHz simultaneously, without the need for additional hardware.

This wideband technology supports 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G, as well as public safety, two-way radio, CBRS, cellular low/mid band, private LTE and other wireless services. Wilson Electronics has operated in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Africa and the Asia Pacific region, and the Zinwave acquisition will allow it to expand its footprint into those geographic areas, as well as operate in Europe, where there are more than 80 mobile operators.

“Wilson’s product, combined with Zinwave’s fiber-delivered DAS, unlocks opportunities for us in both enterprise and middleprise spaces,” said Bruce Lancaster, Wilson Electronics’ CEO, in a prepared statement, “as we marry their future-ready technology with the existing offerings and pre-approved Part 20 access of WilsonPro in the U.S.” The WilsonPro brand serves enterprise-level clients with customized cellular amplification solutions. WilsonPro cellular repeater systems are designed for all carrier networks and commercial buildings, such as large businesses, universities and hospitals.

“Wilson was the ideal fit for us with their respected OEM status,” added James Martin, Zinwave’s VP of operations, in the statement. “Adding their products at the head-end means our customers can buy an end-to-end system from a single vendor. So, we complete their solution offerings, and their wider presence and network of service integrators will help our technology get into more markets.”

Wilson’s U.S.-based operations will simplify logistics for Zinwave, the company reports, as its North American clients will gain U.S.-based manufacturing, faster turnaround times, increased product availability and U.S. support. In the coming months, the company plans to conduct training on the new solutions, system design and installations, and the Zinwave solutions are expected to be made available to all WilsonPro integrators and partners.