Tag Archives: RFID

Manchester scientists develop graphene sensors that could revolutionise the Internet of Things


Researchers at The University of Manchester have devised graphene sensors embedded into RFIDs, which have the potential to revolutionise the Internet of Things (IoT).

By layering graphene-oxide (a derivative of graphene) over graphene to create a flexible heterostructure the team have developed humidity sensors for remote sensing with the ability to connect to any wireless network.

Graphene was the world’s first two-dimensional material isolated in 2004 at The University of Manchester, it is stronger than steel, lightweight, flexible and more conductive than copper.

Since then a whole family of other 2D materials have been discovered and continues to grow.

Using graphene and other 2D materials, scientists can layer these materials, similar to stacking bricks of Lego in a precisely chosen sequence known as van der Waals heterostructures to create high-performance structures tailored to a specific purpose.

As reported in Scientific Reports, the groundbreaking nature of this development is that such sensors can be printed layer-by-layer for scalable and mass production at very low cost. The device also requires no battery source as it harvests power from the receiver.

Sensors with a RFID enabler are at the heart of the IoT. This new development can provide various applications such as battery-free smart wireless monitoring for manufacturing processes that are sensitive to moisture, food safety, healthcare and nuclear waste.

The developed technique has the potential to simplify how the information is gathered through its wireless system, nor is it is limited to a particular wireless network and has the ability to be compatible with networks including WiFi and 5G.

Dr Zhirun Hu who led the work said: The excitement does not end with this new application here, but leads to the future possibilities of integrations of this technique with other 2D materials to open up a new horizon of wireless sensing applications.

Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics and coordinated the project, added: It is the first example of the printable technology where several 2D materials come together to create a functional device immediately suitable for industrial applications. The Internet of Things is the fast growing segment of technology, and I’m sure that 2D materials will play an important role there.

Advanced materials is one of The University of Manchester’s research beacons – examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are tackling some of the biggest questions facing the planet. #ResearchBeacons


Business Gets Connected in 2014

One of the big predictions for 2014 is that M2M and IoT (Internet of Things) will see significant growth. With this, likely your job will become more connected in the year ahead. What will this connectivity mean for your business?

While each industry uses M2M and IoT in different ways, the value comes in the fact that connectivity provides realtime data for workers.

Take the construction industry as an example. A construction site is home to hundreds of pieces of equipment, from the smallest hammer to the largest earth-mover. More often these days, contractors are interested in tracking their materials and equipment to prevent loss and theft. RFID (radio-frequency identification) tagging offers a way to keep track of many assets on a jobsite.

To function at the highest level, RFID tracking systems need to work in harsh environments. Construction supplies may endure wind, rain, cold, and heat, and tags need to stand up to those conditions. To meet this need, Atlas RFID Solutions, www.atlasrfid.com, recently announced the certification of a new active RFID tag designed for use in harsh construction environments.

Called the Power 1, the new tag is designed specifically for the construction industry. Atlas RFID Solutions worked with Omni-ID, www.omni-id.com, to test and certify the new tag.

RFID use in construction is growing along with the overall industry. According to research firm IDTechEx, www.idtechex.com, the total RFID market for 2013 is worth $7.88 billion, which is up from $6.98 billion in 2012. The firm predicts this number will rise to $9.2 billion in 2014.


RFID tags in construction are often part of larger inventory management systems. By tagging materials and linking the tags to a database, contractors can understand when and where the assets are being used, as well as what materials are available. For example, tagging steel can help to more quickly sort large quantities of materials that may look similar.

The value of this type of technology can extend to any industry. With realtime data gathered from sensors and tags employees can be privy to information about a job. Stay tuned. 2014 will likely be a connected year for the enterprise.

Source: Connected World

Internet of Things – predictions and cautions


David Evans, Cisco’s chief futurist, shares his predictions with CBR about market opportunities for businesses and consumers at Cisco’s inaugural Internet of Things World Forum.

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the rapid growth in devices and applications including industrial machines, cars, appliances and mobile devices, that send and receive data allowing them communicate with each other.

Estimates for the IoT market value are massive, with Cisco predicting that by 2020, $14.4 trillion (£9 trillion) could be unlocked in economic value for companies worldwide and 50 billion devices connected to the internet. And research from Gartner says it expects the industry to create $1.9 trillion for the world economy by 2020.

Evans, who joined Cisco in 1993, discussed the emerging platforms and applications for IoT and the potential threats to privacy and security at The Internet of Things World Forum in Barcelona last week.

What’s does your role as Cisco’s chief futurist involve?

My job is to gather data from a lot of different sources whether it’s academia, customers or investment organisations, to understand where the world is going from a technology perspective and understanding how these technologies shifts like IOT, Internet of Everything, or transforming industries. One is to understand where the growth is going and to cover customers that understand some of these trends and implications to these businesses, so our customers can take advantage of it.

The various elements that make the IoT what it is have been around for a long time. So what has changed more recently?

I would classify it as a perfect storm of a variety of things that are happening. So it’s not one thing. There are a lot of technologies, if you take RFID which was invented 40 years ago or 3D printing, now starting to take on. So we’ve had a tipping point in terms of adoption of technology. We’re now starting to invest in and create the standards that allow similar systems to interoperate, so you’re car can talk to your home can talk to a building and so on.

And also the price and availability and miniaturisation has now gotten to that point where something like a phone, which might have cost a $1m a decade ago, now you can pick it up for a few hundred dollars. So it’s a variety of things. It’s not one thing, but a storm of consumer adoption and IT maturity.

What industry do you see as being most affected?

There are some industries that are getting the value of IoT and rapidly adopting it because they’re using to scale, improve operational efficiency and delight customers. There are some industries where it’s so obvious we need to do, some industries will mature faster, but there’s not an industry that will not be impacted by IoT.

A lot of retailers are looking at IoT, from improving their supply chain, replenishment of inventory, to even the experience in the store. Perhaps the product on the shelf knows that it’s you and knows you have an allergy to something, so if you attempt to buy that product, it’ll say ‘hey you have an allergy and you shouldn’t buy it’.

What do you think will be the immediate impact for the end consumer?

Well the next big thing for the consumer, as it relates to IoT, is wearable technology. I think today we don’t wear any connected technology for the most part. Some of us have things like fuel bands and so on, but tomorrow you may have 20 different things on you that are wearable. For example, no one in this room has clothing that is connected to the Internet. Tomorrow you may have clothing that monitors your health and temperature. The child that you have may wear clothing that monitors temperature.

What sort of risks do you see if hackers get into the system?

There’s always a risk when something is compromised through a virus. Our philosophy is we believe embedding security in the network layer. If a device happens to be defective or introduces a virus, it doesn’t negate the device itself having some security stack on it. It means at the network level you can shut it off or you can adapt the network, which means you can protect the other assets. You also have economy of scale and you can react much faster than you can if it’s simply the end device.

You can’t predict necessarily what the device of tomorrow will be. The device of tomorrow may not have the appropriate software stack, but the network can. And the network can also adapt much faster.

What is the condition for standards and protocols?

One of the reasons why we’re hosting this forum is that the collective industry needs to work together on standards. We need to address privacy, security and infrastructure. We’re very active and sit on a number of committees, for example ITF and W3C, to help drive a lot of these industry standards.

Can you give some suggestion as to how the industry could affect social media?

We tend to think of social networks as things by and for people, but I submit in the coming years we will see more social networks by and for things. A building might tweet when there’s an emergency or a car may tweet when it needs a tune up. Your home may tweet when you’ve got a leak somewhere.

As things start tweeting and feeding social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and then it’s no longer about the sentiment about what’s there now, it’s also predictive analytics. So you’ve got a certain amount of data, can you extract it based on what you’re seeing and perhaps you can start predicting things like the outcome of an election, market fluctuations and so on.

Source: Amy-Jo Crowley CBR




Brave New Nano Flexible Phones and Shrinking Gadgets

Soon people will be able to shop in a store and leave without checking out. Ubiquitous “scan your own items” checkout lines will disappear and remote wireless RFID readers will tally up the items in your cart and charge your cellphone for the items you’ve selected. Soon the cash and coins you keep in your pocket will become trinkets you pull out at holiday time to show incredulous grandchildren how you did things in your day.

Researchers at Mikron, Russia’s leading nanotechnology company, are creating a nanotechnology future for Russia and the world by developing the technical capacity to work at the nano-level, creating nano sized components and churning out nano-products.

Bar Codes To The Dustbin Of History, Enter Billions Of RFID Chips

Through nanotechnology’s use in the creation of Russian identity cards and subway train passes Mikron believes it will spark innovation and growth across Russia’s many industries. By way of example, barcodes currently on every item we buy, must be scanned by hand, and will soon be replaced by RFID chips that can be read remotely in real time as items are stocked, moved, sold, etc. The days of carpal tunnel syndrome from product scanning are nearly over!

According to Mikron, nanotechnology is already allowing researchers, scientists and engineers to:

custom engineer urban environments
affect what we eat and how we grow it
revolutionize medical technologies making once difficult procedures easy and routine, faster and less invasive
createbetter touch screen technology that will affect all machines and devices
miniaturization of everything
revolutionize industrial production
allow for multi functional chips that will bring data to devices and products in new ways
make RFID chips and smart cards upbiquitous
manufacturemore functional and securebank cards, subway cards, etc.
improve the protection of documents such as contracts, proprietary information, and identification cards and documents
replace multiple cards with one secure card which will be capable of holding all information about a person’s life
make smart cards with antenna for wireless radio transmission
build 90 and 180 namtechnology to build digital television sets and navigation systems
use micro-structured protective coatings to protect surfaces from where or deterioration from mechanical processes, whether, etc. The new surface is impenetrable. Corrosion resistant coatings are another advance.
make space ship materials stronger

Source: David Schilling/Industry Tap

The Business Benefits of Machine to Machine (M2M) Technology

Machine to machine (M2M), the automated communication of data between connected devices, has begun to increasingly capture the attention of CIOs across the globe.

The technology is moving beyond its decades of use in utilities, transport, and heavy industry into the mainstream, empowering CIOs to deliver real value, cost savings, and innovation to management and their wider organisations.

Now that networking equipment — a simple SIM card or RFID chip, in the case of M2M — and wireless carriage have dramatically decreased in cost, and wireless coverage, speed, and capacity have increased, we can now embed connectivity into the “things” we use in our day-to-day lives. That translates to new business intelligence (BI), operational efficiencies, and revenue-generating opportunities.

In the transport and logistics sector, this means that pallets and packages are able to communicate their location, allowing for real-time parcel tracking. The same application of M2M also allows the public to gain real-time updates on how far away their train, ferry, or bus is.

In the healthcare sector, M2M devices worn by patients enable real-time monitoring of vital statistics or the dispensing of medication. In retail, M2M provides better point-of-sale data, as well as better shopping experiences through personalised digital signage.

In the utilities sector, too, M2M powers innovation through smart meters in homes that provide near-real-time data to consumers on their usage. M2M devices are also deployed throughout power, gas, and water networks, which allow for better visibility on outages, spikes in demand, and supply routing.

With this communication, machines can be set to act against existing business rules or parameters, or to feed data through to humans, empowering them with greater awareness and insight into business and systems operations.

Because of the improved visibility, they only need to go where the attention is needed. That has a hard ROI for operations.

Just ask Michael Klausen, co-CEO at Brasserie Bread and an M2M convert. Until early 2011, the company — which bakes and supplies artisan bread and pastries to more than 500 restaurants daily — was reliant on labour-intensive and “100 percent unreliable” paper-based processes to meet its temperature-based food-safety compliance requirements.

Faced with the potential loss of health accreditation and the ability to supply specific shops, hospitals, schools, and airlines, Brasserie Bread turned to M2M. The project combines kit, carriage, management tools, software, and services from cold-chain specialist Cooltrax and Telstra. With it, the company has automated temperature readings and compliance reporting, and can now access real-time alerts in the advent of a cool-room unit failing — saving the potential loss of the next day’s bake.

“I can now sleep at night,” Klausen said of the benefits of the project. “I can sit at the airport and quickly run a check on where temperatures are at in the two bakeries. From a management point of view, that is a lot of time saved for me.”

There’s also the saving of a staff member whose sole role is to manage and monitor food temperatures.

M2M: The value

It’s not just management that’s beginning to realise the benefits of M2M; it’s CIOs, too. Telsyte senior analyst, Rodney Gedda, said that this is because M2M can, in many instances, be tied back to a hard return on investment (ROI), as well as helping to deliver back to the business stronger BI, driving customer engagement, cost saving, business process efficiencies, innovation, and potential new revenue streams.

“If a machine or device can report back that it has broken down or that it needs refilling, then that saves, for example, a field-force employee driving around checking on these things,” he said. “Because of the improved visibility, they only need to go where the attention is needed. That has a hard ROI for operations.”

The combination of M2M and big data, as automotive company Ford pointed out, could produce excellent everyday benefits in the not-too-distant future. Collecting data — from a small-scale fleet of repair trucks through to a million-strong network of smart meters — then feeding that data through a processing system to deliver detailed business information is another major benefit of M2M.

“That could be used by an electricity provider to gain very detailed information on when spikes in electricity demand occur, and what usage patterns are, whether there are more optimal distribution paths, whether there is or has been an outage in a certain area, whether there is maintenance needed,” Gedda said. “That kind of information is delivered through M2M, and has a powerful effect on how well your business operates.”

It is really about a better user experience, and, for the service provider, it is a deeper service and relationship.

King Yew Foong, research vice president, communications service provider (CSP) strategy at Gartner, said that M2M is also being used to drive closer customer relations. Through enabling new cars with M2M, automotive manufacturers and dealers are able to actively inform customers of when tire wear is occurring, or when engines or other components are failing or due to be changed.

Similarly, office equipment that’s outfitted with M2M — such as a multi-function printer (MFP) — can keep track of component wear and ink-cartridge use. When the time is right, it can automatically order a new cartridge, or request that a technician be dispatched to give it a service.

The result is that M2M can help deliver a painless service, or create the sensation that the service supplier is actively engaged in the customer relationship. “It is really about a better user experience, and, for the service provider, it is a deeper service and relationship,” Foong said.

Source: ZDNET