Weekly Bluetooth Industry Report (Nov 29, 2019)

WISeKey, ON Semiconductor and Tatwah announce the release of the world’s first Secure IoT Beacon device
WISeKey, a Swiss based cyber security company, ON Semiconductor (ON), a leading supplier of energy efficient semiconductor-based solutions, and Tatwah, a market leader in designing and manufacturing secure RFID tags and Bluetooth Low Energy beacons with a strong experience in security, announced today the release of the world’s first Secure IoT Beacon device. The IoT Beacon device will be introduced at TRUSTECH 2019, an international event dedicated to payments, identification and security, to be held from November 26-28 in Cannes, France.

Bluetooth Hacks Keep Evolving, Will Your Cybersecurity Strategy?
While the use of Bluetooth technology and other RF (radio frequency) enabled devices is commonplace in our daily lives, especially in the modern office environment, few users actually understand how the technology works. Further, even fewer understand the security risks associated with Bluetooth devices. We love the conveniences that tethering devices to wireless printers, speakers and headphones provide, so is the concern about security in the office being overhyped? The security industry works quickly to squash vulnerabilities as quickly as they are discovered, but that doesn’t mean after the vulnerabilities are discovered ALL devices are immunized to the threat.

BAW-based chips for comms infrastructure
Texas Instruments debuted new bulk acoustic wave (BAW)-based embedded processing and analog chips for the next generation of connectivity and communications infrastructure. The first two devices developed with the technology – the SimpleLink CC2652RB wireless microcontroller (MCU) and the LMK05318 network synchroniser clock – integrate reference clocking resonators to provide the highest frequency in a small form factor.

SoCs and software for smart home and IIoT
Silicon Labs introduced the newest generation of its Wireless Gecko platform, Series 2. Building on the RF and multiprotocol capabilities of the Wireless Gecko portfolio, the initial Series 2 products include small-form-factor system-on-chip (SoC) devices with a dedicated security core and an on-chip radio delivering extended wireless range.

Design considerations for powering remote Bluetooth beacons
One of the most exciting low-power wireless technologies to emerge in the last couple of years is Bluetooth beacon technology, which involves placing small electronic beacon devices at points of interest that broadcast packets of information via Bluetooth low energy to the smartphones of passers-by. These packets of information can be used to help the smartphone determine where it is, since the location of the beacon is known, which can be useful for navigating around indoor areas like airports and shopping malls where GPS isn’t available.

BLE module featuring direction finding
u-blox has built its new NINA B4 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) module series upon Nordic Semiconductor’s recently announced nRF52833 chip. The module enables a number of Bluetooth features including Bluetooth long range, Bluetooth mesh, and Bluetooth direction finding. The module is fully tailored to the needs of applications in the connected industry, smart homes, buildings, and cities, asset tracking, and eHealth. The main highlight of the NINA B4 series is Bluetooth’s new direction finding feature, a key component of the Bluetooth v5.1 specification that brings the benefits of high-precision positioning to indoor applications. NINA B4 is the first u-blox module designed to act as both a transmitter and a receiver in angle of arrival (AoA) and angle of departure (AoD) direction finding and indoor positioning applications.

Bluetooth 5.0 LE module is only 9.0×9.5×1.8mm
Panasonic Industry’s PAN1740A Bluetooth 5.0 module comes in a 9.0×9.5×1.8mm footprint and is rated for operation in the -40 to +85°C temperature range for IIot and smart home applications. This optimized version offers a quicker boot time and supports up to eight connections to allow greater flexibility to create more advanced applications. It can be used as a standalone application processor or as a data pump in hosted systems. The device is optimized for remote control units (RCU) requiring support for voice commands and motion/gesture recognition.

IoT Tag Solution Tracks Conditions for Cold Chain
CoreKinect and Kudelski Group have released a new cold-chain and asset-tracking and -management solution intended to make automated, sensor-based tracking of goods in the supply chain affordable and secure. The solution, known as FreshTrack, is focused on providing grocery stores and logistics providers with data regarding the conditions of fresh products as they are transported to stores. It can also be used for monitoring pharmaceuticals, electronic goods and other condition-sensitive products as they are delivered to a retailer, the companies report. FreshTrack consists of CoreKinect’s disposable tracker with built-in Internet of Things (IoT) technology, as well as sensors and related cloud-based software, using Kudelski Group’s digital security technology to ensure data is not intercepted or changed throughout the distribution chain.

Sigfox debuts ‘private area network,’ or PAN
Sigfox announced an alliance with travel industry firm Amadeus for luggage tracking and beyond. Separately, it announced improved geolocation accuracy using GPS and WiFi. The big announcement was the launch of its new private area network (PAN) offer, which the company says presents customers with a choice between a private or global service, dependent on budget and business needs. Sigfox described a PAN as a private network sitting on the Sigfox public network.  While the official reason is that it gives customers the option of accounting for their network connectivity as either capex or opex, Sigfox executives also indicated that it gives some customers the extra assurance that they have their own dedicated network, with the associated assurances about data privacy and security.

Why Zephyr is not just another real-time OS
Right from the moment it debuted as a Linux Foundation project back in 2016, the Zephyr project has been raising eyebrows. It incorporates no Linux code in it and is one of the many open source real-time OS’s out there. Very early in the morning on the second day of the Open Source Summit Europe 2019, we met Kate Stewart, Senior Director of Strategic Programs at the Linux Foundation, to understand the motivations behind the initiative and how it’s grown in the three years since its induction. The project started at Wind River before it was acquired by Intel and eventually open sourced. When it was launched the project supported four boards and now it supports over 200 across 10 architectures.

MediaTek Dimensity 10005G launched with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1+ technology
Taiwan-based chipset maker MediaTek has launched its new 5G system-on-chips (SoCs) to power future 5G devices. Called Dimensity 1000, it is claimed to be the company’s first 5G mobile SoC in its 5G chipsets family. Some of the key features of the chip (as claimed by the company) are the ‘world’s first dual 5G SIM technology’, ‘most power efficient’, ‘unparalleled imaging’, ‘stunning graphics and video abilities’, and ‘powerful APU camera and video support’. The new chipset is built on 7nm processor and is tuned for 5G performance. It offers a ‘combination of connectivity, multimedia, AI and imaging innovations for premium and flagship smartphones’ said the company in a press statement.

How Bluetooth can be an attack gateway
Recent data indicates there are 26.6 billion IoT devices currently in use in 2019 and this figure is set to rise significantly to 75 billion by 2025. While these IoT devices offer a range of benefits, contributing to more intelligent enterprises, they also create new security risks that work around antivirus protections. For instance, one threat which is often overlooked is Bluetooth. While most people think of Bluetooth as a harmless technology that facilitates wireless connections between devices, it can actually create significant security risks when not managed properly, especially when users forget to add in authentication measures.

Bluetooth Design Glitch Opens Devices to Fingerprinting Attacks
Bluetooth devices controlled by mobile apps have a design glitch that leaves them vulnerable to hackers and in some cases even encryption does little to fend off an attack, according to a new study. The source of the vulnerability is the way Bluetooth Low Energy devices communicate with mobile apps, said Zhiqiang Lin, an associate professor of computer science and engineering at Ohio State University. Devices such as fitness trackers, smart speakers and home assistants connect with mobile apps via Bluetooth by sending out a signal called a Universally Unique Identifier (UUI) that allows the app to identify the device.

iPhone 11 Ultra Wideband could be at core of Apple Car keyless entry
Apple is considering the possibility of using an iPhone or Apple Watch to provide keyless entry for its long-rumored Apple Car, with the use of Ultra Wideband to help make the system more precise at determining the range of the user from the car than current keyfob-based systems. The patent, for a “Mobile device for communicating and ranging with access control system for automatic functionality” is a rethink of keyless entry systems used in some cars today. Current systems rely on a keyfob containing a radio transmitter, which communicates with the vehicle when it is within range as a form of authentication, one that also allows for the ignition to function at close ranges. Some systems also use magnetic signals to perform the same job.

uBlox JODY-W2 flexible automotive/industrial multiradio module
We are proud to introduce today our new JODY-W2-series, a feature-rich and compact wireless module supporting both Bluetooth 5 and Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac technology), and ideal for both in-vehicle communication and industrial automation. With its 13.8 mm x 19.8 mm footprint, JODY-W2 addresses the acute space constraints in cars, while its operating temperature range from 40 ºC up to 105 ºC means it also has all the necessary ruggedness for the most demanding in-vehicle environments. One variant specifically targets demanding industrial control and monitoring applications, such as patient monitoring, surveillance systems, and in-building asset tracking.

NanoEDGE: German-Israeli collaboration to develop wearable electronics for mental disorder diagnosis and functional restoration
The NanoEDGE BMBF-Project, coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT, aims at the development of a graphene-based ink for inkjet printing and a scalable printing process as well as a resource-efficient process chain for the production of electrodes for direct skin contact. The development of a graphene-based ink is based on a commercial graphene ink. Ink modification was necessary to make it printable. Ethanol is added to avoid bubbles and to decrease the surface tension of the ink. Carbon nanoparticles are added to improve abrasion resistance of printed structures. A surfactant is added to improve printability and to increase the conductivity and surface smoothness of printed structures.

Marseille Metro rolls out wayfinding solution to support people with disabilities
Marseille Metro is in the process of rolling out a battery-free indoor wayfinding solution to deliver personalised support for people with disabilities. The Evelity solution has been developed by Okeenea, a 25-year-old company specialising in solutions for people with disabilities, particularly for use in complex venues. Evelity is an indoor GPS which uses Bluetooth i-beacons and an app. Users can input their needs to generate a personalised route – such as via ramps for wheelchair users – as well as directions in real-time. The system uses filters to improve location accuracy.

Panic Buttons are the Tip of an Infrastructural Iceberg
As ESDs (emergency safety devices) start to reach mainstream adoption across the world, it’s critical that you not only make implementation at your hotel a priority, but also that you consider all the underlying electronic infrastructure required to ensure these systems are designed to last. As a forewarning, some of this language may be a bit technical, but it’s important you understand the basics of how all these systems interact so you know exactly why a more expensive solution upfront may ultimately prove to be more cost-effective over the long-term.

Preview Development Kit for Dual Processor SoC nRF5340 from Nordic at Rutronik
The Nordic Semiconductor dual processor SoC (System on Chip) nRF5340 supports Bluetooth Low Energy as well as all functions of Bluetooth 5.1 and Bluetooth 5, plus Bluetooth mesh, Thread, Zigbee, NFC, ANT, 802.15.4 and  2,4GHz proprietary. With the Preview Development Kit (PDK) developers can already test and evaluate designs based on the SoC. The PDK is available at www.rutronik24.com. The nRF5340 SoC combines a high-performance 128MHz Arm Cortex-M33 with 1MB flash and 256kB RAM as application processor with a 64MHz Arm Cortex-M33 with 256kB flash and 64kB RAM as programmable, ultra-low-power network processor. Arm TrustZone offers secure execution while Arm Cryptocell 312 functions as root-of-trust. The SoC has an extended operating temperature of up to 105°C and advanced digital interfaces. With these features the nRF5340 is ideal for applications such as professional lighting and industrial, wearables, medical, smart home, asset tracking and RTLS (Real-Time Locating System).

Tile working with major PC company to bring tracking to laptops
Tile is preparing to make a push beyond its dedicated trackers and directly into PCs. Sources close to Tile say a partnership with a major PC player is on the horizon. This could mean that we’ll see Tile technology being embedded into laptops, tablets and more in the near future. Making a bid for PCs would mark a significant step for the company. Tile is known mostly for its dedicated trackers that are easily added to key rings, stashed in wallets and suitcases, or attached to other items you might want to keep track of. While some might opt to attach a Tile tracker to their laptop, embedding Tile tracking in the PC itself would make for a more elegant solution.

UNISOC Rolls Out its Third-Generation Wi-Fi 5 (11ac)-Based Solution IVY5623 for Smart Home Applications
UNISOC, a leading global supplier of mobile communications and Internet of Things (IoT) chipsets, today formally released its third generation Wi-Fi 5 (11ac)-based wireless connection solution IVY5623. With distinctive advantages in Wi-Fi throughput, LTE co-existence technology, and new Bluetooth technology and fusion positioning, IVY5623 is specially designed for smart home applications. UNISOC over the years has launched three differentiated Wi-Fi 5-based wireless connection solutions. IVY5621, UNISOC’s first generation Wi-Fi 5-based chip solution, which to date has shipped over tens of millions units and has been widely used across a number of sectors, including mobile phones, tablets, OTT and IPTV. The second-generation IVY5622 has also seen wide application in smart terminals, including mobile phones, tablets, telematics, smart advertising displays and smart speakers.

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