Beckermus built a production line for Nexite IoT smart tags

Above: Nexite’s Raviv Cohen (left) with Oren Beckermus in the production floor

Caesarea, Israel based Beckermus Technologies  has established a new tag production line in addition to its current Williot’s tags production line. The new line is designed to produce millions of Nexite’s smart NanoBT tags, and will begin operating on a regular basis in the coming weeks. The production line was established with an investment of more than 1.5 million dollars and is now in its final installation stage, within a building purchased by Beckermus aimed to host a dedicated production site for its customers.

Nexite was founded 4 years ago by CEO Anat Shaked and CTO Lior Shaked and has developed a hardware/software platform that enables physical products to be connected to the Cloud for advanced asset tracking and sales policy management in stores. The company has raised $100 million and employs 80 people. During a visit to the production line, hardware manager at Nexite, Raviv Cohen, told Techtime that these tags provide precise tracking capabilities that “Enables to define information-based policy management using information that was not available up until now.”

“Like a local GPS tag”

Nexite solution consists of an active tag and local reception stations that identify each tag and track its movements. The location is determined through the identification of signals transmitted by the tag (Angle of Arrival) and picked up by a number of receivers at the site, combined with an AI algorithm that provides its precise location. “It is a kind of local GPS. The local control station provides radio energy to the tag, which in turn harvests the energy and transmits standard Bluetooth signals that can be picked up by any device.”

Nexite smart NanoBT tag. Receives energy through RF transmission
Nexite smart NanoBT tag. Receives energy through RF transmission

Each tag comes with unicque identification code allowing the system to collect data about the tags, identify the customer’s relationship with the product the tag is on. For example: Which products are left on the shelves, taken by customers, or measured in fitting rooms. Based on this information, Nexite provides recommendations to increase sales. Nexite started its initial sales in 2022 and has already proven the success of its recommendations. It is now ready to expand its customer base in 2023 with major Local and Global brands.

Crossing the limits of standard production

Cohen: “The tag’s price is critical to our business model. We are working in a mass market with hundreds of millions of items. Partnering with Beckermus enables us to develop a production line that suits these limitations and ensures long term production stability. Two years ago, we approached Beckermus and expressed the need for Israeli-based production line, suitable for both, serial production and  development needs.”

Co-manager of Beckermus, Oded Beckermus, said that in the initial stage, the new line will produce 5,000-6,000 NanoBT tags per hour. “They consist of three different components, including a chip developed at NXP and manufactured by TSMC. Our machine providers had expressed concerns about the production complexity of the tags. So we had entered a learning process and developed a tailored production process. The machines has just arrived a few days ago and the production line is currently in its installation phase.”

Oren Beckermus (Co Manager) explained that the tailored process is based on Reel to Reel (R2R) configuration and includes 6 different machines with a total length of around 15 meters. “This is a fully automated and out-of-the-box production process: production starts with a flexible plastic reel on which the special antennas are printed. This reel is fed into a machine that contains the specialized silicone deposition wires in the desired pattern.”

Under the hood: Silicon chips are brought directly from the wafer to the tags
Under the hood: Silicon chips are brought directly from the wafer to the tags

Wafer-level Production

The machine picks up each bare die from the diced wafer, according to the yield profile received from the wafer manufacturer and attaches it to the tag’s antenna. The tag then passes through the SMT machine which adds the additional SMD components. The assembly process is completed in a functional testing station that tests each tag separately to map its performance. In the final stage, an additional plastic layer is attached to protect the tag. The system is planned to enter serial production in March 2023.

How were you able to build this challenging production line?

Oren: “Ever since we established the company, we have been assembling chips. This is what we do. It is our expertise. We know how to handle wafers, assemble chips and integrate them into the final product. We employed our knowhow to tailor Muehlbauer’s production line to Nexit‘s needs. RFID production lines are usually very straight forward, however in this case we had to integrate three additional components, which was a challenge that has never been done before.”

Nexite and Beckermus had also developed a production process based on using of conductive adhesive instead of Tin soldering. This unique adhesive contains nanoparticles that provide electrical conductivity only at the pressure point – an effect that eliminates the need in soldering masks, However, it needs a precise placement of the components on the surface, with microscopic accuracy, in order to achieve electrical conductivity.

Oren: “Our collaboration with Nexite has begun after we identified the IoT as a rapidly emerging field and decided to invest in it. Since we are talking about a fully automated production process, it means we are building a competitive mass production capabilities, without relying on human labor costs.”

Arrow Israel provides Computing Boards equipped with Cellular & GNSS Modules made by Quectel

Sponsored by Arrow

Arrow Israel has announced the expansion of its collaboration with Quectel Wireless Solutions, which provides cellular modules in G5, LTE, LTE-A, LPWA, C-V2X, GSM / GPRS, UMTS / HSPA technologies, smart modules and GNSS modules. Arrow Electronics, in collaboration with Shiratech Solutions, has developed several boards for quick addition of Quectel’s modules to development boards and systems: boards with an Arduino Shield connection or a 96Borads standard connection. In the coming weeks, Arrow will offer some of Shirhatech’s development boards free of charge.

Cellular Modules

Quectel is considered an IoT leader and provides a one-stop-shop service for cellular modules. There are more than 100 million devices in the world that contain at least one Quectel module. The rate doubles every year. The company provides a wide range of 4G modules in CAT1 to CAT20 categories, in various configurations of MiniPCIE, LGA and M.2. Quectel also launched a series of two 5G families for Sub 6G and for mmWave, based Qualcomm processors.

GNSS and Smart Modules

Quectel provides a variety of GNSS products, including High Precision Location and Timing, Dead Reckoning, Multi-frequency receivers, Multi-constellation support, Raw Data and more. It includes also Android and Linux-based complete modules (Qualcomm processors, RAM, Flash, Cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth). The modules come with a software platform that simplifies and shortens development time and reduces the total cost of design.

Service in Israel

Quectel operates a local office that provides direct response and consulting, planning, sales and testing services tailored to the communications service providers demands around the world.

Shiratech development boards with Quectel cellular modules

In the coming weeks, Arrow Israel will provide, free of charge, some of the boards developed by Shiratech, which include the modules of Quectel. This includes one of the following boards:

For more information on Quectel’s solutions and to obtain a development board – contact Arrow’s Field Application Engineer Ofir Czyzewski or to Arrow’s FAE team.

Microsoft Acquires CyberX to strengthen Azure’s IIoT

Photo above: CyberX’ CEO Omer Schneider (left) and the CTO Nir Giller

Microsoft announces it is acquiring CyberX from Herzliya, Israel, to help solve IoT security and IoT security monitoring challenges in Mocrosoft’s cloud service, Azure. CyberX will complement the existing Azure IoT security capabilities, and extends to existing devices including those used in industrial IoT, Operational Technology and infrastructure scenarios.

The announcement came four months after CyberX Announces Integration with Microsoft Azure Security Center for IoT. The combination of CyberX’s agentless security platform and Azure Security Center for IoT provides comprehensive IoT device protection and zero trust security for organizations seeking to reduce risk from enterprise IoT threats as well as from industrial IoT, Smart Buildings, Smart Retail, and more.

CyberX provides industrial cybersecurity platform for continuous, non-invasive risk assessment and M2M anomaly detection inside ICS and SCADA systems. The company was founded in 2013 by Omer Schneider and Nir Giller, both veterans of an elite IDF cybersecurity unit charged with securing Israel’s national critical infrastructure. CyberX has successfully deployed its continuous ICS threat monitoring and risk mitigation platform in Global 2000 enterprises across critical infrastructures, including energy & utilities, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, oil & gas, and manufacturing.

In a message to employees in the company’s blog, Omer Schneider and Nir Giller wrote that the move enables a unified IT/OT security. “We’ll be part of the business unit managed by Yuval Eldar, Microsoft GM of IoT Security, and in worldwide sales, we’ll be working with the Cybersecurity Solutions Group (CSG).” CyberX’ platform, XSense, acts as an invisible layer that covers the operational technology network, modeling it as a state machine.

Once plugged in, XSense commences the Collection stage: It performs Deep Packet Inspection and extracts the devices of the network, and the different patterns that are used and operational processes. Than it begins the analysis stage: XSense constructs the network’s State Machine during learning mode and once in operational mode, it knows whenever the Network is in each particular state.

Once a new state is introduced, a classification process takes place. Based on multiple signals that are fed into the XSense algorithm, during the Collection and Analysis stages, XSense determines whether the new state is malicious or operational. Than the a definition of a new state as malicious or operational generates an alert that is delivered in real-time to the network operator.

I.D. Systems to Acquire Pointer Telocation for $140 Million

It is not clear whether this is a merger or an acquisition, but the bottom line is clear: The provider of wireless M2M solutions for managing assets and vehicles, I.D. Systems from New Jersey, is paying $140 million for the Israeli based Pointer Telocation. Pointer provides Wireless solutions and cloud-based software platform for Mobile Resource Management (MRM). Its annual 2018 sales reached $77.8 million, compared to $53 million of I.D. Systems.

The acquisition will be effected through a holding company structure: I.D. Systems and Pointer will each become wholly-owned subsidiaries of the newly-created PowerFleet, Inc., which is expected to be dual listed on Nasdaq and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The transactions will be funded through a combination of a $50 million convertible preferred equity investment by Abry Partners and a $30 million debt financing by Bank Hapoalim (Israel).

The Acquisition expected to close in the Summer of 2019. Following the approval, I.D. Systems CEO, Chris Wolfe, and CFO, Ned Mavrommatis, are to lead the combined company with Pointer CEO, David Mahlab, to serve as CEO International. Pointer CFO, Yaniv Dorani will serve as Deputy to CEO International. “The acquisition combines our product leadership in North America with Pointer’s technology and broad international footprint,” said Wolfe.

Mahlab (photo above) said the deal is about to increase Pointer’s penetration in North America, “as well as expand our share of the global multi-billion-dollar IoT telematics market.” Today Pointer Telocation is engaged in a  technological collaboration with Microsoft Israel, building an AI system for modeling and understanding driver behavior. The system will learn based on the large volume of driver behavior data collected by Pointer historically as well as on an ongoing basis. The analysis will be performed using Microsoft Azure cloud.

Pointer’s goal is to build a predictive system for driver behavior. The system will be able to forecast those drivers which are more likely to be involved in a future road accident in light of the way they drive and their history. It will also be able to indicate which component of their driving needs improving, in order to reduce their risks

NanoLock and Micron Co-developed Flash Security

NanoLock Security and Micron Technology, will be demonstrating a Flash-to-Cloud management solution for security in Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices. The combined solution provides secure updates and protection of IoT devices with Micron’s Authenta Technology embedded in flash memory devices. The combination of NanoLock Security’s platform with Authenta, enable strong Flash-to-Cloud integrity and protection from the production line to field deployment, and after the device’s end of life, while consuming virtually zero computing and power resources.

“This emphasizes the universal need for trusted management with enhanced security in IoT devices,” said Yoni Kahana, VP of customers for NanoLock. “A secure channel between end devices and the cloud, and the ability to seamlessly manage that channel simplifies IoT deployments and simultaneously provides a revenue stream for customers.” The demonstration will take place at Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona.

At electronica 2018 in Munich, NanoLock and Winbond demonstrated end-to-end security solution to IoT devices such as automotive ECUs/MCUs, cameras, ICS solutions and routers. The OS/CPU agnostic solution guarantees flash-to-cloud integrity and mutual protection during regular operations and firmware-over-the-air (FOTA) updates.

NanoLocks MoT (Management of Things) platform updates, controls and monitors connected devices, while its FOTALock Management platform secures the FOTA (Firmware Over the Air) updates. The company was founded in 2016 by seasoned industry executives. Among them the CEO Eran Fine, previously the Founder and CEO of OREE which was sold to Diogano.  Erez Kreiner¸ co-founder and Senior Cyber Advisor of NanoLock, served as Director of Israel’s National Cyber Security Authority for more than five years. In this role he was was responsible for preventing cyber-attacks on Israel’s critical infrastructures and assets.