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Category: RFID, Automated Data Collection, and Internet of Things

RFID, AIDC and IoT News Round Up for May 9, 2018


Impinj Sees Big Quarterly Loss, but Stock Price Up After Bullish Comments from CEO; Google Making Progress with Operating System for IoT that Promises Better Security; China's Waltonchain Makes More Bold Claims about its RFID and Blockchain Technololgy

May 9, 2018
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Below are SCDigest's picks for the top stories this week on RFID, automatic data collection and IoT.

Impinj Sees Big Quarterly Loss, but Stock Price Up After Bullish Comments from CEO

We have been following the interesting fate of the stock price of RFID tag and reader maker Impinj since it went public in mid-2016.

At its IPO, Impinj opened at a price of $14.00 per share. From there, the stock price headed generally higher through July of 2017, when it reached more than $49 per share, more than triple the IPO price.

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What's more, Waltonchain say RFID ICs "will become the main battlefield for science and technology competition between countries.

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Unfortunately for shareholders, it has been mostly downhill from there, with the stock price falling back to about $22.00 per share at the start of 2018.

But on Feb. 1 of this year, the bottom fell out, as Impinj's stock price dropped another $10 a share to just $12 and change – putting it below the IPO price.

Now Impinj has released its Q1 earnings – and the results were not good.

Revenue in the quarter was $25.1 million, versus $31.7 million in Q1 2017. The company lost $14.4 million in its Q1 – that's quite a large sum on $25 million in revenue - compared with a more modest loss of $2.1 million last year.

Even though losses are rising and the company recently closed offices, resulting in a 9% reduction in its workforce, Impinj CEO Chris Diorio indicated that things are starting to turn a corner.

"Based on team execution, enhanced partner inventory visibility and positive bookings trends we believe we are on track to make the first half of 2018 the turning point for our business," said Diorio in the eanrings release.

Wall Street liked that sentiment. Shares of Impinj, were up more than 4% on the day of the news, and ended trading on Wednesday at $17.40, now again (barely) above its IPO price.

Is this a good time to get back into Impinj stock? Maybe – but not for the faint of heart on the children's college fund.

Google Making Progress with Operating System for IoT that Promises Better Security

If Google has its way, more of your smart home products based on the Internet of Things (IoT) will be powered by its latest take on Android.

Google says that Android Things, an operating system optimized for IoT gadgets, is now out of its beta release. The tech giant made the announcement on Monday as it prepares to host thousands of developers at the company's annual Google I/O conference.

It has taken Google awhile to get here. The operating system is essentially a reduced version of Android that was first announced in 2015, known then as Brillo.

Android Things aims to streamline the development of connected device applications so that developers and product companies can release Iot-enabled or "smart" new products more quickly, but importantly also keep them secure, a huge issue with IoT currently.

Android Things aims to solve these security issues by off-boarding the responsibility to Google, which will update the gadgets' software over the Cloud.

In a blog post this week, Google said free stability fixes and patches for Android Things will last for three years to any vendors who develop using the operating system's "long-term support version."
What happens after three years isn't clear.

Despite that, interest in Android Things appears to be gaining some traction among developers. Google said an earlier preview version of Android Things had more than 100,000 software development kit downloads.

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In addition, several vendors have already built products using the beta version of the software. LG, for instance, incorporated Android Things into a new smart speaker model, while Lenovo installed it into a "smart display" device similar to Amazon's Echo Show.

Can Google solve the IoT security issue? It will be worth a lot if it can.

China's Walton Chain Makes More Bold Claims about its RFID and Blockchain Technololgy

We've reported briefly before on the unusual news coming out of a Chinese company called Waltonchain that continues to claim breakthroughs in RFID chip technology, somehow connected to the development of blockchain applications.

The company is named for Charlie Walton, one of the early inventors of RFID technology.

A new press release from the company this week says that "The existing RFID chip industry cannot meet the needs of IoT development," adding that "there are few options available, while the prices are high; the transmission power and stability need to be improved; the reception sensitivity is low; the anti-interference ability is poor."

SCDigest says "Tell us what you really think.

To solve these problems, Waltonchain has developed what is call the VIoT concept. It says it "has devoted itself to the R&D of RFID tag IC and reader IC suitable for blockchain technology applications. The ICs are characterized by the integrated encryption and decryption acceleration module based on the existing RFID technology and a communication interface protocol suitable for blockchain technology applications."

If that isn't enough, Waltonchain says its approach will solve the following problems in blockchain technology application:

• Each tag does not need to store node data and is responsible for signature verification only

• Hardware automatically generates random public keys and private keys to ensure the security of IoT applications, to ensure that the tag is unique, authentic and tamper-resistant

• Tags can reduce the amount of information stored to solve the problem of blockchain overloading with large amounts of data in IoT applications

• Hardware acceleration can solve the problem of slow encryption and decryption with the asymmetric encryption technology

• Tags can help truly achieve the decentralization of property management and asset management to make the data tamper-resistant.

What's more, Waltonchain say RFID ICs "will become the main battlefield for science and technology competition between countries, thus contributing to the development of a brand-new, trustworthy, completely open and traceable world," and that it is "determined to create a business ecosystem integrating blockchain with IoT."

A company that is going to change the world or delusions of grandeur? We'll find out soon enough.

Any Feedback on this week's top stories? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.


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