Tag Archives: Bluetooth

Key industry players join forces to establish FiRa Consortium focused on Ultra-Wideband technology

Recognising the need for emerging applications to build on a strong foundation that supports interoperability among all categories of devices, sponsor members prominent in the spheres of access, secure connectivity and mobile/CE device solutions – namely the ASSA ABLOY Group (which includes HID Global and NXP Semiconductors), Samsung Electronics and Bosch –  have announced the launch of the FiRa Consortium.

The new coalition is designed to grow the Ultra-Wideband (UWB) ecosystem such that new use cases for fine ranging capabilities can thrive, ultimately setting a new standard in seamless user experiences. Sony Imaging Products & Solutions, LitePoint and the Telecommunications Technology Association are the first companies to join the newly-formed organisation.

The FiRa name, which stands for ‘Fine Ranging’, highlights UWB technology’s ability to deliver “unprecedented accuracy” when measuring the distance or determining the relative position of a target. Notably so in challenging environments, UWB technology outperforms other technologies in terms of accuracy, power consumption, robustness in RF connection and security “by a wide margin”

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Charlie Zhang, chair of the FiRa Consortium and vice-president of engineering at Samsung Electronics, stated: “As an industry consortium, we believe UWB technology can transform the way in which people experience connectivity. We’re very much committed to the widespread adoption of interoperable UWB technologies.”

IEEE Standard 802.15.4/4z in focus 

The starting point for UWB technology is the IEEE Standard 802.15.4/4z, which defines the essential characteristics for low data rate wireless connectivity and enhanced ranging. It’s the aim of the FiRa Consortium to build on what the IEEE has already established by developing an interoperability standard based on the IEEE’s profiled features, defining mechanisms that are out of scope of the IEEE standard and also pursuing activities that support rapid development of specific use cases. 

The capabilities of UWB promise to make it an essential technology in many areas, among them:

*Seamless access control UWB can identify an individual’s approach towards or away from a secured entrance, verify security credentials and let an authorised individual pass through an entrance without physically presenting the credential

*Location-based services UWB offers highly precise positioning, even in congested multi-path signal environments, thereby making it easier to navigate large venues such as airports and Shopping Centres or find a car in a multi-story parking garage. It also enables targeted digital marketing campaigns and foot traffic data. Retailers can present customised offers, Government agencies can tailor their notifications and entertainment venues can personalise recommendations during events

*Device-to-Device (Peer-to-Peer) services By providing precise relative distance and direction between two devices, UWB lets devices find the relative location of each other even without infrastructures such as anchors or access points. This allows people to easily find one another in crowded spaces or find items even when they’ve been placed in hidden areas

Use with other wireless technologies

Due to its low power spectral density, UWB offers little-to-no interference with other wireless standards, so it’s well suited for use with other wireless technologies including Near Field Communication (NFC), Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

There are also adjacent markets that leverage UWB in other ways, especially automotive. “The FiRa Consortium’s commitment to a complete ecosystem means we will work with other consortia and industry players to develop approaches and define parameters,” explained Charles Dachs, vice-chair of the FiRa Consortium and general manager at NXP Semiconductors.

FiRa Consortium members will have the chance to influence industry trends, gain early access to technical details, certify interoperable products, expand the UWB ecosystem and share expertise. Ramesh Songukrishnasamy, director and treasurer of the FiRa Consortium and CTO of HID Global, commented: “We encourage anyone from any relevant industry area who has a vested interest in the success of UWB to join us and contribute to the Consortium’s work.”

*To learn more about the FiRa Consortium and the benefits of membership visit www.firaconsortium.org

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HID Global launches cloud platform to help create “worldwide innovation ecosystem” for connected workplaces

Trusted identity solutions specialist HID Global has announced the availability of its HID Origo cloud platform that “opens a brand new world of opportunities” for partners to create more seamless and intuitive workplace experiences built on HID’s proven access control infrastructure.

The platform combines HID’s technologies for mobile IDs (and location services in the future) with the company’s expansive access control architecture to bring together physical security and a wide range of building applications, services and Internet of Things (IoT) use cases via a unified cloud experience.

“HID Origo lays the foundation for a broad ecosystem of cloud-based access control technologies, products, services and business models that will accelerate workplace innovation,” said Hilding Arrehed, vice-president of cloud services within the Physical Access Control division at HID Global. “This solution dramatically increases our partners’ capabilities to create more connected and seamless building experiences for end users. The platform removes integration barriers between access control systems and smart building applications. We’ll continue to expand its value with capabilities that further improve how people securely move through a facility and interact with its services.”

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The new platform provides an app-based innovation model that delivers a comprehensive suite of integration, enablement, developer tools and services geared towards simplifying how partners and a growing community of new developers and resellers bring access control solutions to market. Rather than requiring that entire solutions be developed and enabled one customer or site at a time, HID Origo makes it possible to develop new applications and integrated solutions for HID’s complete installed base of millions of access control devices and systems all at once.

How HID Origo works

The HID Origo platform embeds cloud connections and IoT functionality as app extensions into mobile devices, HID readers and controllers, and gives developers direct access to this hardware via HID Origo application programming interfaces and software developer kits already proven through HID’s mobile access solution.

The platform also enables data analytics to be used for new capabilities, including remote reader configuration, predictive access control system maintenance and intent detection for more seamless and personalised workplace experiences.

Enabling new business models

Today, the platform enables subscription-based services, with customers already taking advantage of the model’s simplicity. Examples include a deployment by a world-leading biotechnology company who has been an early adopter of HID Origo subscription services for ordering and managing mobile ID replenishment over the air when employees lose or must replace their smart phones.

The company has replaced its traditional access control readers with 2,300 Bluetooth-enabled iCLASS SE readers to support its mixed environment of 12,000 mobile IDs and 40,000 Seos ID cards.

The subscription billing model offered through HID Origo makes it easier for the company to order and manage mobile IDs while improving forecasting, budgeting and reporting. It also actively streamlines transferring mobile ID subscription licenses across employees and registering multiple mobile IDs across multiple devices without any additional cost.

Click here to learn more about HID Origo.

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Johnson Controls introduces C•CURE Go Install App from Software House

Johnson Controls has announced the introduction of the C•CURE Go Install App for use with the Software House iSTAR Ultra LT. The new App provides a more efficient and convenient means of configuring or updating information on the iSTAR Ultra LT controller without having to physically access the unit.

Working with an embedded Bluetooth antenna that can be turned on and off remotely to ensure network security, end users simply log into the C•CURE Go Install App to perform a host of tasks, including configuring the network settings on the controller, rebooting the device and checking its status.

The App is ideal for use with iSTAR Ultra LT controllers that are difficult to access for manual configuration, such as those units located high above doorways or perhaps behind ceiling tiles.

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The password-protected App works for end users within range of the controller, including in-house security staff, integrators or system installers. Using the App replaces having to make changes on or check status directly from the controller.

“Using the C•CURE Go Install App with the iSTAR Ultra LT minimises the disruption that can be caused by having to access the controller itself,” said Rafael Schrijvers, access control product marketing manager (EMEA) within the Building Technologies & Solutions business at Johnson Controls.

“Increasingly, there are applications, such as hospitals with sealed ceilings, where physical access to the controller just isn’t feasible. Using the intuitive App to perform myriad tasks provides a more efficient option.”

*For more information on the C•CURE Go Install App for use with the iSTAR Ultra LT visit http://www.swhouse.com

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“Wireless security skills need to prepare for the IoT age” urges SANS Institute

The proliferation of new wireless communication technologies within consumer electronics and smart devices is overtaking the skills harboured within the information security industry. That’s the considered opinion of Larry Pesce, a leading expert in the field and a SANS Institute instructor.

“There’s a great deal of disparity between the security of the different wireless standards, and particularly so when you compare the 802 family that were predominately built for business use and emerging technologies that came from the consumer landscape such as Bluetooth, Zigbee and Z-Wave,” explained Pesce, who co-authored the books entitled ‘Linksys WRT54G Ultimate Hacking’ and ‘Using Wireshark and Ethereal’.

“For example, Bluetooth has some solid maths around encryption, but many of the security decisions are left in the hands of the users which means things can go horribly wrong. Zigbee has a poor design for how it handles passphrase and replay packets which are highly vulnerable, while security in some of the proprietary formats like Z-Wave offers almost non-existent security.”

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Pesce, who also develops real-world challenges for the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defence Challenge, is complementary about newer wireless protocols such as 802.15.4 and Zigbee which uses baseline profiles to help deliver enhanced security, but comments: “The technology is probably ahead of the skill sets out in the field. The problem is also somewhat underestimated.”

Pesce also highlights the privacy issues that wireless-enabled devices are starting to hit against. “If we look forward, a large number of devices in the workplace and the home will be wirelessly enabled and communicating autonomously between each other and back to manufacturers. Unless more consideration is given towards securing both the devices and the communication links, there are likely to be breaches that will burrow into this Internet of Things infrastructure and start to gather private information or act as a staging post for more damaging attacks.”

Wireless Ethical Hacking, Penetration Testing and Defences

Pesce will be teaching the SANS course SEC617: Wireless Ethical Hacking, Penetration Testing and Defences at SANS London in July. The hands-on course takes an in-depth look at the security challenges of many different wireless technologies, exposing students to wireless security threats through the eyes of an attacker.

Using readily available and custom-developed tools, students navigate through the techniques attackers use to exploit Wi-Fi networks, including attacks against WEP, WPA/WPA2, PEAP, TTLS and other systems.

The course also examines the commonly overlooked threats associated with Bluetooth, ZigBee, DECT and proprietary wireless systems.

“We’re at a crossroads from a standards perspective,” concluded Pesce. “The vendors are still mostly obsessed with ‘bigger and faster’, but there’s also increased pressure from a privacy perspective and many are having a hard time figuring it out. For information security professionals, the skills needed to secure these new types of wireless connections are in high demand.”

*More information on SANS London Summer 2016 is available at: http://www.sans.org/london-in-the-summer-2016

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Norbain announces arrival of latest Seos Profile range from HID

Norbain has announced the launch of HID’s latest Seos technology, which now includes the ability to use mobile devices for secure access and efficiently manage multiple applications.

The new range consists of the following components:

HID Seos Profile Readers

The latest readers in the SE Portfolio. The readers use the Seos platform which offers the simplest configuration and Best in Class security and privacy protection. Additionally, the readers are available to be used with HID Mobile Access.

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HID Mobile Access

Allows the user to download an app to their smart phone and take advantage of either NFC or Bluetooth to communicate with the reader and allow entry. The system is seamless to set up and install, offering the next generation in access control. The app can be downloaded via the Apple app store or Google Play (Android).

iClass Seos Cards

Based on the latest technology from HID Global, Seos cards work seamlessly out of the box with Seos Profile readers and offer Best in Class security and privacy. The cards represent the perfect solution for environments where multiple legacy reader technologies are in place and the move to advanced, more secure technology is desired.

Anne Wesley, product marketing manager for access control at Norbain, commented: “Products in HID’s new Seos range of readers and cards allow end users to advance to the more secure technology now being offered. With products that can seamlessly integrate into legacy systems, this allows end user customers to not only manage the move into more advanced security, but also upgrade security at a pace that’s suitable for their budget.”

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