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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”

FiRaConsortiumLogo.

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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Hanwha Group acquires shares of Samsung Techwin

An agreement has been signed which will see the controlling shareholders of Samsung Techwin (including Samsung Electronics, Samsung C&T and other Samsung Group affiliates) sell their holding stakes in Samsung Techwin to the Hanwha Group.

“Hanwha Group’s investment in Samsung Techwin will enable us to continue researching, designing and developing innovative market-leading solutions that will create new business opportunities and ensure our future growth,” said Jong Wan Lim, managing director of the Security Solutions division at Samsung Techwin Europe Ltd.

“Customers can be assured that it’s ‘business as usual’ and that there will be absolutely no disruption to the supply of products or to the normal high levels of pre- and post-sales support that our customers have come to expect from Samsung Techwin.”

The controlling shareholders of Samsung Techwin (including Samsung Electronics, Samsung C&T and other Samsung Group affiliates) are to sell their holding stakes in Samsung Techwin to the Hanwha Group

The controlling shareholders of Samsung Techwin (including Samsung Electronics, Samsung C&T and other Samsung Group affiliates) are to sell their holding stakes in Samsung Techwin to the Hanwha Group

The transaction is expected to be completed during the first half of 2015, subject to approval from anti-trust regulatory authorities in relevant jurisdictions.

Founded in 1952, the Hanwha Group is a global leader in a broad range of businesses spanning the spectrum of manufacturing, construction, finance, services and the leisure industry. Taken together, the Group’s 52 domestic and 90 overseas affiliates provide a multitude of customers around the globe with premier products and services.

In 2013, the Hanwha Group achieved total revenues of US$35.13 billion while its assets were valued at approximately US$117.4 billion.

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