IoT News Roundup

Altierre's new IRIS chip sips energy; Industrial Internet Consortium publishes reference architecture; Wind River announces new app store; survey takes IoT developers' temperature; new hardware reference design from Sierra Wireless.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Jun 19, 2015

Altierre Announces New IRIS Chip for Smart Shelves and More
Altierre, a San Jose, Calif. company whose proprietary 2.4 GHz wireless sensors are used for digital on-shelf price tags and product temperature-tracking systems in retail stores, has announced a new product, a wireless system-on-a-chip called IRIS, that its chairman and CEO, Sunit Saxena, believes will thrust Altierre into many new industries because the Altierre network architecture and air-interface protocol allows for a single Altierre access point to collect data from and transmit data to up to one million IRIS-based sensors.

The IRIS chip contains a radio, a digital control block, an analog-to-digital converter, a microcontroller and a variety of interfaces to external sensors and display controllers. It uses the same proprietary 2.4 GHz RF air interface as past Altierre products but consumes far less energy, which means an Altierre sensor built on the IRIS chip can operate for five to 10 years on a coin-cell battery, depending on how often it transmits data and how many sensor components it supports.

One Altierre access point can communicate with Altierre tags (or sensors, if the tag is utilizing integrated sensors, Saxena says, such those for measuring temperature) in an area up to 50,000 square feet. The access points use a power-over-Ethernet connection to communicate with the customer's Web-based application server, he says, which can reside either onsite or in the cloud, and which manages "all the housekeeping" related to the tag commissioning and data collection. The customer can use standard application program interfaces to pull data into other applications, he adds.

The Altierre air interface can accommodate a mesh-networking protocol, which can extend the range between the tags and access points, but Saxena says no customers have deployed Altierre tags as part of a mesh network. He adds that the new IRIS chip can operate as a Bluetooth Low Energy radio, which means companies could use Altierre tags as they would any Bluetooth beacon.

Altierre is not yet releasing pricing information for the IRIS system-on-a-chip, nor any details about a French retailer that is running a pilot project at a store to test it—aside from noting that the retailer has deployed 65,000 Altierre devices made with the new chip, all of which are read by two Altierre access points.

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