A startup that has created a battery-free Bluetooth sensor tag the size of a postage stamp has pulled in funding from AWS as well as Samsung’s venture capital arm, as excitement grows about the ability of its technology to underpin a low-cost Internet of Things network.
Wiliot already has backing from Qualcomm. It has an R&D hub in Israel and offices in San Diego. It said today it has raised $30 million in a Series B funding round that attracted AWS’s Investment Arm, Samsung Venture Investment Corp. and packing materials specialist Avery Dennison.
The funding follows its demonstration of the first-ever sticker-sized Bluetooth sensor tag incorporating an ARM processor, powered solely by energy scavenged from ambient radio frequencies.
Wiliot Chip: “Dramatic” Change to Product Interactions Looming?
A Wiliot chip glued to a simple antenna printed on plastic or paper can authenticate the proximity of a product by transmitting an encrypted serial number along with weight and temperature data from a device the size of a postage stamp, the company said.
The tags can communicate with any Bluetooth-enabled device.
The company believes the low-cost tags could be used to track products without having to add a dongle with limited battery life.
Wiliot sees use cases in manufacturing (e.g. tracking pallets, improving yield, boosting traceability), distribution (including delivery verification and grey market detection), retail (e.g. triggering interactive media on smartphones) and ownership (automatic replenishment, “regime adherence” and product information).
“We believe that disposable electronics based on battery-free, low-cost systems are the foundation for future IoT systems. We are on the edge of dramatically changing the way products are made, how they are distributed, where and when they are sold, and how they are used and recycled,” said Tal Tamir, Wiliot CEO and co-founder.
“Re-cycling the radiation around us to power sticker-size sensors can enable new ways for consumers to interact with products that were previously not feasible. Products can share when they are picked up, their temperature, or when they need to be replenished. Without batteries or other high-cost components, tags have unlimited power and lifespan, so can be embedded inside of products that were previously unconnected to the Internet of Things,” he added.
Francisco Melo, VP & GM, Global RFID, Avery Dennison, said: “We believe in a future where every item will have a unique digital identity and a digital life, benefiting both consumers and brands, with relevant and contextual information. We see this as an extension to our world-leading RFID solutions, enabling consumers to connect with products through multiple smartphone and IoT devices from end to end.”