Composed by 2 Business Units, Softwork Group is focused on design, production and distribution of advanced, IoT-enabling auto-ID technologies, RFID and Bluetooth Low Energy above all: their mission is to create taylor-made RFID or Bluetooth Low Energy architectures. The unit named BluEpyc is focused on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE): Gateway, EchoBeacon (the repeater” of Beacon signals transmitted to the Smart Gateway, ideal for micro-location systems) and Beacon are the components designed and produced by BluEpyc, implemented like an active RFID system: moving people/objects are equipped with tag/Beacons, while fixed readers/Gateways or EchoBeacons are installed in the monitoring areas. RFID Global is the other unit, Value Added Distributor of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and NFC (Near Field Communication) systems: controller, antenna, tag/transponder, mobile computer and add-on device, with a product portfolio of more than 400 components. Interview with Paola Visentin, Marketing & Global Communication at Softwork Group. Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company? Paola Visentin: Whereas hardware is our core mission, we want to create a real, strong value in the applications: by strengthening technical-commercial department, we can offer to our Integrator Partners a wide range of engineering services, from customized design of devices to feasibility studies, from free test in our RFID and Bluetooth LE Testing Center to trainings. Such value-added proposition enables IoT and smart solutions for different market segments: for instance, process automation in industry, logistic, healthcare, as well as traceability products made in Italy (first of all: food, wine, oil, fashion and design). E.E: What’s the news about new products? P.V: Since many years we experience increasingly vertical RFID products, designed and manufactured for specific application needs. I mention just 2 devices: LRU1002X is a robust RFID long-range-reader with a wide range of certifications from the railway sector, which make this device ideal for identifying trains and trams in the context of security and surveillance systems. Paola Visentin, Marketing & Global Communication at Softwork Group MAX.U500i is an UHF vehicle access control reader with integrated antenna and signal light: it’s an ideal stand-alone device for vehicle identification and smart parking access control applications in airports, universities, gated communities and others. E.E: What are the ranges of products? With more than 400 components on catalogue, from tag and Beacon to antenna and reader, from OEM module to gate, from gateway to mobile device, our HF / UHF RFID and Bluetooth LE architectures cover all different application areas: wherever there’s the need to identify, trace and localize people, objects, processes or services. But our product range can grow further, thanks to Engineering Services: if none of the devices on catalogue meet the project need in terms of performance or size, we can design a customized, taylor-made RFID component, no matter if tag/transponder or controller, Beacon or gateway. E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? P.V: We’re mostly active on the domestic market, meaning Italy: after more than 20 years in this context and also thanks to our educational efforts such as seminars (now webinars) and work-shops, we feel that this market is now ripe to understand and adopt these auto-ID technologies, opening the door to advanced innovation. Sure, the Covid wave before and the war in East Europe after have a negative impact on the the market growth: deliveries of electronic components are blocked or very slow, while price increase also due to the energy crisis… E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? P.V: Both technologies proposed by us are constantly evolving: new release, new device or tag/Beacon, as well as middleware developed to better collect and manage big data with an “edge computing” approach follow one another dynamically. Among the newest, the Beacon Wake-up Activator system for Bluetooth LE and the Locfield® antenna for RFID. The first one – designed by BluEpyc – is a hybrid system, which combines two technologies – Low Frequency for data accuracy and Bluetooth Low Energy for data transmission – to better performance in localization and indoor positioning. This system is composed by 2 elements: the Beacon Activator operates in radio transmission technology LF and sends a special activation signal, creating a radio field, a kind of 3D bubble where the signal is received by the special Beacon Wake-up; the other element is the Beacon Wake-up, which collects the data wirelessly (via radio waves) from the Beacon Activator and transmits the Bluetooth LE signal to the EchoBeacon (our Bluetooth LE repeater) or Gateway in the surrounding area. By integrating Bluetooth Low Energy for long-distance detection with Low-Frequency technology, characterized by a precise data acquisition, this system allows proximity identification, with long-range data transmission and wireless configuration: in other words, this architecture is the ideal tool to identify the precise, automatic tracking and exact presence of people and/or objects in the current technological IoT infrastructure, especially in the Industry (process automation and logistic), Smart City and Agrifood, all wirelessly. Another innovative device is the RFID Locfield® antenna, produced by the German manufacturer Feig Electronic and distributed in Italy by RFID Global: it’s a flexible UHF antenna in different lengths for individually tailored RFID reading zones and with special features, such as fast and easy installation, no reflections and interferences, very simple tuning; it can be easily shaped in any form that is needed and is perfectly suitable for metallic environments! E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022? P.V: In terms of turn-over we estimate +20% by the end of 2022: as said, our market recovered from the drop caused by the pandemic of 2020 and the paradigm of Industry 4.0 – enabled also by RFID and Bluetooth LE – seems to be getting stronger. We wish the international context will be quieter in the next future, without all uncertainties generated by the war, the inflation and the energy crisis.