We recently had the chance to speak with Kevin Kim, Vice President of Rainus America, a South Korean-based company focused on elevating the retail experience using digital technology. The company’s smart retail solutions allow retailers to update their prices in real time, maximizing retailers’ efficiency and simplifying customers’ shopping experiences with personalized and convenient digital solutions. Customers can also engage with Rainus’ touch display technology in-store. In the interview below, Kevin shares insight on the company’s products and where he anticipates growth for Rainus and the industry in the coming years.
How long has Rainus been on the market?
Rainus was founded in Seong-Nam, South Korea in 2014. We are one of the fastest-growing companies in the world, specializing in electronic shelf label (ESL) technology. Seong-Nam is about five miles south of Seoul, in an area referred to as the “Silicon Valley of Korea.” We set up our first international office in Switzerland, Europe, in 2015 and opened the second one in Tokyo, Japan due to our international business growth. The third one will be in the United States and will open in October of 2020.
Tell us about your products
One of our primary products is InforTab, which is our e-paper display product line. InforTab is a full graphic label based on customized wireless technology and brings huge benefits to retailers such as price automation, store efficiency, accurate pricing, operation cost savings, and additional functions like dynamic pricing. Another product line of ours is called InforTab+ & InforTab+ Touch, a bar-type display suitable for the digital shelf. InforTab+ & InforTab+ Touch can take today's retail store to the next level. This technology can deliver not only price information, but also advertisements via diverse multimedia formats and has a touch display functionality, enabling interaction with shoppers for more customer engagement. InforTab+ & InforTab+ Touch will eventually function as the real-time interaction between the customer and retailer via touch, visuals, and voice, and we have a clear roadmap for making this happen.
We offer a single platform that connects all our product lines. InforTab, InforTab+, and InforTab+ Touch are IoT devices and work with our access points for data transmission. Information to be displayed is fed to the InforTab platform from the customer's legacy system, then transmitted to the Rainus devices whenever necessary. Our network system is very secure, accurate, and robust, ensuring fast data transmission and the widest coverage possible for big organizations.
Most of our customers are grocery retailers, though we are seeing growing demand across other sectors, such as drug stores, health and beauty, and consumer electronics. The common issue retailers are currently encountering is a store inefficiency. Price changes for all products in a store take at least a couple of days with a conventional method. Also, a price mismatch between the Point of Sale system and a paper label is another pain-point for retailers. With InforTab, prices of products can be automatically changed in real-time, which brings operational excellency to stores. The ESL providers are trying to improve it’s the technology’s accuracy and robustness. At Rainus, our core technology uses a concentric network system with a minimum infrastructure cost and a maximum number of ESLs, providing the highest level of accuracy and robustness within the industry.
How do your products differ from others on the market?
We take a lot of pride in the high performance of InforTab's advanced architecture. This capability sets us apart from others in the market. Recent benchmarks with potential customers in Japan continue to prove our leadership in performance. For example, after several rounds of an intense performance test, a leading electronics retailer selected us as a sole ESL provider, where we then successfully deployed 200,000 ESLs in a single store, which is record-breaking in our industry. At this time, no other company can support this many ESLs with the lowest server specification.
From a shopper's perspective, they can see the right price and information at the right time. Near Field Communications (NFC) embedded InforTab gives an enhanced customer experience by allowing them to use their mobile phones. Tapping phones on InforTab can link shoppers to product details or reviews on their own phones.
Why did you decide to use Silicon Labs?
Silicon Labs has cutting-edge technology and is known as a leader within the industry. We are currently using the Silicon Labs FG22 Series 2 Wireless 2.4 GHz SoC. We are very happy with the performance capabilities of the wireless solution and the excellent Silicon Labs technical support we have received throughout our product design life cycle.
How do you see your company evolving in the next 5 years?
Our company initially started out focused on ESL, and there is no question our ESL solution is our primary business. As demands grow in other sectors along with retail, we expect to see more opportunities to integrate smart retail technologies. We have a lot of R&D and partnership activities underway as we see the growth potential for a transition to a broader IoT business. Many people are talking about digital transformation, yet we are seeing huge changes in retail right now. Smart retail technology will play a much greater role in people’s shopping experiences in the future. Many consumers and businesses have yet to imagine the new conveniences and operational gains to be experienced by digitalization. Rainus is excited to be involved in such a rapidly changing industry and we see smart retail technologies evolving into all types of retail environments in the future.
To learn more about how our FG22 Series 2 SoC optimizes retail ESL technology, check out our Rainus case study.
On a family ski trip Peter Celinski unexpectedly found himself negotiating his way down an expert trail, when suddenly he became aware of the need for a hands-free way to communicate with his more experienced companions – which happened to be his young children. This was the catalyst for Milo, and as its founder and CEO, Peter is setting out to provide outdoor sports enthusiasts with something they’ve never had before – hands-free group communication. He describes Milo as an “action communicator,” and it’s the first fully integrated communication device designed specifically for outdoor adventure sports. It’s also the first device of its kind to integrate audio and network connectivity, which means no Wi-Fi or cellular connection is necessary.
2020 has incentivized many of us to take to the great outdoors as a way to socialize at a socially acceptable distance, but who wants to yell at each other over the crashing waves or risk taking our hands off the handlebars so we can push a button on a walkie-talkie? Milo offers a way to speak to others in your group without pushing any buttons or yelling over the action. The networking functionality also allows Milo devices to create their own mesh network, making it possible for up to 16 people to communicate with each other at a range of up to 600 meters, with a low latency, high quality voice experience. That range can be extended further with Milo devices making it possible for transmission to hop from one device to another.
Peter has spent three years developing his idea, and the Kickstarter he launched in support of Milo is dramatically outperforming expectations. In fact, Peter has taken orders for nearly 10,000 units and expects to begin shipping by the end of the year – just in time for ski season. There were two key challenges Peter needed to overcome to deliver on his vision: high quality audio and reliable connectivity. Being able to hear everyone in the group clearly while careening down a hill on a mountain bike required paying a great deal of attention to the acoustic design, including microphone placement and the audio processing algorithms that suppresses background noise. The second critical element he knew he had to get right was the proprietary mesh networking protocol, which he’s nicknamed “Milo Net Protocol.” The team developed the custom protocol with the explicit goal of bringing reliable voice distribution in dynamic conditions.
Peter invested a lot of time evaluating a range of radio options from various vendors with an eye on performance, low power, and flexibility – all of the elements that would be necessary create a great user experience. Ultimately, the Silicon Labs Flex Gecko SoC was selected because of its ability to deliver on these three requirements.
On Tuesday, October 27th, we’re excited to team up with global technology researchers at Omdia to explore some of the challenges facing smart building development. Ross Sabolcik, Silicon Labs’ Vice President and GM, Industrial and Commercial IoT Products, will be joined by Senior Vice President of Digital Lighting Networks at Acuity, Trevor Palmer, and Omdia’s David Green as they discuss the what needs to happen to deliver on the promise of smart buildings and the importance energy monitoring will play.
Attendees will learn how wireless connectivity will be one of the key drivers to the workforce emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, through the adoption of flexible solutions that make it possible to return to the workplace. These same developments will feature applications, including predictive maintenance, occupancy sensors, and HVAC/lighting remote monitoring, that address the number one end-user goal for smart buildings – energy efficiency.
Key topics of discussion will include:
Register for the 45-minute session here, and be sure to stick around for the live Q&A immediately following the conversation.
Thread is at the heart of the most important IoT convergence initiatives. In the smart home ecosystem, we have seen Project Connected Home over-IP focus on Thread and Wi-Fi first. The Project is a unifying platform for the smart Home backed by Google, Apple, Amazon and Comcast and many other leading technology companies with the primary goal of increasing compatibility among smart home products to enable more innovative solutions by IoT developers. And in the smart building space, we have seen IP-BliS an industry coalition that aims to raise awareness to the value IP networks can bring to the smart building space, promote Thread as one of their core protocols. So, Why is Thread getting all the attention and what is OpenThread?
Thread is an IP-based, secure, low power, mesh network protocol. The secret ingredient in this recipe is the combination of IP and low power. Thread brings IP to low-power devices securely and reliably. Being low-power and IP-based means that Thread enables your coin cell powered smart home electronics to operate with the same security protocols that you use (and trust) for your banking transactions. Thread tackles a unique problem in the smart home and building ecosystem – bringing the Internet to low-power devices.
Thread compliments the battery-powered wireless protocols with IP capability.
From an ecosystem convergence standpoint, a significant benefit of Thread is that it can support various application layers. This is because Thread abstracts all the networking under IP. To Thread, all application-layer transactions are merely IP traffic, which allows a good deal of flexibility and fluidity. Developers can start using Thread today and change the application layer later when needed, without having to upgrade or change the whole software stack.
Thread implementation, OpenThread, is open source, meaning when you use Thread, you get all the power of a community of developers working together to perfect the software stack. This gives you the bandwidth to focus on innovation rather than the basics. It also means that you can actively contribute to the code base.
Based on its features and reliable implementation, demand for Thread has been increasing and will likely continue to grow. Thread has the potential to become the IP layer that glues the IoT together.
Getting Started with Thread
You can start developing smart home and smart building solutions with Thread on the EFR32 series today. EFR32MG21A/B is our highest integrated Thread-certified part. And because everyone should be prioritizing security in their IoT solutions, EFR32MG21B supports SecureVault technology, which enables you to protect user data from hacks all the way down to the chip level.
Developing wireless networks can be tough, and this is why we provide an incredible suite of developer tools in Simplicity Studio. To get started with OpenThread using Simplicity Studio 5.0, watch this incredible demo on OpenThread from the WorksWith 2020 conference.
Project Connected Home over IP won’t officially be released until next year, but to enable our eager and forward-thinking developers, we are already providing demos and use cases for developing CHIP using OpenThread on our EFR32 parts. We are excited to work on making actual solutions using Project Connected Home over IP.
While there are many Thread use-cases, it is still early in its market adoption process, and there will be a direct relationship between IP valuation and Thread adoption. The primary two unification efforts of Connected Home over IP and IP-BLiS put Thread at the core of their implementation. Thread is a future-proof technology. Developers adopting it now should feel safe doing so in a world full of exponential growth and development.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we shop. Retailers have had to scale quickly to move shopping experiences online and keep customers safe, while still providing fast, convenient customer service. Leading retail technology and omnichannel expert and regular contributor to Forbes, Chris Walton, joined Loïc Oumier, Head of Operational & Digital Marketing and Communications at SES-imagotag, and Ross Sabolcik, VP and GM of Industrial and Commercial IoT Products at Silicon Labs for a webinar about how retailers are leveraging wireless technologies already well-established in the industrial space to deliver innovative and engaging customer experiences. Three key takeaways from the webinar are below.
#1: Physical stores must digitize.
Even though retailers are moving online, Chris explains that customers still want to be offered in-store experiences. To meet today's customer demands, retailers must transform their physical stores into true digital assets. Digitization provides multiple benefits to both customers and retailers, including the following:
Additionally, digitization brings all the advantages of e-commerce to the in-store experience, such as access to customer product ratings and reviews and accurate pricing and specification information. None of these options are available with paper label systems. By re-imagining the physical store as a blended solution of online and in-store services, retailers can provide customers with faster, safer and more convenient shopping experiences.
#2: Wireless IoT systems must be multi-value.
When deploying wireless IoT systems in retail, multi-value propositions are crucial. The cost of installing and maintaining a wireless infrastructure can be significant, so the infrastructure must be flexible and able to deploy multiple devices from one platform. Additionally, wireless systems should have more than one use case, benefitting the consumers coming into the store and enabling retail operators to be more efficient.
Electronic shelf labels (ESLs) are an example of a multi-value, multi-use wireless IoT system. ESLs offer all-around-the-store efficiency by providing customers with accurate pricing information and retailers with data capturing and asset tracking services. One of the greatest benefits of an ESL software system is its scalability. All the features of an ESL software system's services, beyond simple price display, can be enabled at a future time without adding infrastructure costs. Retailers should consider what type of capabilities they might want to unlock from a wireless system in the future and whether these features can be deployed from the same platform.
#3: A great customer experience is the omnichannel strategy bottom line.
"Omnichannel" is no longer just a technical term -- it's about customer service. The purpose of an omnichannel strategy is to make the shopping experience safer, more efficient and convenient for the customer, and smart technology makes all of this possible. With interconnected, smart retail systems in place, customers can choose how they want to interact with retailers, whenever and wherever they want.
Cloud commerce, data capture, and location analytics are the foundational components of an effective omnichannel strategy. By seamlessly combining these smart retail systems in holistic ways, retailers can deploy blended solutions that capture and analyze relevant data to anticipate customer needs and meet those demands.
We're Here to Help
As a leading provider of IoT technology, we are uniquely qualified to offer smart retail solutions. Watch the on-demand webinar here and learn more about our smart retail offerings by visiting our website.
Join Silicon Labs for our bi-monthly Power Hour webinar series, where our Power and Isolation experts will discuss trends, topics, and best practices across a wide range of applications. Our industry-leading portfolio of Power and Isolation products will also be featured, and you’ll learn how to utilize these tools to get the most from your designs and speed up time-to-market.
The first topic, Digital isolation 101, is scheduled for Wednesday, October 21, at 9:00 AM CST/16:00 CET. During this session, Senior Product Manager Charlie Ice and Applications Manager Keith Coffey will discuss how the automotive, industrial, and energy industries are being transformed, thanks to advanced digital isolation devices.
All Power Hour webinars are 45 minutes, with a live 15-minute Q&A session. You can sign up for all of the events, or individual sessions here.
|Digital Isolation 101 – Usage, Features, and Portfolio||Wednesday, October 21, 2020|
|IsoDriver 101 – Usage, Features, and Portfolio||Wednesday, November 4, 2020|
|Protecting 24 V Digital Outputs from the Unknown||Wednesday, November 18, 2020|
|IsoDrivers in High Power Inverter Systems||Wednesday, December 9, 2020|
|Powering the Future with PoE||Wednesday, January 13, 2021|
|Reducing Cost with Integrated Isolated Auxiliary Supplies||Wednesday, January 27, 2021|
|Isolated Gate Driver for Power Supply Applications||Wednesday, February 10, 2021|
|Isolated Signal Sensing||Wednesday, February 24, 2021|
|Factories are Dirty–Protecting Industrial PLC Inputs||Wednesday, March 10, 2021|
|Benefits of Functional Safety in Automotive Applications||Wednesday, March 25, 2021|
We’re looking forward to a season of virtual learning to close out 2020 and kick-off 2021, and we hope you’ll join us.
As the world becomes more connected through the Internet of Things (IoT), data security and privacy issues continue to grow more complex. IoT solutions providers need to take the proper steps to protect and secure against new and innovative attacks. Doing so is a must.
Silicon Labs is committed to working with the security community, our customers, and our industry to deliver state-of-the-art technology designed to help protect connected devices. To that end, we created Secure Vault: cutting-edge hardware and software dedicated to securing Internet of Things (IoT) devices against a wide variety of growing and evolving threats.
First launched in September in our Wireless Gecko Series 2 platform, Secure Vault already boasts third-party IoT security certifications from Arm’s PSA Certified program and the ioXt Alliance. Secure Vault features best-in-class security including secure boot based on hardware root of trust, secure debug, physical tamper, secure identity for attestation, and physically unclonable function (PUF) key management technology to significantly reduce the risk of IoT security breaches and compromised intellectual property. Market reception has been enthusiastic.
And now, Secure Vault has earned another significant feather for its cap, winning gold in this year’s LEAP (Leadership in Engineering Achievement Program) Awards Connectivity category. Recognizing Secure Vault as a “new contemporary solution to an ever-evolving problem,” the LEAP Awards’ independent judges panel of 14 engineering and academic professionals recognized just how far Silicon Labs has advanced connected privacy and security.
The annual LEAP Awards celebrate the most innovative and forward-thinking products serving the design engineering space. More than 100 entries were received for this annual competition, which honors the most innovative and forward-thinking products in design engineering.
In a webinar available on replay here, Mike Dow, Senior Product Manager of IoT Security, talks through how security threats have changed and escalated, focusing more than ever on IoT. In addition, government regulations like GDPR in Europe and SB-327 in California have recently been implemented to protect vulnerable data and privacy by placing more pressure on manufacturers to step up security best practices, such as security certifications for IoT devices.
Silicon Labs co-hosted a security regulations workshop with the ioXt Alliance during the 2020 Works With virtual smart home developer conference. The workshop explored the security regulatory landscape, how Secure Vault assists in meeting those regulations, and how the ioXt Alliance is addressing the need for uniform evaluation and certification of the security level of IoT products. A replay of that workshop is available here.
Election Day 2020 is a few weeks away, and early voting in some parts of the country has already begun. In addition to the widely covered presidential race, there are many important state and local races on the ballot. As part of our effort to build a smarter, more connected world, we are once again asking employees to do their civic duty and vote.
Throughout our company history, we have encouraged employees to get involved in their communities. In addition to volunteering, serving on boards, and donating to nonprofit organizations, voting is a crucial way to make an impact and ensure better representation and support for key community issues. To encourage employees to take time to vote, this year we are giving all U.S. employees a paid day off on November 3rd. As always, we recommend employees beat the rush and vote early, if they are able. Because there is an expected shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employees who vote early and feel comfortable doing so may consider using the day off to serve as a poll worker. For our employees who aren’t U.S. citizens, and therefore aren’t able to vote or work the polls, we are asking them to help spread the word about voting to their friends and families.
We know it is our responsibility to be informed, engaged public citizens. In addition to sending voting reminders to employees, we are offering a range of info sessions about the issues that they’ll see on the ballot. At our Austin headquarters, we are hosting virtual sessions with Capital Metro to discuss the Austin transportation bond and Move Texas to share information about statewide races and how to get involved. We’ve compiled a list of resources on our intranet for each of our U.S. sites including voter registration deadlines, early voting dates, polling locations and more. To make it fun and connect with each other internally, we’re also promoting a #getoutthevote campaign on our internal social media channel where employees can share photos of themselves with their “I Voted” stickers.
It is up to all of us to keep our democracy alive by being actively engaged citizens. We are proud to do the right thing and encourage our team to #getoutthevote.
You're invited to attend the upcoming I've Registered to Vote, Now What? webinar hosted by MOVE Texas, Notley Tide & Silicon Labs on October 7th. Topics include:
Click here to sign up.
As consumers, we’ve become accustomed to modern, immersive user experiences – thanks to devices that employ sophisticated human-machine interface (HMI) designs. The same can’t be said, however, about devices used in industrial settings. One of the reasons for this lag is some significant design challenges facing developers. Standard-driven specifications, limitations on the physical size, and controls that may require being fitted to larger installations are a few of these obstacles. Added to these considerations, industrial devices are generally expected to maintain operation in environments where they are subjected to all kinds of stresses for years.
Bluetooth offers a compelling solution to these problems. This month, Silicon Labs is hosting a webinar exploring how it can be leveraged to improve security and reliability and simplify the development process. Silicon Labs Senior Product Managers Parker Dorris and Mikko Niemi will be hosting AMER and EMEA sessions on Wednesday, October 14th at 11 AM CDT and Thursday, October 15th at 3 PM CET, respectively. Senior Field Applications Engineer Aki Mizutani will be hosting a session for Japan on Wednesday, October 28 at 10 AM. They’ll walk through the advantages of Bluetooth and how it can improve future-proofing, security, and reliability. Additionally, they’ll cover how to simplify your Bluetooth design with preprogrammed modules and introduce our latest Xpress module.
Retailers are under more competitive pressure than ever. Faced with escalating shopper expectations and competing for in-store business against the convenience of online browsing, innovating on ways to bring omnichannel experiences to customers is critical. How retail companies harness connectivity to deliver new and engaging experiences will determine how well their brands adapt to the changing landscape. On October 7th, we’re bringing together two of the leading minds in retail to explore some of these challenges.
We're excited to join our friends at Arrow in hosting a conversation on smart retail technology with industry experts Chris Walton and Loïc Oumier. Chris is the former Vice President of Merchandising for home furnishings at Target.com and today serves as the CEO of retail blog Omni Talk. He’s also a regular Forbes contributor where he writes about retail trends and technology. Loïc is head of Operational & Digital Marketing and Communications at SES-imagotag, a global leader in Electronic Shelf Labels and Retail IoT solutions provider.
During this webinar you’ll learn about:
Loïc and Chris will be joined by Silicon Labs’ VP and GM of Industrial and Commercial IoT Products, Ross Sabolcik, and the 1-hour webinar will be moderated by Silicon Labs’ CMO, Megan Lueders. The webinar will be followed by a live Q&A session. Register for the event here.