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‘We want to become better known for access control’ - Q&A with Bosch Building Technologies’ Gregor Schlechtriem
‘We want to become better known for access control’ - Q&A with Bosch Building Technologies’ Gregor Schlechtriem

Gregor Schlechtriem has worked in the access control market for over 20 years and is now responsible for the Access & Intrusion Business Unit at Bosch Building Technologies. In this interview, the expert talks about key industry trends, the impact of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, technical innovations and his company’s strategy. Mr. Schlechtriem, you have many years of experience in the security technology market. What is your background and what are your responsibilities as Senior Vice President at Bosch Building Technologies? Gregor Schlechtriem: I am a trained engineer and electrical technician, and have been involved with access control in the broadest sense, since I started my career in the late 1980s. I started in the field of parking garage technology and then switched to security technology in 2001, as Managing Director of micos GmbH, which specialised in traditional access control. micos GmbH was known for its highly available and highly secure access control systems, for critical infrastructure and government applications. Many systems from that time are still in use today and continue to be supported and upgraded. Bosch is continuing micos’ business here? Gregor Schlechtriem: Exactly, micos was taken over in 2004 by Bosch Security Systems, now known as Bosch Building Technologies. Since then, we have continuously been developing the access control business. Being part of the Bosch Building Technologies division, we benefit a lot from international cooperation with colleagues Being part of the Bosch Building Technologies division, we benefit a lot from international cooperation with colleagues and from overlap with other product lines, such as intrusion detection technology and video security. This gives us the opportunity to implement outstanding project solutions for demanding customers in an international environment. In developing this business, I rely on my experience from other interesting roles at Bosch that I took on, after micos was bought in 2004. For a time, I worked in the European System Integrator Business, which I also had the privilege of managing for several years, as well as being directly responsible for business units. In Fairport, USA, I had the overall responsibility for intrusion detection technology for many years, as I later did in Eindhoven for video systems. Since 2018, the global access control and intrusion detection business has once again been my direct responsibility. At Bosch Building Technologies, we have in the meantime assigned sales to the respective business units, so that we can develop our product and solution portfolio, in close cooperation with sales and our regular customers. Our main task now is to make our access control portfolio accessible to a broader market. We want to make Bosch much better known, as an access control provider, in the international market. After all, with our own access product portfolio, the power of the Bosch Group and over 40 years of experience in this sector, we have a lot to offer. As an expert in access control, how do you see the industry developing? In which direction is it currently evolving? Gregor Schlechtriem: First of all, I see that security requirements are constantly increasing. Whereas there are currently still simple ‘key replacement systems’ that merely record card numbers, such an approach, to a large extent, no longer meets today’s security and user experience requirements.The core task of access control has not changed over the years In the beginning, access control was more or less a kind of key replacement. Later, there was the possibility of increasing security via a pin code, i.e., via verification through simple data inputs. The next step in this direction was biometrics, which is another key step up, because it allows verification by means of unmistakable characteristics. However, the core task of access control has not changed over all the years and has basically always remained the same: access control means determining who has an access request and checking whether this request can be fulfilled. What’s next on this path to greater security? Gregor Schlechtriem: Biometrics-based access control is becoming increasingly powerful and user-friendly through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Here, data protection plays a major role, as wherever identities are established and movement data is recorded, it is necessary to reconcile the evolving technology with data protection.Biometrics-based access control is becoming increasingly powerful and user-friendly through the use of artificial intelligence The question of data protection is becoming even more significant, as systems increasingly migrate to the Cloud. Bosch puts particular emphasis on ensuring that, even in the cloud, the data generated in access control is always in line with data protection rules, regardless of where it is located. In my opinion, this trend towards the Cloud will continue, because companies are increasingly looking for complete service offerings, so that they can focus on their core business. Also, a system in the Cloud is easier to maintain and always up-to-date with the latest software, which makes cloud solutions even more attractive for providers and users. How can higher security be reconciled with a good user experience? Gregor Schlechtriem: Today, the card still plays a central role in the user experience, as the essential credential. Another current trend is ‘one card for everything’: with the increasing availability of secure multi-function smart cards, the possibility arises to use cards beyond the pure access function, for example, for payment in the canteen, at the catering and coffee machines, and in the parking garage, as well as simple access to other properties and so on.The security of cards has evolved significantly and kept pace with requirements The security of the cards, the reading and encryption processes, has evolved significantly and kept pace with requirements, although we are also facing an installed base that no longer meets these requirements, due to outdated systems. Today, it is standard for communications between reader and card to be encrypted. In some cases, the keys are also only held centrally to further increase security. The security systems industry was also affected by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. How do you think the industry has changed? What technical solutions have emerged during this time? Gregor Schlechtriem: First of all, there is a certain need for retrofitting in the industry due to changes in how buildings are used. For example, American retailers used to be open around the clock and always had staff on site. Now, due to COVID-19, stores are also closed, and this results in a whole new need for intrusion detection and access control systems to protect the buildings. For access control, an obvious task has arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, namely to track contacts, as far as this is compatible with data protection. We actually expected more to happen here, but in our observation, many companies did quite little, despite clear and simple steps that could have been implemented relatively quickly. The installed access control systems clearly lag behind the technical possibilities. Another topic that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into focus is hygiene Another topic that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into focus is hygiene. Companies should actually have invested in contactless systems here and retrofitted speed gates or motorised doors. But in many cases this was not put into practice. The door opener is still often used, which has to be operated manually and therefore, is touched multiple times. But, if everyone presses the same button, that doesn't help hygiene. Surprisingly, this is different in North America. Here, ‘request-to-exit’ proximity detectors are used almost everywhere, which avoids this problem completely and releases the door, when an authorised person approaches it. Mobile access and smartphone-based access control are also growing markets. What kind of developments do you see in these areas? Gregor Schlechtriem: I already mentioned that users increasingly want to be able to use one card for several applications. But, what we are seeing here is that even with the most modern cards, which have a lot of applications loaded on them, we are reaching performance limits and the user experience suffers. If you compare the card with the smartphone as a credential, you have a much more attractive integration platform there, which is significantly faster and delivers much better performance. For us, the mobile credential or the smartphone is the future, because it simply offers more possibilities that the card will not be able to provide in the long term. What is the specific direction Bosch is taking here? Gregor Schlechtriem: We are currently working on a broad implementation. A whole team is working on the user experience around the smartphone, because it’s understood that smartphone-based access has to work just as easily, as it currently does with a card.A whole team is working on the user experience around the smartphone In theory it does, but if you look at some of the actual implementations, this topic is still relatively complex. In terms of user experience and automation, we still have quite a way to go, and we are working hard on that at the moment. The user experience is one side of the coin, the other side concerns establishing security in the smartphone as a whole. In other words: How do I make the smartphone secure enough as a mobile credential, to meet my access control requirements? We are also working intensively on this. That's actually an IT task. Do you do this yourself at Bosch or do you work with external experts here? Gregor Schlechtriem: We have our own powerful Bosch IT, which also manages our company smartphones. If our company smartphones are lost, the data on them is automatically deleted. The devices use biometrics to identify users, before they can access the data. It is a sound security concept that a card cannot offer. Moreover, we are working with other partners in the IDunion project, to create the additional infrastructure around mobile credentials as well. What exactly is the IDunion and what role does Bosch play? Gregor Schlechtriem: Digital identities must be openly accessible, widely usable, interoperable, and secure. This applies not only to access control, but to the digitised economy in general. The IDunion project has set itself the task of creating the infrastructure for this, in the form of an independent wallet, i.e., secure identity storage on smart devices. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWI), because digitisation is also a critical social issue. We are intensively involved in the ‘Physical access to the building’ work package in this consortium. Through this involvement, we want to ensure that our access control systems benefit from this infrastructure and are open to future digital business models. Does ‘digital identity management’, which includes biometrics and mobile access, also play a role for Bosch? Yes, it plays an important role for us, and I wouldn’t consider these topics separate Gregor Schlechtriem: Yes, it plays an important role for us, and I wouldn’t consider these topics separate. For me, a mobile device has the advantage that it has already ensured and verified my identity from the moment of interaction. That’s the fascinating thing about it. If I only allow the device to communicate with the access control system, if I have identified myself first, I have implemented biometrics and access control together in a widely accepted process. From my point of view, this is a very interesting perspective, in terms of security and user experience, because the biometrics procedures in smartphones are, I think, the best currently available. In my view, the smartphone has the potential to take over central functions in access control in the future. What are your goals for the access control business of Bosch Building Technologies in the near future? Gregor Schlechtriem: We will continue to focus on specific solutions for large customers. That is the continuation of our current strategy. In these projects, we will introduce new topics as I have just described, i.e., primarily new technology elements. I believe that, precisely because of the longevity of access control, a long-term migration capability is also of particular importance. We want to reach out to the broader market and make more widely available, what we have developed in terms of technology and innovation. We are currently in the process of setting up and optimising our sales organisation, so that it becomes much more widely known that we at Bosch have our own powerful access control portfolio, which can be used for all kinds of applications. In addition, we want to differentiate ourselves in the market with our systems, in line with the motto of our founder, Robert Bosch: ‘Technology for life’. The user experience with Mobile Access should be simple, straightforward, and secure: You hold your smartphone in front of the reader and the door opens.

Protect physical assets from cyber-attacks
Protect physical assets from cyber-attacks

Recent cyber-attacks have disabled and even shut down physical assets. Robust foundational security and training staff, able to recognise an attack can help mitigate the threat, as ABB’s Rob Putman explains. Edge devices and data analytics As cyber security specialists, we must navigate an ever-changing threat landscape, one that is made even more complex by the increased interconnectivity between Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT), as companies look to leverage edge devices and data analytics, as well as remote connectivity, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the threat surface evolves, the industry must guard against attacks on key physical infrastructure, carried out by a range of malicious actors, including nation states and criminals intent on blackmail. The chemicals sector, a high-value target for cyber-criminals Cyber-criminals view the chemicals sector, as a high-value target, because of the potential cost In 2017, not long after a ransomware attack that targeted Maersk, the world’s largest shipping firm, made the news around the world. Another cyber-attack, this time targeting physical industrial assets, generated fewer headlines, and yet could have resulted in both real, as well as financial, damage. Cyber-criminals view the chemicals sector, as a high-value target, because of the potential cost, both financial and reputational, to the operator, should production be interrupted or stopped entirely. Cyber security vulnerabilities put physical assets at risk The attack in question, a ‘Triton’ custom malware attack on a petro-chemical facility in Saudi Arabia, targeted a safety system, taking over system controllers. Bugs in the code triggered an emergency shutdown, but could have led to the release of toxic and explosive gases. It was a vivid reminder of how cyber security vulnerabilities are increasingly putting companies’ key physical assets at risk. Two more-recent high-profile incidents illustrate my point. In February, a Florida water treatment plant was hacked. The malicious actor remotely accessed the system for three to five minutes, during which time they opened various functions on the screen, including one that controls the amount of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) in the water. The hacker changed the NaOH from about 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million, which could have resulted in a mass poisoning event. Colonial Pipeline cyber-attack incident Then, in May, the Colonial Pipeline system that originates in Houston, Texas and carries gasoline, and jet fuel, suffered a ransomware attack. Using a VPN, hackers targeted back-office IT systems, forcing Colonial to shut down IT hosts and network infrastructure, severing communication with those OT systems that are responsible for communicating ‘transactional data’ associated with fuel delivery. In this instance, a single compromised password disrupted Colonial’s ability to invoice its customers. This dependency on OT data stopped pipeline and business operations, and the company was elected to pay the hackers an initial ransom of US$ 4.4 million, in order to restore operations. The Colonial attack was multi-dimensional, in that it not only impacted Colonial’s business, but also the wider US economy and national security, since the pipeline transports nearly half of the east coast's fuel supplies. Outdated IT system elevates physical risk The increased interconnectivity between IT and OT can also create vulnerabilit Attacks such as these prove that, armed with little more than a laptop, an email account and access to the dark web, determined hackers can cause disproportionate damage to physical infrastructure. As mentioned at the outset, the increased interconnectivity between IT and OT can also create vulnerability. Producers often want to know: Is it risky to connect a production asset or their operational environment to the Cloud? My answer is, if you do so without having done any risk audits around people, processes and technology, or without enhancing and maintaining that environment, then yes, that is risky. For example, we often observe that the life cycle of a production asset far outlasts the IT systems that are used to run it. Take a cement kiln. Several generations of plant operators may have come and gone, but that asset may still run, using legacy software, such as Windows XP and why not? Need to replace aging distributed control systems Well, that’s fine, if you are not concerned about having that asset compromised, and all that entails. A ‘flat’ IT network, an aging distributed control system, and machines with legacy versions of Microsoft Windows, all these elements, which are still commonplace in many industries, make it much easier for attackers to find and infiltrate a company, without needing sophisticated tools. The age-old mantra of not interfering with a piece of equipment or software that appears to be working, often applies to the individual assets. For example that cement kiln that are still controlled by the same Windows XP-based control software. However, if we’re honest, things have changed quite a bit, not because something was broken, but because innovation came in. That same kiln control system is most likely connected to other systems, than when first commissioned and that opens it to exposure to threats that it was never designed for. The human element There is a misconception that IoT-connected devices can open companies to risk There is a misconception that IoT-connected devices can open companies to risk, but many recent, high-profile cyber-attacks have been conducted from a laptop, by hacking someone’s VPN, or are a simple phishing/malware attack. In all these cases, the human element is partly to blame. Take the Florida attack. The compromised computer at the water treatment facility was reportedly running an outdated Windows 7 operating system and staff all used the same password, in order to gain remote access via the Teamviewer app, which the hacker was then able to use. Physical and human assets, key to robust cyber security Discussion on the best way to mitigate the threat is often framed solely around specific technical solutions and ignores the fact that robust foundational cyber security is really driven by two very different, but equally important, types of capital: physical assets (e.g. production machinery), and human assets. The truth is that smart digital software and industry-renowned cyber security applications, while critical, are in many cases, only as good as the weakest human link in the chain. Industry would, therefore, do well to ask itself the following question: Do we have a security problem, or a complacency problem? At this juncture, it is important to point out that the majority of companies that ABB works with, are at least aware of the threat posed by cyber attackers, and the potential impact of an attack, on their revenues, reputation and bottom line. User error and human-generated exposures Making sure staff are aware of the threat and training them to respond properly, if they are targeted, is vital However, user error and human-generated exposures are where most of these attacks occur. Those human failures are mostly not due to malicious intent from employees, but to the lack of training of the employees on secure behavior. Making sure staff are aware of the threat and training them to respond properly, if they are targeted, is vital. However, there are also age demographics at play here. Much of the operations employee base is heading towards retirement and often, there is no plan or ability to backfill these people. Need to invest in new digital and automated technologies If you think you don't have enough people now, in order to stay on top of basic care and feeding of the OT environment, with regards to security, what is that going to be like in 20 years? For this reason, there must be a major industry reset, when it comes to its workforce. Companies must invest in new digital and automated technologies, not only to ensure that they stay ahead of the curve and mitigate risk, but also to attract the next generation of digitally literate talent. Robust cyber security is built on solid foundations When we talk about foundational cyber security, we mean fundamentals, such as patching, malware protection, high-fidelity system backups, an up-to-date anti-virus system, and other options, such as application allow-listing and asset inventory. These basic controls can help companies understand their system setup and the potential threats, identify vulnerabilities, and assess their risk exposure. The Pareto principle states that around 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes. In the context of cyber security, that means 80% of exposure to risk comes from 20% of the lack of security. If companies do the foundational things right, they can manage out a significant amount of this risk. Importance of maintaining and upgrading security controls However, having basic security controls, such as anti-virus software in place, is just the first step on that journey. Equally important is having someone within the organisation, with the requisite skill set, or the extra labour bandwidth, to operate, maintain and update those security controls, as they evolve. Educating, training and recruiting existing employees, and the next generation of talent, along with forging partnerships with trusted technology providers, will ensure that industry can leverage the latest digital technologies, in order to drive business value, and secure physical assets against cyber-attacks.

The robotic transformation of the security industry
The robotic transformation of the security industry

The COVID-19 pandemic is only accelerating the expansion of Automation, Robotics, Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and changing how people live their daily lives. This expansion leads the way with technologies that are developed to solve problems, improve operations, streamline processes and assist people, to focus on learning new skills, creativity, and imagination. Transformation of the physical security industry One of the latest industries to be permanently transformed is physical security. The era of utilising security cameras is slowly changing into more advanced and more efficient technological applications - security robotic solutions. SMP Robotics is a California-based company, which is a pioneer in developing robotic technologies, powered by AI, to assist, improve and deliver on new expectations in today’s world. One of their services is smart surveillance systems. This represents a proactive approach to security. The company, SMP Robotics’ Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Leo Ryzhenko, stated “Autonomous robotic technologies will become a driving force in future security solutions.” Robotics and AI in autonomous security solutions The robots can patrol 24/7, counteracting intrusion and communicating via voice message with guards The company uses robotics and AI technology to implement autonomous security solutions, which reduce liability and overhead, as well as improving the quality of services. Robotic guards are capable of patrolling all types of facilities, in both urban and rural contexts. The robots can patrol 24/7, counteracting intrusion and communicating via voice message with guards. The inspection robots, deployed by SMP Robotics, are easily integrated with many existing security technologies, armed with obstacle avoidance and anti-collision measures, automatically recharge, and can recognise faces up to 50 metres. As the world grows increasingly complex, technology like this is essential to ensure safety for all. AI-enabled autonomous video monitoring ground vehicles The advancements in technological breakthroughs of SMP Robotics position the company and its AI-powered, autonomous video monitoring ground vehicles, to be the most adaptable to any industry, cost-effective for clients’ business needs, in providing various types of services from public safety, crime prevention, to asset protection and physical security. SMP Robotics continues to implement new innovative solutions and groundbreaking technologies in its latest generation of autonomous models. Currently, many were already deployed or in a process to be delivered to a number of key clients, in various industries throughout the globe, from oil & gas, nuclear power plants to data centers, healthcare facilities, and amusement parks. Smart security robots Tal Turner, the Vice President (VP) of Business Development and Partnerships, SMP Robotics, said “We provide autonomous, artificial intelligence, all-weather, all-surface, smart security robots that are turnkey and operate independently on their own, using real-time obstacle avoidance, face recognition, and other cutting-edge technological advancements.” According to Coherent Market Insights, the Robots as a Service (RaaS) market direction will grow by 15.9% by 2028 and reach the threshold of 41.3 billion dollars. SMP Robotics stands at the forefront of the security robotic revolution, making an impactful change to make the world a safer place.

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SK Inc. C&C and BriteLab sign partnership agreement to collaborate on joint development of US global manufacturing high-tech business
SK Inc. C&C and BriteLab sign partnership agreement to collaborate on joint development of US global manufacturing high-tech business

SK Inc. C&C, a part of SK Group in South Korea, and BriteLab in Silicon Valley have announced the signing of a partnership agreement, to collaborate in joint development for the global manufacturing business in the U.S. market. BriteLab, Inc., located in San Jose, CA, is the renowned semiconductor AMHS company in the United States of America. Highlights of the joint effort include: Collaboration between BriteLab's AMHS (Automated Material Handling System) and SK Inc. C&C's Smart Manufacturing platform and solutions. Development of new digital business, such as AI-based component quality inspection, with high demand from BriteLab's current customers. Cooperation to apply manufacturing specialised Vertical Solutions of SK Inc. C&C, such as ‘iFactory Smart Vision’. Co-development of manufacturing high-tech business for the U.S. based CM/CE customers. SK Inc. C&C – BriteLab partnership Seong Ha Park, CEO of SK Inc. C&C announced that the company has signed a partnership agreement with BriteLab Seong Ha Park, CEO of SK Inc. C&C announced that the company has signed a partnership agreement with BriteLab, which has specialty in the Automated Material Handling Systems in the U.S. for global manufacturing hi-tech joint development. Current customers for BriteLab's AMHS install bases include Texas Instruments (TI), NXP Semiconductors, ON Semiconductor, Global Foundry, STMicroelectronics, TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company), SSMC, and UMC. BriteLab currently has 24 global 200mm and 300mm foundry customers. Smart manufacturing platforms and solutions The agreement between SK Inc. C&C and BriteLab is to promote the expansion of manufacturing high-tech business, based on Britelab's AMHS platform. By combining SK Inc. C&C's multiple manufacturing software solutions, the joint partnership is set to offer best-of-breed smart manufacturing platforms and solutions, which will be successfully implemented in the manufacturing industry. BriteLab's AMHS offers Overhead Hoist Transport (OHT) system, utilising the robotic systems in the high-tech factory that use sophisticated robots from the ceiling and the floor of production lines. The robots are autonomous vehicles managed and controlled by software, to support fast and accurate automation in the production of high-tech materials, in the factories. Joint Working Group (JWG) Under this agreement, the two companies have established a Joint Working Group (JWG) that utilises BriteLab's AMHS commercialisation of manufacturing high-tech solutions that meet the customer demands. SK Inc. C&C's ‘iFactory Smart’, which has proven excellence in the South Korean precision manufacturing industry, will now be offered to customers in the U.S. through Britelab. “We are excited to be working with SK Inc. C&C especially its AI-based quality management solution using 'vision' systems,” said Steven Kwak, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BriteLab. SmartVision, AI package solution SmartVision is an artificial Intelligence package solution, developed by SK Inc. C&C SmartVision is an artificial Intelligence package solution, developed by SK Inc. C&C and has the ability to read the smallest unit pixel of the screen and quickly train the A.I. modules to read the information in real time. It is highly utilised in the ESG (Environment·Social·Governance) field, such as quality control (QA) work that removes defects in parts and finished products throughout the production process, as well as application in the water quality management. Camera feed and data analysis By collecting images created through cameras or CCTV and analysing the data, SmartVision can quickly perform a highly accurate inspection tasks that previously required operators to use expensive, separate quality equipment, which can lead to poor inspection, product identification, and dimension measurements. The two companies are also exploring manufacturing high-tech businesses for BriteLab's current customer install base, outside of the semiconductor business, as BriteLab provides Contract Manufacturing (CM) and Contract Engineering (CE) service in the U.S. Robotics and production automation platforms BriteLab provides robotics and production automation platforms in autonomous vehicles and robots, factory automation robots, data centre monitoring robots, smart machines, and autonomous drones. With BriteLab's CM and CE business and in conjunction with SK Inc. C&C solutions, the companies plan to offer a digital platform-based manufacturing high-tech digital service, in connection with its customers with the signing of the partnership agreement. Creating manufacturing high-tech business “By combining BritetLab's AMHS-based manufacturing logistics capabilities and SK Inc. C&C's manufacturing automation capabilities, we look forward to creating a manufacturing high-tech business that will lead customers' digital innovation. As a result, we will actively engage in marketing to our global customers as well as here in the U.S.,” said BriteLab’s CEO, Steven Kwak. “With our partnership with BriteLab, we look forward to expanding the global business together for the manufacturing vertical solutions business and will introduce customer-friendly digital services to meet the needs of BriteLab's manufacturing customers in the U.S.,” said Young Dae Kim, Director of Digital New Business Development at SK Inc. C&C.

The Connectivity Standards Alliance announces Matter, the secure connectivity standard for the future of the smart home
The Connectivity Standards Alliance announces Matter, the secure connectivity standard for the future of the smart home

The Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), formerly known as the Zigbee Alliance, an organisation of hundreds of companies creating, maintaining, and delivering open, global standards for the Internet of Things (IoT), announces Matter – the interoperable, secure connectivity standard for the future of the smart home. The proliferation of connected objects continues to change the way one lives, works and plays. From homes to offices, factories to hospitals, connected objects enable one to experience the environments in cohesive, interactive ways. Yet, for too long, disconnected platforms and disparate development paths have caused confusion for consumers and complicated processes for developers and innovators. Promoting new standard Smart objects should be reliable, secure, and work together – this is the shared vision behind Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP), now known as the new standard, Matter. Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Google, SmartThings, and the Connectivity Standards Alliance came together in 2019 to develop and promote this new standard, joined by fellow Alliance board member companies IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Schneider Electric, Signify, Silicon Labs, Somfy and Wulian. Matter is the unified IP-based connectivity protocol built on proven technologies Now, there are more than 180 Member organisations of all sizes, across a range of business categories, and over 1,700 Member individuals participating in bringing the Matter specification, reference implementations, testing tools and certification programs to life. Matter is the unified IP-based connectivity protocol built on proven technologies, helping connect and build reliable, secure IoT ecosystems. Truly connected world This new technology and royalty-free connectivity standard enable communications among a wide range of smart devices. Matter is also a seal of approval, assuring that any object built on this standard is reliable by nature, secure by design, and compatible at scale. “We create marks of trust, and Matter is an important milestone for users in our long history of delivering unifying, secure, reliable and trustworthy standards for the IoT,” said Tobin Richardson, President and CEO of the Connectivity Standards Alliance. “I’m very excited to unveil Matter as a foundational element in delivering a truly connected world.” Matter makes it easier for device manufacturers to build devices, and to ensure they are compatible with smart home and voice services such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s HomeKit with Siri, Google’s Assistant, SmartThings, and others.” Simplifying connected experiences The first specification release of the Matter protocol will run on existing networking technologies such as Ethernet (802.3), Wi-Fi (802.11), and Thread (802.15.4) and for ease of commissioning, Bluetooth Low Energy. Other key attributes include: Simplicity – Easy to purchase and use. Simplifying connected experiences. Interoperability – Devices from multiple brands work natively together. Providing greater compatibility. Reliability – Consistent and responsive local connectivity. Security – Maintaining secure connections. Robust and streamlined for developers and users. Flexibility – Matter makes it easy for users to set up and control their devices with multiple ecosystems simultaneously. Simple setup code Retailers get reduced complexity in-store to create a more simplified purchasing experience Breakthrough connectivity is built on Matter, providing greater benefit and value for developers, and those who live or work in a smart home or business. Consumers get an increased choice, compatibility, and more control of their experience. Developers get lower development and operational cost via a single SKU and more time for innovation. Retailers get reduced complexity in-store to create a more simplified purchasing experience, leading to fewer returns for compatibility issues. With Matter, consumers and businesses can choose the brands they want in their smart home or commercial building and be confident they will work seamlessly. Homeowners, and especially those living in a smart home with multiple devices like smart locks, thermostats or smart speakers, can easily add new devices with a Matter mark using a simple setup code to connect their home as one. Single-vendor stacks Businesses, particularly those that rely on connectivity, can count on one network to keep their operations running smoothly. Key for developers is that Matter isn’t only a specification – it also offers an open-source reference implementation in parallel. This drives tangible benefits for developers including: faster time to market, reduced reliance on single-vendor stacks, improved quality since they can access multiple use cases to test against, and increased security with full transparency into the community’s ability to identify and commit patches. Products with the Matter mark connect securely with more devices, more reliably than ever Products with the Matter mark connect securely with more devices, more reliably than ever. The Matter mark will serve as a seal of approval, taking the guesswork out of the purchasing process and allowing businesses and consumers alike to choose from a wider array of brands to create secure and connected homes and buildings. Promise of convergence The new symbol and wordmark of Matter tell its story of connectivity. The name was selected for its foundational nature. Matter is a building block for life, and now also for the IoT. The three arrow forms meeting in the Matter symbol communicate the brand promise of convergence and connectivity in its most distilled visual form. Its geometric construction and triangular nature express security and utility. The badge on the product and packaging, with the Matter symbol and wordmark, notes that a product is Matter certified. The two-colour visual identity has been simplified to represent Day and Night with gradients evocative of dynamic connections between products. The new Matter brandmark was developed in partnership with Interbrand, one of the brand consultancies. Connected home technologies With Matter, smart home devices built on technologies like Wi-Fi will be more interoperable" “Today, millions of customers around the world rely on Alexa as their favorite way to control more than 140,000 Alexa-compatible smart home products, and we are committed to continuing to make smart home connections easier for customers,” said David Shearer, Vice President, Amazon Smart Home. “With Matter, smart home devices built on technologies like Wi-Fi will be more interoperable, making them simpler for manufacturers to develop and certify, and delivering more value for customers.” “As we focus on delivering the best connected experiences to our customers, Matter represents an important step forward in the global effort to make connected home technologies easier to use and more secure, with a high degree of interoperability. We’ve been honoured to work with our industry peers on Matter from the beginning and are excited to be part of its role in shaping the future of IoT,” said Jim Kitchen, Vice President Product, Connected Home and IoT Devices, Comcast. Multi-brand interoperability “Matter will be a leap forward in interoperability. It also demonstrates the power of the collaborative and open-source process within the Alliance that embraces the full IoT value chain and yields results. We are convinced that Matter is a great opportunity, therefore Legrand supports the project since the beginning notably by involving engineers and by participating in test events,” said Bruno Vulcano, R&D Manager at Legrand and Chair of the Board at the Connectivity Standards Alliance. We are convinced that Matter is a great opportunity, therefore Legrand supports the project" “Signify, the world leader in lighting and a long-term leader in the Alliance, is excited to be a driving force in the creation and adoption of Matter. We believe this multi-brand interoperability in the smart home will catalyse the benefit and value of smart lighting worldwide via both Philips Hue and WiZ smart lighting,” said George Yianni, Head of Technology Philips Hue, on behalf of Signify. Developing revolutionary protocol “We believe that a universal standard in connectivity is critical for the industry and Matter is the key that will fully unlock the connected home for consumers. We are proud to lend our historical expertise in IoT and be part of the pioneering team to develop this revolutionary protocol,” said Samantha Osborne, Vice President of Marketing and Business Operations at SmartThings. “Over the past year we’ve doubled down on our technology to enhance our ecosystem to not only welcome future Matter products, but to ensure that they work seamlessly with the thousands of products already within our ecosystem.” Providing diverse options Tuya is dedicated to providing diverse options to power our IoT developer ecosystem" “As an open IoT development platform provider, Tuya is dedicated to providing diverse options to power our IoT developer ecosystem. Matter is important to us and our developers because it enables even easier interoperability between brands and simplifies connections between people and our connected objects. When we can securely and easily connect everything, the possibilities of what we can do with those connections are limitless,” said Alex Yang, Co-Founder and COO, Tuya Smart. In early May, the feature-complete base specification was approved by the Matter Working Group. Reaching this milestone gives Members a definition of the major features to build out the open-source implementation and test the specification. Tracking first devices With this, the project is currently on track to see first devices through certification in late 2021, depending on manufacturer go-to-market plans. Devices targeted for launch include lighting and electrical (e.g., light bulbs, luminaires, controls, plugs, outlets), HVAC controls (e.g., thermostats, AC units), access controls (e.g., door locks, garage doors), safety and security (e.g., sensors, detectors, security systems), window coverings/shades, TVs, access points, bridges and others. Members poised to be early adopters of Matter include: Amazon, ASSA ABLOY, Comcast, Espressif Systems, Eve Systems, Google, Grundfos Holding A/S, Huawei, Infineon Technologies, LEEDARSON, Legrand, Nanoleaf, Nordic Semiconductor, NXP Semiconductors, Qorvo, Resideo, Schlage, Schneider Electric, Signify, Silicon Labs, SmartThings, Somfy, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, Tuya Smart, ubisys, Wulian, and Zumtobel Group. Companies interested in accessing the specification and building devices with Matter can join the Connectivity Standards Alliance.

Ajax Systems announces the acquisition of Concepter design and product development studio’s team
Ajax Systems announces the acquisition of Concepter design and product development studio’s team

Ajax Systems, a smart security systems developer, has acquired the engineering team of Concepter, a design and product development studio. The Concepter developers will become members of various R&D teams at Ajax Systems and will work on new devices. "We’ve added the Concepter developers to the Ajax Systems team to boost our growth and engineering capabilities. The Concepter specialists have plenty of experience in handling complex custom projects. We’re excited that they will continue creating cool products with us. Our global goal is to find talent and create a new engineering elite in the country. We want to double our R&D by the end of the year”, states Aleksandr Konotopskyi, CEO at Ajax Systems. Engineering capabilities The Concepter team is one of the best in Ukraine and is very complimentary of Ajax Systems" The company is actively seeking such engineering teams. The Ajax technology stack includes Embedded C, Python, RTOS, Java, Kotlin, Swift, Objective C, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments. “The Concepter team is one of the best in Ukraine at building the hardware and is very complimentary of Ajax Systems. I’m sure that the engineering capabilities of Ajax Systems will be greatly enhanced by the Concepter. As for me, I plan to focus on investments at SMRK in the future. The Concepter brand will continue to exist, but it will be handled by a different team”, says Vlad Tislenko, CEO at Concepter. Consults product startups Recently, Ajax Systems announced the opening of a new R&D office in Vinnytsia. The company’s other two R&D offices are located in Kharkiv and Kyiv. Concepter is a Ukrainian studio that creates its own gadgets and also promotes and consults product startups. Concepter has over 20 products in its portfolio, including the world-famous Nect, iBlazr 2, Nuka, and iGlam. Also, the studio has won the prestigious international awards Red Dot Design Award, Best of CES, etc.

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