Startup receives $30 million from AWS and Samsung to fund new IoT tech

Connor Jones

15 Jan, 2019

A startup semiconductor company has just raised a further $30 million in funding from AWS and Samsung, bringing its total funding to $50 million

Williot manufactures a battery-free Bluetooth sensor tag the size of a postage stamp which is being heralded as a low-cost, high-efficiency solution for broad IoT implementation in business.

The Bluetooth tag powers itself using scavenged energy from ambient radio frequencies and can be stuck on a variety of surfaces, somewhat like an RFID tag.

“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 in a press statement issued yesterday. 

By removing the need for most of the components traditionally associated with Bluetooth, it’s possible to reduce both sale and support costs significantly, according to Wiliot. 

In the real world, the tags supposedly have many use cases from business to consumer, including real-time tracking of goods through the manufacturing process, to the warehouse and from the store to the end consumer. The tags also offer opportunities to verify the successful delivery of goods and grey market verification.

The tags can also be used to tack valuables if they are lost or stolen and even communicate with connected washing machines to ensure whites never get mixed with colours using proximity sensors on all tagged items.

“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.

The technology may sound similar to RFID, a technology for which Wiliot already offers products, but the tags can deliver far more features than RFID, increasing their usability. 

The tags make use of recycled radiation to power themselves and can transmit information such as location, proximity, when they are picked up, their temperature or when the product they are attached to needs to e replenished. The product has “unlimited power and lifespan, so can be embedded inside of products that were previously unconnected to the Internet of Things,” Tamir added.