Universal Electronics to Acquire Ecolink Intelligent Technology

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Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI), is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement to acquire U.S.-based Ecolink Intelligent Technology, Inc. (Ecolink).

Universal Electronics logo


“We are very excited to bring the Ecolink team under the UEI umbrella. The team at Ecolink has some of the industry’s leading experts in the wireless sensor market and a track record of bringing creative, innovative and high performing products to market. Ecolink’s expertise in wireless security and home automation technology will bring a new level of compatibility to the industry to enable sensors throughout the home to work together seamlessly,” said Paul Arling, UEI’s Chairman and CEO.

According to Parks Associates, residential home security is leading the transition to the smart home. “The majority of sensors and control panels sold today can be accessed and remotely controlled with a mobile device. No other residential product can make that claim,” said Tom Kerber, Director, Research, Parks Associates. “Additionally, over the past 4 years, cable and telco providers have successfully added home security and automation services to their offerings, gaining an estimated 14% share of professionally-monitored security systems in U.S. broadband households.”

“With over 25 years of experience as a technology and product supplier to the cable/telco industry, UEI, through this acquisition, is well positioned to supply these wireless solutions to its customers,” stated Tricia Parks.

According to data from ABI Research, the global sensor and device market for home security and automation is expected to grow from $1.4 billion in 2015 to $4.0 billion in 2019, with growth forecasted across all three channels of distribution: pro-security; cable/telco and consumer/DIY. This acquisition allows UEI to extend its market reach into traditional home security and consumer/DIY – channels that are actively served by Ecolink products and solutions today.

The purchase price for the acquisition of Ecolink assets will be approximately $12.4 million in cash plus incentive-based cash consideration to be paid over the next five years. Ecolink’s acquired assets include over 25 issued and pending patents, and other related intellectual property and assets used in its smart home, wireless security and home automation business.

UEI intends to operate the acquired business as a wholly-owned subsidiary and market the home security and automation products and services under Ecolink brands and trademarks, leveraging Ecolink’s many years of experience, expertise and innovation in the industry.

“We are excited to be joining the UEI team,” stated Michael Lamb, Ecolink’s President and CEO. “UEI’s leadership position in cable and telco, as well as their operational excellence will give our home security products the boost needed to achieve significant market penetration.”

About Ecolink Intelligent Technology
Ecolink is a leading developer of smart home technology. The company delivers a wide range of intelligent wireless security and automation components dedicated to redefining the home security experience. Ecolink has over 20 years of wireless engineering expertise in the home security and automation market and holds more than 25 related pending and issued patents. For more information, visit

About Universal Electronics Inc.
Founded in 1986, Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI) is the global leader in wireless control technology for the connected home. UEI designs, develops, and delivers innovative solutions that enable consumers to control entertainment devices, digital media, and home systems. The company’s broad portfolio of patented technologies and database of infrared control software have been adopted by many Fortune 500 companies in the consumer electronics, subscription broadcast, and computing industries. UEI sells and licenses wireless control products through distributors and retailers under the One For All® brand name. More information is available at

Siemens, Connecting industrial outstations inexpensively and securely

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With the new CP 1243-8 IRC communication processor, Siemens enables telecontrol applications based on the Sinaut ST7 telecontrol protocol. The new communication processor makes it possible to connect Simatic S7-1200 controllers as outstations (remote terminal units/RTUs) to higher-level ST7 stations with minimum effort and low costs.

The solution is suitable for use in new and existing systems. Redundancy and comprehensive security functions ensure high availability and security. Key applications for the CP 1243-8 IRC are distributed plants in the fields of drinking water supply and distribution, sewer networks, and rain overflow tanks. In addition, the communication processors can be used for environmental monitoring and as local transport and distribution grids for district heating and electrical energy networks.

Connected RTUs are contacted via public or private communications networks. An industrial router (such as those in the Siemens Scalance M product range) can be connected to the Ethernet port of the device to establish an internet or cell phone connection. Additional connections for analog dial-up or private wireless network can be established via separate modules.

CP 1243-8 IRC communication processor
Siemens CP 1243-8 IRC communication processor


The CP 1243-8 supports both cyclical and event-driven transmission of every type of data required for process control and also offers alarm functions. The device can transmit measurement values from outstations to control centers or higher-level stations and send automatic e-mails and text messages to maintenance personnel. In order to prevent data loss in the event of a dropped connection, the communication processor continuously saves time-stamped measurement values. As soon as the connection is reestablished, the buffered values are automatically transmitted in the correct historical sequence to the control center.

To improve availability, the CP 1243-8 IRC offers the option of establishing an additional connection via the second WAN interface (for route redundancy). For this, a so-called teleservice (TS) module – for instance, an RS 232 serial interface or dial-up modem (analog, ISDN, and GSM) – is connected to the second WAN interface. Users can operate with one or the other interface, or both simultaneously.

Rockwell Automation and Cisco Launch New Architectures to Reduce Security Risks in Industrial Automation

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As industrial markets evolve to unlock the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT), Rockwell Automation and Cisco today are announcing new additions to their Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) architectures to help operations technology (OT) and information technology (IT) professionals address constantly changing security practices. The latest CPwE security expansions, featuring technology from both companies, include design guidance and validated architectures to help build a more secure network across the plant and enterprise.

The Industrial IoT is elevating the need for highly flexible, secure connectivity between things, machines, work flows, databases and people, enabling new models of policy-based plant-floor access. Through these new connections, machine data on the plant floor can be analyzed and applied to determine optimal operation and supply-chain work flows for improved efficiencies and cost savings. A securely connected environment also enables organizations to mitigate risk with policy compliance, and protects intellectual property with secure sharing between global stakeholders.

Core to the new validated architectures is a focus on enabling OT and IT professionals to utilize security policies and procedures by forming multiple layers of defense. A defense-in-depth approach helps manufacturers by establishing processes and policies that identify and contain evolving threats in industrial automation and control systems. The new CPwE architectures leverage open industry standards, such as IEC 62443, and provide recommendations for more securely sharing data across an industrial demilitarized zone, as well as enforcing policies that control access to the plantwide wired or wireless network.

“The key to industrial network security is in how you design and implement your infrastructure and holistically address security for internal and external threats,” said Lee Lane, business director, Rockwell Automation. “The new guidance considers security factors for the industrial zone of the CPwE architectures, leveraging the combined experience of Rockwell Automation and Cisco.”

“Security can’t be an afterthought in today’s plant environment. As we connect more devices and create more efficient ways of operating, we also create certain vulnerabilities,” said Bryan Tantzen, senior director, Cisco. “Cisco and Rockwell Automation have been teaming for nearly a decade on joint solutions, serving as the standards-based resource for security in industrial environments. These new architectures and guides build on our collaboration by helping organizations recognize and proactively address today’s security concerns.”

Companies can now take advantage of industry-leading solutions from Rockwell Automation and Cisco to address security from a holistic perspective. Together, the two companies provide a common, scalable architecture for ruggedized industrial Ethernet and enterprise networks, along with unique services, such as security assessments and managed security, to help manufacturers define and meet performance metrics and scale in-house resources.

[HannoverMesse] Safe production in Industry 4.0

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Production facilities and components of Industry 4.0 are linked to the Internet, networked with each other, and thus open to attack. Using an IT security laboratory, Fraunhofer researchers offer a test environment in order to simulate attacks on this network and to detect any gaps. From April 13 to 17 they will unveil the possibilities at this year‘s Hannover Messe (Hall 2, Booth C16).

Fraunhofer, Safe production in Industry 4.0
Fraunhofer, Safe production in Industry 4.0

Beautiful new production world: For value-creation chains that span multiple locations, equipment, robotics, systems components, minicomputers in components and sensors are all networked with each other in Industry 4.0. They exchange data, retrieve the status of equipment and components, calculate the optimal sequence of work processes, schedule equipment usage and much more. Yet with the entry of communications into factories via Internet technologies, the safety risk also increases. Beside the known viruses, there are new, custom-tailored malware programs threatening the networked production plants. They can spy out system parameters, remotely control machinery, manipulate controls or paralyze processes. Industry 4.0 networks therefore require particular protective measures, sophisticated network technology and effective test methods that detect security gaps and close them reliably. With an IT security laboratory specially equipped for production and automation technology, the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB in Karlsruhe provides a secured test environment in order to readjust potential attacks on production networks, to study the effects and thus, to deduce new strategies and suitable defense measures. It also enables researchers to assess the security functions of conventional communications standards and protocols for industrial automation systems. These regulate, among other things, the data encryption to counter product piracy, espionage and sabotage.

Different framework conditions than in office IT

“IT security in industrial production must take into account entirely different framework conditions that do not exist accordingly in Office IT,” says Birger Krägelin, project manager at IOSB’s IT Security Laboratory. The control of production facilities entails real time requirements that make changes to the systems diffi cult. Downloading available software patches onto the systems and installing surveillance software, malware scanners, and antivirus programs influence the stability of meticulously coordinated processes. By the same token, production processes affect conditions when updates can be realized. Firewalls within the network and encrypted connection between systems can diminish real-time conditions. “For example, it is possible that the built-in of known security measures from the offi ce environment can delay the dispatch of messages between computers. That can lead to conveyor belts running slower, valves or outlets closing with a delay, light barriers are triggered incorrectly, the rotational speed of motors increases, or control components break down,” Krägelin explains. Even the relatively long usage period of hardware and software in production is markedly different from other areas where IT is deployed.

In order to find and establish appropriate IT security mechanisms for the production environment, the research team of specialists in automation technology and IT security equipped the laboratory accordingly. It features its own model factory with real automation components that control a simulated production facility, complete with conveyor belts, electric motors, robots, and lifting equipment. All network levels of a factory are equipped with typical components, including fi rewalls, circuits, and components for wireless parts. Having its own private cloud means it is possible for the IOSB experts to fl exibly arrange various configurations and set up the model factory for a variety of scenarios.

“In the cloud, we can patch in virtual firewalls, PCs, add additional client computers and modify entire network structures with just one mouse-click. This makes it possible for us to install a virtual fi rewall or even analytical systems between two components, such as a machine and an overarching MES system (Manufacturing Execution System). From the cloud, we can start malware detection and for example text controls and systems visualizations for infections,” the master of information science (MIS) explains. “We are capable of building other factory situations and simulate cyber attacks – without having to buy components and configure circuitry.”

The researchers from IOSB will be demonstrating which attack scenarios could happen to networked production facilities at the Fraunhofer joint exhibition booth at this year’s Hannover Messe, in Hall 2, Booth C16 from April 13 to 17. Companies can use the laboratory so they can consult on the planning and operational launch of secure industrial network structures. In addition, they benefit from the know-how of the IOSB experts when it comes to the analysis of their already existing network and components. Furthermore, the researchers want to offer the laboratory in the future as an education and learning platform for training measures. “The one thing that engineers often don’t have is the knowledge of how to deal with cyber threats,” Krägelin points out.

[HANNOVER MESSE] Research & Technology fair to showcase Industry 4.0 security solutions

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Data security essential to Industry 4.0


“Germany specializes in researching, developing and supplying manufacturing technologies and is the world’s leading factory outfitter.” This statement by the Industry 4.0 Working Group formed by Germany’s Business-Science Research Alliance, underscores the enormous role the industrial sector plays for Germany and its global clientele. The exhibitors in the Research & Technology show being under the umbrella of HANNOVER MESSE from 13 to 17 April will demonstrate the tremendous value of close collaboration between the research community and industry, and how accelerated technology transfer can benefit everyone involved.

How secure is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 is an important part of the German government’s high-tech strategy because it is the key to achieving the full integration of all manufacturing technologies and systems. The ultimate objective is the so-called “smart factory,” a highly flexible manufacturing environment that meets the most stringent resource efficiency and ergonomic standards and is digitally interlinked with all parts of the value chain, from upstream suppliers to downstream customers. Cyber-physical systems and the Internet of Things will form the backbone of our smart factory future. However, the experts agree that this future will not be possible without robust security. “IT security is one of the critical success factors that will make or break the practical feasibility of comprehensive Industry 4.0 solutions,” said Olaf Sauer from the Karlsruhe-based Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation (Fraunhofer IOSB). Key challenges in this context included the protection of intellectual property, manufacturing networks, and all communications within companies and between companies and the outside world. A system for incorporating security features into a manufacturing plant’s automation architecture had also not yet been developed. According to Sauer, security should be a key consideration at all stages of a plant’s lifecycle, from the initial design phase through to construction, commissioning and daily operation.

Fraunhofer IOSB to present SecurePLUGandWORK project
Visitors to the Fraunhofer IOSB stand at this year’s Research & Technology show will have the opportunity to learn about a cutting edge Industry 4.0 project dubbed “SecurePLUGandWORK.” The project is a joint initiative of Fraunhofer IOSB, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Its principal goal is to use open M2M communication standards, such as AutomationML and OPC UA, to enable the self-configuration of software-driven production processes across all levels of an automation architecture.

AutomationML is an open, XML-based standard series (IEC 62714) that is used to describe and model production plants and plant components. Its ultimate objective is to facilitate seamless data exchange between the different IT tools used by plant manufacturers and operators. This, in turn, significantly expedites production changeover and commissioning processes. OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) is a platform-independent set of industrial standards (IEC 62541) for interconnectivity between industrial automation devices and systems (M2M communication) that is based on a service-oriented architecture.

OPC-UA replaces existing OPC specifications and is already in widespread use in the manufacturing sector. A joint working group comprised of representatives of the German AutomationML Association and the OPC Foundation and headed by Miriam Schleipen of Fraunhofer IOSB has been working on a unified version of both standards since early 2014.

Self-networking components
The ability of manufacturing operations to autonomously adjust to change is the holy grail of Industry 4.0 IT architecture. Examples of “change” in this context include new plant or production processes that need to be incorporated into an existing production system, or adjustments that need to be made to an existing production line in order to cater for a new product variant. Industry 4.0 experts call this “self-regulating production,” a term which is no longer just used in reference to physical processes but is increasingly also applied to manufacturing software.

“The basic principle is similar to the USB and plug & play technologies used in PCs. New components, machines or plants that get introduced to an existing production system establish connectivity with that system via standard protocols, identify themselves and provide information about their functionality. The same mechanism applies when software-related changes are made to the system,” explained Olaf Sauer.

However, it’s important that only authenticated components are given access to a factory’s internal data networks – a safeguard which is still lacking in existing industrial ICT architectures. Changing this will require a concerted effort by ICT experts and industrial engineers. That’s why the SecurePLUGandWORK project team, for instance, is a multidisciplinary group of people comprising engineers, software developers and automation specialists.

Fraunhofer IOSB is in the process of setting up a state-of-the-art IT security laboratory to test the security of Industry 4.0 IT systems under real-world conditions, for instance by simulating different cyberattack scenarios and searching for vulnerabilities in production automation systems.

“The findings will be used to develop analysis tools that will determine the level of security of a manufacturer’s digital systems,” explained Birger Krägelin, IT Security Officer at Fraunhofer IOSB. “We also want to analyze and simulate the potential impact of hacker attacks.” Fraunhofer IOSB hopes that its research will ultimately lead to safe industrial ICT networks, authentication processes and encryption technologies as well as improved training of personnel involved in setting up and operating secure production networks. Fraunhofer IOSB will be showcasing key parts of its laboratory at this year’s Research & Technology show to help visitors understand the critical importance of IT security to the Industry 4.0 vision.

HANNOVER MESSE – Get new technology first!
The world’s leading trade fair for industrial technology is staged annually in Hannover, Germany. The next HANNOVER MESSE will run from 13 to 17 April 2015 and feature India as its official Partner Country. HANNOVER MESSE 2015 will comprise ten flagship fairs: Industrial Automation • Motion, Drive & Automation (MDA) • Energy • Wind • MobiliTec • Digital Factory • ComVac • Industrial Supply • Surface Technology • Research & Technology. The upcoming event will place a strong emphasis on Industrial Automation and IT, Power Transmission and control, Energy and Environmental Technologies, Industrial Subcontracting, Production Engineering and Services and Research & Development.

Weaved and SafeLogic Announce Partnership to Provide Military Grade Security to the IoE Device Market

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Weaved and SafeLogic join forces to provide ultimate security to the Weaved device network service offering.


Weaved, a pioneer in Internet-of-Everything (IoE) web-based connectivity services, has announced their partnership with SafeLogic, the new industry leader in validated cryptography, to extend their lead as the industry’s most secure platform for IoE(Internet of Everything) devices.
The growing popularity of IoE devices has brought along with it the unavoidable risk of malicious activity by hackers, the loss of sensitive data, or even violations of users’ privacy. The commercial success of the connected home concept is dependent on building ever-increasing confidence by consumers in the safe operation of their connected devices. For example, using a credit card to make purchases over the Internet was once considered risky but is now accepted as commonplace. Similarly, Weaved and SafeLogic believe that the adoption of IoE devices will continue to accelerate if users share the same level of confidence. SafeLogic cryptographic engines have been deployed by many of the most trusted names in the IT industry, making them an ideal technology partner to provide enhanced security services to the Weaved platform.


As Ryo Koyama, CEO of Weaved, explained, “The need for integrated and robust security can’t be overstated in the growing market for IoE devices. At Weaved, we are experts in providing the software and services necessary to securely connect devices across the Internet. We are delighted to work with SafeLogic as our partner to extend the security measures of our platform and ensure every device using the Weaved backend services can benefit from the industry’s highest standards for data integrity, data at rest encryption, and secure communications to a trusted implementation.”


Ray Potter, CEO of SafeLogic, agreed, “Every legacy connected device is potentially vulnerable, and the public is starting to recognize that. Weaved has thought through the problems of device security and their embedded and network services already provide the best in class architecture approach. By leveraging SafeLogic’s validated cryptographic solutions, Weaved has taken yet another major step towards a secure and reliable network. We are very proud to partner with them to provide the highest level of cryptographic solutions, for the most demanding users.”




Oil & Gas Automation & Instrumentation Market worth $31.24 Billion by 2020

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According to a new market research report of “Oil & Gas Automation & Instrumentation Market (SCADA, DCS, PLC & MES), Instrumentation, Analyzers, Flow Computers, Leakage Detection, Operation & Geography – Global Forecasts and Analysis 2013 – 2020”, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.23% from 2013 to 2020, and reach $31.24 billion in 2020.


Global process automation & instrumentation market in the oil & gas industry is a fast developing market, which includes five segments; namely process automation, process instrumentation, process analyzer, flow compute, and leakage detection system. Process automation & instrumentation market in the oil and gas industry is completely dependent on the oil & gas market growth. In future, process automation & instrumentation market in the oil and gas industry is expected to control the growth of the oil & gas market because of its high quality service offerings.


The overall Global oil & gas automation & instrumentation market by industry is segmented into three major segments; namely technologies, operation, and geography. All the major segments are further segmented into sub segments. All the segments and sub segments are separately classified in the report. The global process automation & instrumentation market in the oil & gas industry is expected to reach up to $31.24 billion by 2020, at an estimated CAGR of 8.23% from 2013 to 2020.


The two major driving factors for the process automation & instrumentation market in oil & gas market are: – upgrading old oil and gas platform, and the rising demand of oil and gas, both of which, are expected to boost the market; the growing emphasis on safety & security is considered as being of strategic importance in the oil and gas market. In the report, different technologies are discussed; such as SCADA, DCS, PLC, MES, analyzer, flow computers, and leakage detection system.


Process automation & instrumentation market in the oil & gas industry is growing. Various innovations are taking place to develop the oil & gas automation market; such as the introduction of advanced computer software and improved hardwares.


Geographical split for the oil & gas automation & instrumentation market is included in the report. It presents the market share of the different geographies of the oil & gas automation & instrumentation market. This report divides the overall market on the basis of the six major geographical segments, namely Americas, Middle East, Africa, Europe, APAC, and ROW. Middle East is the market leader in the overall oil & gas automation & instrumentation market, followed by Americas and ROW. []