Nano SIM connector facilitates ultra-secure data access

Nano SIM connector facilitates ultra-secure data access

In today’s ever-more connected society, authenticating identities and protecting data is essential to keep users safe and enable services in personal devices, connected objects, the cloud and in between.

Two-factor authentication plays a key role in such protection strategies, and can be implemented as an easy to use solution using advanced smart card technology. Certificate-based technology generates and stores credentials such as private keys, passwords, and digital certificates inside the protected environment of the smart card chip.

In one such solution, users must supply both their personal authenticator device and password to authenticate, providing a critical second level of security beyond simple passwords alone to protect valuable digital business resources.

This innovatively-designed two-factor authenticator solution comes in the form of a USB stick. GCT is similarly innovative, being the first to market with a nano SIM connector – a product which is now in full production. This motivated a leading player in data security technology to partner with GCT for their first mutual project, to integrate GCT’s SIM8051 into the USB authenticator where the Nano SIM connector facilitates ultra-secure data access. The companies worked together to cost down the connector for production.

The connector allows use of a SIM to hold certificates for encryption purposes. The SIM’s architecture and ciphering provides better security than conventional chip memory, as well as being more cost-effective. This use of a SIM for memory capacity rather than wireless capability is almost unique.

While being an economical solution, the SIM8051 offers a durability of 1,500 cycles, with an operating temperature range of -40°C to +85°C. The housing material is LCP with UL94V-0 flame retardant rating.

Connector production is backed by extensive international support. Dealing directly with the customer in two different locations – Europe for design and Asia for production, GCT’s local presence in these markets was also instrumental to the smooth running of the project.

Introducing Ally, GCT’s New Americas Sales Manager

Ally Bocchieri Americas Sales Manager GCT

We have a new addition to the team! Please join me in welcoming Ally Bocchieri, GCT’s New Americas Sales Manager.  This also means we have another opportunity for a Q&A session, here’s what was discussed:

Q1.  How are you settling into your new role at GCT? 

I am settling in very well thank you! There has been a lot to think about when considering a sales strategy for a geography as large as the Americas.  It is my goal to replicate and build on the successes I’ve had in California on a much larger scale.  I am excited to work with our customer base and to build strong relationships with our distribution partners.

Q2. Can you give us some background on your career to date?

I started in the industry selling passive components 20 years ago. My personality is such that I have always focused on the customer service side of sales and therefore I have chosen to only work for/with companies that see this as a priority. I moved to selling PCB’s ten years ago and built a manufacturers rep. firm in California that focuses on custom build to print commodities. I was introduced to GCT 3 years ago and their product line and business model fit perfectly with my other product lines and service philosophy.

Q3.  What skills and experience have you brought to the GCT team?

Selling is all about relationships and it is very important to identify when there is a fit and, sometimes more importantly, when there isn’t.  I believe it is vital to be upfront and honest with my customers at every turn. One opportunity is not something I am willing to put the entire relationship in jeopardy for.

Q4.  Are there any market and product trends do you see currently?

Wearables seem to be everywhere and across all industries: consumer, medical, military, communications, etc.  GCT have a broad and comprehensive product line up to facilitate this growth area, including microUSB/Type-C and SIM connectors and many more.

Q5.  Is there anything else you would like to add?

I love working with customers that have custom cable assembly and connector requirements.  I am not an engineer by training but appreciate any opportunity I can to learn more about my commodity. Custom products allow me to dig right into the technical side and learn something new.  GCT capabilities in this department are excellent which certainly helps.  You can find out more about custom cable assembly solutions here on the GCT website.

Taxis fare better with GCT custom cable assemblies

GCT Custom Cable Assemblies - Verifone Case StudyBlack cab drivers across London face many challenges, not only from stringent and changing legislation, but also from competitors such as Uber and Addison Lee. Traditional cabbies are fighting back though, with an action plan to guarantee a faster, smarter and greener future for London’s black cabs. Details include zero emission capable cabs by 2018, and adoption of new technologies such as fast Wi-Fi and electronic card payment with contactless support.

In fact, electronic payment ability has become mandatory since February 2016, when TfL announced that all licenced taxi drivers must offer passengers the option of paying their fare electronically at the point of sale.

Verifone has long been providing a valuable resource into this area; they are global market leaders in ePOS, offering over 25 years’ experience with taxi fleets. Their fully TfL compliant card payment solution accepts payment from all major Chip & PIN, swipe and contactless credit and debit cards, and can accept electronic payment via ApplePay and NFC enabled android devices.

The Challenge

Verifone’s provision of card payment technology to taxi fleets meant that they had to respond rapidly when TfL introduced their new legislation last year. They needed to fulfil an urgent request to equip nearly a quarter of London’s black cabs with not only ePOS card payment units, but also Fare Taximeters and taxi advertising systems that deliver a customer information channel on a 15” digital screen within the passenger compartment.

Their success in meeting the project’s tight deadlines was due in part to support from their trusted cable and connector supplier, GCT.  GCT designed a set of cable assemblies that, while being customised for connector arrangements and environmental resilience, were produced in the required production volumes within critical deadlines.

The GCT Custom Cable Assemblies Solution

GCT’s supply comprised four cable assembly types, using various custom combinations of Micro USB, USB, DSUB and Jack connectors. One example splits a USB A output into a Micro USB B male and a Micro USB B female connector; in another, the split is from mini HDMI to a DC Jack and DSUB 9 Pin connector.

The assemblies were customised for their environment as well as their connector combinations. The HDMI/DCJack/DSUB cable has a copper foil shield over its inner mould on the connectors to eliminate electrical noise interference and reduce signal attenuation. This also helps compliance with ATC and RoHS certifications. Additionally, the cables have a braid and PVC jacket to allow an extended flex cycle life – an important consideration as shock and vibration are ever-present parts of taxi vehicle operation.

As the cables were more complex than previously required, while being on a very tight delivery, GCT had to make special arrangements to meet Verifone’s requirements. After a prompt, early visit to Verifone’s premises to ensure a detailed understanding of the project, GCT set up a manufacturing plan that included extensive factory overtime. 100% quality checking and testing was performed, including extra technical and quality checks for the higher-complexity HDMI/DCJack/DSUB cable. Additionally, goods were delivered in batches to avoid any production line stop at Verifone.

“Success in this assignment depended in close co-operation between both companies,” comments Eren Ozkan, UK Project Manager at GCT, “Our task was made far easier, and turnaround was greatly facilitated, by the responsive support from Verifone’s engineers at all times throughout the project.”

The Feedback

Mike Wakefield, Inventory Manager at Verifone was also pleased with the project’s results. He comments:

“We originally approached GCT with this requirement because of our previous experience in working with them. Although these assemblies were more complex and on much shorter lead times than previous years’ deliveries, GCT’s production allowed us to meet our commitment to our customers. Although the project occasionally presented some technical challenges, we overcame these together in a timely manner.”

Visit gct.co/cable-assembly to learn more about GCT custom cable assemblies, manufacturing and testing capabilities, together with UL approval and ISO certification information.

GCT’s USB4070 Vertical Type-C Connector is USBIF TID Certified

As connectors become increasingly smaller for certain market applications, physical connector integrity is becoming ever more critical for devices requiring a robust and reliable connection.

Enter GCT’s new range of USB Type-C connectors with a solution.  Specifically, the USB4070 vertical mount receptacle which has been tested and certified to USBIF TID standards.  This gives OEMs the confidence that designing in the USB4070 will provide the durability and performance required for their applications.  This could range from docking products to wearable technology devices where connectors are subject to rigorous usage.

USB4065 and USB4070 Type-C

In addition to the vertical mount USB4070, there are four horizontal mount versions within the GCT Type-C range, all of which have a drawn shell body giving the components a seamless construction and structural integrity.  This is not something widely available from the competition and proves that GCT continues to produce solutions to meet customer requirements.

The drawn shell body found on the horizontal mount Type-C connectors not only offers impressive durability characteristics, it also provides enhanced shielding properties against both EMI and cross talk too!

Now that the USB4070 Vertical Type-C Connector is USBIF TID certified, you can view the specifications here along with the full range of GCT USB Type-C connectors.  Please visit gct.co to see how these connectors plus many more can assist on your next project.

A Bright Idea for GCT’s Micro USB Vertical Connector

Solar Jar Compton Verney - GCT's Micro USB Vertical Connector USB3140

It’s often the simple ideas that work best.  Take the Consol Solar Jar, a clever little product which combines the simplicity of a jar with solar powered LED capabilities though its integrated solar cell lid.

Suntoy, based in South Africa manufactures the Solar Jar which has proved very popular and this trend has no signs of stopping.  The original concept was to provide a green and renewable light source for people in areas without electricity.  After becoming a cult item in South Africa, the rest of the world wants in and the product is now used for decorative and functional purposes too.

Now let’s be honest, the sun’s rays aren’t always guaranteed to be strong enough depending on the weather conditions and where you are in the world, so an optional power input source to counteract these situations would be prudent.  This presented GCT an opportunity to include one of its industry leading micro USB connectors for additional charging capabilities.

Due to the design within the lids electronics, space on the PCB was limited.  GCT’s USB3140 was the ideal choice – a Micro USB vertical connector with its space saving footprint – it also made charging more accesible versus other micro USB Styles.

More recently, the success of the product has culminated in two week long Illumination Event at Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park in Warwickshire, UK.  I attended one of the sessions and it was great to see the solar jars in action. GCT is proud to be part of something which is not only making a difference to people’s lives, but also something for individuals to express themselves creatively.

You can find out more about GCT’s exciting USB connector range here, including the recently launched USB3160, a new ultra-low profile vertical Micro USB.

 

GCT’s Vertical Micro USB Plug used in Cluster HAT application

GCT are excited to work with Cluster Hat, which uses 4x vertical micro USB plug connectors interfacing a (Controller) Raspberry Pi A+/B+/2/3 with 4 Raspberry Pi Zeros. Configured to use USB Gadget mode, it is an ideal tool for teaching, testing or simulating small scale clusters.

Cluster Hat with vertical micro USB plug 2

GCT’s USB3150 is a low profile, tiny footprint vertical micro USB plug, perfect for applications such as docking and charging.  You can pick up stock at Farnell, Newark or Future Electronics.

Here’s some more information and links to Cluster Hat’s website:

  • USB Gadget Mode: Ethernet and Serial Console.
  • Onboard 4 port USB 2.0 hub.
  • Individual Raspberry Pi Zero power controlled via Controller Pi GPIO using 4 x GCT’s Vertical micro USB Plug (USB3150)
  • Connector for Controller Serial Console (FTDI Basic).

As with most things there are many ways to configure the ClusterHAT. Designers have demonstrated with the links below.

  • Assembly – Connecting the ClusterHAT (plugging/unplugging the Pi Zeros).
  • Software – Installing our Customised Raspbian for the Controller and Zeros.
  • Control – Controlling power to the Pi Zeros

Stock of Raspberry Pi USB connector available at Newark

For Global Connector Technology’s (GCT) North American customers, we have stock of Raspberry Pi USB connector at our channel partner Newark.  This is the dual USB2.0 A type connector used on the Raspberry Pi.  Link to Newark website.

Dual USB Connector USB1035

This connector allows space saving as two USB A interfaces stack on top of each other.  It’s rated for use from -40°C to 85°C with a mating cycle rate of 1,500 cable insertions.

See more information on USB1035-GF-P-0-B-B on the GCT website.  Including drawing, product specification, 3D models & links to distribution stock.

Micro USB plug vertical durability testing video

A look behind the scenes at GCT durability testing PCB mount micro usb plug vertical -USB3150  This USB connector is suitable for 10,000 mating cycles, you’ll see it being put through it’s paces at the Global Connector Technology test center.

In this video, the vertical USB plug is mating with a horizontal, PCB mounted, USB micro receptacle.  You can see that both PCB’s are held in a fixture for testing purposes.

The USB3150 has a tiny footprint (7.35mm x 2.80mm) and low profile height (7.13mm) above PCB.  Competition parts are bulky, taking up a large piece of PCB real estate and higher in profile.

Customers are using this connector in docking applications, normally to charge a handheld device, that’s why it’s important that the vertical plug is tested to ten thousand cycles, this is actually the standard for Micro USB2.0.  It’s important that the connector contacts are plating in 30µ” gold to achieve the high level of mating cycles, watch out for competitor products on the market with thinner levels of gold.  You might find a lower cost solutions, but will they perform in demanding applications?

Find out more about the USB3150 micro USB plug vertical here, you can download drawings and full product specification. Our 3D model viewer allows you to view the model online, without installing any special software, click to download 3D models.

Samples are available next day from your local GCT office and from our distributor partners Newark and Farnell.

If you need any help or advice on USB connectors and their applications please contact your local Global Connector Technology sales team.

GCT work with picoPOD in application to help the energy poor

picoPOD 30 with GCT dual stack USB connector for the energy poorPICOPOD 30 SET with GCT dual stack USB connector for the energy poor

Global Connector Technology is delighted to supply connectors for MOAB POWER’s picoPOD project, which is a fascinating application.

There are estimated to be 1.6 billion energy poor people in the world, mainly in developing countries. The picoPOD delivers a solution for those people who are off the electricity grid to be able to power simple appliances, offers basic lighting and mobile phone charging.

Moab claim its 10 year plus battery life delivers more power and brighter lights than competitors, wrapped up in a smaller package.

MOAB Power teamed up with the GCT Sales staff in the early stages of development allowing for product samples and engineering support during the crucial stages.  As a result, the picoPOD is using GCT’s  full size, dual stacked receptacle USB1035 to allow for multiple, simultaneous charging capabilities.  The USB1035 dual stack is ideal for all applications requiring multiple horizontally USB sockets, where space is an issue.

The picoPOD utilizes proprietary, safe, 10-year lithium solar cells, coupled with smart power management and an LED gauge. Enclosed in a small form factor case, it is less than 1/3 the size and weight of competing lead acid systems and much more environmentally friendly.

The picoPOD line up consists of two versions with 30Wh and 60Wh batteries, each with 4x12v and 2 USB ports. Application include LED lighting, mobile phone charging and powering DC appliances such as fans, radios, televisions, etc.

A 90Wh, laptop version, is also in development.

Included with the picoPOD, are appropriately sized solar panels, 3x1W [100 Lumen] LED lights and a multi-tip mobile phone charging cable.  160 Lumen – 1 Watt LED lights are optional.

We’re told the picoPOD units to help the energy poor will start shipping Q1 2016.  Find more information here.

View GCT’s range of innovative connectors

 

Lucky competition winner takes Bose headphones with micro USB connector inside

GCT exhibited at this years ‘Electronic Design Show’ and ran a competition for visitors to win great prizes with GCT micro usb connector inside. Visitors simply dropped their business cards into the competition box for a chance to win the top prize.

We’re pleased to announce that the lucky winner is Stacey Finn from Odstock Medical Ltd, pictured here, Stacey won the ‘BOSE QuietComfort 20 Acoustic noise cancelling headphones’ which uses GCT’s Micro USB connector for charging.

Please view GCT’s USB connectors to see our wide range of Micro USB connectors for charging applications.