Let’s be frank, the future is digital and connected

Francotyp-Postalia engages Clarinox Technologies and Green Hills Software to help bring Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity to franking machines

In 1920s Germany, postal workers had to write values on stamps manually, but as hyperinflation took hold of the country, values would change every hour.

The situation was untenable, but resolution was on hand. Innovative designers transformed a cash register into the world’s first franking machine with adjustable postage value. The legacy of those early innovators led to the company that is today known as Francotyp-Postalia (FP).

For the next 100 years innovation continued. FP brought the first fully automatic franking machine to the world in the 1980s, and in 2004 was the first franking company to meet the stringent Deutsche Post machine-readable requirements. A decade later, FP became the first franking machine supplier to earn an Energy Star 2.0 rating.

Increased connectivity with embedded software solutions

Coming into the modern era, FP strongly acknowledged that the future is digital. Consequently, the company has focused sharply on the development of innovative software solutions for secure digital communication and document processes. At the same time, FP has maintained its dedication to its franking machines, making them ever-more connected and functional.

As FP moved further into the digital and highly connected arena, company leaders recognized a pressing need for new suppliers—suppliers that would uphold the high standard of engineering integral to FP’s culture for the connectivity project. Among them were Green Hills Software and Clarinox Technologies (Clarinox).

FP

Founded in 1982 by Dan O’Dowd and Carl Rosenberg and headquartered in Santa Barbara, California, Green Hills Software builds operating systems and programming tools for embedded systems. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, Clarinox licenses short-range wireless protocol software and debugging tools for embedded systems.

FP engaged the services of both Green Hills and Clarinox to help the company achieve its vision of the future. Green Hills Software was engaged to provide its INTEGRITY Real Time Operating System (RTOS), GHNet TCP/IP and MULTI toolchain as a robust and secure foundation for FP’s embedded software platform. Clarinox was engaged to provide ClarinoxBlue Bluetooth Classic, Bluetooth Low Energy and ClarinoxWiFi Wi-Fi capability on the INTEGRITY RTOS and Texas Instruments WiLink8 target platform to provide robust and flexible connectivity.

Referring to the strategic importance of the connectivity project, Dirk Rosenau, Manager R&D at FP InovoLabs said, “The ability to connect using wireless has become a necessary part of all internet-capable devices today, from mobile phones through to office equipment. At Francotyp-Postalia, we see this capability as a ‘must have’ in our latest generation of franking machines. At the same time, transparency of the data flows in our communications is exceptionally important to us. This is one of the reasons why we opted for an in-built solution, rather than buying-in an external module.

To achieve this, and to get our offering off the ground, our cooperative relationships with Green Hills and Clarinox is vital. We feel well supported through what began as a brand-new area of technology for us. The result is our PostBase Vision, one of the most advanced franking machines on the market.”

“We are honored to have been chosen by Francotyp-Postalia for this project. Our INTEGRITY RTOS provides the secure and reliable foundation that is needed for a product such as this, and our MULTI toolchain and complier reduced risk and enabled bugs to be found and fixed early in the development cycle,” said Chris Tubbs, Business Development Director, EMEA, Green Hills Software.

Trish Messiter, Clarinox CEO, added that “We at Clarinox are proud that FP has given us the opportunity to work on this world-leading project. Our robust and comprehensive Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity stacks and powerful debug tool ClariFi facilitated a high level of visibility and collaboration between FP, Green Hills Software and Clarinox to achieve complex functionality. It has been a pleasure to learn the long history of innovation at FP and to work with the FP team across all levels, from procurement to management and engineering.”

Conclusion

Shaping the future requires a step into unknown territory and adoption of different technologies. With the right partners, FP has successfully established a platform for launching a range of new products and services.

About Francotyp-Postalia

The stock-listed and globally operating FP Group, headquartered in Berlin, is an expert in solutions that make office and work life easier and more efficient. As the market leader in Germany and Austria and the world's third-largest provider of franking systems, the FP Group is a well-established player with almost 100 years of corporate history. FP is represented in ten countries by its own subsidiaries and in 40 other countries via a dealer network.

In addition to its Franking & Office Solutions, the FP Group has business units for Software & Business Process Automation, IoT and Mail Services. In Software & Business Process Automation, FP optimizes customers’ business processes and offers solutions such as electronic signatures, hybrid mail, input/output management for physical and digital documents and the data-driven automation of complex business processes. In the growth areas of Internet of Things (IoT), the company develops platform- and software-as-a-service solutions not only to record and transmit data, but also to format this data and make it easily usable for customers. In Mail Services, FP offers the consolidation of business mail and counts among the leading providers in Germany. The FP Group generated revenue of around EUR 196 million in fiscal year 2020.

For more information see https://www.fp-francotyp.com/fpgroup.

About Green Hills Software

Founded in 1982, Green Hills Software is the worldwide leader in embedded safety and security. In 2008, the Green Hills INTEGRITY-178 RTOS was the first and only operating system to be certified by NIAP (National Information Assurance Partnership composed of NSA & NIST) to EAL 6+, High Robustness, the highest level of security ever achieved for any software product. The company’s open architecture integrated development solutions address deeply embedded, absolute security and high-reliability applications for military/avionics, medical, industrial, automotive, networking, consumer and other markets that demand industry-certified solutions. Green Hills Software is headquartered in Santa Barbara, CA, with European headquarters in the United Kingdom.

Visit Green Hills Software at https://www.ghs.com.

About Clarinox

Clarinox Technologies provides Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy & Wi-Fi protocol stacks, ClariFi-based debug tools and related engineering services to handle the inherent complexity of wireless throughout the whole product life cycle, thus freeing Clarinox customers to concentrate on their applications. Clarinox keeps pace with new releases of wireless standards, and ClarinoxBlue has achieved qualification of Bluetooth Core Specification V5.2 including BLE audio profiles.

Clarinox was founded in 2001 and is an ISO 9001–certified company. Many international brand names, including Fortune 100 customers, have used Clarinox software in their products for many years. Clarinox has received industry awards for its innovative architecture and ClariFi debugger.

Clarinox is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, and has offices in India and Turkey as well as a network of sales representatives worldwide.

For more information visit https://www.clarinox.com