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RFID World 2007 Announcement Wrap-Up

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by [email protected], Mar 31, 2007.

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    Thursday March 29th, 2007

    The latest RFID World exhibition and conference, held this week in
    Dallas, was a launching pad for many new RFID products and software
    applications. A number of the new releases were enhancements or
    product line extensions, rather than major innovations. The iterative
    product development trend could be taken as a sign the technology is
    maturing. Indeed, exhibitors spoke more of actual applications and end-
    user customers, particularly for asset management applications, than
    at events in years past, when major product introductions outnumbered
    user references.

    OATSystems had both product and customer announcements. The company
    introduced its Real-Time Promotion Execution Solution, which tracks
    promotional displays and can issue alerts to consumer goods
    manufacturers and retailers if displays aren't moved to the retail
    store floor according to promotion plans. The company separately
    announced that hygiene products manufacturer Kimberly-Clark is
    trialing the system with multiple retail partners.

    The solution includes a mobile RFID smart label encoder from ADASA,
    which was one of the more innovative products introduced at the show.
    The new product earned ADASA the Excellence in RFID Technology award
    presented during the keynote address on Tuesday (see Awards Honor RFID
    Innovators). ADASA's handheld encoder was one of few non-traditional
    products introduced at the show.

    Semiconductor and RFID chip and reader manufacturer Impinj announced
    that it will work with METRO Group to develop a comprehensive Gen2
    item-level tagging solution for the giant German retailer's high-value
    garments and accessories. "We anticipate a significant return on
    investment for tagging high-value garments," said Dr. Gerd Wolfram,
    the managing director of MGI METRO Group Information Technology.

    RFID hardware manufacturer Alien Technology made a handful of
    announcements. The company is offering its LoadImage tag programming
    technology to all vendors of Gen2 reader technology. According to the
    company, LoadImage allows Alien Gen2 tags to be encoded and locked in
    23 milliseconds, which represents a 10x improvement over prevailing
    Gen2 tag programming rates. The company's RFID Solution Center in
    Dayton, Ohio, has been awarded the Performance Test Center
    Accreditation by EPCglobal. The center now also offers EPCglobal-
    certified Applied Tag Performance Testing to help companies ensure the
    readability of their EPC/RFID-tagged goods as they move through the
    supply chain. Lastly, Alien announced support for IBM's newly launched
    WebSphere RFID Premises Server.

    According to IBM, 6.0 of the Premises Server aggregates and analyzes
    massive amounts of RFID and other sensor information from every corner
    of an enterprise.

    Store Kraft, which makes retail display cabinets, introduced a "smart
    cabinet" from its 5Stat division that integrates high frequency RFID
    technology from Texas Instruments and GlobeRanger's edgeware platform
    to provide inventory visibility for items on display, like jewelry.
    Several retailers are piloting the project, according to the
    companies. Read the announcement.

    Most of the announced product and technology developments centered on
    readers and software.

    * Industrial Portals showed its recently announced MOD2 line of
    reader portals with multiple I/O ports to interface with light stacks,
    motion sensors, and other devices, as well as improved compatibility
    with any brand of RFID equipment.

    * Intel showed the R1000 Gen2 reader chip it announced earlier in
    the month (see Intel Announces Gen2 Reader Chip). The R1000 combines
    all the components and functions needed for RFID reader functionality
    onto a single chip, which provides size and production cost
    advantages. The R1000 is built into ThingMagic's new Mercury 53
    embedded reader, which was announced at the show.

    * Intermec showed its latest RFID reading system for mounting on
    forklifts and other industrial vehicles, the IV7C, which the company
    announced the previous week. The IV7C includes a reader, ruggedized
    wireless computer, plus antennas and an adaptable load backrest.

    * RF SAW featured a new mobile system in use at NASA to read RF
    SAW's passive 2.45 GHz tags for long-range (up to 30 meters) asset
    tracking and inventory control.

    * Transpond Global Solutions' new IntelliAntenna uses an Ethernet
    connection to transfer tag read processing responsibility to a backend
    application server. The company positions the product as a "thin,"
    lower-cost alternative to traditional fixed-position readers.

    * Unitech introduced a handheld and a fixed position reader. The
    RH767 is a IP54-rated ruggedized handheld computer with integrated
    RFID reading capability. The RS600 Fixed Reader operates in the
    902-928 MHz frequency band, is ISO 18000-6B and EPCglobal Gen2
    compliant, and provides multiple input/output ports.

    * Wireless Dynamics has built an RFID reader in an SD card form
    factor. The newly announced SDiD 1210 can be inserted in the SD card
    slot of a smart phone or other device to provide low frequency RFID
    reading capability.

    New software releases centered on asset management.

    * Fluensee combined its AssetTrack Express software, a handheld
    reader, and 250 passive tags into a sub-$10,000 RFID starter kit
    announced at the show.

    * SenseIQ announced an upgrade to its InSight Platform to provide
    asset visibility from the shop floor to the supply chain.

    * Systems Concepts and Motorola's Enterprise Mobility Business
    (formerly Symbol Technologies) demonstrated how the former's Traxware
    software can work with the latter's mobile and fixed-position RFID
    readers for closed-loop asset tracking applications.

    * CYBRA announced its new EdgeMagic software for managing edge
    devices, reading RFID tags, and integrating data into enterprise
    applications on the IBM iSeries and AS/400 platforms.

    There was relatively little news about chips and inlays. Avery
    Dennison introduced its AD-222 Gen2 inlay, but made bigger news with
    its purchase of Paxar (see Avery Dennison to Acquire Paxar for $1.3b).
    Checkpoint Systems announced three new Gen2 tag designs.

    Texas Instruments helped develop two of the antenna designs for the
    new Checkpoint tags. TI also announced that ten inlay manufacturers,
    including Checkpoint, have chosen the company's RFID chips (both HF
    and Gen2 UHF) for their tags and labels.
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