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RFID News Roundup

Tagsys teams up with RYB on solution to detect underground infrastructure; Ubisense joins the Manufacturing Technology Centre to provide RTLS expertise to British manufacturers; Centre Hospitalier Côte de Lumière implements AeroScout Wi-Fi RTLS; RFIDSpan Technology announces new LLRP RFID reader; Tagonic kicks off contest for NFC-driven interactive campaigns; Broadcom contributes NFC software stack for Android; NFC-enabled mobile payments coming to Australia.
Nov 29, 2012The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Tagsys Teams Up with RYB on Solution to Detect Underground Infrastructure
Tagsys has announced that it has signed an agreement with RYB, a provider of products for the transport of gas, water, electricity, telecommunications, irrigation and geothermal energy, to supply industrialized RFID technology to support RYB's ELIOT (Equipment for Localization and Identification by Object Technology) program. ELIOT is designed to improve the safety, security and accessibility of underground infrastructure, by providing a means of detecting underground infrastructure at depths of up to 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) with extreme accuracy, through any kind of surface. As part of the agreement, Tagsys will provide ruggedized custom-made RFID tags to be placed on underground assets, thereby providing new levels of visibility for pipes and conduit location and monitoring, to avoid accidental damage and allow rapid detection of problems throughout infrastructure networks. The RFID tags and systems for the program must meet stringent requirements, Tagsys reports, including the ability to operate under extreme environmental conditions; provide accurate transmissions through earth, concrete and other materials; operate with efficient power consumption, and on specific frequency ranges utilized by ELIOT; and connect to an integrated monitoring system for each utility network. In addition, the tags must operate effectively while contained within a protective and hermetically sealed housing mounted on pipe measuring 20 to 1,000 millimeters (0.8 to 39.4 inches) in diameter. The tags must be compatible with all types of conduit materials, including polyethylene, cast iron, PVC, concrete and steel. For the project, Tagsys is providing its 13.56 MHz passive RFID tags, compliant with the ISO 15693 standard and featuring 2 kilobits of memory. There are two versions of the tag: one designed to be integrated into a specific ruggedized box (for existing, in-ground tubes or metallic tubes), the other built to be directly integrated inside the tube at the production level. Each tag is personalized and encoded on the production line at an RYB factory. Tags will be affixed 1 meter (3.3 feet) apart along the length of the pipe. Readers are custom-developed, but Tagsys is not at liberty to disclose the manufacturer.

Ubisense Joins the Manufacturing Technology Centre to Provide RTLS Expertise to British Manufacturers
Ubisense Group, a provider of location-based smart technology, has announced that it has joined the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) as an industrial member. MTC is a research facility that develops and showcases advanced production solutions with the potential to shape the future of British manufacturing. Ubisense's Smart Factory solutions leverage ultra-wideband (UWB) location RFID tags that transmit signals to nearby receivers, with location-tracking information analyzed and visualized using Ubisense's software. The solutions, according to Ubisense, will be installed at MTC's facilities in Coventry, England, to demonstrate how precise real-time location systems (RTLS) improve manufacturing processes, from automated product location and identification, tool control, error proofing, and line side supply to complete process visualization. Ubisense plans to work with MTC on a number of projects—many of which are confidential—as an opportunity to help manufacturers improve productivity and speed up the delivery of lean objectives, according to Michael Ledzion, Ubisense's chief product and marketing officer. Ubisense will initially install a tool-control solution on a test production line project already under way at MTC, which will enable MTC's partners to use the line to optimize workstations, reduce takt time (cycle time) and increase the traceability and visibility of the process in order to improve quality and reduce waste—all lean objectives, Ledzion says. "The partnership," he explains, "means that all MTC members will have access to Ubisense's suite of Smart Factory solutions, of which we expect Asset Manager, Assembly Control (the initial deployment) and Visible Industrial Process will be in the highest demand at the MTC." Ubisense's location-aware Smart Factory solutions are in use at a range of manufacturers worldwide, and are widely adopted in the automotive sector—where, according to Ubisense, the principles of lean manufacturing first originated. Customers include Aston Martin (see Aston Martin Speeds Cars Through Production), Airbus (see Airbus Installs RTLS for Large-Component Assembly), BAE Systems, BMW (see BMW Finds the Right Tool), Cummins, Daimler, Eurocopter, Fiat, General Motors, Honda (see Honda Italia Shifts Its RFID Deployment Into Second Gear), Toyota and Volkswagen. MTC is currently working with companies that span a wide range of sectors, including automotive and aerospace manufacturing.

Centre Hospitalier Côte de Lumière Implements AeroScout Wi-Fi RTLS
The emergency department of the Centre Hospitalier Côte de Lumière, in Sables d'Olonne, France, is employing an asset-management solution provided by AeroScout, a division of Stanley Healthcare Solutions, to track staff members and quickly respond in the event of a worker encountering an emergency situation. The Centre Hospitalier Côte de Lumière is a 498-bed hospital, with 212 beds designated for short stays, 240 allocated for long-term care of the elderly and 46 for adults with disabilities. Nurses and physicians wear the AeroScout tags and simply press a call button if a situation arises in which help is required. The solution alerts the security team and also provides the real-time location of the specific employee in duress, so that the team can arrive as quickly as possible. The hospital is using AeroScout's battery-powered Wi-Fi RFID tags—specifically, the T2s, T3 and T4b models. The T2s tag can be worn by patients, staff members or other individuals, and be attached to a variety of equipment, such as small medical devices. The T3 is similar, but is smaller and flatter in size; has a longer battery life (more than four years); and includes two call buttons and a tamper-proofing mechanism that triggers an immediate alert if the tag is in any way removed or tampered with. The T4b facilitates bidirectional connectivity with any standard Wi-Fi network infrastructure. The bidirectional communication between the T4b tag and the Wi-Fi network enables advanced application capabilities. For example, patients at hospitals can request assistance and then be acknowledged by the tag buzzing or vibrating, thus informing them that help is on the way. The AeroScout Staff Safety solution implemented by Stanley Healthcare's partner, BE-IP, includes AeroScout MobileView software.

RFIDSpan Technology Announces New LLRP RFID Reader
RFIDSpan Technology, a developer of RFID antennas and networking technology, has announced a new ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID reader that can support as many as 256 antennas, thereby providing 256 separate read points. The iReader-998 unit is suitable for a range of applications, according to RFIDSpan, such as smart shelves, smart cabinets other types of item-level location-tracking applications. The device leverages Impinj's Indy R2000 EPC Gen 2 interrogator chipset (see Impinj Adds New Products, Agreements to Its Portfolio), and features software that supports the industry-standard EPCglobal Low-level Reader Protocol (LLRP) to interface the reader with RFID enterprise applications. The support for the LLRP protocol is to standardize end-user applications development and eliminate the use of proprietary communication protocols, and makes it easier to integrate the iReader-998 device into a range of RFID enterprise infrastructures and business systems, RFIDSpan reports. Although the basic iReader-998 model comes with eight monostatic antenna ports, the reader is available with as many as 256 antenna ports, which—according to Albert Hong, RFIDSpan's VP—is crucial for applications that require multiple antenna read points. The technology can significantly simplify the large-scale item-level tracking deployment, the company reports, as well as lower the total hardware cost. Typically, building and deploying large-scale RFID smart shelves or real-time item-level asset-tracking systems is very costly, the firm notes, mostly due to the RF cabling's complexity. The iReader-998 unit, with eight monostatic antenna ports, is available now for $599, with volume discounts available.

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