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RFID News Roundup

Transcends upgrades Rifidi open-source RFID software, introduces new appliances, reader; Napa Valley's AuburnJames Winery to test RFID-enabled pallets; ADR's Automated Workforce Monitor service initiated at Texas construction sites; Minneapolis Institute of Arts' parking lot uses TagMaster RFID tags; Toshiba certifies Omni-ID UltraThin IQ 400 and IQ 600 RFID labels; Intellitix intros RFID MiniPortal.
Dec 06, 2012The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Transcends Upgrades Rifidi Open-Source RFID Software, Introduces New Appliances, Reader
Transcends has announced Rifidi 2.0, a new version of its open-source RFID software for developing and deploying radio frequency identification business solutions. Rifidi 2.0 solutions include the Rifidi Edge Server software, the Rifidi Box Appliance (which comes with hardware and an embedded version of Rifidi 2.0 software, and is designed for a wide variety of enterprise applications), and the Rifidi PI Appliance (which includes a credit-card-sized Linux single-board computer known as Raspberry PI, as well as an embedded version of Rifidi 2.0, and is designed for kiosks, smart shelves, point-of-sale end caps and more). Both appliances include the Rifidi Software Developers Kit (SDK) and an application programming interface (API), so customers can integrate and customize them to meet their particular needs. In addition, the line-up includes the Smart Sensor UHF Gen 2 RFID reader module, which supports the EPC Gen 2 specification. Transcends, formerly known as Pramari, introduced the Rifidi open-source software in October 2009 (see Pramari Launches Free Open-Source RFID Middleware), according to Brian Pause, Transcends' VP of business development. To date, Pause says, users of the open-source RFID solution have included a variety of enterprise and small and midsize businesses, RFID systems integrators, RFID resellers, global IT consulting services firms and product companies looking to develop end-to-end business solutions leveraging RFID and sensors. The earlier version of Rifidi, including an iteration launched in 2010 (see RFID News Roundup: Pramari Unveils Update to Open-Source RFID Software), did not include the appliances or the reader. Pause says Rifidi 2.0 can be utilized to create a variety of new RFID use cases and applications that leverage cloud technology, as well as social media. Integration with the cloud-based Amazon Web Services (AWS) means customers could, for example, capture sensor (reader) events and store them in AWS' NoSQL data repository, used by many social-media and mobile apps. "NoSQL, in a cloud, is a highly available, fast and scaleable way to be able to capture your sensor events anywhere, at any time, across the Internet or virtual private network," Pause states. "By capturing your sensor events in the cloud utilizing a NoSQL data structure, the end user is now positioned to utilize other cloud services such as Big Data [services] to analyze this information in high speed, real time or batch, and combine that with other legacy information." For example, he says, a retailer could capture events within a store and then use the cloud services to analyze those events and correlate them with Web traffic, marketing, social media and legacy information, in order to better understand customer behavior or how an ad campaign is working at that location. Rifidi 2.0, Pause adds, also provides integration with Facebook and Twitter, enabling Transcends' customers to build apps that can link sensor events to trigger social-media actions. With such a setup, for instance, a shopper could use the sensor to indicate he or she "liked" a product, and then have that information appear on Facebook.

Napa Valley's AuburnJames Winery to Test RFID-enabled Pallets
Axios Mobile Assets has announced that it has been selected by the AuburnJames Winery, in Napa Valley, Calif., to provide its RFID-enabled plastic pallets for a logistics trial program within the winery's distribution network. During the trial, Axios will provide 30 of its pallets for a closed-loop system used by AuburnJames and its primary pick, pack and ship distribution partner. This is the first agreement for Axios with a premium beverage supplier, the company reports. Each of Axios' pallets is composed of lightweight bio/polyester resin, and is equipped with four Invengo XCTF-8030A-CO2 EPC Gen 2 passive RFID tags, one in each corner. The solution provided to AuburnJames—which has been operating since last month—includes rackable, heavy-duty, multi-trip composite pallets capable of 2,800-pound loads, the track-and-trace cloud-based software and the approved methodology from the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) organization, a voluntary carbon market accounting program to track and retire carbon units. The Axios solution will be fully integrated into AuburnJames' logistics process; while the initial pilot does not employ RFID, Axios notes, as the pilot matures, it plans to leverage the pallets' embedded RFID tags in conjunction with the Axios track-and-trace solution, which includes GPS and cellular communication technologies, to further protect assets as they move through the distribution process to retailers. The pilot is expected to grow throughout the next 24 months. According to Axios, AuburnJames selected its pallets based on a number of factors, including their cleanliness, durability, high quality, aesthetics, and track-and-trace capability. Axios reports that it offers a sustainable approach to storing and transporting wines, consistent with AuburnJames' brand positioning in the marketplace and commitment to the environment. For example, AuburnJames uses natural cork from renewable resources, as well as lightweight bottles within its operations. The Axios pallet offers a lightweight solution, the firm explains, and these collective initiatives, when combined with AuburnJames' ongoing efforts, will offer a substantial cost savings for the winery as it expands moving forward. According to Axios, its RFID pallets and tracking technology offer a complementary fit to the winery's sustainability practices, while helping to alleviate case goods damage, splinters and other unsightly debris within the winery's bottling and finished goods areas. What's more, the wine industry has increasingly taken steps to protect high-value wines from theft and counterfeiting during its shipping and delivery process. Once implemented, Axios reports, its solution's track-and-trace function will ensure that AuburnJames' wines can be traced throughout the delivery process, thereby alleviating concerns regarding counterfeiting or theft.

ADR's Automated Workforce Monitor Service Initiated at Texas Construction Sites
ADR Software has announced the installation of its Workforce Monitor service, which leverages EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID technology designed to track the number of workers, at construction sites in San Antonio and Houston. The assignments are the first for Workforce Monitor in Texas, the company reports. In San Antonio, Workforce Monitor was installed at a project for Holder Construction, while in Houston, the service was installed at BLVD Place for WS Bellows Construction, to provide automated, real-time workforce monitoring, documentation and analysis. Managers and supervisors of construction projects can capture the identity of every worker entering or leaving a site, by means of Workforce Management Stations—RFID portals that read tags attached to hardhats. RFID data collected from readers is processed by the Workforce Monitor software application, in order to provide such details as which contractors have employees on site at any given time, the number of workers at that location, whether those individuals possess the necessary training or certification required to be there, workforce demographics and each worker's zip code, thereby enabling a user to know the number of local jobs created by that project. The solution also provides such information as which personnel have gone belowground on sites at which trenches or tunnels, for example, are being dug. Thus, in the event of an emergency, supervisors would know, in real time, which workers were below grade (see At Construction Sites, RFID Tracks Arrivals, Departures). According to Bruce Labovitz, ADR Software's president, his company utilizes adhesive-backed Alien Technology Squiggle tags adhered to hard hats, ID badges and/or safety gear, in conjunction with Alien's ALR-9900+ readers and Laird Technologies' reader antennas. At one of the Texas construction sites, ADR's Mobile Monitoring Service—employing a Venture Research handheld RFID reader, with a circularly polarized antenna, hand-trigger reading and a miniature PC—is being employed. ADR is currently working with general contractors and owners at 42 sites in 10 states, as well as in Washington, D.C. (see RFID News Roundup: ADR Software to Provide Real-time Workforce Information for Baltimore and D.C. Construction Projects).

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