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RFID News Roundup

U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer expands RFID program with Avery Dennison; Intermec enhances 70 Series mobile computers with integrated RFID; ZeitControl Cardsystems intros USB RFID reader; L-com Announces new UP Series 5.1 to 5.8 GHz omnidirectional antennas; Schneider Moden adopts Enso Detego RFID software at its Gerry Weber stores; RFIDSpan Technology launches PC-based RFID middleware appliance; NFC tags embedded in books about Steve Jobs.
Jan 17, 2013The following are news announcements made during the past week.

U.K. Retailer Marks & Spencer Expands RFID Program With Avery Dennison
Avery Dennison's Retail Branding and Information Solutions (RBIS) division has announced that its nine-year partnership to supply radio frequency identification equipment to U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has been extended. An early user of RFID (see EPC in Fashion at Marks & Spencer and Marks & Spencer to Extend Trial to 53 Stores), M&S is now expanding its use of the technology to track and manage all clothing and home wares within its stores, according to Avery Dennison. The rollout will take place throughout all departments, starting in 2013, and is expected to be complete by spring 2014. Avery Dennison and M&S have worked together on several RFID projects since 2003, including the creation of specific RFID tags that are fully integrated into a range of labels and tickets. Since then, the company reports, Avery Dennison has supplied almost one billion RFID tags to M&S with no data loss or duplication. In the future, Avery Dennison indicates, M&S plans to expand the use of RFID scanning throughout the supply chain, in order to increase the accuracy and speed of distribution. "Having accurate stock information is a driver for our whole business, especially when it comes to multi-channel," said Kim Phillips, M&S' head of packaging, in a statement. "The RFID partnership with Avery Dennison is allowing us to replenish stock from the distribution center more accurately, making more garment sizes available to more customers and continuing to prove its value over and over again."

Intermec Enhances 70 Series Mobile Computers With Integrated RFID
Intermec has announced that it now offers fully integrated ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID readers with no external antennas in its CK70, CN70 and CN70e mobile computers. According to Intermec, the integration combines RFID reading capability with the 70 Series platform of compact, rugged mobile computers. The 70 Series reader platform is compliant with the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C standards. It supports medium- to long-range read distances, and is optimized to read one or multiple tags in support of inventory- and asset-tracking applications in the retail, health-care, industrial and government market segments. The three models available each feature an ergonomic form factor, have an IP 67 rating (which means they are dustproof and waterproof, and are able to withstand submersion in water for brief periods) and operate in temperatures ranging from -20 degrees to +60 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees to +140 degrees Fahrenheit). With the battery, the CN70 device measures 16.9 centimeters long by 8.0 centimeters wide by 3.4 centimeters deep (6.65 inches by 3.15 inches by 1.34 inches) and weighs 450 grams (15.9 ounces). The CN70e RFID model measures 19.5 centimeters by 8.0 centimeters by 3.4 centimeters (7.66 inches by 3.15 inches by 1.34 inches) and weighs 491 grams (17.3 ounces) with the battery, while the CK70 RFID device measures 23.7 centimeters by 8.0 centimeters by 4.3 centimeters (9.33 inches by 3.16 inches by 1.69 inches) and weighs 562 grams (19 ounces) with the battery. With its single platform approach, Intermec reports, the 70 Series RFID features a single architecture, a single software build, a single set of peripherals and a single charging system, which simplifies the tasks of software updates, training new employees, managing spares pools and charging devices. The 70 Series RFID platform, the company indicates, is fully compatible with the entire suite of original 70 Series accessories, including the FlexDock modular docking system.

ZeitControl Cardsystems Intros USB RFID Reader
German company ZeitControl Cardsystems' contactless and RFID transponder group has introduced a new 13.56 MHz RFID reader, known as the TagTracer MicroStick Mifare, in the form of a USB stick that can be plugged into a USB port. The device can read data culled from various ISO 14443A-compliant transponders, including ZeitControl's BasicCard 7.5 and those made with NXP Semiconductors' Mifare Classic, Mifare Ultralight, Mifare DESFire or NTAG chips, and stores the data in the PC's keyboard buffer. The information can then be used for various applications, such as by Microsoft Excel. The USB RFID reader also works with smartphones and tablets. According to ZeitControl, the TagTracer MicroStick Mifare is suitable for a variety of applications, such as those designed to track logistics, stock data, product IDs and time. When the reader's antenna comes in range of an RFID transponder, that transponder's serial ID number is culled and written into the keyboard buffer of the PC; the serial number then appears wherever the cursor is in an open software application, such as Microsoft Word or Excel, just as if the number were typed on the keyboard. The interrogator features a reading distance of up to 50 millimeters (2 inches), and illuminates a green LED to indicate it is ready for use and a yellow LED to confirm a read. It includes a PC configuration tool that allows users to customize the read data output formats. The stick measures approximately 80 millimeters (3.1 inches) in length and weighs about 18 grams (0.6 ounces). Available now, the TagTracer MicroStick Mifare is priced at about $146 (€109.00), plus freight and sales tax.

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