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RFID News Roundup

Vietnam's Ho Tram Beach Resort automates uniform management with RFID; CISC adds tag sniffer to portable test system; U.K. automaker expands Ubisense RTLS deployment; MasterCard event promotes contactless payments; Austin schools to manage assets via RFID; Centre for Retail Research issues new retail theft report.
By Beth Bacheldor
Mar 21, 2013

The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Vietnam's Ho Tram Beach Resort Automates Uniform Management With RFID
InvoTech Systems, a provider of linen and uniform inventory-control solutions for hotels, casinos, resorts, theme parks and sports arenas, has announced that the Ho Tram Beach Resort, in Vietnam, is using InvoTech's RFID Uniform Tracking System to automate the management of uniforms for its staff of 2,400 employees. InvoTech implemented its GIMS ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID-based tracking system, which leverages Fujitsu Frontech North America's rubber-encapsulated labels that can be sewn into each uniform. Each tag has a unique ID number linked in the GIMS software to the particular type of item, as well as to its laundering history. The solution also includes Impinj Speedway Revolution R420 readers, for tracking uniforms' locations. InvoTech has linked the system to White Conveyors' U-Pick-It automated uniform-delivery system; the implementation includes four U-Pick-It doors with RFID antennas to record when staff members take possession of clean uniforms. An RFID bulk uniform reading station is installed to process all garments into and out of the property's laundry. The system reads entire carts of soiled uniforms being moved to the laundry, and instantly records rolling racks of clean garments returned to the property for employee use, according to InvoTech. Ho Tram Beach also uses Motorola Solutions MC3190-Z handheld readers with InvoTech Mobile Software to count uniforms within storerooms and holding areas for accurate real-time inventory.

CISC Adds Tag Sniffer to Portable Test System
CISC Semiconductor, an Austrian design and consulting service company for industries that develop embedded microelectronic systems, has announced a new extension, the Sniffer, for its RFID Xplorer ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tag-performance test system. The RFID Xplorer is a portable, compact solution designed specifically as a cost-effective, small and powerful measurement solution for RFID tag sensitivity, communication range and backscatter measurements, according to the company (see RFID News Roundup: CISC Unveils Portable UHF Tag Test System). With Sniffer, customers can evaluate the communication between an interrogator and a tag while out in the field or within a laboratory, and capture both the interrogator commands and tag replies, says Josef Preishuber-Pflügl, CISC's CTO and business unit manager for RFID and RFComm. The automatic analysis shows the detected commands and tag replies on high level with command names and parameters, and includes a zoom capability to delve further into details, such as the RF signal's waveforms. "The Sniffer is used to analyze the RFID communication," Preishuber-Pflügl explains. "So, you take the Sniffer and place the antenna close to the RF link between interrogator and tag. It captures all the communication, even for a very, very long time, only limited by your hard disk size. Once [this information is] captured, you look into the results and screen the command/response high-level description for either strange sequences or sequences with errors. If the issue is at the command level, then you have it. However, if it is not clear at the command level, you may zoom down into the waveforms." The new Sniffer extension includes the CISC RFID Xplorer 100 hardware module, an antenna and cable, and the CISC RFID Xplorer Sniffer software, and can also include an Ethernet cable for PC connectivity and an antenna mast, if so requested.

U.K. Automaker Expands Ubisense RTLS Deployment
Ubisense Group, a provider of location-based smart technology, has announced that one of its customers, an automotive manufacturer in the United Kingdom, is expanding its use of Ubisense's real-time location system (RTLS) technology, the Ubisense Smart Factory System. 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. According to Ubisense, the U.K. automaker—which has declined to be identified, and which had already been using the RTLS solution in production to track and control thousands of cars and DC torque tools—has now expanded the applications into the off-tracks finishing area, thereby providing an end-to-end solution for visibility and control across the entire factory floor. The deployment will allow the manufacturer to monitor each vehicle as it proceeds through the company's testing and finishing processes, Ubisense reports, with the goal of eliminating particular pinch points or bottlenecks along the production process. Integration of the RTLS solution with existing manufacturing-execution software enables the manufacturer to control the complete process in real time. With thousands of vehicle movements of multiple model variants daily, the Ubisense Smart Factory System will improve the cars' process flow as they leave the production line, ensuring that vehicles requiring attention are quickly identified, and that test and finishing stations are automatically controlled, Ubisense reports. In November 2012, Ubisense announced that it had begun working with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), a research facility that develops and showcases advanced production solutions with the potential to shape the future of British manufacturing. At the time, Ubisense indicated that its solutions would be installed at MTC's facilities in Coventry, England, in order to demonstrate how RTLS technology can improve manufacturing processes (see RFID News Roundup: Ubisense Joins the Manufacturing Technology Centre to Provide RTLS Expertise to British Manufacturers). It also reported that the two firms planned to work on a number of projects—many of which are confidential—as an opportunity to help manufacturers improve their productivity and speed up the delivery of lean objectives. Numerous manufacturers are utilizing Ubisense's technology, including 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 Italia (see Honda Italia Shifts Its RFID Deployment Into Second Gear), Toyota and Volkswagen.

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