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RFID News Roundup

New York Comic Con adopts RFID to control counterfeiting; Virginia High School installs Ekahau's RFID solution to bolster emergency responses; Assuta Medical Center implements LogiTag's SmartCabinet; Sentara Healthcare, Trinitas Regional Medical Center select Versus RTLS; Germany's Kassel-Calden airport tests RFID to guide visually impaired visitors; Central College Nottingham tests NFC to help teach English as a foreign language.
By Beth Bacheldor
Sep 12, 2013

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: New York Comic Con; Ekahau; LogiTag Systems; Versus Technology; Kassel-Calden Airport; and the Central College Nottingham.

New York Comic Con Adopts RFID to Control Counterfeiting

Attendees in costume at last year's Comic Con event
Next month, regular attendees of New York Comic Con (NYCC), a pop-culture and comic-book convention held at the Javits Center in midtown Manhattan, will notice something new: RFID-enabled badges. The event's organizer, ReedPOP, made the switch from paper tickets to the RFID badges in order to thwart the use of counterfeit tickets—a problem that has plagued the exposition for some time—as well as better monitor and control traffic. "Our core reason for doing this is for safety and security," says Randy Field, VP of the customer success group and operations technology at Reed Exhibitions (ReedPOP's parent company). "We feel that, in the past, a lot of people have used counterfeit tickets." The badges are made of plastic, each containing an NXP Semiconductors Mifare Near Field Communication (NFC) chip embedded in it. The event's Web site indicates that the badges' RFID chips are designed to ensure that "pesky counterfeiters can't sell you a crappy, wannabe NYCC Badge. If you're caught with a counterfeit Badge you'll be asked to leave NYCC 2013 immediately. It sounds harsh, but we're cracking down on the crooks to make your experience 100x cooler!" NYCC staff members will be issued Google Nexus 7 tablets, which come with built-in NFC RFID readers. The workers will use the devices to check badges at all the entrances and exits, as well as while patrolling the Javits Center throughout the convention. When entering or exiting the building, attendees will be required to tap the Nexus 7 tablets with their NYCC ID badges. ReedPOP notes, on the event's Web site, that each RFID chip contains only a unique ID number associated with a particular user profile that each registrant provides during the badge-activation process, and that a badge's RFID tag will not be encoded with the badge-holder's name or any other personal information. The data collected through the RFID technology includes such things as the quantity of people entering NYCC, the date and time of each visit, the number of times the badge-holder entered and exited, and which entrances or exits were used, according to ReedPOP. All of the NYCC ID badges are being mailed to attendees, the Web site explains, and upon receipt, badge holders can activate their badges online to access special features, show exclusives and contests, as well as to link their badges with their social-media profiles. Online registration is not required, but only those that are registered will be replaced if a badge is lost, damaged or stolen. ReedPOP is also considering the use of NFC-enabled kiosks positioned at various places on the show floor; attendees would then be able to tap their badges to check in and share experiences with their social-media profiles, Field explains. Some exhibitors may also have the ability to scan badges, he adds, if attendees choose to tap their badges at those locations.

Virginia High School Installs Ekahau's RFID Solution to Bolster Emergency Responses
Ekahau has announced that Patrick Henry High School, located in Glade Spring, Va., is employing Ekahau's RFID-over-Wi-Fi real-time location system (RTLS). The high school is using the solution to support its school safety and emergency response procedures and practices. The solution consists of Ekahau's Wi-Fi-based RFID tags, infrared (IR) beacons to make location data more granular and Ekahau's Vision software. The school initially tested the system over a span of three days, beginning in late August. Now, Ekahau reports, the school has 60 Ekahau B4 badges for faculty members, including administrators, teachers (39 of whom have received the badges to date), janitors, cafeteria staff and the nurse. The B4 badge can be tracked and located via the Ekahau RTLS solution over any brand or generation of Wi-Fi network, according to the company, and can typically achieve room-level accuracy using Wi-Fi as the location method. The badge tag transmits a unique ID number linked to an employee's identification information stored in the Vision software. School employees wear the Ekahau RFID badges on lanyards and, in the event of a medical, disciplinary or other emergency, they can pull down on the badge's safety switch in order to alert co-workers and police dispatchers of the emergency. If an alert is issued, Ekahau's Vision software captures and interprets the location and other information. Within seconds, the software transmits a message directly to the appropriate badges within the facility, thereby informing other personnel regarding the emergency's nature and where it is occurring. The B4 badge features three call buttons and an alarm switch, all of which can be programmed to address different calls initiated by a user. For instance, a button press can signify a call for basic assistance, whereas the alarm switch can be used to summon nearby co-workers to help with a life-threatening situation. The Ekahau Vision software also allows school officials and dispatchers to send mass notifications to teachers' badges, displayed as text messages on the badge's LED screen, according to the company. In the event of a school lock-down, e-mails can be sent to county school officials, notifying them of this action. In addition, the Ekahau system automatically records and time-stamps all emergency events, including where they occurred, who responded, whether they were resolved—and, if so, how—for use and review by school boards and local police departments. The Virginia high school has also installed Ekahau temperature tags in some areas, so temperatures can be monitored during summers, holidays, weekends and after hours. The tags monitor a large walk-in refrigerator and walk-in freeze in the cafeteria, Ekahau reports. In the past a person would have to enter to check on the units manually. Ekahau's RTLS is typically used in hospitals and other health-care facilities (see RFID News Roundup: German Senior Citizens Home Implements Ekahau Wi-Fi RTLS and RFID News Roundup: Australia's Dandenong Hospital Selects Wi-Fi RTLS From Ekahau for Emergency Department), but schools are now beginning to implement the technology as well. For example, Idaho's Skyview High School is utilizing the Ekahau RTLS to support its emergency response program (see Idaho School Installs RTLS to Make Students Safer).

Assuta Medical Center Implements LogiTag's SmartCabinet
LogiTag Systems, a provider of RFID solutions and inventory-management systems, has announced that the Assuta Medical Center has implemented its RFID-enabled SmartCabinet solution within the hospital's catheterization laboratories. Assuta, Israel's largest private medical services center, runs two cath labs that perform more than 5,000 diagnosis catheterization and treatment procedures annually, LogiTag reports. The hospital is using the SmartCabinet solution to aid in tracking inventory, and to obtain an accurate view of inventory levels and usage at all times, the company indicates. As a result of the installation, LogiTag adds, the cath labs have eliminated the need for manual counting and reordering practices by nurses and other personnel. The LogiTag solution leverages 13.56 MHz passive RFID tags compliant with the ISO 15693 standard, which are attached to medical supplies. The SmartCabinet's built-in RFID reader, designed and manufactured by LogiTag, then captures when products enter and leave its shelves, and provides access to authorized employees. The SmartCabinet automatically creates a digital record of which items have been removed, as well as by whom. "LogiTag's SmartCabinet solution has changed the way we manage our cath-lab inventory," said Chemi Shamir, an Assuta purchasing manager, in a prepared statement. "The fact we can move from a manual to automate counting process has given us the flexibility to work under a consignment model with our medical suppliers. This means both our suppliers and we now have ongoing real-time reports on what has been used, due to expire, needs invoicing, or re-stocking. We no longer pay our suppliers in advance or hold inventory that may not be utilized; therefore, saving the hospital much needed resources. Given this great outcome, we plan to use SmartCabinet in other departments including our eye clinic." Other health-care organizations are using LogiTag's solutions as well. New York Hospital Queens is employing LogiTag's SmartCabinets and StockBox to automate the management of medical devices and consumables (see New York Hospital Queens Tests RFID Inventory System). The StockBox is designed for consumables, such as surgical supplies, that are used only once. When a predetermined amount of product is consumed, an RFID tag is placed within an RFID-enabled box, thereby triggering the reordering of that item from the warehouse or stockroom.

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