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RFID News Roundup

Major North American retailer adopts Checkpoint Systems' RFID solutions; Phychips selects Thinkify as its exclusive North American distributor; Blue Spark, Trace Tech to develop disposable RFID temperature sensors; KTS announces Bluetooth HF RFID reader; Crescent Guardian and NControl collaborate on RFID-enabled security solutions; University of Melbourne researchers study effect of GS1 standards on supply chain integration, efficiency; Macy's launches visual recognition app to simplify consumer purchases.
By Beth Bacheldor
Nov 07, 2013

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: Checkpoint Systems; Phychips, Thinkify; Blue Spark Technologies, Trace Tech ID Solutions; KTS; Crescent Guardian, NControl; University of Melbourne and GS1 Australia; and Macy's.

Major North American Retailer Adopts Checkpoint Systems' RFID Solutions
Checkpoint Systems a provider of solutions for merchandise identification, tracking and security, has announced that a North American retail chain has finished deploying Checkpoint's RFID solutions in all of its more than 1,000 stores. The retailer, which has declined to be identified, is using Checkpoint's solution to improve inventory accuracy and merchandise availability, both in each individual store and across its retail channels, according to Checkpoint. The retailer conducted a pilot, and Checkpoint was able to complete the solution's implementation chain-wide at more than 1,000 stores in just 100 days, Checkpoint reports. "The retailer selected us based upon many criteria, including our performance during a pilot on a significant number of stores over the past 18 months to two years, and our capability to scale up deployments of hundreds of stores per week," said George Babich. Checkpoint's CEO, president and director, during Checkpoint Systems Q3 2013 earnings conference call, held this morning. "Because the retailer views this RFID implementation as a competitive advantage, it's chosen to remain anonymous at this time, and we respect those wishes." The solution includes Checkpoint's Merchandise Visibility enterprise software running centrally in the retailer's data center, as well as handheld RFID readers to perform regular in-store inventory counts, and Checkpoint's ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 RFID tags and labels for initial store tagging, tagging at distribution centers, and source tagging. The RFID solution is designed to provide the retailer with improved operational visibility, so that products move from stock rooms to the sales floor at the proper time, and also to optimize the location of inventory throughout the supply chain and stores.

Phychips Selects Thinkify as Its Exclusive North American Distributor

Phychips' Arete Pop Smart RFID dongle reader
Korean RFID technology firm Phychips has selected Thinkify, a U.S. provider of RFID hardware, software and services, as its exclusive North American distributor. Phychips' line of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID products include RFID reader chipsets, embeddable modules, small high-performance antennas and complete RFID readers for tags conforming to the EPC Gen 2 standard and ISO 18000-6C standards (see South Korean Consortium Launches EPC Gen 2 Reader for Mobile Phones). Among Phychips' products that Thinkify will distribute is the Arete Pop Smart RFID dongle reader. The dongle reader is compatible with most Apple iOS and Google Android devices (above iOS 6.0 and Android 2.3.3), and plugs into the devices' headphone jack, turning the device into an RFID reader. It has an average read range of approximately 0.5 meter (1.6 feet) and includes read, write, lock and kill functions, a software development kit (SDK) and an application programming interface (API).

Blue Spark, Trace Tech to Develop Disposable RFID Temperature Sensors
Blue Spark Technologies, a manufacturer of thin printed batteries, and Trace Tech ID Solutions, a provider of RFID technology and solutions headquartered in Spain, have partnered to develop new battery-assisted passive (BAP) temperature-sensing RFID tags. BAP tags, also known as semi-passive tags, are designed to provide greater read range and reliability than purely passive tags. The new sensor solution, known as the DBT Cold Chain, leverages RFID inlays compliant with the ISO 18000-6C and 18000-6D standards, and has 4096 bits of non-volatile memory (EEPROM), a 48-bit manufacturer-programmed IC serial number, and 352 bits for UII/EPC encoding, according to Matt Ream, Blue Spark's VP of marketing. Trace Tech currently offers two BAP products in the form of reusable cards, but the new solution is designed to be disposable, and as a one-time-use peel-and-stick smart label for a variety of cold chain applications, Ream says. Trace Tech will combine Blue Spark's printed batteries with its automated smart label production capabilities, in order to produce disposable time-temperature monitoring smart labels, the two companies report. The BAP RFID temperature-sensing tags can be used on cases, pallets, containers and individual packages of perishable foods, such as meat, fish, and frozen and dairy products. They can also be used with temperature-sensitive chemicals, as well as with pharmaceuticals, such as vaccines and biologicals. Trace Tech's DBT Cold Chain solution features immediate temperature monitoring, in addition to the ability to monitor temperature over time using its internal real-time clock. Using the monitoring function, the label can continuously monitor temperatures throughout the entire supply chain logistics cycle. With this feature, users have the ability to set alarms for high and low temperatures for defined periods of time. Samples of the DBT Cold Chain are available now, with commercial deliveries slated to be available in January 2014.

KTS Announces Bluetooth RFID Reader

KTS' BTR1356 Bluetooth RFID Reader
KTS, a German engineering firm focused on RFID and Near Field Communication (NFC) applications, has introduced a new Bluetooth high-frequency (HF) RFID reader designed for use in industrial, health-care and other environments containing dust, dirt and water or other liquids, such as disinfectants. The BTR1356 Bluetooth RFID Reader is available in various designs and can be customized to meet a customer's specific needs, the company reports. The reader is compliant with the ISO 15693 and ISO 14443A/B standards, comes with an IP 67 rating (indicating it to be dustproof and waterproof) and can withstand submersion in water for brief periods of time. The device has a built-in ferrite bar antenna, which KTS says allows for the accurate scanning and reading of small transponders. Options for built-in memory range from 2 gigabytes (capable of storing more than 1 million scans) to 32 gigabytes. Wireless data transmission, via Bluetooth, provides automatic updating of the read data sets. The reader comes with a power-saving electronic paper display, as well as KTS' tag2IMAGE software, designed to support RFID application development.

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