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RFID News Roundup

MAINtag, Zebra launch FLYplug RFID printing solution for aircraft parts; Avery Dennison simplifies Round Rock licensing requirements for retailers; scemtec, Smartrac partner on RFID document-tracking system; Qualcomm's Gimbal beacon featured at Tribeca Film Festival; Nordic Usability launches NFC RFID JiffyTags designed for time-tracking; IXYS intros 134.2 kHz passive RFID ICs with built-in temperature sensors.
By Beth Bacheldor

Qualcomm's Gimbal Beacon Featured at Tribeca Film Festival
Qualcomm has announced that its Gimbal Proximity Beacons—battery-powered tags that transmit a unique ID number via the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol—are being used in conjunction with the Tribeca Film Festival's official 2014 festival application. The Tribeca Film Festival—Official Mobile Event Guide app was developed for Apple iPhone devices by Eventbase. The Gimbal context-aware and proximity platform, according to Qualcomm, is being used to provide ticket offers, festival promotions, movie trailers and surveys that allow visitors to share their festival experience. The app, which is now available at the iTunes App Store, also lets fans vote on films debuting this year. Gimbal Proximity Beacons are designed to be highly accurate (within a few feet), Qualcomm reports, so that micro-location information can be delivered (assuming a user has opted in to receive push notifications). The beacons are at numerous locations around the festival, which is being held in Lower Manhattan on Apr. 16-27, 2014. Additional beacons are located on outdoor properties owned by Titan, an outdoor advertising firm. Last month, Qualcomm announced that it had been chosen by Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM), the Internet and interactive branch of Major League Baseball, to supply Bluetooth Beacons to 20 ballparks for opening day of the 2014 MLB season (see RFID News Roundup: Qualcomm Provides Bluetooth Beacons for Major League Baseball's 'At The Ballpark' App).

Nordic Usability Launches NFC RFID JiffyTags Designed for Time-Tracking

Jiffy app and JiffyTag key fobs (left), and stickers (right)
Nordic Usability has announced that its Android App Jiffy now works with Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID-enabled JiffyTags. Operating much like a stopwatch, Jiffy is a time-tracking application designed for tracking and accurately reporting work or project time, Nordic Usability explains. The app is available from the Google Play app store. By affixing JiffyTags to various objects contextually relevant to a project—for example, notebooks, folders, or keys—users can activate the Jiffy app by tapping their NFC-enabled smartphones to tagged objects and tracking time in the project linked to each particular tag. JiffyTags can also be shared among colleagues, making them suitable for mounting outside meeting rooms, or at an office entrance. The Jiffy key fobs and stickers are made with NXP Semiconductors' NTAG203 RFID chip, Nordic Usability reports, and are designed to work with as many phones as possible, by using the widely accepted standard NTAG203. "We have identified that the most difficult thing about time tracking is that it is so easy to forget," said Lorica Claesson, Nordic Usability's user experience designer and founder, in a prepared statement. "JiffyTags help our users remember by working both as a visual queue, as well as a trigger to start tracking your project." Unlike with most NFC tags, the company explains, JiffyTags are already prepared and will be recognized by the Jiffy app. When first held to the back of a phone, Jiffy asks which project it should be linked to, and the association is made within the app, the company says. Within the app, projects can be distinguished by different colors, which are represented on the JiffyTags to enable visual identification as well. Available now, the key fobs come with elastic bands and changeable color labels, and the stickers have the Jiffy symbol printed on top. The JiffyTags are sold online on Jiffy website, at a cost of €10 ($13.83) for three key fobs or five stickers.

IXYS Intros 134.2 kHz Passive RFID ICs With Built-in Temperature Sensors
IXYS Corp., a semiconductor company, has announced an integrated circuit (IC) family designed for the production of low-frequency (LF) RFID tags that perform in harsh and challenging environments and are designed for agricultural and medical applications. The products all work in the 134.2 kHz range, and will comply with the ISO 11784 and 11785 specifications. Products include the NCD1015, an integrated RFID tag for harsh environments that contains four memory blocks of 33 bits each, suitable for electronic animal identification; the NCD 1025, an RFID IC with 8 memory blocks of 33 bits each and an integrated on-silicon temperature sensor, negating the need for external components to sense and report temperatures; and the NCD1100, which is optimized for tags on metal with a dedicated antenna and synchronous collision-avoidance logic. The ICs were developed by INCIDE, a business that IXYS recently acquired and renamed IXYS San Sebastian (ISS). "Adding RFID ICs and RFID tags to our application specific IC products will enable IXYS to provide essential location and tracking capabilities within customers' products in the medical, industrial, transportation, telecommunication, security and agricultural industries," said IXYS's CEO, Nathan Zommer, in a prepared statement. "We believe our customers will gain a competitive advantage, utilizing our unique low power RFID products that wirelessly transfer information and measurements, even in harsh conditions. The combination of RFID ICs and our extensive line of MCUs enables the production of smart digital RFID tags for our target markets." The new products will be sold through IXYS' IC sales channels, the company reports.

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