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RFID News Roundup
DHL adds 13 locations throughout the Americas to its life-sciences Thermonet network; EM Microelectronic announces COiN Bluetooth smart beacon; SkyeTek unveils new UHF RFID module; International oil and gas company implements Precyse Technologies' RTLS to boost worker safety; RFID takes part in University of Texas at Dallas commencement ceremony.
Jul 03, 2014—
The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
DHL Global Forwarding;
Precyse Technologies; and the
University of Texas at Dallas.
DHL Adds 13 Locations Throughout the Americas to Its Life-Sciences Thermonet Network
DHL Global Forwarding, the air and ocean freight specialist within Deutsche Post DHL, has announced that it has expanded its RFID-based air-freight service offerings for the life-sciences and health-care industries at 13 locations throughout the Americas, thereby adding to the company's worldwide Thermonet network of Certified Life Sciences Stations. The service allows customers to monitor the temperatures of their goods throughout the shipping process, for such temperature-sensitive products as pharmaceuticals or biomedical items. DHL uses ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags with built-in temperature sensors applied to containers. The service also sends customer alerts if any temperatures exceed accepted ranges, and temperature data and logistics events can be accessed via the proprietary LifeTrack IT platform. The service was first introduced in mid-2013 (see DHL Thermonet Tracks Drugs and Life-Sciences Goods With RFID Temperature Tag). The Americas Thermonet locations added to the network include Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Bogotá, Colombia; Toronto, Canada; Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil; Mexico City, Mexico; Panama City, Panama; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Caracas and Valencia, Venezuela; and Boston, Mass. and New York, in the United States.
The facilities offer cold storage space at a range of 35 degrees to 46 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees to +8 degrees C) to serve DHL's global customer base in the life-sciences and health-care sectors with temperature-controlled air-freight shipment needs. DHL Global Forwarding reports that it had previously added eight locations in the United States to its list of Thermonet facilities: Atlanta, Ga., Chicago, Ill., Cincinnati, Ohio; Los Angeles, Calif.; Miami, Fla.; Philadelphia, Penn; San Francisco, Calif.; and Washington, D.C. "With the expansion of our Thermonet certified facilities this means consignors and consignees have access across the Americas to a reliable end-to-end cold chain," said David Bang, the CEO of LifeConEx, a part of DHL Global Forwarding, in a prepared statement. "These DHL Global Forwarding facilities include highly trained personnel capable of handling any type of temperature sensitive pharmaceutical or biomedical items."
According to DHL, all certified stations are audited against globally defined Good Distribution Practices (GDP) to ensure conformity across the network. Several of the facilities provide temperature monitoring, dry ice replenishment, and active and non-active container handling, in order to ensure product quality at all times. The company says it will continue to expand its Thermonet network of Life Sciences Certified Stations, and that it plans to integrate more than 65 stations across the globe by the end of 2014, and 80 by the end of next year. DHL notes that it plans to further expand some of the station's capabilities with additional storage space during the coming months.
EM Microelectronic Announces COiN Bluetooth Smart BeaconEM Microelectronic has announced the availability of its COiN Bluetooth beacon. COiN is an optimized Bluetooth Smart beacon that leverages EM's EM9301 ultra-low-power Bluetooth Smart Controller and EM6819 ULP 8-bit Flash microcontroller. The beacon features a read range of up to 150 meters (492 feet), with power consumption low enough that it can be powered purely by harvested energy instead of its CR2032 battery.
According to EM Microelectronic, COiN can be deployed anywhere that Apple iBeacon technology is used, and also supports wireless sensor networking and many other applications via Bluetooth Smart (Bluetooth with a Low Energy Core Configuration) wireless communications. The beacon consumes an average of less than 20µA in a typical application, the company reports, resulting in more than 18 months' operation from a single CR2032 battery, which is included in the beacon. COiN also contains a built-in pushbutton switch and integrated red and green light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that provide users with feedback regarding the device's operating mode. It features an integrated printed circuit antenna, and at the 0dBm output power setting, EM's beacons can be detected from a distance of 75 meters (246 feet) by an Apple iPhone 5S. At maximum output power, the company notes, that distance extends up to 120 meters (393 feet). In addition, EM says the beacon's optimized circuit architecture makes it immune to over-the-air attacks, and that it prevents anyone from hacking or modifying it unless the perpetrator has complete physical possession of the device.
COiN is shipped pre-programmed, with a Renata CR2032 battery and a weatherproof plastic enclosure that can be customized to sport any embossed logo desired. Although the COiN beacon is available in-stock, pre-programmed and with a standard housing, EM reports that the standard COiN hardware and firmware can be easily modified to fit most applications. At the most basic level, COiN's firmware can easily be modified to change the universally unique identifier (UUID), major ID, minor ID, output power and beacon interval. According to the company, these changes are useful for adapting the beacon for whatever smartphone software application or application programming interface (API) is being used, segregating beacon populations and sub-populations, and for optimizing its battery lifetime based on the desired use case. EM offers a development kit if more extensive firmware modifications are required.
The COiN Development Kit includes five COiN beacons, a programming board and a programming cable, and is fully compatible with the company's line of software-development tools for the EM6819, EM's ultra-low-power microcontroller. To assist in attaching and deploying the COiN beacon, EM offers a suite of accessories. The Key Fob Accessory snaps over the COiN for attachment to key rings, or for hook- or loop-based attachment methods, such as zip-ties. The Wall Mount Accessory can be nailed or screwed to a solid surface, with the COiN snapped into place, completely hiding the Wall Mount. The beacon can also be snapped into the Watch Band Accessory or any of a number of wristbands for wrist-worn applications.
"COiN leverages EM's expertise in ultra-low power wireless and computing as well as our high quality standards and synthesizes them into a high performance, Bluetooth beacon that is ready to deploy out of the box, but flexible enough to be modified for many different applications," said Michel Willemin, EM Microelectronic's president, in a prepared statement. "We are already engaged with many companies who are using COiN with their App, API, SDK, or service to improve their performance and lower their overall cost. We believe that the availability of such a flexible, optimized Bluetooth beacon will enable a truly pervasive Internet of Things." The COiN beacon, the COiN Development Kit, and the Key Fob, Wall Mount and Watch Band accessories are all available via EM's local sales representatives and/or distributors.
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