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RFID News Roundup

AWID releases $500 Gen 2 reader; AIM Global opens online store; new handheld reader from Integral RFID; Avery Dennison puts out label-printing starter kit; Psion Teklogix offers RFID development kit; SAMSys and Zetes sign reseller agreement.
By Bob Violino
Feb 04, 2005The following are news announcements made during the week of Jan. 31.

AWID Releases $500 Gen 2-Ready Reader
Applied Wireless Identification Group (AWID), a Monsey, N.Y., supplier of radio frequency identification (RFID) readers, announced that it is shipping an upgraded version of its MPR-1510-RM multiprotocol RFID reader module (an RFID reader designed to be integrated into other devices) and its MPR-2012BN RFID reader that are electronic product code (EPC) Gen2 ready. AWID says the BN reader and the RM reader module can simultaneously read tags using all EPC protocols (Class 0, Class 0+, Class 1 and Gen 2). The BN reader can also read Philips EPC Class 1.19 and ISO 18000-6 A and B tags. In early December, EPCglobal's hardware action group held a meeting at the Silicon Valley facilities of MET Labs, which is doing interoperability testing for EPC products. During the meeting, AWID's MPR-2012BN reader was able to read an RFID tag that emulated the Gen 2 protocol, according to AWID president Jeffrey Jacobsen. AWID reader modules are used in SL5000 RFID label printer-encoders from Printronix and in Psion Teklogix handheld readers, and Hewlett-Packard has deployed AWID readers in 25 manufacturing facilities around the world. "AWID products were selected for many of HP's facilities because of their performance-to-price ratio and capabilities," says Greg Matula, Hewlett-Packard's RFID technical manager. "HP has been very pleased with AWID products and support."

AIM Global Opens Online Store
AIM Global, a Warrendale, Pa., trade association for automatic identification and data-collection technologies, has launched an online store that offers downloads of RFID-related presentations, white papers and implementation guidelines. It also includes documentation on AIM and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards specifications. AIM members receive discounts on online store items, but the downloads are available for purchase by anyone who registers at AIM Global's Web site. The online store also offers a document library with downloads of AIM documents and presentation materials that are free to both AIM members and nonmembers.

New Handheld Reader From Integral RFID
Integral RFID, an EPC-focused systems integrator based in Richland, Wash., has released the Instant RFID Verifier, a multiprotocol handheld RFID reader consisting of a Hewlett-Packard iPAQ 5550 PDA fitted with the WJ Communications MPR 5000, a compact RFID reader module with an integrated antenna that reads 915 MHz Class 1 Alien tags and Class 0 and 0+ Symbol (Matrics) tags. The MPR 5000 writes data to EPC Class 0+ and 1 tags, not Class 0. The reader will be upgradeable, via software, to the EPC Gen 2 air-interface protocol in the coming months. A software application integrates the reader with the PDA's operating system to provide the user with three operating modes: read a single tag (with the strongest signal); read multiple tags; and write to a single tag. The Instant RFID Verifier has a read range of up to 4 feet and can read more than 20 tags per second. It is available immediately for $1,599.

Avery Dennison Puts Out Label Printing Starter Kit
Avery Dennison Printer Systems, a division of Avery Dennison Retail Information Services, is selling an RFID label-printing startup kit, available now. The kit contains the Avery Dennison 64-05 RFID label printer; 500 EPC Class 1 915 MHz RFID labels for use on pallets and cases; demonstration software; onsite setup assistance; training services; and 12 months of technical support. The kit also includes Avery Dennison Label Management System (LMS) software, which uses Windows drivers to control printer functions. The 64-05 can print at speeds ranging from 12 to 16 inches per second and offers direct thermal or thermal-transfer printing options. The printer includes an AWID reader to verify that a tag is correctly encoded and can be read, and it features "jump-the-bump" printing, meaning the printhead can be programmed to rise when moving over the bump made by the label's RFID chip inlay, minimizing damage to the chip during printing. Avery Dennison says a free EPC Gen 2 firmware or hardware upgrade to the 64-05 printer will be available soon. The kit is $7,395. A second version of the kit includes an external RFID reader and from one to four antennas. Users can set up the second reader and up to four antennas to verify that tags on pallets and cases are still transmitting properly as they move through the facility and are readied for shipment. Pricing for this version ranges from $8,895 to $10,000, depending on the quality of reader selected and number of antennas.

Psion Teklogix Offers RFID Development Kit
Psion Teklogix, a Canadian maker of mobile computing devices for wireless data-collection and RFID systems, has released an RFID development kit designed to help North American users comply with EPC RIFD mandates from retailers and the U.S. Department of Defense. The kit includes four Psion Teklogix multiprotocol handheld UHF RFID readers, a fixed RFID reader station for one dock door, Psion Teklogix Web-based middleware, and a Printronix OEM RFID label printer-encoder. The readers can be programmed for use with EPC Class 0, 0+ and 1 RFID tags. Psion says the kit will be upgradeable to Gen 2 when the RFID reader module and Printronix printer-encoder are available with Gen 2-compliant hardware. The kit also comes with a professional service package that includes the project management, software development, hardware installation and technical consulting services required to deliver a fully functional RFID-enabled system consisting of the one fixed dock-door reader and four handheld UHF RFID readers. Pricing for the kit is unavailable.

SAMSys and Zetes Sign Reseller Agreement
SAMSys Technologies, an RFID solutions provider based in Toronto, Canada, has signed a reseller agreement with Belgium-based Zetes, a systems integrator focused on automatic identification systems for goods and people, as well as on wireless networking. The agreement will let Zetes sell SAMSys RFID readers to its European customers, starting with those in the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Zetes operates a network of offices throughout Europe and provides consulting services for companies in the transportation, logistics, distribution, healthcare, field sales and services, finance, telecommunication and manufacturing industries, among others. Through the agreement, Zetes will sell a range of SAMSys short- and long-range readers that are based on both ISO and EPC standards including Class 0, Class 1 and the newly EPCglobal-ratified Gen 2 protocol.
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