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RFID News Roundup

Zebra releases new print engine; ThingMagic adds reseller; SATO to distribute SAMSys readers; RedPrairie to offer Wavetrend hardware.
By Ari Juels
May 06, 2005The following are news announcements made during the week of May 2.

Zebra Releases New Print Engine
Vernon Hills, Ill.-based RFID systems provider Zebra Technologies has introduced the R110PAX4 multiprotocol printer-encoder engine for print-and-apply RFID label systems. The engine uses ThingMagic's Mercury4e UHF EPC RFID reader that can encode and read labels compliant with the EPC Class 1, Class 0, Matrics 0+, ISO 18000-06B and Philips UCODE 1.19 protocols. The printer-encoder is being sold through Zebra resellers as part of print-and-apply systems by RFID systems providers. The Mercury4e reader allows firmware upgrades that will enable the R110PAX4 to encode EPC Gen 2 Class 1 tags (Zebra will make these upgrades available to its R110PAX4 customers at no cost, as they become available later this year). The R110PAX4 can also identify the location of an RFID inlay in the first RFID labels it prints and encodes in order to calibrate the encoder to that position for the rest of the labels being printed and encoded in a single run. The R110PAX4 print engine signals and voids unusable labels to the print-and-apply systems so they will not be used, and it includes counters that keep track of both good and unusable labels. The R110PAX4 can be networked via 10/100baseT Ethernet and 802.11b wireless communications protocols.

ThingMagic Adds Reseller
Cambridge, Mass.-based RFID reader developer ThingMagic has added another company to its list of reseller partners. Korean RFID systems integrator CIT joins other companies that have recently become ThingMagic resellers: Acsis, RFID Global Solutions and Venture Research. Like CIT, these companies will resell ThingMagic Mercury4 readers manufactured for ThingMagic by contract manufacturers M/A-COM. Since launching its own contract manufacturing in October last year (see ThingMagic Self-Manages Production), ThingMagic says it has also landed large reseller agreements with other companies but that those deals have not been made public. ThingMagic’s Mercury4 RFID readers feature a software-defined radio operating system supporting multiple protocols and multiple antennas. ThingMagic licenses its reader designs to ADT and Omron, a major Japanese RFID systems provider; while Zebra Technologies has licensed ThingMagic's Mercury4e embedded reader design for inclusion in its RFID printers-encoders.

SATO to Distribute SAMSys Readers
SAMSys Technologies, an international provider of RFID hardware solutions and consulting services, and SATO Asia Pacific, a Singapore-based provider of bar coding and RFID solutions, have announced that they have entered into a master distribution agreement. The agreement calls for SATO to sell and support SAMSys readers to end users and resellers in the Asian RFID market. SATO will distribute SAMSys products in Singapore, and provide support and training for the SATO direct sales team throughout Asia. SAMSys chairman, CEO and president Cliff Horwitz says that SATO has "the single most dominant RFID distribution network in Asia" and that he is very optimistic about the exposure to the Asian market that this partnership will provide SAMSys. SAMSys will provide initial training to SATO sales team members who will in turn support the SAMSys readers they sell to Asian customers.

RedPrairie to Offer Wavetrend Hardware
RedPrairie, a provider of supply chain technology solutions, and Wavetrend, a U.K.-based supplier of active RFID systems, which include RFID readers and self-powered transponders able to transmit data across distances ranging from 6 inches to more than 2,000 feet, have announced a partnership in which RedPrairie, which is based in Waukesha, Wisc., will become a value-added reseller for Wavetrend's products. RedPrairie will integrate Wavetrend tag and reader systems into its product offerings to enhance its transportation and yard management, labor management, supply chain security and mobile asset management solutions. Wavetrend and RedPrairie are currently engaged in two deployments using Wavetrend active RFID technology and RedPrairie's middleware.
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