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RFID News Roundup

Paxar demos Gen 2 label production; TAGSYS, STMicroelectronics interoperable; Germany picks Philips chip for passports; HP Taiwan reselling PDC bands for patient tracking; Wavetrend, OxLoc make traceable active ID system; Printronix, Impinj show Gen 2 interoperability.
By Andrew Price
Jun 10, 2005The following are news announcements made during the week of June 6.

Paxar Demos Gen 2 Label Production
RFID and bar code label printing systems provider Paxar this week showed that it will be ready to move its customers to the EPC UHF Gen2 standard when production volumes of Gen 2 inlays become available (likely later this year). Using its Monarch 9855 RFID printer-encoder, Paxar demonstrated the production of labels embedded with Gen 2 RFID inlays at the U Connect Conference in Texas. Paxar's existing RFID customers using Monarch RFID printers will receive the Gen 2 upgrade firmware for their printers at no cost if they are covered by the company's technology investment protection program. The program is designed to ensure that users of Monarch RFID encoding equipment are kept up to date and compliant with EPC Class 1 upgrades related to standards. The investment protection coverage lasts one year after purchase and includes on-site service and technical support. Paxar said it is accepting Gen2 smart label orders now for volume delivery in the third quarter.

TAGSYS, STMicroelectronics Interoperable
TAGSYS, a manufacturer of RFID tags and reading systems for 13.56 MHz item-level tracking and authentication, announced it has completed critical compatibility testing between TAGSYS MEDIO L100 and L200 RFID readers and STMicroelectronics' RFID labels based on the LRI chip. The interoperability between the products has been validated under the ISO 18000 standards-defined criteria. The TAGSYS MEDIO L100 and L200 readers are multiprotocol, multichannel long-range RFID readers with read and write capabilities. STMicroelectronics' LRI contactless memory chips (LRI512 and LRI64) operate at the HF industry standard frequency of 13.56 MHz and comply with ISO 15693 and ISO 18000-3 standards. Smart labels based on the LRI chips in operation with MEDIO L100 or L200 readers can be read up to 1 meter from the reader.

Germany Picks Philips Chip for Passports
The German passport printing authority, the Bundesdruckerei, on behalf of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Interior, has selected Philips' SmartMX integrated circuit for use in the country’s electronic passports. The chip will be used to hold personal information on e-passports in order to help reduce fraud and forgery of travel documents, and to increase security for travelers. Philips says it is the first volume supplier of such chips for e-passports. Its chip meets the ISO/IEC 14443 standard power range requirements and has 72 kilobytes of EEPROM memory able to hold biometric information such as fingerprints and facial images. The Philips chip exceeds the specifications for e-passports set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and has been certified by the German Federal Office of Information Security, the central IT security service provider for the German government. Philips is working with transponder manufacturer Sokymat and T-Systems, the IT services and infrastructure arm of German telco Deutsche Telekom, on deploying many facets of the German passport system, including its operating system and on-chip passport application.

HP Taiwan Reselling PDC Bands for Patient Tracking
In a project designed to accelerate the adoption of RFID solutions in the Taiwan healthcare market, San Fernando, Calif.-based Precision Dynamics Corp. (PDC), a provider of automatic wristband identification systems, has made an agreement with Hewlett-Packard Taiwan Ltd. Per the agreement, HP Taiwan has an exclusive license to offer PDC's RFID wristbands as part of its healthcare IT offering to hospitals in Taiwan. PDC will also provide sales and technical support. The two companies have already deployed RFID at Keelung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan, where the wristbands will be used in the hospital’s operating room to identify the correct patient, surgical site, nurse, blood type and doctor, in order to help reduce human errors and enhance the patient safety. PDC introduced the first patient bar code ID wristband system, called Smart Band, in 1984. It introduced the Smart Band RFID wristband system in 2000, and the AgeBand electronic age/ID verification system in 2004.

Wavetrend, OxLoc Make Traceable Active ID System
OxLoc, an Oxford, England, supplier of devices that use global positioning system (GPS) and global systems for mobile (GSM) technology in mobile devices to provide remote data access, has made an arrangement with Wavetrend, a Surrey, England-based maker of active RFID systems, to integrate OxLoc's GPS standalone tracking technology with Wavetrend 433 MHz active tags and receivers. The companies will combine OxLoc's alert solution with Wavetrend's active tags. OxLoc's alert solution monitors the location and condition of assets through GPS devices powered by two D-cell batteries that can reportedly operate for periods of up to three years when set to report information twice per day. Wavetrend's active tags are also battery-powered and are said to last for three or more years, though they constantly transmit RF signals with ranges in excess of 100 meters. The combined technologies would be used, for example, to identify and locate trailers or containers in docks or ports.

Printronix, Impinj Show Gen 2 Interoperability
Irvine, Calif.-based provider of RFID and bar code printing systems Printronix and RFID tag manufacturer Impinj, located in Seattle, recently demonstrated interoperability between the Printronix SL5000r MP printer-encoder, which uses an AWID reader module, and Impinj's Gen 2 RFID tag inlays, made with Impinj's Monza chip. During the demonstration, the SL5000r MP's Gen 2-upgraded Printronix reader successfully encoded, read and printed labels containing the inlay. Impinj validated that the printer-encoder successfully encoded the inlays by reading them a second time with its Gen 2 Speedway reader. The companies say the demonstration proves interoperability among the Gen 2 products developed by the two companies and enables Printronix and Impinj to advance the time to market for their Gen 2 offerings. Printronix says new and existing customers using the SL5000r MP printer-encoder will receive its Gen 2 firmware upgrade later this year, when Gen 2 tags become widely available.
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