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RFID News Roundup

Feig Electronic Gen 2 reader firmware available; PDC, HP Asia Pacific in licensing agreement; Lowry, OTA offering RFID training and certification; LogicaCMG opens Rotterdam demo center; Accraply completes Gen 2 tests; Intermec readies Gen 2 printer for Oracle integration.
By Ari Juels
Sep 23, 2005The following are news announcements made during the week of Sept. 19.

Feig Electronic Gen 2 Reader Firmware Available
German reader manufacturer Feig Electronic says Gen 2 standard firmware for its OBID i-scan UHF reader ID ISC.LRU1000 and reader module ID ISC.LRMU1000 is now available. Feig began testing a beta version of the firmware six months ago, and the current version has been updated to reflect adjustments requested by users during that testing. The current EPC Class 1 Gen 2 reader firmware version supports all forward link communication rates from 40 kbps up to 160 kbps, and all return link communication rates from 40 kbps up to 320 kbps. Subcarrier modulated return link rates for dense-reader mode are also supported, according to the company. Feig says the reader can interrogate up to 400 tags per second in single-reader operation and up to 150 tags per second in multireader mode, as per EN 302208. The Gen 2 upgrade is available for both the E.U. (868-870 MHz) and North American (902-928 MHz) versions of the devices. Customers currently operating either version can download the firmware from the company’s server for a fee of €249; the serial number of the product and the device ID saved to reader processor must be provided. Future upgrades of the firmware will be free. Beginning next year, both readers will come with the Gen 2 firmware preinstalled.

PDC, HP Asia Pacific in Licensing Agreement
Precision Dynamics Corporation (PDC), an automatic-identification wristband system provider in San Fernando, Calif., has made an agreement with Hewlett-Packard (HP) Asia Pacific to help implement RFID wristband solutions in the Asia Pacific healthcare market. Effective immediately, the agreement gives HP Asia Pacific exclusive license to offer PDC RFID Wristbands, including Smart Band, SuperBand, ScanBand, CompuBand, and Smart AgeBand, as part of its healthcare IT offering to hospitals in Asia Pacific. PDC will also provide sales and technical support to HP Asia Pacific. PDC and HP Taiwan already have a similar agreement (see HP Taiwan Reselling PDC Bands for Patient Tracking), while PDC and HP have collaborated on an RFID solution for Keelung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan. The latter deal resulted in PDC wristbands being used in the hospital’s operating room to identify the correct patient, surgical site, nurse, blood type and doctor. This has helped reduce human errors, while enhancing patient safety (see Hospital Uses RFID for Surgical Patients).

Lowry, OTA Offering RFID Training and Certification
Lowry Computer Products, a systems integrator and provider of RFID, bar code and data collection solutions, says it will offer RFID training courses through a partnership with OTA Training, a provider of RFID training and certification programs. Lowry's professional services team and OTA's instructors will present the course together, using RFID hardware from a number of vendors including Avery Dennison, Alien, PSC, SAMSys, Rafsec, Printronix and Zebra, at an RFID test laboratory located at Lowry Computer Products' office in Brighton, Mich. The courses will focus on RFID systems development and will be based on OTA's RFID training curriculum. OTA also presents this curriculum at test centers in Chicago, Dallas and Memphis, Tenn., through partnerships with Miles Technology, Sun Microsystems and International Paper's Smart Packaging division, respectively. The Lowry-OTA courses will be held in November, but dates have not yet been finalized. The course will cost $4,995 and provide an RFID+ training certification being developed by IT and RFID certification organization CompTIA. According to OTA Training, the course will run four days if CompTIA's certification program has been completely developed by the date of the course. If not, it will last three days and attendees will be allowed to take the certification testing at a later date, without paying an extra fee.

LogicaCMG Opens Rotterdam Demo Center
LogicaCMG, a company specializing in IT services and wireless telecommunications, says it has opened an RFID demonstration center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The center features demonstrations of passive and semipassive tags being applied to products and read in a virtual manufacturing and supply chain environment. LogicaCMG says the systems put on view could also be used in a number of vertical industries, such as aviation, logistics, utilities, defense and retail. RFID vendors ConnecTerra, IBM, Intermec, Kortenburg, PowerPaper, Printronix and SAMSys have all provided software and hardware to the facility. The center also features RFID systems based on SAP's Auto-ID Infrastructure and enterprise resource platform. LogicaCMG has completed such RFID projects as a real-time, location-based warehousing system at a new chemical plant in Belgium for Vos Logistics, and an RFID tagging solution for aircraft manufacturer Airbus to track tools all the way from point of origin. Interested parties can visit the center; admission is free.

Accraply Completes Gen 2 Tests
Accraply, a Plymouth, Minn., designer and manufacturer of printers and applicators of pressure-sensitive labels, has successfully tested its RFID smart labeling equipment to encode EPC Gen 2 Class 1 inlays using sample Gen 2 inlays with Impinj's Monza chip. This equipment consists of the company’s RFID-924, RFID-925 and the RFID-926 printer-encoder label applicators, as well as its RFID-230, RFID-330 and RFID-350 non-printing encoder-applicators. All new orders for these models with an embedded AWID MPR-1510 interrogator or SAMSys MP9310 will be shipped with Gen 2 capabilities when such Gen 2 upgrades become available later this year. Accraply says existing customers whose applicators already contain these readers can also receive Gen 2 firmware upgrades once they are available.

Intermec Readies Gen 2 Printer for Oracle Integration
Intermec Technologies says it has enabled its PM4i printer-encoder to encode Gen 2 labels for users of the Oracle Mobile Supply Chain Application/Oracle Warehouse Management (MSCA/WMS) systems without first routing the data through middleware. The device does this by accessing MSCA/WMS information using XML data strings directly from the Oracle system. The PM4i then encodes the tag based on these XML data strings, with no proprietary printer language necessary. Intermec says this is the first RFID Gen 2 printer to be XML-ready for Oracle MSCA/WMS systems. The PM4i can encode and read EPC Class 1 and Class 0 tags, as well as EPC Gen 2 Class 1 tags. Current owners of the PM4i can encode Gen 2 tags after installing Intermec's Gen 2 firmware upgrade. The Gen 2-enabled version of PM4i costs $4,300. Both the upgrade, which will be free, and Gen 2-enabled PM4i will be available in November.
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