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RFID News Roundup
PanGo enhances RFID capabilities; iAnywhere upgrades middleware; Dow picks Savi tracking solution for chemicals; Allstream offers bundled RFID solutions; battery-powered cart enables mobility; Atmel releases new low-frequency chip; Assa Abloy buys Italian auto-ID reseller Tag Technology.
Sep 30, 2005—The following are news announcements made during the week of Sept. 26.
PanGo Enhances RFID Capabilities
PanGo Networks, a provider of real-time locating systems for asset tracking and other applications, has released a new version of its PanOS Platform 3.0 software for managing and integrating asset and tag location information. PanOS was originally designed to track assets containing embedded Wi-Fi transceivers, such as laptops and PDAs. PanGo expanded its offerings earlier this year and partnered with Cisco to deploy tracking systems using active Wi-Fi tags that can be affixed to mobile assets—e.g., medical equipment within a hospital (see Cisco, PanGo Unveil Tracking System). Its updated PanOS software can now incorporate data from passive UHF RFID tags and other non-Wi-Fi devices. According to PanGo's CTO, Richard Barnwell, one way the software pulls this RFID data into its location-tracking framework is by linking with Cisco's Application-Oriented Network (AON) message-routing system, which comes with RFID ConnecTerra middleware to filter and route RFID tag data through a Cisco network. Barnwell says the new software’s mapping system can also work with location data from ultra-wideband location systems, which allow end users to locate assets to a greater degree of accuracy than with Wi-Fi transceivers. The PanGo Locator asset-tracking application has been updated to allow users to set alerts if tagged assets (or people carrying IDs embedded with Wi-Fi-based RFID tags) move out of a defined area. In addition, PanGo says it has reduced the size of its active Wi-Fi RFID tags by 50 percent. The PanOS Platform 3.0, which includes tags and the PanGo Locator software, will be available starting Oct. 17, starting at $30,000. Current PanGO customers will receive these upgrades free of charge.
iAnywhere Upgrades Middleware
iAnywhere Solutions, a subsidiary of Sybase, has released a new version of its RFID Anywhere middleware. Initially released in February (see iAnywhere's RFID Middleware for Mobility), the middleware was designed to help end users deploy a network of RFID devices and link them to enterprise applications and mobile devices. With RFID Anywhere 2.0, users can configure and monitor multiple networks of readers; previously, interrogators could only be configured one network at a time. It also includes a data protocol processor enabling the platform to accommodate multiple tag data protocols, including the EPC Class 1 Gen 2 standard, in a single network. RFID Anywhere 2.0's business modules let users deploy either standardized data management protocols, such as the EPCglobal application-level events (ALE) standard, or customized business logic. iAnywhere says it has six different modules through which it can route data for specific tasks. These include receiving goods into a warehouse. The modules can be configured to send alerts about low inventory levels or the receipt of a particular product. The new version also offers increased security by establishing a firewall and granting specific rights to individuals or groups with regard to devices and business modules. RFID Anywhere 2.0 will become available within the next 30 days, pricing varies by size and complexity of deployment. Current RFID Anywhere users will receive the 2.0 upgrade free of charge.
Dow Picks Savi's Tracking Solution for Chemicals
Savi Technology, a Sunnyvale, Calif., provider of supply chain tracking solutions, reports that the Dow Chemical Co. has chosen Savi's Chemical Chain of Custody Solution to help it track and trace hazardous chemical agents as they are transported through Dow's local and global supply chain. Specifically, Dow will utilize the Savi system for three applications: using bar codes to identify and track metal cylinders transporting the fumigant Vikane; tracking tanker trucks through GPS data sent over a cellular transportation link; and using active RFID transponders to track intermodal containers transported via a number of a vehicles. Savi says it has deployed the bar code system, and that Dow will begin a pilot of the firm’s RFID and GPS platforms within the next six months. Dow believes the Savi Chain of Custody Solution will enable it to improve asset visibility, lower asset inventories, improve supply chain efficiencies and help it comply with Sarbanes-Oxley and trade security regulations.
Allstream Offers Bundled RFID Solutions
Allstream, a division of Manitoba Telecom Services, is offering three new packaged solutions for companies that need or want to deploy RFID technology. The first, RFID Go!, allows users to test an RFID system within their facilities. It includes a basic hardware and software package, as well as Allstream's RFID software that provides reports on tag reads. Next, the RFID Comply package is designed for companies looking to deploy RFID to meet mandates. It includes RFID readers, printer-encoders, EPC smart labels and onsite installation and equipment testing services, as well as software enabling tag/carton profiling tools for determining the best placement of tags on cases of various products. Finally, the RFID Custom Solutions package—which includes hardware, software and installation services—helps customers deploy an RFID tagging and verification system specialized to their needs. Professional service consultants advise customers on process mapping and workflow design. Allstream is partnering with Cactus Commerce, which provides EPC Information Services systems; RFID middleware provider ConnecTerra; hardware vendors Intermec Technologies and Symbol Technologies; and RFID systems integrator Venture Research. Allstream says all three packages are available now; pricing, however, has not yet been released.
Battery-Powered Cart Enables Mobility
Newcastle Systems, based in Wakefield, Mass., is selling a mobile workstation, the NB400, that it says can power devices that communicate wirelessly with a network, such as Wi-Fi-enabled RFID printer-encoders or Wi-Fi handheld RFID readers and bar code scanners. The cart includes a rechargeable 44 or 80 amp-hour sealed battery that allows six to eight hours of use, depending on the power consumption of the docked devices. Up to four items can be plugged into the 115 voltage outlets built into the cart. When not in use or recharging, the cart's power cord can be plugged into a 115-voltage power source. A full recharge takes between six and eight hours. The cart costs $1,698 and will be available in mid to late October.
Atmel Releases New Low Frequency Chip
Atmel, a developer and fabricator of semiconductor products located in Heilbronn, Germany, has released its new low-frequency (125 kHz) RFID chip, the ATA5558. The chip has integrated anticollision functionality enabling the simultaneous reading of multiple tags. It can be used in read-write tags for multiple or single applications, such as in animal identification, laundry management, industrial automation, item tagging and access cards. The ATA5558 can hold up to 1 kbit of memory and can be password-protected. Its anticollision function can be turned on or off, depending on the user's needs. Sample ATA5558 chips are available now. Pricing starts at 98 cents apiece in quantities of 10,000.
Assa Abloy Buys Italian Auto-ID Reseller Tag Technology
Assa Abloy, the world's largest lockmaker, has reportedly extended the reach of its RFID sales efforts in Italy. The company’s Identification Technology Group (ITG) has acquired Milan-based auto-ID equipment reseller Tag Technology for an undisclosed amount. Tag Technology sells RFID transponders, inlays, reader ICs, reader modules and industrial data collection terminals from Assa Abloy and other manufacturers. Its customers consist of OEMs, systems integrators, software providers and public institutions. According to Assa Abloy’s ITG, the acquisition gives the group an Italian sales office for its products, positioning the company for a maturing Italian RFID market. "In most other developed European RFID markets, such as France, Germany and the U.K., we have sales offices, and we didn’t have that in Italy," says Enrique Patrickson, ITG’s vice president of business development. Italy is increasingly moving toward more complex RFID applications, such as animal tracking and secure banking, and Patrickson believes customers for those kinds of systems will look to major suppliers such as ITG, not to small independent suppliers like Tag Technology.
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