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RFID News Roundup

Avery Dennison offers free tags and evaluation; EPCglobal certifies SAMSys MP9311 Gen 2 module; Ofcom to adopt license-free RFID spectrum; Kennedy Group, RFID4U to offer training; ACG HF reader supports multiple protocols, apps; Power Paper announces $28 million in funding.
By Andrew Price
Nov 11, 2005The following are news announcements made during the week of Nov. 7.

Avery Dennison Offers Free Tags and Evaluation
If you're coming under a retail or government tagging RFID mandate and need to get a pilot underway right away, a new offer from Avery Dennison RFID might be of interest. The Clinton, S.C., tag manufacturer has announced an entirely free partnership program for companies subject to compliance tagging starting in 2006. The program is also available to retailers interested in running pilot tests, as well as OEMs, systems integrators and converters launching RFID implementation programs for end users. The company says it is also offering participants 10,000 Avery Dennison smart labels, free of charge—they can chose smart labels embedded with either EPC UHF Gen 1 AD-210 or AD-410 or EPC UHF Gen 2 AD-220 inlays, or any combination of the three. Participants are free to use the tags anyway they see fit, but Avery is offering to help them evaluate the tags' readability on their products free of charge, using Avery's proprietary tag testing protocol at its Atlanta Technical Center. If the participant wishes, Avery Dennison will also deploy its tag-testing protocol within the user's own facility, at no charge. Participants who go through the program have no obligation to purchase additional Avery Dennison products or services. To begin receiving the tags, prospective participants must answer 10 questions about their company and RFID needs on Avery Dennison's Web site. Avery Dennison will begin enrolling companies into its tag placement testing program in the coming weeks.

EPCglobal Certifies SAMSys MP9311 Gen 2 Module
RFID reader and printer-encoder manufacturer SAMSys Technologies says its MP9311 UHF RFID reader module has received EPCglobal Hardware Certification, ensuring conformance with the EPCglobal Gen 2 standard air interface protocol for RFID products. EPCglobal certification is designed to ensure end users and OEMs that compliant hardware will work consistently and predictably. SAMSys has been shipping its MP9311 reader module to printer OEM customers for several months. The MP9311 is embedded in printer-encoders sold by Datamax, Paxar and SATO. Aside from EPC UHF Gen 2 Class 1 tags, the module also encodes and reads tags compliant with EPC Class 0 and 0+, EPC Class 1, ISO 18000-6A, ISO 18000-6B, Philips UCODE 1.19 and EM 4222 protocols.

Ofcom to Adopt License-Free RFID Spectrum
In line with its August proposal (see Ofcom Proposes RFID Spectrum Allocation), Ofcom―the government body responsible for overseeing civil use of the radio spectrum in the United Kingdom―has issued a statement confirming that U.K. RFID users will be allowed to use the 865-868 MHz spectrum without the need to license their deployments. In reaching its decision, Ofcom said its own study found that the potential net benefits to U.K. businesses (through better inventory management and improved security) and consumers (if savings were reflected in lower prices) would total £100 to £200 million over 10 years. Exempting RFID from licensing, it said, would be the most cost-effective way to facilitate the use of RFID. In addition, the agency concluded—given the regulations covering power levels, frequency bands and antenna characteristics—that 865-868 MHz RFID systems would be unlikely to interfere with the operation of other electronic devices.

Kennedy Group, RFID4U to Offer Training
The Kennedy Group, an RFID systems provider with RFID testing facilities, says it has made an agreement with RFID4U, a Sunnyvale, Calif., company providing RFID technology training courses, to develop jointly a training program for the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) RFID+ proficiency certification testing. According to the terms of the agreement, at least one course will be held every three months in The Kennedy Group's RFID Customer Solution Center in Willoughby, Ohio. The earliest of these courses are scheduled for Jan. 24-27 and March 21-24. Course offerings will be based on existing RFID4U training courses. RFID4U is a member of CompTIA and says it designs its content to help individuals become proficient in RFID system installation, maintenance or management in order to prepare them for CompTIA's RFID+ proficiency certification.

ACG HF Reader Supports Multiple Protocols, Apps
Identification Technologies, a smart card and RFID manufacturer based in Walluf, Germany, has launched a new 13.56 MHz reader that supports ISO's 14443A, 14443B, 15693 and 18000-3 standards, as well as Philips Semiconductor's I-CODE protocol. It is available as an OEM module, a compact module with RS232 or RS422/485 connection ports, a desktop reader with a USB 2.0 connection port or a module for mobile devices. ACG says applications for the reader include access control, e-payment, e-ticketing for events and mass transit, toll road fare collection, network authentication and product identification. The reader also supports security features needed for advanced RFID user authentication applications based on microcontroller cards with high data-storage capacity.

Power Paper Announces $28 Million in Funding
Power Paper, an Israeli maker of thin, flexible battery technology and devices, has announced a $30 million fundraising round. Global private equity firm Apax Partners led the funding with $16 million. Clal Industries and Investments and the Infinity Venture Capital Fund, venture capital firms based in Tel Aviv, together invested an additional $12 million. One of Power Paper's previous investors, Banc America Capital Partners, also participated in the round, contributing $2 million. Power Paper batteries are integrated into the company's PowerID smart RFID labels and other products, including its PowerCosmetics patches, used to augment the penetration of skincare treatments. Power Paper says it intends to use the funds to accelerate sales of PowerCosmetics, and to continue developing additional applications including the company's power source. This marks the company's first round of funding since August 2003 (see Power Paper Raises $15 million).
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