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RFID News Roundup

Intermec's new rugged passive tag for assets; Savi announces new sensor tags; Sybase scales up device support in upgraded middleware; NCR offering bundle, reselling ThingMagic; Psion Teklogix announces handheld for deep freeze; ODIN releases Gen 2 interrogator report; Arby's to accept RFID payment at 1,000 locations.
By Andrew Price
May 04, 2006Intermec's New Rugged Passive Tag for Assets
Intermec has introduced a reusable, ruggedized RFID tag designed for tracking goods or reusable containers—even those exposed to extreme temperatures or other conditions that can threaten a tag's functionality. The RFID Large Rigid (LR) tag has an antenna enabling it to be read whether attached—via screw mounts or adhesive tape—to plastic, wood or metal assets. This tag is designed for use under both North American (FCC) and European (ETSI) radio frequency usage regulations. This allows a user to encode it in one region and read it in another. The Intermec RFID LR tag measures 3.2 by 14.27 centimeters (1.26 by 6.1 inches). Its rugged impact-resistant plastic housing is said to survive hazardous chemical exposure and withstand temperatures from -40 to 250 Fahrenheit (-40 to 121 Celsius). The tag is available with either a UHF EPC Gen 2 Class 1 inlay or an ISO 18000-6B inlay. The Gen 2 version can hold 96 bits of memory, while the ISO 18000-6B model accommodates 2024 bits. Both can be encoded and reendowed thousands of times. The tags are now available, though pricing has not yet been released.

Savi Announces New Sensor Tags
Savi Technology, a provider of active RFID tracking and security applications, released two new active sensor tags on Tuesday—the ST-673 and the ST-674—at the RFID Journal LIVE! conference in Las Vegas. The tags include temperature and humidity sensors, and are designed to monitor the environments to which goods are exposed during transit or storage. They can be used to track military and commercial shipments, including aircraft engines, ammunition, medical supplies, food and other perishables. When commissioning the tags, users can set acceptable temperature and humidity ranges, tailored to the characteristics of the particular goods being monitored. The ST-673 is a data-rich, active RFID tag with a metallic mounting bracket for metal containers, engine frames and other metal assets. It enables shippers, carriers and logistics service providers to monitor in real-time the location, temperature and humidity of perishables sensitive to spoilage. They can also track aircraft engines and other assets susceptible to corrosion or rust as they move through the supply chain. The ST-674 is designed for insertion into plastic, wood or other nonmetallic containers, or for attachment to pallets during transportation, or on warehouse racks, shelves or other fixtures during storage. The ST-673 comes with a bracket for mounting the tag onto the outside of metal containers, engine frames and other metal assets through a small portal enabling the tag's sensor to take accurate temperature or humidity readings of the inside of the container. The sensor tags are now available, though pricing information is not yet available.

Sybase Scales Up Device Support in Its Middleware
Sybase subsidiary iAnywhere has released the latest version of its RFID middleware platform, RFID Anywhere 2.1. This version includes upgraded support for the Alien 9800, AWID 3014, Symbol XR400/XR480, ThingMagic Mercury and Intermec IF5 interrogators, as well as for handheld devices. It currently supports the Psion Teklogix 7535, Intermec 751 and Symbol Technologies MC9000-G RFID-enabled handheld computers. The new version of the middleware includes tools developers can use to access all of an RFID interrogator's functionality and features. It also provides simplified general-purpose input/output (GPIO) control, and a reader-synchronization tool for operating multiple Gen 2 interrogators in dense-reader mode. Version 2.1 of RFID Anywhere is available immediately; pricing information has yet to be released.

NCR Offering Bundle, Reselling ThingMagic
NCR launched its first RFID starter bundle, dubbed NCR TagWorks. The package includes the installation and setup of a slap-and-ship implementation for a single SKU. Priced at $35,000, TagWorks is aimed at the next 100 suppliers set to meet Wal-Mart's RFID mandates at the end of this year. The package comprises a single roll of 800 4-by-6-inch UHF RFID labels from NCR's Systemedia division, a printer-encoder from either Zebra or Printronix, a Dell PC server, NCR's own ID Velocity software, training, support and a fixed-position ThingMagic Mercury4 reader. NCR also announced it will resell ThingMagic readers separately from the TagWorks package. TagWorks is presently available only in the United States, but NCR says versions for Europe and Asia are planned for later this year.

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