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RFID News Roundup

Manhattan Associates, RF Code offering combined tracking system; NYC subway kicks of MasterCard PayPass trial; G2 Microsystems, Radianse receive new funding; Atmel announces new LF chip.
By Andrew Price
Jul 13, 2006The following are news announcements made during the week of July 10.

Manhattan Associates, RF Code Offering Combined Tracking System
RF Code, a provider of RFID-based real-time location solutions, has partnered with supply chain software provider Manhattan Associates to offer an integrated solution. This joint venture enables users of Manhattan Associates' software to pull asset location, sensor and identification data from RF Code's active RFID tags into select Manhattan software platforms. Under the terms of the agreement, RF Code will supply its active RFID product line of tags, interrogators and asset-management software, which can be linked, via an application program interface, to Manhattan Associates' asset-tracking, yard-management and transportation-management software. This will allow users to identify, monitor and locate tagged assets, such as large trailers or other cargo containers. The combined solution is available now, though pricing information has not yet been released.

MasterCard Subway Trial Kicks Off
MasterCard Worldwide, New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and financial services company Citibank this week launched an RFID (contactless) payment trial in select New York City subway stations. In this trial, first announced in January (see RFID to Ride N.Y. Subways), an undisclosed number of Citibank customers are being issued RFID-enabled Citi credit cards, which they'll use to pay for subway fares. Specially equipped RFID readers will be mounted on the turnstiles for such payments, indicated with a graphic unique to the trial. (Only trial participants can participate; other subway riders carrying MasterCard PayPass RFID cards will be unable to use the payment terminals.) The terminals are installed at select Lexington Avenue Line 4, 5, 6 stations, between the 138th Street stations in the Bronx, two stations in Queens and Borough Hall Station in Brooklyn. On Tuesday, New York Giants running back Tiki Barber launched the trial by using his RFID-enabled Citi card at the Times Square Shuttle platform in Grand Central Station. MTA plans to use the trial to evaluate the benefits the new payment option provides customers, as well as how well the technology works. On Track Innovations (OTI) provided the RFID technology—interrogators and RFID inlays embedded in the cards—being used in the six-month-long trial.

G2 Microsystems, Radianse Receive New Funding
G2 Microsystems, a developer of integrated circuits for the asset-tracking and telemetry markets, says it has raised $14 million in its second round of funding. Previous investor Siemens Venture Capital led the round, which also included contributions by other existing investors: Deutsche Bank Capital Partners, Starfish Ventures and UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund. The company plans to use the funds to increase production of its product line, which includes a system-on-a-chip microcontroller for Wi-FI-enabled RFID tags used in asset tracking (see G2 Microsystems Launches Wi-Fi Tag Chip). Radianse, provider of an RFID-based indoor tracking and positioning system designed for health-care facilities, has also completed a second round of funding, totaling $6 million. National Healthcare Services (NHS) led the round, joining returning investors HLM Venture Partners, Partech International, Ascension Health Ventures, Kaiser Permanente National Venture Development and Partners Healthcare. The company will use its new funding to expand its market share with its current product offers, and to launch a new tracking application designed to provide hospital staff with a greater degree of automation and accuracy in patient flow and resource management.

Atmel Announces New LF Chip
Semiconductor firm Atmel reports that its new RFID transponder integrated circuit, the ATA5567, is now available. The chip, designed for use in low-frequency cards and key fobs for access control in office buildings, hospitals and the like, complies with the ISO 11784 and 11785 standards. Atmel says the ATA5567 is more stable than its predecessor T5557 chip, to which the ATA5567 is backward-compatible. The ATA5567 measures less than 1 square millimeter and operates between 100 and 150 kHz. Samples of the ATA5567 are available now in wafer or micromodule form, or as an SO8 package. Pricing for the ATA5567 starts at $0.34 per wafer.
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