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RFID News Roundup

Tagsys embedding IBM middleware in HF readers; Advanced Research announces reseller; Omnikey joins NFC Forum; Brivo reselling XceedID's access-card readers; wireless sensor software maker receives funding; revenue from RFID software and services will drop, says ABI.
By Andrew Price
Aug 11, 2006The following are news announcements made during the week of August 7.

Tagsys Embedding IBM Middleware in HF Readers
RFID hardware provider Tagsys says it has embedded IBM's WebSphere RFID Device Infrastructure (WRDI) middleware into its line of high-frequency (13.56 MHz) item-level readers, including its tunnel and handheld models. The WRDI-enabled readers can process RFID tag data, rather than sending raw read data to an external middleware layer. Embedding middleware into an interrogator (reader) reduces network traffic and allows a user to send only pertinent RFID read data upstream to its application server. The WRDI-enabled Tagsys interrogators can also route the processed tag data to an IBM RFID WebSphere Premises Server. Tagsys says it plans to embed WRDI into its line of UHF interrogators, but has not yet set a release date for this. The WRDI-enabled HF readers are available now, though pricing information has not yet been released.

Advanced Research Announces Reseller
MPR Industries, a Syracuse, N.Y., reseller of industrial and safety equipment, has become a northeastern U.S. reseller for Advanced Research Co.'s OpenCrib, AssetWhere and Satellite Crib RFID-based asset tracking solutions. ARC, an Orion, Mich., auto industry systems integrator, says MPR Industries is a strong reseller partner because it sells to a number of different markets and has "a sound understanding of the RFID technology." MPR Industries says the reseller agreement will enable the company to offer customized RFID solutions to its customers, based on their needs and applications. OpenCrib is a passive RFID tracking system that tracks tools, spare parts and equipment used to maintain manufacturing systems (see Using UHF RFID in Auto Factories). AssetWhere is a similar tool, with the addition of an interactive floor-plan layout of the facility where items are being tracked. Satellite Crib is a 30-inch by 64-inch RFID-enabled mobile cabinet that can be utilized as storage for tagged tools and parts. It includes a touch-screen computer used to unlock the cabinet through PIN codes, and can send inventory data to the main OpenCrib database in the facility.

Omnikey Joins NFC Forum
Walluf, Germany-based smart-card systems maker Omnikey says it has joined the Near Field Communication Forum, a nonprofit industry association formed to advance the use of high-frequency (13.56 MHz) RFID for data-sharing and identification applications in mobile devices. Omnikey manufactures both contact-based and contactless (RFID) devices and interrogators, and also supports the emerging NFC protocol standards (see NFC Forum Announces Technology Architecture). The company reports that its membership will help it gain experience in developing RF technologies supporting NFC and its various applications. The company's CardMan interrogator is expected to support all NFC modes (reader-writer, card-emulation and peer-to-peer in active and passive mode) by the end of the year.

Brivo Reselling XceedID's Access Card Readers
Brivo Systems, a Bethesda, Md., provider of Web-based applications for access-control and security systems, has entered into an original equipment manufacturing agreement with XceedID, a Golden, Colo., firm that designs and manufactures HF (13.56 MHz) and LF (125 kHz) RFID interrogators and RFID access cards. XceedID's products support RFID cards compatible with ISO's 15693 and 14443 standards. Brivo now offers XceedID's XF line of 13.56 MHz and 125 kHz access-card interrogators on its Web site. Pricing information is available directly from Brivo.

Wireless Sensor Software Maker Receives Funding
Tendril, a Boulder, Colo., developer of software for wireless sensor networks (WSNs), says it has raised a round of investment funding—its second—worth $5.25 million. Vista Ventures, a Boulder-based venture-capital firm, led the round and was joined by existing Tendril investors Access Venture Partners, Appian Ventures and other, unnamed investors. WSNs consist of groups of small battery-powered RFID devices, called nodes or motes, that can be linked to sensors and used for a range of applications. Such applications include environmental monitoring and building energy conservation. Tendril will use the funding to grow the company and develop software for controlling and networking the low-power devices.

Revenue From RFID Software and Services Will Drop, Says ABI
ABI Research has adjusted its market forecast for RFID software and services in 2007, dropping it approximately 15 percent to $3.1 billion. But users of RFID should find the adjustment encouraging rather than foreboding, the firm maintains. The factors that have driven down revenue forecasts include improved and increasingly off-the-shelf software, as well as a growing base of skilled RFID integrators that provide more cost-efficient, better-planned deployment services. Another contributing factor is an increased number of mergers among software and services providers. Consolidation among these companies will lead to a reduction in overlapping or redundant products in the marketplace, the company says, and lead to better-managed, more efficient solutions. All this, it predicts, will help drive down the short-term revenue forecast. Although the amount of software sold will decrease because of vendor consolidation, the price is not likely to fall significantly in 2007. Michael Liard, director of ABI's RFID research, says that while the ratio varies by application, software and services generally account for 40 to 45 percent of the total RFID market.
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