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RFID News Roundup

SmartCode expanding manufacturing with new plant; Dover to acquire Markem; NFC Forum issues first four specifications; NFC chipmaker releases white paper; ODIN offering global tag-testing software; small-business credit cards get RFID'ed.
By Andrew Price
Aug 18, 2006The following are news announcements made during the week of August 14.

SmartCode Expanding Manufacturing With New Plant
RFID systems provider SmartCode says it has nearly completed a new manufacturing center in Chicago as part of the company's strategic expansion plan. The 30,000-square-foot facility will include a manufacturing plant and research-and-development center, as well as quality assurance and testing facilities. It will also include a distribution center for the firm, which maintains additional facilities in New York and Israel. SmartCode says the facility will produce EPC Gen 2 RFID tags that will be converted into labels for tracking pallets and cases, and for tracking individual items. The company anticipates that the manufacturing plant will be able to produce 10 billion RFID tags annually.

Dover to Acquire Label Applicator Co. Markem
New York-based Dover Corp., a diversified industrial manufacturer, plans to acquire RFID label-application solutions provider Markem. The privately held Markham is based in Keene, N.H., and employs more than 1,200 people worldwide. As part of the agreement, Markem will retain its company name, its Keene location and its current operational management. None of the financial details regarding the planned acquisition have yet been released. Markem president James Putnam, whose family founded the firm nearly 100 years ago, says Markem has been seeking a "strategy to best position Markem for the future," and that it hopes the acquisition will allow it to do so. Markem sells the Cimjet RFID tag encoder-applicator and CoLOS RFID software. The companies expect to complete the acquisition within 60 to 90 days. In January 2005, Dover purchased Datamax, a maker of RFID smart-label and bar-code printers (see Dover Technologies Acquires Datamax).

NFC Forum Issues First Four Specifications
The Near Field Communications Forum (NFC Forum), an association promoting the adoption of NFC technology, has published its first four RFID-tag air-interface standard specifications, which are available to the public for download, free of charge, at the NFC Forum Web site. The group first announced and described the standards in June (see NFC Forum Announces Technology Architecture). NFC technology enables RF communication between mobile electronic devices for applications such as payments or data exchange. The forum released the four specifications so electronics manufacturers can use them to create NFC-Forum-compliant devices that are interoperable with other manufacturers' devices and compatible with the NFC-enabled offerings of service providers, thus ensuring successful communication between devices and tags. The specifications describe a common tag-data format, record types (used in sending messages between NFC devices), plain-text exchange specifications for NFC devices and directions on how to link NFC devices to the Internet.

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