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RFID News Roundup

OTI to acquire SuperCom's ID division; Tagsys unveils long-life textile tag; Sirit reports improved financial health; ADT Europe develops RFID-EAS system.
By Andrew Price
Nov 17, 2006The following are news announcements made during the week of Nov. 13.

OTI to Acquire SuperCom's ID Division
On Track Innovations (OTI), a provider of RFID payment and smart-card solutions, reports that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of SuperCom's smart-ID division in consideration for 2,827,200 restricted ordinary shares of OTI. SuperCom's smart-ID division makes RFID inlays used in RFID-enabled electronic passports and other identification documents. OTI and SuperCom expect to complete the transaction by the end of 2006. The companies also plan to enter into a service and supply agreement, pursuant to which SuperCom will continue to receive revenues from its existing ID and electronic-ID contracts for governmental and commercial projects in Europe, Asia and Africa. These ongoing projects will represent a source of revenue to SuperCom as it repositions the company to focus aggressively on two new initiatives: Incident Response Management System (IRMS), an access-control system for first responders, municipalities and enterprises; and several active RFID solutions for tracking assets, objects and persons. SuperCom says it will benefit from this acquisition, which will enable the company to pursue these new ventures while still generating revenue from its smart-ID products.

Tagsys Unveils Long-Life Textile Tag
RFID systems provider Tagsys announced this week a new RFID tag for applications in the textile laundry market, in which uniforms and other garments are tagged for inventory control. The ARIO 370-DL tag is an ISO-15693-compliant high-frequency passive tag encased in a rugged housing designed to withstand extreme temperatures and vibrations during laundry. The company claims the tag will survive an average of 400 to 500 wash cycles—a marked improvement, it says, over the industry standard of 200 cycles. Since 400 to 500 washes well exceeds the less-than-120-cycle (two- to three-year) lifespan of most garments, customers can detach the new tag from one garment and reattach it to another. According to the company, a Tagsys tunnel RFID reader, during tests, has been able to read 100 percent of tags inside a total of 250 garment bags, each carrying 50 tagged garments, while on a conveyor moving at 12 centimeters per second. Tagsys says the cost of the ARIO 370-DL depend on volume, but that pricing for the tag on volume will be lower than that of its earlier textile RFID tags.

Sirit Reports Improved Financial Health
Late last month, Canadian RFID firm Sirit announced plans to cut staffing by 25 percent and close two of its locations so it could balance its cash flow (see Sirit Lays Off Staff, Closes Plants). This week, the company issued its financial results for the third quarter, ending Sept. 30, and said its strategy is paying off. For the third quarter of fiscal 2006, total revenue reached C$5.1 million (US$4.5 million), a 64 percent increase from the C$3.1 million (US$2.7 million) reported in the same quarter of 2005. The firm's total operating expenses of C$4.4 million (US$3.9 million) are down C$0.8 million (US$0.7 million) when compared to the prior quarter, and up C$1.5 million (US$1.3 million) in relation to the third quarter of 2005, realized through staff cuts. Sirit's automatic vehicle identification (AVI) products, used in highway tolling, parking and access-control applications, comprised 73 percent, or C$3.7 million (US$3.2 million), of total revenue—an increase of 42 percent over the third quarter of 2005. Revenue related to "radio frequency solutions (RFS)" represented 27 percent, or C$1.4 million (US$ 1.2 million), of total revenue—a 180 percent increase over the prior year's reported revenue of C$0.5 million (US$0.4 million). In a prepared statement from the company, Sirit's chief financial officer, Anastasia Chodarcewicz, said the company expects to achieve a "cash-flow-neutral position by the end of next year" by continuing its focus on "top-line growth and bottom-line cost controls." Sirit also says EPCglobal gave Sirit's INfinity 510 UHF RFID reader its Gen 2 interoperability mark.

ADT Europe Develops RFID-EAS System
RFID systems provider ADT Europe has developed an item-level RFID-tagging and security solution combining its RFID and electronic article surveillance (EAS) products into a common platform consisting of a hybrid EAS-RFID tag and interrogator. The system is designed to enable retailers to leverage RFID technology for inventory management and EAS for security; if the EAS tag is not disabled at the point of purchase, it triggers an alarm when carried through EAS readers at store exits. ADT says it designed the hybrid tag to match the footprint of its Ultra-Max EAS, which transmits over an acousto-magnet signal so retailers can easily transition to the new tag. Retailers would either need to replace their existing EAS readers for ADT's combined EAS-RFID readers, or add RFID interrogators to their existing EAS security readers. The platform also includes a bar-code scanner for a point-of-sale terminal with an integrated EAS tag deactivator and an antenna linked to an RFID interrogator. Thus, a retailer may choose to read an item's RFID tag at the point of purchase, either for inventory control or for processing transactions of tagged merchandise. ADT has installed the system in the test center of a major European retailer, which is currently evaluating the system. ADT has not released a date for the platform's general availability, nor has it released pricing.
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