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RFID News Roundup

Alien unveils faster encoding scheme; ADT introduces new RFID mobile cart; Tyco Electronics introduces passive RFID stands with integrated readers and antennas; tagmakers roll out new UHF, HF inlays; Atmel launches LF RFID microchip; Fluensee offering asset-tracking startup kit; American RFID Solutions upgrades RF tool; IBM upgrades Premises Server.
By Andrew Price
Mar 30, 2007The following are news announcements made during the week of March 26.

Alien Unveils Faster Encoding Scheme
Alien Technology says it developed a new process by which RFID encoders can write data to an Alien RFID tag and lock that data in approximately 23 milliseconds, which the company says is 10 times faster than prevailing Gen 2 RFID tag programming times. Alien says this custom tag-encoding command, which it developed using a custom-command specification written to the EPC Gen 2 standard, writes and locks data in a single cycle, whereas the standard Gen 2 write command must be repeated 12 times for a total of 12 distinct write cycles. The company says it developed the faster encoding scheme to address concerns that writing to RFID tags integrated into packaging materials could slow down packaging or manufacturing lines. Alien is making the new encoding process, called LoadImage, available to any manufacturer of RFID interrogators, so that those companies can configure their readers to take advantage of the higher encoding rates when writing data to Alien Gen 2 tags (which contain Alien's Higgs Gen 2 chip). The company has also announced that its RFID Solution Center in Dayton, Ohio, has received EPCglobal's Performance Test Center Accreditation Mark, certifying that the center has successfully completed the EPCglobal Performance Test Center audit.

ADT Introduces New RFID Mobile Cart
ADT Security Services, a part of Tyco Fire & Security, has introduced a radio frequency identification mobile cart designed to provide mobile RFID reading capability within storage room and warehouse environments. The company says the mobile cart lowers deployment costs and increases inventory efficiencies by bringing RFID readers to the tags instead of passing tags through many stationary readers installed at the warehouse doors. The Sensormatic RFID Mobile Cart is equipped with an EPCglobal Gen 2 UHF RFID reader and has antennas attached to a 180-degree rotating extendable tower. The reader is powered by an on-board battery that lasts up to eight hours. The cart is designed to read RFID tags as workers push it through a facility. The antenna tower extends up to 16 feet, reaching standardized shelving used in warehouse situations, and the antenna tower can be expanded and collapsed on demand.

Tyco Electronics Introduces Passive RFID Stands with Integrated Readers and Antennas
Tyco Electronics expanded its RFID product portfolio with two new integrated antenna and reader systems for passive RFID systems from its M/A-COM division. Designed to be used in a variety of applications, the M/A-COM MAAN-000176-AT0000 and MAAN-000177-AT0000 RFID stands can be mounted on walls or floors. Both stands come integrated with a ThingMagic Mercury4 reader and two bi-static antennas on the front sides. The M/A-COM MAAN-000176 is the North American frequency band floor-mount RFID stand and operates in the 902-928 MHz frequency range. It weighs 51 pounds and measures 81.5 inches tall, 15.2 inches wide and 7.5 inches in diameter. The MAAN-000177-AT0000 is the European/Indian frequency-band floor-mount RFID stand. It operates in the 865-868 MHz frequency range and is 207 centimeters high, 38.6 centimeters wide and 19 centimeters in diameter. It weighs 23.2 Kg. Both feature full-integrated portals including antennas, readers, status lights, power management functions and a computer interface. Available now, pricing depends on configuration; units are typically customized for specific applications and customer requirements.

Tagmakers Roll Out New UHF, HF Inlays
Checkpoint Systems, a manufacturer and marketer of RF- and RFID-based solutions for identification, tracking, security and merchandising applications, is offering two new EPC Gen 2 labels, available in 2-by-4-inch, 4-by-4-inch and 4-by-6-inch sizes. The labels are designed for supply-chain applications. The inlays contain a new chip-and-strap product called CheckSi, co-created by Checkpoint Systems and Texas Instruments, which provides the chip used in the inlays. The CheckSi straps enable Checkpoint to attach the straps to a range of antenna designs, at high-speeds and without modifications to the strap. Checkpoint says the CheckSi strap can be made with Gen 2 chips from any manufacturer. Checkpoint is selling finished labels with the CheckSi-based inlays now, in production quantities, but has not revealed pricing. A number of other tagmakers have also introduced high-frequency inlays, using Texas Instruments' HF chips. UPM Raflatac is using TI's 256-bit ISO 15693 silicon for an inlay designed for item-level tagging, while SAG, Tagstar System, and Tatwah Smartech are using TI's HF silicon in tags designed for tracking assets, such as library and livestock.

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