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RFID News Roundup

Pres. Bush signs agreement with EU to foster RFID; Transpond Global announces $499 Gen 2 reader; FLIER designs RFID systems; Acsis releases serialized data management application; Psion Teklogix preloads Ekahau, RF Code location software; Tyco releases rugged antenna for box crusher.
By Andrew Price
May 04, 2007The following are news announcements made during the week of April 30.

Pres. Bush Signs Agreement With EU to Foster RFID
President Bush signed a transatlantic economic integration and growth agreement on Monday, made between the United States, the European Council and the president of the European Commission. The agreement includes a directive to "develop a joint framework for cooperation on identification and development of best practices for RFID technologies and develop a work plan to promote the interoperability of electronic health-record systems." The agreement states that the United States and the European Union will exchange best practices on all RFID-related work they each undertake. The goal of the agreement is to strengthen transatlantic economic integration and improve competitiveness in the two regions. The full agreement is available online here.

Transpond Global Announces $499 Gen 2 Reader
Austin, Texas, startup Transpond Global, at this week's RFID Journal LIVE! 2007 conference in Orlando, announced a new fixed-position RFID EPC Gen 2 reader, the IA-100C, for $499. The low-cost interrogator supports the full EPC Gen 2 air-interface standard, including dense-reader mode functionality. The reader has an integrated antenna that provides up to 17 feet of read range, and measures 12 inches tall, 10.5 inches wide and 1.2 inches deep. It connects with an end user's network via an Ethernet cable that also powers the reader. The IA-100C will be available in late summer, with FCC certifications for use in the United States. Transpond Global is also developing a version of the reader that will comply with RF spectrum regulations in Europe and Asia.

FLIER Designs RFID Systems
Alien Technology and Unisys have codeveloped a solution to configure and demonstrate new RFID systems. The solution, known as FLIER (Flexible Logistics Information Environment for RFID), enables customers to design and construct an RFID supply chain management system that suits their needs, by testing a variety of software and hardware components. It also allows end users to demonstrate different configurations of hardware and software in Alien's RFID testing facility, the RFID Solutions Center in Dayton, Ohio. The Web-based FLIER system is designed as a dashboard on which users can mix and match different hardware and software using a variety of scenarios specific to their type of business, then test the system they build. The center includes shipping dock doors, material-handling equipment and conveyors, shipping stations, a store back room and a retail store floor.

Psion Teklogix Preloads Ekahau, RF Code Location Software
Psion Teklogix has signed agreements with Wi-Fi based real-time location system (RTLS) provider Ekahau and active RFID asset-tracking system provider RF Code to embed the hardware providers' software platforms onto Psion Teklogix handheld computers. The company will sell the Workabout Pro, as well as its 7535 PC handheld computer, preloaded with Ekahau's RTLS-based Positioning Engine application software, which will be packaged with Ekahau's 2.45 GHz RFID tags. This will enable both readers to be used to locate parts, electronics, assets, containers or other valuable tagged items. Psion Teklogix is also offering its Workabout PRO with software developed by systems integrator CDO Technologies, to enable end users to locate the RF Code Mantis active tag, which operates in the 433 MHz or 303 MHz range and uses a proprietary air-interface protocol. The Workabout Pro will receive the tag signals through the RF Code Mantis II PCMCIA RFID interrogator, which plugs into the handheld's PCMCIA port.

Acsis Releases Serialized Data Management Application
Acsis, a Marlton, N.J., provider of supply-chain and business-process automation software, has released its Acsis Serialized Track and Trace (ST&T) software. This product is designed to enable users to aggregate and transmit RFID or other serialized auto-ID data to high-level platforms, such as enterprise resource planning systems or electronic-pedigree platforms for tracking pharmaceuticals. Serialized Track and Trace was built for manufacturers, distributors and retailers to be deployed as a software component that sits on top of Acsis' x-Appliance for Device and Data Integration (x-DDI), comprised of hardware and software components built to control RFID readers and other edge devices. ST&T can feed serialized data directly into SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure (AII) middleware. The software is available now, though pricing information has not yet been released.

Tyco Releases Rugged Antenna For Box Crusher
M/A-COM, a division of Tyco Electronics has released a rugged antenna designed for installation at box compactors used by retailers. The antenna, engineered based on a pilot program at a major national retailer, is customized to withstand the harsh environment of a compactor. It connects to RFID readers via a cable and can be embedded directly into the compactor to ensure that tags attached to empty cardboard cases are read as the cases are crushed prior to disposal. The antenna cover is composed of a high-density polyethylene that protects antennas against abrasion and liquids. "Most antennas are not subjected to the kind of physical abuse this one is designed for," says Pat Hindle, a Tyco Electronics spokesperson. The antenna is commercially available now and can operate with any UHF reader. Price has not been publicly released, Hindle says, but the device's rugged form factor makes it slightly more expensive than standard antennas.
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