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RFID News Roundup

Microsoft announces BizTalk R2 pricing, new edition; Avery Dennison adds three inlays to portfolio; 3M unveils new utility marker tags; BT Auto-ID releases "Lite" package for pilots; National Institute for Animal Agriculture conference offers KSU RFID Technology Tour; German ID manufacturer, research institute partnering on development lab; HP, Nantero developing printable tag technology.
By Andrew Price
Jul 13, 2007The following are news announcements made during the week of July 9.

Microsoft Announces BizTalk R2 Pricing, New Edition
At its Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver on Wednesday, Microsoft unveiled pricing and a new edition for its BizTalk Server R2, the second version of its business-process management server. BizTalk Server R2 includes RFID middleware and builds on BizTalk Server 2006 capabilities by extending a company's core process-management technologies into supply-chain and trading-partner scenarios. The software giant introduced the Branch edition of BizTalk Server R2. The Branch edition, a scaled-down version of the BizTalk software, is designed for deployment at factories, warehouses or other facilities where RFID tagging and reading occurs. The data collected there is sent to the Enterprise edition of BizTalk server, running at a central location or other site. According to Microsoft, the BizTalk 2006 Branch edition will cost $1,800 per processor (central processing unit). However, companies using the Branch edition will also need to install the Enterprise edition, priced at $35,000 per processor. BizTalk Server R2 is expected to become available in September.

Avery Dennison Adds Three Inlays to Portfolio
Avery Dennison RFID, a business unit of Avery Dennison Corp. and a provider of RFID technology and services, has expanded its RFID inlay product portfolio with three new inlay designs: the AD-430, AD-630 and AD-813. Compliant with the EPC Class 1 Gen 2 and ISO 18006-C standards, the new inlays are designed to be read across the UHF frequency band, from 860 to 960 MHz. All three are scheduled for general release in the third quarter of 2007, and will be available to RFID vendors later this month for application testing and converter and OEM qualification. The AD-430 is designed to fit within a 4-by-1-inch label. The AD-630 fits within a 3-by-3-inch or 4-by-6-inch label and is intended to be read regardless of its orientation to a reader's antenna. The AD-813, the smallest of the three, is built to fit within a 1-by-1-inch label for item-level product-tracking applications. The AD-813 is also designed to be read both at close range, using an interrogator maximized for near-field reading, and from a distance, with an interrogator tuned for longer-range reading.

3M Unveils New Utility Marker Tags
3M's Dynatel locating and marking unit has added two RFID tags to its product family of RFID-enabled electronic utility markers for tracking buried cables and pipes. The markers allow utility companies and construction crews to determine the location and depth of pipes and cables without digging for them or relying on wired locators, which do not work on the plastic piping widely used. One of the tags—small disk designed to help crews locate pipes or cables buried close to the surface—can be buried up to 3 feet below ground level. The second is inside a large disk, 16 inches in diameter, that can be buried up to 9 feet underground and is designed to help protect the pipes or cables it identifies from being damaged by digging machinery. Both products join 3M's existing RFID ball and disk markers to address a broad range of permanent marking needs for utilities and other assets. The ball markers are currently employed at Atlanta's Hartsfield airport to locate utility cables and pipes buried up to 5 feet underground, and to determine the infrastructure's type and ownership (see RFID Markers Track Buried Cables at Atlanta Airport).

BT Auto-ID Releases "Lite" Package for Pilots
BT Auto-ID, the RFID unit of British Telecom, says it has developed a scaled-down version of its RFID asset-tracking package, designed to enable an end user to deploy a small pilot project to evaluate RFID technology for asset-tracking applications. The new offering, called "Auto-ID Lite," includes a mobile RFID reader and active RFID tags to be mounted on assets to enable their monitoring and tracking. Provided by Wavetrend, the hardware operates at 433 MHz and complies with the ISO 18000-7 standard. Customers must also purchase software to collect and manage the RFID tag data for tracking and asset-utilization applications. In addition, BT provides consultancy services for the initial stages of deployment, to ensure that the hardware functions properly. According to BT, the Lite package enables companies lacking the power or space needed to install fixed-position readers to test the technology on a small scale, with workers carrying the mobile readers to locate or identify assets. The Lite package is significantly less expensive than the full package, and comes with one reader and 30 tags. The package is available as part of a three-year contract for BT's managed service, starting at £119 ($242) per month, or a six-month contract, starting at £449 ($911) per month. BT says the six-month option would be suitable for proof-of-concept and technology trials, adding that an off-the-shelf option of the package will be released later this year.

National Institute for Animal Agriculture Conference Offers KSU RFID Technology Tour
A limited number of attendees of the ID National Institute for Animal Agriculture's ID•INFO EXPO 2007 will have the opportunity to participate in the Kansas State University RFID Technology Tour, on Aug. 27, prior to the event scheduled for Aug. 28-30. KSU and the Kansas Department of Animal Health have received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to study electronic technologies, including RFID tags, and their applicability within the livestock industry. This year's tour will be a version of KSU's RFID Beef Academies. Time will be devoted to examining how low-frequency technology works and how it is evaluated for performance, using a variety of panel and handheld readers, and illustrating the various factors impacting read distance and read rate. Because of this format, only 25 persons can be accommodated on this year's tour. The tour costs $50 per person for those registered to attend ID•INFO EXPO, including transportation to and from the Westin Crown Center hotel in Kansas City, as well as a tour and cookout. NIAA is also offering discount student pricing to the conference. Early-bird registration, ending July 27, is available at www.animalagriculture.org, along with hotel registration and exhibitor/sponsorship information.

German ID Manufacturer, Research Institute Partnering on Development Lab
Bundesdruckerei, a German supplier of security and identity documents, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration (IZM), a German research organization that develops integrated technologies for microelectronic components, have jointly opened SecurityLab Berlin. The purpose of the lab is to provide a venue for cooperative research between the two organizations toward the development of next-generation, chip-based ID security documents, including those incorporating RFID technology. The partners also plan to develop technologies for printed polymer electronics at the lab, and say they will evaluate and test the marketability of new, secure identity documents there as well. Bundesdruckerei already manufactures the RFID-enabled electronic passports used in Germany, but expects to be able to reduce the size of the RFID inlays embedded in the passports through its work with the Fraunhofer IZM institute, improving upon conventional embedding processes. The lab is supported by a "Smart System Integration" application center initiated by Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which aims to foster collaboration between industry and research organizations.

HP, Nantero Developing Printable Tag Technology
Nantero, a Woburn, Mass., nanotechnology company using carbon nanotubes for the development of next-generation semiconductor devices, is working with Hewlett-Packard to explore the use of HP inkjet technology with Nantero's carbon nanotube formulation. The goal is to create flexible electronics products and applications for printable memory, such as printable RFID chips or complete RFID inlays. Nantero says it is using HP's Thermal Inkjet Pico-Fluidic System research and development tool to evaluate the company's inkjet technology for printable memory applications. The collaboration is part of HP's initiative to extend its inkjet printing technology into printable electronics and other applications requiring precise placement of small volumes of fluid.
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