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RFID News Roundup

IBM acquires data synchronization software provider; Omron shrinks its HF inlay; NCR names new European reseller; ASSA, Sokymat integrating reduced-memory Mifare chip.
By Alexander C.H. Skorna and André Richter
Jul 20, 2007The following are news announcements made during the week of July 16.

IBM Acquires Data Synchronization Software Provider
IBM has announced an agreement to acquire DataMirror, a software company based in Markham, Ontario. DataMirror provides software that identifies and captures data as it is changed or deleted in any database, then updates and synchronizes the data, in real time, in all linked databases across an enterprise. IBM has long partnered with DataMirror for its "change-data capture" software, says Michael Curry, director of product strategy and management for IBM information platforms and solutions, to ensure that IBM's suite of data-management software and middleware products making up its WebSphere platform receive timely, synchronized data from the various business applications from which it collects data. Purchasing the company will bring DataMirror's real-time data capture and synchronization tools in-house for IBM. In an RFID deployment, Curry explains, DataMirror's software would collect changes to inventory levels caused by an RFID-tagged order leaving a warehouse. This ensures that the updated information is sent to an IBM data-analysis tool for tracking demand signals or other metrics, or for generating replenishment reports. Companies that do not use DataMirror or a similar program for capturing data changes would need to employ a separate piece of middleware to automate the collection of updated or new data from a system such as a warehouse management software and other applications. Under the terms of the agreement, IBM will acquire all outstanding DataMirror common shares at a price of C$27 (US$25.88) per common share, payable in cash, amounting to a total consideration of approximately C$170 million (US$161 million).

Omron Shrinks Its HF Inlay
RFID hardware provider Omron says it has reduced the size of its ISO 15693-compliant high-frequency passive RFID inlay by half, downsizing it to 46 by 43 millimeters. By reducing the size, the company explains, it will be able to approach a wider range of RFID end users than it currently serves. For instance, consumer goods manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies need low-profile inlays for embedding tags in product labels. The new V730S-D13P02 half-size inlay uses an aluminum antenna and has 112 bytes of user memory. According to Omron, it can read the inlay from up to 35 centimeters when using Omron's long-range reader and antenna. The new model will be available in August. The company has not yet released pricing information.

NCR Names New European Reseller
NCR Corporation has named U.K.-based AIDC Solutions as its first pan-European channel partner for NCR's automatic identification and data collection (AIDC) solutions. The arrangement stipulates that AIDC Solutions will resell the NCR TransitionWorks software portfolio to Europe-based businesses in the consumer goods manufacturing, distribution and retailing sectors. NCR TransitionWorks software consists of a suite of five applications designed to help end users pull value from RFID data. Each application addresses a specific purpose: mandating compliance, asset tracking, inventory tracking, notification and sales forecasting. The suite is designed to simplify the infrastructure required to enter, capture and cleanse data, as well as update all pertinent systems across LAN, WAN, Wi-Fi and mobile networks. AIDC Solutions indicates it has an established network of reseller partners in Europe but is looking to expand its representation in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Poland and the Czech Republic.

ASSA, Sokymat Integrating Reduced-Memory Mifare Chip
ASSA ABLOY Identification Technologies has launched an enhanced line of RFID-based (contactless) identity credentials containing NXP Semiconductors' Mifare Mini chip. The new integrated circuit is designed for applications requiring less than the standard Mifare chip's 1 kilobyte of memory but the same security features and file structure. The Mifare Mini chip can hold 320 bytes of memory. Damien Cardinaux, business segment manager of access and security at ASSA ABLOY, says the Mini chip allows the company to offer an identity card more cost-effective than those containing standard Mifare chips. Sokymat, an RFID hardware provider owned by ASSA ABLOY, has also begun using the Mini chip in many of the RFID key fobs and other identity products it manufactures for payment or identity applications.
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