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RFID News Roundup

RFID patent pool gets new members, requests review by U.S. Justice Dept.; Canadian companies band together to offer RFID compliance kit; Ubisense teams with NCR on RTLS initiatives; Advanced ID intros 500 Series UHF RFID reader; OATSystems' RFID products get AJAXed; Omron to provide V750 UHF RFID readers worldwide; Sirit strikes reseller deal with Japanese systems integrator; OTA offers RFID training in China's Pearl River Delta.
Nov 30, 2007The following are news announcements made during the week of Nov. 26.

RFID Patent Pool Gets New Members, Requests Review by U.S. Justice Dept.
Two years after its formation, the RFID Consortium has announced four new members—Hewlett-Packard, France Telecom, LG Electronics and Motorola—each holding essential ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID patents. The group has also announced that it is preparing a business plan that it will submit for review to the U.S. Department of Justice. The Justice Department has agreed to the organization's request to review the legality of its proposed business, with regard to antitrust laws. Upon completion of that review, the RFID Consortium expects to begin offering licenses to firms interested in manufacturing, using or selling UHF RFID readers, labels or chips utilized in labels. The group—essentially a patent pool—was formed in 2005 to address the intellectual property (IP) licensing needs of RFID technology vendors (see RFID Vendors to Launch Patent Pool and RFID Consortium Names Patent-Pool Administrator). The four new members join three others that also hold essential UHF RFID patents: ThingMagic, 3M and Zebra Technologies.

Canadian Companies Band Together to Offer RFID Compliance Kit
An alliance of companies, led by Banyan Commerce, has unveiled an RFID compliance solution costing $5,000, designed to help small and midsize companies comply with RFID requirements from Wal-Mart Stores, Target and the U.S. Department of Defense. The alliance also includes RFID supplier GAO RFID and Toshiba TEC Canada, a manufacturer of retail point-of-sale equipment and bar-code and RFID printers. Announced at this week's RFID Journal Live! Canada 2007 conference in Toronto, the Banyan RFID Express kit incorporates GAO RFID's GenTop Standalone RFID reader-writer that supports both EPC Class1 Gen 1 and Gen 2 protocols operating in the UHF 860-960 MHz band; Toshiba TEC's rugged B-SX4 RFID label printer-encoders; and Banyan Commerce's SAAS (software as a service) application framework. Banyan RFID Express includes round-the-clock support and a guaranteed uptime of 99.99 percent. Currently available in North America, the kit is also expected to be offered in Europe and Asia in the near future.

Ubisense Teams With NCR on RTLS Initiatives
Ubisense, a supplier of ultra-wideband (UWB) real-time location systems (RTLS) headquartered in Cambridge, England, has partnered with NCR to market an asset-management and analysis system for the manufacturing industry. The two companies will combine Ubisense's RTLS with NCR's TransitionWorks automatic identification and data collection (AIDC) software. TransitionWorks is designed to deliver asset information and historical performance data so manufacturers can more easily conduct operations audits and track inventory. An automotive parts manufacturer, which the companies declined to name, will employ the Ubisense-NCR solution to track more than 2,500 assets on 15 production lines to a precision of 1 foot.

Advanced ID Intros 500 Series UHF RFID Reader
Advanced ID has unveiled its 500 Series RFID interrogator, a weatherproof device that complies with both European (ETSI) and U.S. (FCC) regulations and supports multiple tag protocols, including ISO 18000-6B and EPC Class 1 Gen 2. Customers had requested a UHF reader costing less than $1,000, according to Advanced ID's president and CEO, Dan Finch. The 500 Series reader costs $800, which Finch claims is considerably lower than similar readers on the market. A Portuguese company, which he says he is not at liberty to name, recently placed an order for 66 units, to be delivered by year's end for use as part of an asset-management system. In addition, he claims, other current Advanced ID customers have indicated plans to purchase the readers as well. One European tire manufacturer plans to test the interrogator in its operations, for instance, and a pharmaceutical distributor is also testing the reader as part of its e-pedigree initiative.

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