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RFID News Roundup

Chicago hotel keeps better bar tab with RFID; Metalcraft and ADASA team up in RFID label market; Columbia River Resources acquires pharmaceutical RFID developer; Israeli RFID company purchases Dimex Systems.
Jan 04, 2008The following are news announcements made during the week of Dec. 31.

Chicago Hotel Keeps Better Bar Tab With RFID
The Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown Lakefront, the flagship hotel within the Embassy Suites brand of Hilton Hotels Corp., says RFID has helped it cut liquor costs, track expenses and better manage its bar operations. The 455-room hotel has been employing an RFID-enabled system called Beverage Tracker, from Capton, to more accurately track liquor sales, improve the consistency of drink preparation and transition away from cash-bar setups used for banquet operations and during its nightly manager's reception, in which hotel guests can visit the open-air atrium for appetizers and beverages. Capton's Beverage Tracker consists of RFID-enabled liquor spouts that can be fitted into liquor bottles, as well as an RFID interrogator and software. The spouts contain a battery-powered 418 MHz RFID tag and a measuring device. Whenever a bartender pours a drink, the tipping of the bottle activates both the tag and the measuring device, allowing the spout to measure the volume of liquor poured (in ounces) before the employee tips the bottle back up. The tag then transmits that information (and the microchip's unique identification number, as well as the brand and size of liquor bottle to which it is attached) to the interrogator's antenna. The spout's tag has a maximum read range of up to 100 feet from the antenna. Other hotels using Capton's Beverage Tracker include Treasure Island, a Las Vegas hotel and casino (see Vegas Hotel-Casino Uses Tags to Keep Tabs on Liquor); the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, in northwest Florida (see RFID News Roundup: Sandestin Putting RFID on Tap); and the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, also in Las Vegas (see As You Like It).

Metalcraft and ADASA Team Up in RFID Label Market
Metalcraft, a manufacturer of bar-code and RFID tags and labels, has announced that sometime this month, it will begin offering cartridges from ADASA loaded with its adhesive and mount-on-metal 900 MHz EPC Gen 2 RFID labels, for use in ADASA's PAD3500 portable RFID encoding device. Prices for the SmartCartridges will vary according to label construction and quantity. Both companies say the target market for their combined solution will be for vehicle tracking and access control, in part because Metalcraft's RFID Windshield Tag—a 4- by 1-inch adhesive label engineered to protect against UV rays, offering a read range of over 18 feet—is one of the label products available in the SmartCartridge. The RFID Windshield Tag leverages the KSW Windshield inlay, specifically developed by KSW Microtec, and does not require a foam layer, as other tags designed for attachment to vehicle windshields do. Metalcraft has encapsulated the inlay between thin layers of polypropylene, protecting the tag and reducing the effects of electrostatic discharge that can interfere with RF signals.

Columbia River Resources Acquires Pharma RFID Developer
Columbia River Resources announced last week that it has acquired Traxxec, a U.K. company funded by the pharmaceutical industry and incorporated specifically to test RFID chips embedded into pill bottles. According to Columbia River Resources, the buyout will complement Medify Solutions, a division of Columbia River Resources that provides a suite of secure remote access products for health-care delivery and patient management using integrated wireless and Web-based technologies. Traxxec, which owns patented RFID technology, partnered with consumer-packaging giant Rexam in January 2007, to develop a tracking and anticounterfeiting system enabling users to read and write information—such as batch releases, dates, product information and operational details—onto RFID chips embedded into pharmaceutical bottles. As a result, Rexam entered into a 15-year licensing agreement with Traxxec, which also has commercial arrangements with Assa Abloy Identification Technologies, a Switzerland-based supplier of packaged RFID component parts, and with Telsonic Ultrasonics, a developer of ultrasonic equipment. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, though Traxxec expects to achieve royalty revenues of $10 million dollars in the next two years, according to Columbia River Resources. Other companies are also developing RFID-embedded pharmaceutical bottles, including Owens-Illinois, which demonstrated plastic pharmaceuticals bottles with EPC Gen 2 RFID inlays embedded directly into the base of the containers more than a year ago (see O-I Embeds Tags in Bottoms of Drug Bottles, Improving Read Rates).

Israeli RFID Company Purchases Dimex Systems
Israel-based software and RFID provider Better Online Solutions (BOS) announced last week that it will acquire Dimex, a privately held automatic identification and data collection (AIDC) integrator, for $11.5 million. BOS executives say the company is purchasing Dimex to expand its own RFID expertise. Under the terms of the deal, the senior management of Dimex, founded in 1988 and also based in Israel, will become part of the BOS group. Dimex's current chief executive, Yuval Viner, will head the Dimex activity within BOS. The transaction is expected to be completed this month.
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