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RFID News Roundup
American Medical Directors Association to study VeriChip's VeriMed system; T3Ci completes acquisition, renames itself Retail Solutions Inc.; new multiprotocol long-range UHF RFID reader from iDTronic; ITG announces compact two-bin item sorter for libraries; First Hawaiian Bank issues MasterCard PayPass debit cards; MachineTalker buys Micro Wireless.
Jan 11, 2008—The following are news announcements made during the week of Jan. 7.
American Medical Directors Association to Study VeriChip's VeriMed System
The American Medical Directors Association (AMDA), a professional association of medical directors and physicians practicing in long-term care, will kick off a study on Feb. 1 to test VeriChip's glass-encased RFID tags, designed to be implanted in patients to make it easier to access their health records during an emergency. Directed by the AMDA Foundation, the research arm of AMDA, the study will be a randomized, comparative clinical study to evaluate whether VeriChip's VeriMed Patient Identification System can improve patient outcomes, the acquisition of medical information and the sharing of medical documents among long-term care facilities and hospital emergency departments. The study will involve 10 facilities and 100 participants, and will last one year—or until the 100th hospitalization, whichever occurs later. Located in Delray Beach, Fla., VeriChip makes the VeriMed patient identification system, consisting of RFID interrogators and 134 kHz RFID tags compliant with the ISO 11784 and 11785 standards, as well as associated software and a VeriChip-hosted patient information database. About the size of a grain of rice, the tags are designed to be implanted, via syringe, just beneath the skin of a patients' arm. Each tag is encoded with a unique 16-digit ID number, associated with the patient's medical records stored in the VeriChip-hosted database. Upon completion of the study, VeriChip intends to use the results to seek reimbursement approval from insurance companies and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). VeriChip is conducting several patient studies, including one recently announced with the Independent Dialysis Foundation (IDF), a nonprofit operator of dialysis centers in Maryland that's testing the implantation of RFID chips in its patients (see Maryland Dialysis Center Prepares for Tag-Implantation Project).
T3Ci Completes Acquisition, Renames Itself Retail Solutions Inc.
RFID analytics and applications company T3Ci announced that it has renamed itself Retail Solutions Inc. (RSI), after completing its acquisition of VeriSign's Retail Data Services (RDS) business unit. RSI has processed more than a billion RFID reads for customers, taking data from product manufacturers and their retail partners and analyzing it to help companies improve operations. With the VeriSign business unit now integrated into its company, Retail Solutions offers a variety of suites and services for customers. The Retail Visibility solution suite helps retailers and manufacturers store, share and analyze demand data, such as point-of-sale (POS) data, supply chain data, merchandiser feedback, customer loyalty data and RFID reads. The Availability solution suite uses proprietary algorithms to prevent and correct out-of-stocks and minimize lost sales. The Trade Promotion solution suite helps consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies design and execute more effective promotions, down to the store level. The Category Development solution suite helps retailers and suppliers collaboratively manage product categories through a focus on understanding consumer-driven demand data. RSI says it now has over 100 customers, including four of the top five global CPG companies. The company operates out of Sunnyvale, Calif., with offices in Lincoln, R.I., and Bentonville, Ark.
New Multiprotocol Long-Range UHF RFID Reader From iDTronic
iDTronic, an RFID hardware provider based in Germany, has unveiled an ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID interrogator that offers a read range of up to 10 meters (32.8 feet). The UHF-LR can read tags that conform to the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6 B/C standards, the company says, thus supporting common UHF tags in the United States, Europe and Japan. In addition, the interrogator can be upgraded in the field to support future protocols, so it need not be shipped back to the manufacturer for an upgrade. Based on Intel's latest R1000 transceiver, the UHF-LR can be configured within a frequency range of 860 to 960 MHz, and has software-programmable RF power (up to 2 watts). The UHF-LR supports the dense reader mode (DRM) capability, a "listen before talk" feature and Anti-Self Jamming (ASJ) technology, all of which allow multiple interrogators to operate close to each other without causing reader-to-reader RF interference. The interrogator offers USB and RS232 serial interfaces and can be connected to up to four antennas. A software developer's kit (SDK) is also available. The UHF-LR is available now from iDTronic's North American distribution partner Bright Card, located in Bethesda, Md.
ITG Announces Compact Two-Bin Item Sorter for Libraries
Integrated Technology Group (ITG), a division of Vernon Library Supplies Inc. that develops library automation systems leveraging RFID and other technologies, has announced an RFID product designed to fit in tight spaces. The Vista ShortSort is a small, two-bin RFID-based sorting system that can sit behind a book drop and automatically check in items. When patrons enter a library, they can drop their return items in a book drop as they normally would. The ShortSort, situated behind the drop, has an RFID interrogator and built-in antenna, and is connected to a controlling computer. As the tags are read and checked against inventory in the computer, the ShortSort sorts the items, automatically pushing checked-in library items into a bin for reshelving, or into an exceptions bin (for items that are on hold, have missing or damaged tags or do not belong to the library), and then printing a receipt for the patron, if so desired. The ShortSort can also print a hold ticket and send an alert to a staff workstation, announcing the arrival of a hold item. ITG's RFID-enabled library automation systems leverage passive 13.56 MHz RFID tags containing an NXP Semiconductors SLI chip complying with the ISO 15693 and ISO 18000-3 standards. The tags are specifically designed for application onto such library media as books, CDs, DVDs and tapes, and come in a square shape for use with books and most other items, as well as a doughnut shape for use with CDs and DVDs.
First Hawaiian Bank Issues MasterCard PayPass Debit Cards
First Hawaiian Bank, a subsidiary of BancWest Corp. founded in 1858, with $12.5 billion in assets and 58 branches in Hawaii, three in Guam and two in Saipan, has announced that it has begun issuing RFID-enabled, contactless debit cards. The MasterCard-branded PayPass cards, provided by Munich, Germany-based Giesecke & Devrient (G&D), which specializes in smart cards and services, are designed to make it easier for customers to make payments on purchases. Rather than using traditional magnetic stripes that must be swiped, customers can simply tap the cards on special merchant reader terminals. G&D is providing First Hawaiian Bank with 100,000 cards. The PayPass cards use the ISO 14443 standard for contactless chip cards, and include encryption algorithms and contain Inside Contactless' MicroPass chips. MasterCard first launched and tested smart cards under the PayPass name in 2002 (see MasterCard to Test RFID Card).
MachineTalker Buys Micro Wireless
In an effort to boost its RFID product line, MachineTalker, a manufacturer of active RFID tags designed to serve as wireless network nodes, has announced the acquisition of Micro Wireless Technologies in an all-stock deal. Micro Wireless holds an exclusive license to a technology developed by scientists at the University of South Florida (USF). The technology has the potential to allow traditional sensors and RF systems to be combined in a single entity, rather than as two separate entities, as is typically done today. "The addition of these telemetric micro-sensors will permit the formation of wireless clusters of sensors around each MachineTalker [tag] to monitor and process patterns of change at a remote location," explained Roland Bryan, president at MachineTalker, in a statement announcing the acquisition. Micro Wireless is a wholly owned subsidiary of Utek, which specializes in acquiring technologies from developers and selling it to clients.
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