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RFID News Roundup
BRIDGE Project software demonstrates EPC RFID use in European supply chain; Identec Solutions, InSync Software partner to provide Web-based asset-management applications; Ekahau announces Web-based interface for real-time asset tracking; Caen RFID adds UHF reading capabilities to t+t netcom handheld devices; Sirit reports 2007 financial results; UPM Raflatac reaches 100 million RFID inlay milestone for mass-transit ticketing.
Mar 20, 2008—The following are news announcements made during the past week.
BRIDGE Project Software Demonstrates EPC RFID Use in European Supply Chain
BRIDGE (Building Radio frequency IDentification for the Global Environment), a European Union-funded research project created to drive acceptance of EPCglobal standards in Europe (see BRIDGE Project Members Press Ahead and BRIDGE Expects to Launch Five European RFID Projects This Fall), is launching a portable demonstration software tool as part of its Dissemination and Adoption Tools work package. Downloadable for free on the BRIDGE Project's Web site, the portable demo is intended to show how the EPC RFID network works in the European supply chain. The software can involve several participants simultaneously, and can be installed on a single or multiple computers. One computer simulates the server (and possibly a client), while others simulate the manufacturer, distributor and final client (e.g., a retailer). The demo comes with a database containing information regarding a simulated supply chain and goods, based on three business locations and four standard pallets. Beyond this default scenario, it can be adapted for use on a greater number of computers using actual RFID interrogators. A virtual interrogator can be employed if no physical reader is connected to the system, or if there is a need to utilize both virtual and physical interrogators at the same time. The portable demo, including downloadable software and a user manual, was developed by GS1 Poland in collaboration with GS1 China. Last year, BRIDGE delivered a number of dissemination tools known as concept animations—short cartoons explaining different areas of EPC RFID technology implementation in the supply chain.
Identec Solutions, InSync Software Partner to Provide Web-Based Asset-Management Applications
Identec Solutions, a Dallas, Texas-based provider of wireless tracking and tracing solutions, has partnered with InSync Software, a company in San Jose, Calif., that provides software solutions leveraging RFID, GPS and sensor technologies to track high-value, high-risk assets. In forming this OEM partnership, the two companies intend to combine InSync's software with Identec Solutions' RFID hardware to help customers improve asset utilization and operational efficiencies. Identec Solutions will utilize InSync's Edgeware—a Web-based development platform for RFID, GPS and other location-aware applications—which features a range of configurable services, predefined workflows and management utilities. In leveraging this platform, Identec Solutions says it will be able to integrate to enterprise systems, provide dynamic business logic and display consolidated information through Rich Internet Application (RIA) dashboards (RIAs are Web-based applications offering the features and functionality of traditional desktop apps), as well as offer products allowing its customers and integration partners to configure composite applications utilizing its hardware technologies. In addition, the partnership will enable InSync to expand its line of compatible hardware technologies into Europe and elsewhere.
Ekahau Announces Web-Based Interface for Real-Time Asset Tracking
Ekahau, a provider of Wi-Fi-based real-time location systems (RTLS), has unveiled its Ekahau Vision, a Web-based visual interface that enables enterprise users of Ekahau RTLS to automatically monitor, in real time, the location of tagged assets and staff. The interface is designed to reduce training requirements for users. When utilized in conjunction with the Ekahau Positioning Engine (EPE)—a software-driven location platform allowing location tracking over standard enterprise Wi-Fi networks—Ekahau Vision enables companies to identify, from any Internet-enabled device, the real-time and historical location of objects and individuals at the building, floor or room level. The application's graphical map-based interface also allows for event management, such as identifying all equipment requiring maintenance in a particular time period. Ekahau Vision can be configured to display a variety of customized views—such as asset and staff location—in a dashboard format, and is based on Rich Internet Applications (RIAs), which offer the features and functionality of traditional desktop apps without the need for client-side software installation. Unlike RTLS systems that require proprietary door RFID readers or gates to alert users of exit and entry events, Ekahau Vision incorporates zone functionality within its software, enabling users to create virtual chokepoints in a building or campus. Ekahau RTLS with Ekahau Vision enables a user to employ a single server to track as many as 40,000 objects across more than 100 million square feet, the company says, and the locating of up to 800 objects per second. Ekahau Vision is available now; customers with a current support contract for Ekahau Finder or Ekahau Tracker are eligible for free upgrades to Ekahau Vision.
Caen RFID Adds UHF Reading Capabilities to t+t netcom Handheld Devices
t+t Netcom, a firm in Munich, Germany, that develops, manufactures and markets PDA devices for use in extreme environments, has announced a collaboration with Caen RFID, a supplier of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID systems, located in Viareggio, Italy. According to the agreement, Caen RFID's UHF technology will be embedded in t+t netcom's tt8000 Premium Line and tt7000 handheld devices. Caen RFID's easy2read line of UHF RFID products, including 50-, 200- and 500-milliwatt interrogators, are designed for proximity, short and medium reading range applications and contain a compact external antenna. Customers currently using tt7000 or tt8000 handhelds will be able to upgrade the devices with Caen RFID's UHF reading capabilities.
Sirit Reports 2007 Financial Results
Sirit, an RFID technology provider headquartered in Toronto, has released its financial results for 2007 (all figures are in Canadian dollars). Total revenue in 2007 was $24.5 million, compared with $21.7 million in 2006—Sirit's highest reported level to date. Revenue from Sirit's automatic vehicle identification (AVI) applications reached $18.7 million in 2007, comprised of $15.8 million from toll-related sales and $2.9 million from parking and access control (PACS) related sales. For 2006, total AVI revenue was $16.8 million, including $14.0 million from tolling-related sales and $2.8 million from PACS-related sales. Radio frequency solutions (RFS) revenue—generated by Sirit's supply chain management, goods identification, Near Field Communication (NFC) and all other non-AVI products—reached $5.8 million in 2007, compared to $4.9 million in 2006. This represents an 18 percent annual growth rate—attributed primarily to sales of fixed-position RFID readers and new customers testing and piloting RFID technology. Gross profit for the year was 35.0 percent, consistent with the 34.6 percent reported for 2006. Sirit predicts increased revenue growth across all application areas in 2008, with most of its revenue coming in the second half of the year. Its largest AVI customer, which last year contributed 30 percent of its revenue in the first half of 2007, has been shifting a portion of projected deliveries under an existing agreement with Sirit to the second half of this year, which Sirit says will result in lower AVI revenue in the first half of 2008, compared to one year ago. The firm expects to announce new partnerships and product announcements in 2008, as well as participation in additional global projects (see Sirit Set to Acquire Tag Maker RSI ID).
UPM Raflatac Reaches 100 Million RFID Inlay Milestone for Mass-Transit Ticketing
UPM Raflatac, a supplier of pressure-sensitive labels and RFID products located in Tampere, Finland, has announced that it has manufactured and supplied 100 million RFID inlays to mass-transit ticketing applications worldwide. The company reports having reached that level in early 2008 with a delivery of RaceTrack high-frequency (HF) RFID products to Russia's Moscow Metro rapid-transit system. According to UPM Raflatac, other mass-transit operators and partners also approached the company during the implementation, and have since adopted its RaceTrack line as well. Both underground and surface transportation systems around the world use contactless RFID smart cards and tickets to speed up passenger entry, and to better manage fares, security and anticounterfeiting. The company plans to commence RFID tag and inlay production in Guangzhou, China, later this year.
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