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RFID News Roundup

3M join forces in electronic vehicle registration; Convergint Technologies, Guard RFID Solutions partner on active RFID; BA Systems intros interrogator that reads UHF, HF tags and bar codes; SATO Integrates Intelleflex's BAP RFID into its tracking software; Australia and New Zealand CIOs rank RFID as a top technology.
Mar 25, 2008The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Sirit, 3M Join Forces in Electronic Vehicle Registration
RFID technology provider Sirit has teamed up with 3M to provide RFID-enabled solutions for electronic vehicle registration (EVR) and electronic tolling. EVR, also known as electronic vehicle identification (EVI), is a growing market segment (see Electronic Vehicle Registration Picks Up Speed). EVR systems leverage passive RFID transponders—typically ultrahigh-frequency (UHF)—embedded in decals affixed to windshields or other parts of a vehicle. Fixed RFID interrogators installed at main traffic intersections or alongside roads, as well as handheld readers for use during traffic stops, can read the tags' unique ID numbers and then compare them with information in a back-end database to determine, for instance, who owns the vehicle, or if registration is up-to-date. In addition, tag reads collected over a period of time can help municipalities better understand traffic patterns and flow. The marketing agreement, between Sirit and 3M's Traffic Safety Systems Division, will enable 3M to distribute Sirit's IDentity 5100 reader and transponder solution, which leverages UHF RFID technology, as part of its traffic management and tolling solutions that also include systems integration and support. The companies say they will jointly target transportation markets in the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe.

Convergint Technologies, GuardRFID Solutions Partner on Active RFID
GuardRFID Solutions, a Canadian maker of active RFID products for health-care organizations and other businesses, has signed a distribution agreement with Convergint Technologies, a systems integrator that provides, designs, services, and installs integrated building systems including electronic security, fire alarm and life safety, and building automation solutions. Convergint is based in Schaumberg, Ill., and has numerous offices throughout North America. Under terms of the agreement, Convergint will have access to GuardRFID's tracking, location and security solutions for the health-care market, as well as the ability to deploy such solutions into its other markets that require electronic security, fire alarm and life safety capabilities, and building automation systems. GuardRFID's products include TotGuard, a system of disposable, active RFID-enabled ankle and wrist bands designed to help hospitals protect the security of newborns while in the hospital, SafeGuard, an active RFID-enabled patient tracking system and OnGuard, a system that's designed to help hospitals track assets and hospital equipment using active RFID tags. All three support either Ethernet or Wi-Fi-based 802.11 local area networks. GuardRFID Solutions' tags transmit at 433 MHz, according to Zahir Abji, president and CEO of GuardRFID Solutions. "We primarily use our own proprietary protocol, which allows eight times faster transactions and therefore much greater tag population support," he adds.

BA Systems Intros Interrogator That Reads UHF, HF Tags and Bar codes
Upper Marlboro, Md.-based systems integrator and custom software and hardware developer BA Systems is offering a new handheld device that the company says is capable of reading both UHF and HF RFID tags as well as 1-D, 2-D, and data matrix bar code labels. The FlexID Reader has been designed for the pharmaceutical and retail markets that want to verify chain of custody of goods as they traverse the supply chain. Pharmaceutical companies in particular are under pressure via forthcoming electronic pedigree (e-pedigree) regulations to electronically document drugs as they leave the manufacturer and move through distribution and onto pharmacies. But capturing unique identification information throughout the supply chain often requires multiple technologies—HF for item-level tracking, UHF for case and pallet tracking, and bar codes where RFID technology is not yet installed. Until now, pharmaceutical companies have had to develop custom software and use multiple RFID readers and antennas to simultaneously interrogate both HF and UHF tags and capture bar-code data, a relatively expensive and complicated solution, according to BA Systems. Available now in limited quantities (with wide delivery via channel sales partners in the near future), BA's FlexID Reader is built on the Motorola XR Series RFID Reader. The reader includes the capability for future expansion by supplying USB ports for add-on hardware and remote sensing capabilities. BA is now working with partners to develop self-service kiosk, verification, and point-of-sale applications for the retail industry using the FlexID Reader.

SATO Integrates Intelleflex's BAP RFID Into Its Software
San Jose, Calif., RFID technology company Intelleflex, and SATO, a maker of bar code, RFID and GPS systems with offices in Charlotte, N.C., and around the world, have teamed to integrate Intelleflex's battery-assisted passive (BAP) RFID technology into SATO's i-TRAK software. Intelleflex's BAP RFID tags operate at the 902-928 MHz ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) band (865-868 MHz in Europe and India) and comply with EPCglobal's proposed Class 3 standard. SATO will integrate i-TRAK with Intelleflex's technology and will initially focus on fleet inventory and vehicle yard management applications, the companies say. SATO's i-TRAK is a hybrid (RFID and bar code) tracking and tracing software package that SATO developed initially for installation in one of the world's largest over-the-road (OTR) truck manufacturers and now offers commercially. Adding BAP capability will enable i-TRAK to receive and process data from BAP tags.

Australia and New Zealand CIOs Rank RFID as a Top Technology
In a recently released Forecast for Management, authored by market research and advisory firm IDC Australia, RFID took the number two spot in a top 10 list of technologies that CIOs in Australia and New Zealand expect to invest in by 2009. The study, conducted annually in Australia since the mid-1980s, asks CIOs a wide range of questions relating to their use of information technology, as well as expenditures and challenges related to information technology (IT). The other technologies in the top 10 list are service-oriented architecture (SOA) and Web services (1), voice over IP (3), IT services quality certification (4), virtualization (5), storage over IP (6), sales force automation and marketing management (7), IT library (ITL) systems (8), document management (9), and online exchanges, marketplaces and portal technology (10).
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