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RFID News Roundup
GlobeRanger announces RFID appliance; Axcess International unveils RFID-enabled stickers with temperature sensors; Rush Tracking Systems intros RFID system for lift trucks; Australian prison to implement RFID-enabled inmate tracking; AWID, Intelleflex strike new licensing deals with Intermec.
Apr 10, 2008—The following are news announcements made during the past week.
GlobeRanger Announces RFID Appliance
RFID software solutions provider GlobeRanger is introducing its first hardware product. The Smart Network Appliance Product (SNAP) is a reader networking and data processing device designed to control RFID interrogators and other edge devices, such as bar-code scanners, motion sensors or light stacks, in a single facility. A company can use GlobeRanger's iMotion software, which runs on the SNAP device, to set reader controls, tag data filtering commands and data management business process steps. According to Bryan Tracey, GlobeRanger's VP of engineering and chief architect, SNAP is designed to accommodate all of the RFID and edge device networking needs of a single facility, such as a distribution center or retail store. "The scalability of the SNAP is relative to the actual usage within a facility," Tracey says, "but it could support up to 40 or 50 dock doors, or easily all the devices required in a retail environment, including readers in the back end of store, as well as those in the front end." SNAP and the iMotion software support any currently available RFID interrogator compliant with the EPC Gen 2 UHF standard, the company says, as well as a number of high-frequency (HF) readers. The device is priced in the $10,000 range and will be available midyear. GlobeRanger will demonstrate SNAP at RFID Journal LIVE! 2008, being held April 16-18 in Las Vegas. GlobeRanger has also recently launched a services division, for which it is partnering with business and infrastructure consultant Winston Joseph. The Global Infrastructure Services division offers end users assistance with everything from early-stage business case development and pilot design to multi-facility deployments.
Axcess International Unveils RFID-enabled Stickers With Temperature Sensors
RFID tracking solutions provider Axcess International has introduced an RFID-enabled Smart Wireless Sticker, which the company says can provide automatic item identification, locating, tracking, protecting, data logging and condition sensing for items from up to 1,000 feet away. The sticker contains Axcess International's Dot chip, which provides dual active-passive capabilities—enabling it to be used as both a passive EPC Gen 2 tag operating at 860 to 960 MHz, and as a 433 MHz active tag (see New Axcess Chip Can Be Active or Operate as Passive Gen 2). Designed to be affixed to such objects as windshields, warehouse boxes, pallets, laptops and perishable goods, the Smart Wireless Sticker can be printed with graphics and text for visual identification, or with bar codes for short-range manual identification. In addition, the tamper-resistant, reusable (if needed) sticker includes a temperature sensor so it can be employed to monitor, log and wirelessly transmit the conditions of produce, IT equipment and other temperature-sensitive items. The temperature data is transmitted via the sticker's 433 MHz active tag function, and the tag can be programmed to activate and transmit alerts at designated temperature ranges. The tag can also use the EPC Gen 2 protocol to transmit its temperature data to "partner" EPC readers that have been configured with the capability of reading the tag's temperature log. The sticker's on-chip memory can hold 4,000 readings, and external memory can also be added on board. The Smart Wireless Stickers, available now at a price of just under $10 apiece, will be demonstrated at RFID Journal LIVE! 2008, being held April 16-18 in Las Vegas.
Rush Tracking Systems Intros RFID System for Lift Trucks
RFID systems integrator Rush Tracking Systems, headquartered in Lenexa, Kan., has announced the availability of its VisiblEdge RFID lift-truck package. VisiblEdge, a combination of software, hardware and positioning technology on lift trucks, is designed to help identify and track the status and location of goods and assets in manufacturing and warehouse operations. The system is suited for heavy industrial and returnable container applications, the company reports. VisiblEdge is designed to work with existing equipment and interface with systems already in place. Components of the turnkey package include VisiblEdge software, which serves as an interface to the RFID interrogator to control and coordinate all components, and integrates with off-the-shelf RFID middleware and back-end software applications; an industrial-grade RFID reader; cargo antennas that can identify tagged single, double-stacked or short pallets; a rugged rack tag antenna that reads RFID tags placed on shelves where assets are stored; a floor tag antenna that reads RFID tags embedded in a floor; and a cargo presence lift sensor that triggers when the interrogator turns on and off, to eliminate reading tags on assets if a lift truck drives by without a load.
Australian Prison to Implement RFID-enabled Inmate Tracking
The Alexander Maconochie Centre is installing a Wi-Fi-based RFID tracking system at its prison in Canberra, Australia, a facility that houses multiple classifications of residents, including young adult offenders and both male and female detainees. The tracking system is from Alanco/TSI Prism, a provider of RFID-based security systems and a subsidiary of Alanco Technologies, located in Scottsdale, Ariz. The system leverages active RFID and optional bar-code technology in bracelets worn by inmates, and is designed to ensure inmates do not escape by issuing an alarm if a bracelet approaches the jail perimeter; reduce violence by allowing officers to monitor who congregates with whom; and allow for administrative functions such as tracking where an inmate is located when needed. The RFID bracelet sends out a signal every two seconds to readers deployed throughout the facility, which in turn transmit the collected data to the system's control center. Reseller and systems integrator NEC Australia is overseeing the project at the Alexander Maconochie Centre, with the project's total cost, according to Alanco/TSI Prism and NEC, estimated to exceed $1 million. Under the terms of a multiyear exclusive agreement between the two companies, NEC has incorporated the TSI PRISM technology into its suite of security systems and integration services, which it is marketing to the 100 other prison facilities located throughout Australia and New Zealand. Alanco/TSI Prism has already implemented its inmate tracking system in other prisons, including the Los Angeles County jail (see L.A. County Jail to Track Inmates).
AWID, Intelleflex Strike New Licensing Deals With Intermec
Intermec, a maker of RFID, mobile computing and data collection technologies, has announced that RFID solutions provider Applied Wireless Identifications Group (AWID) has expanded its license under Intermec's RFID patents. This represents an expansion of the Rapid Start RFID License Agreement that Intermec and AWID signed in September 2005. Under the new agreement, AWID's running royalty license will include both portable and fixed RFID interrogators. A running royalty license requires the licensee to pay royalties over time (rather than an up-front lump sum) and is tied to the dollar value (or number) of sales of the product using the license. According to George Lu, spokesman for AWID, the company did not initially include portable readers in its 2005 licensing agreement with Intermec because "we did not have a firm product plan then." AWID has just completed C-round financing with existing shareholders and, Lu says, is now in a position to execute the company's portable interrogator plan and expand its scope. "Customers desire a portable interrogator that has sufficient features for their everyday use at a price point that fits their budgets," Lu explains, "and that is backed by a reputable RFID interrogator supplier with staying power and strong support, and free of IP concerns." Intermec has also announced its granting of patent licenses to Intelleflex, a provider of battery-assisted passive (BAP) ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID technology. Under the terms of the contract, Intermec has given Intelleflex a running royalty license. Intelleflex's RFID license will provide it access to these technologies with respect to ASICs, inserts, tags and labels, as well as fixed and portable readers and printers. Intermec holds more than 154 RFID patents involving broad areas of supply chain applications, covering all global standards and classes of RFID technology, including EPCglobal Class 0, Class 0+, Class 1 and Class 1 Gen 2, as well as ISO and ETSI equivalents.
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