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RFID News Roundup

Cisco teams up with RFID vendors on advanced location tracking; polish ministry of defense arms itself with active RFID; Omron takes RFID reader to Mexico, Brazil; Tagsys intros RFID system for textiles; Zetes, Schmidt partner to supply RFID across Europe and Asia.
May 29, 2008The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Cisco Teams Up With RFID Vendors On Advanced Location Tracking
Network equipment manufacturer Cisco and AeroScout, a Redwood City, Calif., provider of a Wi-Fi-enabled RFID real-time location systems (RTLS), have joined forces to offer a new solution designed to let companies use a single network platform combining data from a variety of sources, beyond just location, to include status, presence, condition and more. The information can then be shared with business applications from OATSystems, a Waltham, Mass., provider of RFID-enabled solutions, as well as AeroScout and others. The new Cisco 3300 Series Mobility Services Engine (MSE) is a networked appliance that consists of a number of software and service components, including AeroScout's Location Engine software for calculating tag locations. The MSE appliance includes Cisco's Context-Aware software (where the AeroScout Engine and Cisco’s own location-determination algorithms reside) that captures the detailed information collected from the tags and sensors and integrates it into business processes; Cisco's Adaptive Wireless Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) software, which provides companies with the ability to monitor the network for vulnerabilities; and Cisco's Mobile Intelligent Roaming software, enabling information to be shared among both cellular and Wi-Fi networks. Also included is Cisco's Secure Client Manager software for device and network security, administration and management. According to the two companies, the Cisco 3300 Series MSE comes with an open-source application programming interface (API) so third-party developers can build business applications and provide visibility for up to 18,000 tagged assets from a single appliance. Cisco will market and sell the MSE, as well as a set of AeroScout products that support MSE deployments. The first version of the MSE and Cisco Context Aware Software will begin shipping in June. Cisco has also announced multiple third-party applications that have integrated with the MSE’s API, including AeroScout’s MobileView software and applications from OATSystems. Cisco's partnership with OATSystems will enable the integration of the MSE with OATSystems' OATindustrial RFID applications, including the Asset Tracking and Work-in-Process solutions. Customers will be able to run their OATSystems applications on Cisco's Wi-Fi-based Unified Wireless Network. The OATindustrial applications utilize RFID to track parts and assemblies through the production cycle, then share that data with existing systems. The Asset Tracking solution tracks the movement of assets or reusable containers from suppliers to warehouses, and through all key production stages covering an enterprise's supply chain. The Work-In-Process solution is designed to help companies monitor processes so they can improve operations. The applications support data from bar codes and passive or active RFID tags.

Polish Ministry of Defense Arms Itself With Active RFID
The Polish Ministry of Defense (PMD) has announced it is deploying active RFID technology to help track and manage its military supplies as part of its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) peace-keeping initiatives, particularly those in Afghanistan. The solution will be provided by Savi, a Lockheed Martin subsidiary, and marks the second largest NATO-related installation of Savi's RFID solution. Savi's solutions are also being used by defense forces at NATO headquarters, as well as by the armed forces of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Denmark, Sweden and Spain (see NATO Rolling Out System for Sharing Data). The active RFID solution, according to Artur Malinowski, a colonel in the Polish military, will be employed to create a more reliable supply chain, and to track and manage consignments as they traverse the PMD's extended supply chain of depots, bases, airfields and other military installations. PMD's Military Property Agency contracted with the Netline Group to procure the Savi Consignment Management Solution, which is based on NATO asset-tracking standards to ensure interoperability with other NATO Savi installations, and which provides near real-time information on the location of supplies via a network of RFID interrogators linked to decision-support software. The Netline Group partnered with Hertz Systems for services to help install hardware and software.

Omron Takes RFID Reader to Mexico, Brazil
RFID equipment maker Omron Electronics, located in Schaumberg, Ill., has announced it will begin offering its V750 UHF RFID Gen 2 reader/writer product line in Mexico and Brazil. Recent standardization of RFID frequencies in Latin America, according to Omron, is creating new opportunities for the technology's use in manufacturing, distribution and asset management applications across that region. The V750 is a fixed-position interrogator that is EPCglobal-certified and supports the EPCglobal Class 1 Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C standards. It features an auto-tuning function that lets it self-adjust read parameters as per tag density, and its dense reader mode helps shut out interference. What's more, the V750 can report signal strength for each read to help diagnose problems.

Tagsys Intros Faster RFID System for Textiles
Tagsys, an RFID infrastructure provider based in Cambridge, Mass., has unveiled a new product line designed specifically for textile supply and service companies. The solution includes 13.56 MHz RFID tags, interrogators and tunnels that, according to Tagsys, are designed to perform up to two times faster than its previous generation systems, while maintaining a tag-read accuracy better than 99.9 percent. Compliant with the ISO 15693 standard, the ARIO 370L-HL and ARIO 370L-DL tags are designed to withstand extreme humidity, temperature, pressure and chemical applications, and are guaranteed to survive 200-plus wash cycles. The Medio L400 Stations—Medio L400 reader and textile services antenna series—are designed for the rugged industrial applications found within processing plants. Each has been tested and tuned to accurately track various types of items, Tagsys reports, ranging from stacked linens to hanging uniforms. The TS400 RFID Tunnel can read multiple items simultaneously, in bulk or in stacks, up to two times faster than the previous-generation tunnel, enabling operators to maintain traditional line speeds used in textile plants. According to Tagsys, performance accuracy is achieved via a patented three-dimensional antenna architecture.

Zetes, Schmidt Partner to Supply RFID Across Europe and Asia
Zetes Industries, a Brussels, Belgium, provider of auto-identification technologies including RFID, and Schmidt & Co. Ltd., a systems integrator and reseller headquartered in Hong Kong, have partnered to provide RFID, bar-code, wireless and other technologies throughout Europe and Asia. Together, the two companies have 36 regional offices and more than 1,000 employees in Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (Zetes' locations) and in China, India, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam (Schmidt's locations). The partnership, the two companies say, will enable them to expand their customer base, and to more rapidly deploy automated tracking solutions that support supply chains, manufacturing, logistics and other operations on both continents.
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