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RFID News Roundup

RTLS protects ER employees at Madrid's 12 de Octubre Hospital; Lisbon transit operators order 25 million contactless tickets; California District Attorney's office tracks files with RFID; RedPrairie integrates mobile asset-tracking software into warehouse management; SmarTrac unveils new smart card inlay, delivers cards for Cairo Metro; OTA Training opens office in Australia.
Aug 07, 2008The following are news announcements made during the past week.

RTLS Protects ER Employees at Madrid's 12 de Octubre Hospital
The 12 de Octubre Hospital in Madrid, Spain, has implemented a Wi-Fi-based real-time location system (RTLS) from Ekahau to help improve the security and safety of its emergency room employees. Indra, an information technology and systems integration company in Spain, installed the Ekahau system, along with a group of applications known as the Indra Localiza Suite (ILS). The RTLS and applications leverage the hospital's existing 802.11 WLAN. Ekahau, based in Saratoga, Calif., with offices in Virginia, Finland and Hong Kong, offers a Wi-Fi-based RTLS that includes the Ekahau Positioning Engine (EPE) server, battery-powered Wi-Fi tags and application software. The EPE server can track the real-time location of more than 10,000 objects on a single server, Ekahau reports, and can calculate up to 600 locations per second. The hospital is outfitting its ER personnel with the tags, which include a "panic button" that can be pushed in the event of an assault, robbery or other security concern. The panic button application, part of Indra's ILS, will alert the hospital's security department, and the EPE determines the tag's exact location, thus informing the security department where the incident has occurred.

Lisbon Transit Operators Order 25 Million Contactless Tickets
OTLIS, the transport operators organization in Lisbon, Portugal, has ordered 25 million contactless paper tickets from ASK, a contactless card and reader developer based in Sophia-Antipolis, France. The Lisbon operators, which include the metro, buses, the tram, trains and the Transtejo ferry, are creating a centralized automatic fare-collection ticketing system using ASK's C.ticket, a contactless ticket based on the disposable paper contactless ticket that is compliant with the ISO 14443 type B standard. The C.ticket is designed for either single or multiple trips and can be delivered in die-cut, fanfold or roll-form factors. The order of 25 million tickets will be delivered over the next two years.

California District Attorney's Office Tracks Files With RFID
The District Attorney's Office of Butte County, in northern California, has deployed RFID to help track thousands of case files it handles each year. The Butte County DA's office, which employs 27 attorneys and has a total staff of 105, is employing a tracking system from 3M that leverages 13.56 MHz RFID tags affixed to open, active files and readers. As a tagged file moves from various offices, courtrooms and checkpoints, a complete file history is tracked and can be viewed on any of the department's computers. The Butte County DA's office handles about 10,000 cases per year and maintains nearly 15,000 open case files at any given time. Since deploying the system, the DA's office was able to locate a file that had been misplaced for nearly eight months, said Mike Gilchrist, IT manager in the Butte County DA's office, in a prepared statement. The DA's office chose 3M's RFID file-tracking system, in part, because it can interface with Constellation Justice System's DAMION attorney case-management software.

RedPrairie Integrates Mobile Asset-Tracking Module into Warehouse Management
Enterprise applications company RedPrairie, headquartered in Waukesha, Wis., has integrated into its core Warehouse Management System its Mobile Resource Management software, a module designed to track and manage such mobile assets as containers and equipment, that also includes optional active and passive RFID capability. The integration of Mobile Resource Management into RedPrairie's WMS will enable customers to track and manage not only their inventory of products but also the pallets, crates, racks and equipment used to move that inventory—all from the same system. Previously, customers had to call up two separate applications to accomplish these tasks. RedPrairie's software supports the use of active and passive RFID tags, 2-D bar codes and other automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) technologies to track inventory and assets as they traverse the supply chain. The integration is part of a new release of RedPrairie's E2e Supply Chain Execution suite, available now, that—in addition to WMS—includes software for transportation and workforce management and supply chain visibility.

SmarTrac Unveils New Smart Card Inlay, Delivers Cards for Cairo Metro
SmarTrac, an RFID inlay supplier headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, has received its first volume order for its new line of inlays that include a passive high-frequency (HF) RFID tag, as well as a battery, switch and display, in addition to the ability to generate one-time passwords. The inlays are manufactured in the typical ISO card format: 86 millimeters (3.4 inches) long, 54 millimeters (2.1 inches) wide and 0.5 to 0.9 millimeters (0.02 to 0.04 inch) thick—the size of a credit card. The Dutch company received the order for the new inlays from a card manufacturer that will further process the inlays, though SmarTrac CTO Manfred Rietzler says the company is not at liberty to name the card maker, or to provide more specific details regarding the size of the order. The inlay's passive RFID tag supports the ISO 14443 standard, which is the transmission standard for secure contactless applications. The inlay's battery-powered components, Rietzler explains, can be utilized to provide additional functionality, convenience or security to the card. "What we see is that the different functions could be merged on one application," he says. "Payment cards are, for example, being increasingly merged with access control functionality for passenger transportation systems, such as the local metro. These multipurpose cards offer customers increased user convenience as they are able to use one single card for several daily life processes, such as paying for the newspaper and entering the train." For example, a card owner could check the card's display to find out how much money that person has left in their account, then use the one-time password component to conduct secure online transactions. In other news, SmarTrac has announced that it is supplying its contactless Prelam inlay to the Cairo Metro project in Egypt. The orders will come through MasriaCard, SmarTrac's local partner in Egypt and a smart card and RFID solutions provider in the Middle East and Africa. MasriaCard was recently awarded a contract to supply contactless cards to the Cairo Metro Organization, which operates a system consisting of two operational lines, with a third line in the planning stage. The first two lines carry about 700 million passengers per year, at an average of 2 million passengers each day.

OTA Training Opens Office in Australia
Dallas-based OTA Training has announced the opening of an office in Australia's capital, Canberra. Situated between Sydney and Melbourne, the new Canberra office will serve as OTA Training's base of operations for the Pacific Rim region. Eugene Costabile has been appointed director of business development for Australasia, and will be responsible for all regional operations. "Our local presence in Australia will now allow OTA to support and drive RFID adoption throughout the region," Costabile said in a prepared statement. OTA plans to hold its four-day "Systems Approach to RFID plus RFID+ Certification" program in Canberra on Sept. 30, 2008.
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