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RFID News Roundup

Rfidium debuts RFID tag for boxes, pallets; Idesco intros RFID-enabled touch-screen terminal; Japan's Surutto Kansai to issue smart cards in South Korea; Tectus announces new LF/HF handheld; Xterprise Offers RFID-enabled Retail Applications; San Francisco's Urban Tavern Uses RFID for Precise Pours.
Aug 21, 2008The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Rfidium Debuts RFID Tag for Boxes, Pallets
Rfidium, a Sunnyvale, Calif., a producer of custom and specialty RFID inlays and antennas, announced a new RFID tag designed specifically for box and pallet tagging on cardboard boxes or polymeric containers. Called Leprechaun, the inlay has an aluminum antenna and complies with the EPC Class 1 Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C standards. According to Rfidium, the inlay also meets loose-cargo, commercial, temperature and vibration specifications defined in ASTM International's ASTM D 4169, a guide for performance testing of shipping containers and systems, and complies with environmental regulations set forth in Europe's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) directives. The Leprechaun, which measures 100 by 16 millimeters (3.94 by 0.63 inches) in size, can operate at temperatures ranging from -20 degrees to +55 degrees Celsius and has read range of more than 4.2 m (14 feet) in free-space propagation and 36 dBm effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) at the reader antennas measured on corrugated cardboard boxes.

Idesco Intros RFID-enabled Touch-Screen Terminal
Idesco, an RFID tag and reader maker based in Oulu, Finland, has announced Access Touch—a new a touch-screen terminal with a built-in RFID reader. Access Touch has an integrated computer that supports the Linux and Windows operating systems and can be used as a standalone device or can be connected to network, such as an access control system. A variety of RFID technologies, from 125 kHz to 13.56 MHz, are available. Idesco also announced that its 9CL Quattro reader has been integrated into a cashless vending solution, vOpen Cashless, from vending management company Vianet, headquartered in Dunfermline, Scotland. The 9CL is a multi-technology reader that enables the vOpen Cashless terminal to read a multitude of RFID card types, including those that comply with the ISO 14443 and ISO 15693 standards, and Legic Prime, a 13.56 MHz technology from Legic.

Japan's Surutto Kansai to Issue PiTaPa Cards in South Korea
Surutto Kansai, a Japanese provider of smart cards for use with rail and bus systems in the Kansai region around Osaka and Kyoto, is launching a new smart card designed for Korean businesspeople and tourists coming to western Japan. The new integrated circuit card can be used as both a post-paid transit pass and as a credit card. The card, which is being developed with Seoul-based Lotte Card Co., one of Korea's major credit card companies, will be available in October. Surutto Kansai already offers smart cards (called PiTaPa) along with magnetic pre-paid fare cards. Introduced in Japan in 2004, PiTaPa cards are now used by more than 1.15 million people. The new card will also be called PiTaPa and users of the card will be required to pay a premium of 10,000 won, and the payments using the smart card in Japan will be settled later through cardholders' home bank accounts. Surutto Kansai says it expects 10,000 Koreans to join the PiTaPa card scheme in the first year.

Tectus Announces New HF/LF Handheld
Tectus Transponder Technology, an RFID system components maker headquartered in Moers, Germany, has announced a new handheld computer with a built-in RFID interrogator that can read high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz tags and low-frequency (LF) 125 kHz tags. The multi-frequency device was designed to work in environments where both types of tags are used, such as in industrial environments where HF RFID-enabled staff badges are used for employee identification and access to facilities and systems, and LF transponders are used for asset tracking and supply chain applications. The benefit is that the employees do not have to operate and carry different types of handheld devices, according to Tectus. The new multi-frequency handheld is available with a bar-code scanner and Windows CE-based standard software.

Xterprise Offers RFID-enabled Retail Applications
RFID applications provider Xterprise, headquartered in Carrollton, Texas, has announced a new suite of RFID-enabled applications designed to help retailers more easily track, manage and secure inventory. Built on its existing Clarity service-oriented architecture (SOA), Clarity-ARS (Advanced Retail Solutions) leverages RFID and Microsoft technologies to enable storewide inventory management and integrated security at the individual garment or item level. The Clarity-ARS suites include applications for store-wide and location-specific inventory control of merchandise at the individual garment level; rules-based and directed stocking of inventory on the sales floor; and automated receiving and matching of store receipts to advance shipping notice (ASN) information. The suite is built on a Microsoft platform that features Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2, Microsoft BizTalk RFID and Microsoft SQL Server, and it can scale to manage millions of garments across multiple locations, according to Xterprise. Clarity-ARS can be integrated with existing point-of-sale (POS), back-office and retail enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, the company says.

San Francisco's Urban Tavern Uses RFID for Precise Pours
Urban Tavern, a new restaurant that opened at the Hilton San Francisco, is using an RFID-enabled liquor inventory management system called Beverage Tracker from Capton, a San Francisco-based provider of liquor-monitoring technology. The Beverage Tracker includes RFID-enabled liquor spouts, an RFID interrogator (reader) and software. The spouts contain a battery-powered 418 MHz RFID tag and a measuring device. Whenever a bartender pours a drink, the tipping of the bottle turns on both the tag and the measuring device, allowing the spout to measure the volume of liquor poured (in ounces) before the employee tips the bottle back up. The tag then transmits that information to the interrogator's antenna, attached to the ceiling above the bar. Capton's RFID systems have been deployed in several other restaurants and hotels, including the Harry Denton's Starlight Room, in San Francisco's Sir Francis Drake Hotel (see To Teach Bartenders How to Make Cocktails, Just Add RFID), Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown Lakefront (see RFID News Roundup: Chicago Hotel Keeps Better Bar Tab With RFID), the Treasure Island hotel and casino (see Vegas Hotel-Casino Uses Tags to Keep Tabs on Liquor); the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, in northwest Florida (see RFID News Roundup: Sandestin Putting RFID on Tap); and the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, also in Las Vegas (see As You Like It).
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