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RFID News Roundup

Toshiba TEC's RFID products get EPCglobal certification; TimeLox puts RFID security into Four Seasons Hotel; Florida county library system to tag 1.4 million items; RF Controls releases new smart antennas; ADT Security announces real-time inventory solutions; GuardRFID's active RFID systems work with video; SkyBitz intros tank activity and tire-pressure sensors.
Jul 02, 2009The following are news announcements made during the last week.

Toshiba TEC's RFID Products Get EPCglobal Certification
Toshiba TEC Europe, an independent company of Toshiba Corp., has announced that its ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) Gen 2 RFID modules and auto ID printer hardware have received compliance and interoperability certifications from standards organization EPCglobal for markets in North America, Australia, Japan, China and Europe. The compliance certification indicates the products comply with the EPC Gen 2 standard. According to EPCglobal, the organization's hardware interoperability testing demonstrates the ability of different compliance-certified tags to work with various compliance-certified readers or printer-encoders. The EPCglobal hardware interoperability testing certification applies to Toshiba TEC's UHF Gen 2 readers, as well as the company's B-SA4/SX4, SX5, SX6 and SX8 RFID-ready bar-code label printers.

TimeLox Puts RFID Security into Four Seasons Hotel
The Four Seasons Hotel, in Washington, D.C., has implemented a Zigbee-enabled electronic locking system from TimeLox, to electronically manage, from a central location at its front desk, the locks and security of its 222 guestrooms, as well as meeting, spa, fitness, recreational and dining facilities. TimeLox's DC-One ONLINE is a wireless system that employs RF communication to reprogram individual locks or identify and change low batteries. It also eliminates the need for a guest to return to the front desk to change a room or extend his or her stay. The TimeLox system can communicate with several rooms simultaneously, the company says, thereby reducing the number of network components required for installation. To increase security, the system can automatically send text and e-mail messages to the hotel staff if, for instance, a door has remained open for a specified period of time, or if a conference room needs to be opened for a meeting. "With the online locking solution from TimeLox, we were able to increase employee productivity and, ultimately, our guest's satisfaction, by utilizing this centralized system," said Tony Savage, the hotel's director of engineering, in a prepared statement.

Florida County Library System to Tag 1.4 Million Items
The Lee County Library System of Southwest Florida is implementing an RFID system from 3M Library Systems, which includes RFID tags, self-checkout systems, automated materials-handling systems, handheld digital library assistants, detection systems and conversion systems. Lee County has a collection of 1.4 million items, and an annual circulation of almost 5 million. The installation will include 3M's SelfCheck systems, enabling patrons to check out, return and renew RFID-tagged loaned media. With patrons utilizing the automated checkout and check-in stations, 3M Library Systems reports, the library's staff will be better able to assist visitors with their individual needs. The company has implemented its RFID systems in various other libraries as well, including the San Antonio Public Library (see San Antonio Library School Deploying 3M RFID Tracking System) and the city of Paris, France, which implemented RFID at 42 of its library branches (see Parisian Libraries to Implement RFID).

RF Controls Releases New Smart Antennas
RF Controls, a St. Louis-based RFID company that has developed an RFID system able to pinpoint passive UHF tags in three-dimensional space (see RFID 2.0), has added two new smart antennas, the ITCS-A-102 and ITCS-A-104, to its product portfolio. The new antennas, along with its original A-100 antenna, comply with stringent RF emissions standards imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other regulatory authorities. The A-102 antenna is smaller and lighter than the A-100. The three antennas offer integrators and end-users flexibility for deploying RF Controls' Intelligent Tracking and Control System "in environments where there are challenges to achieving uniform area/volume coverage, caused by building infrastructure elements," says Chris Hook, RF Controls' executive VP for business development. "For example, in a building where there are high bay racks on which tagged inventory is stored, or two sections of the storage facility are separated by cinder block walls that UHF RF will struggle to penetrate, our suite of smart antennas gives the integrator the ability to select the appropriate antennas to achieve optimal coverage, with minimum system complexity."

ADT Security Announces Real-Time Inventory Solutions
ADT Security's Sensormatic division has announced that its real-time solutions suite, designed to help retailers improve inventory management, is now available for the Asian market. The Sensormatic real-time inventory visibility solutions incorporate the TrueVUE RFID software platform and networking products, which Sensormatic acquired last year when it purchased Vue Technology, a firm that makes RFID-enabled item-level tracking systems designed to improve inventory, optimize replenishment, reduce labor costs and boost sales (see Tyco's Sensormatic Division Buys Vue Technology). The products leverage RFID tags and interrogators to help retailers manage inventory to reduce out-of-stocks, improve inventory accuracy, reduce shrinkage and quickly locate items within stores and stockrooms. "Tracking in-store inventories accurately and reducing out-of-stock situations are key challenges to retailers, as these can lead to lost sales and higher operational costs," said Roger Tsang, ADT Security's GM for Hong Kong and Macau, in a prepared statement.

GuardRFID's Active RFID Systems Work With Video
GuardRFID Solutions, a Canadian manufacturer of active RFID products for health-care organizations and other businesses, has announced that its active RFID platform and software applications can integrate closed circuit television (CCTV) in situations when increased security is required. 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 a hospital; SafeGuard, an active RFID-enabled patient-tracking system; and OnGuard, a system designed to help hospitals track assets and equipment using active RFID tags. All three support either Ethernet or Wi-Fi-based 802.11 Local Area Networks, and the tags transmit at 433 MHz. "Security and access-control systems are enhanced by presenting a live video stream from a CCTV camera placed at the location associated with an alarm or warning event within a system, as well as providing video images of activity in that location immediately prior to the event," said Beth Bandi, RFIDGuard's VP of sales, in a prepared statement. "Instantaneous visibility of such activity allows staff to immediately respond to the event, saving precious time." So, for instance, if an infant protected with TotGuard were to be removed from a secured area without authorization, the RFID system would trigger an alarm, and the CCTV camera would document and verify the activity. All alerts and video clips can be sent to remote devices, such as laptops, mobile handheld PCs or smart phones, where they can be viewed to identify the situation in real time. GuardRFID has integrated its products with open-platform IP video management software known as Milestone XProtect, from Milestone. In addition to enabling RFIDGuard's RFID system to leverage IP video, the integration provides time stamps to all video-imaging records so those records can be quickly located when required.

SkyBitz Announces Tank Activity and Tire Pressure Sensors
SkyBitz, a provider of satellite-based asset-tracking and information-management services, is now offering two new sensors: Tank Activity and Tire Pressure. The Tank Activity sensor provides information regarding the content status of tank-based assets, by indicating whether a valve has been opened to release gas, petroleum or chemicals. Designed for the chemical and oil and gas transportation services, the sensor tracks and records events, and detects potential theft or unauthorized discharge of a product. The Tire Pressure sensor provides on-tire pressure identification. The sensor can be mounted on the wheel end and continually monitor tire pressure to detect under-inflated tires. Information from both sensors is delivered to SkyBitz's InSight Web Application, a Web-based monitoring and information management tool, via satellite.
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