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RFID News Roundup

NFC Forum teams with Integri to develop test tools; Metalcraft unveils destructible RFID windshield tag; TagMaster intros cloning functionality for easier reader installations; Sirit announces new AVI reader, renews contract with California toll authority; Fujitsu unveils UHF tags for roll cages, document management; Australia's Riverina Regional Library adopts RFID.
Sep 17, 2009The following are news announcements made during the last week.

NFC Forum Teams With Integri to Develop Test Tools
The NFC Forum, an association promoting the adoption of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, and Integri, a provider of products for testing payment, e-ticketing and mobile applications, will collaborate in the development of test tools that can be used to determine if devices conform to certain NFC specifications. Additionally, Integri reports, the NFC Forum is providing financial assistance for validation of the test tools by a qualified third-party test laboratory. Under the scope of the collaboration agreement, Integri and NFC Forum will develop the necessary tools for testing NFC implementations at the communication and timing levels (digital layers). Integri is developing three different tools to enable manufacturers to validate their NFC devices against the NFC Forum's test specifications. The three test tools implement test cases as currently defined in the NFC Forum Test Specifications. Each tool is dedicated to one of the three modes as defined in these test specifications, explains Steve Lacourt, who is responsible for Integri's marketing communications. All technologies defined in the NFC Test Specifications will be supported, he says: NFC-A, -B and -F, as well as Tag Types 1, 2, 3 and 4A and B. The first test solution, known as Listen Mode, will be launched at the end of this month. This test tool, Lacourt says, allows the testing of an NFC tag or an NFC device that can function like a tag (such as an NFC module built into a mobile phone) in listening mode, which implies that the NFC tag waits for a counterpart to begin the communication, and is comparable to more classical contactless cards. The Poll Mode solution, expected to be launched by the end of 2009, enables the testing of NFC readers/terminals in polling mode. In this mode, Lacourt indicates, the NFC reader will be the initiator of the communication, comparable to a contactless terminal. Finally, a Peer-to-Peer Mode solution, slated for a March 2010 launch, enables an NFC device being tested to switch from poll mode to listen mode. The test tool contains the logic to induce this switching and provoke the scenarios defined in the NFC Forum test specifications, he notes, thus verifying the unit's behavior during testing. The announcement "represents another key milestone on the path to global interoperability of NFC solutions," said Paula Berger, NFC Forum's executive director, in a prepared statement. "We are pleased to work with Integri in developing test tools that ensure NFC solutions comply with Forum specifications."

Metalcraft Unveils Destructible RFID Windshield Tag
Metalcraft, a converter of long-life, reusable radio frequency identification labels and tags, has announced a new, destructible version of its RFID Windshield Tag. The Destructible RFID Windshield Tag is engineered to be durable, but any attempt to remove an applied tag will render it unusable. The destructible version is available at the same price (starting at $2.25 per tag when purchased in volumes of 500 or more) as Metalcraft's standard RFID Windshield Tag, announced by the company in 2007 (see Metalcraft Introduces RFID Windshield Tag). The standard RFID Windshield Tag is a 4-inch by 1-inch adhesive label that can be placed on the interior or exterior of automobile glass. The label provides a read range of more than 18 feet, using a passive EPC Gen 2 UHF inlay from KSW Microtec, and does not require a foam standoff like other windshield tag designs. The destructible version adds slits along the label's perimeter, causing the inlay to break apart if someone tries to remove it from a windshield. According to Metalcraft, the label's construction encapsulates the inlay between thin layers of polypropylene, adding a bar code and human-readable information to one side and a windshield-compatible adhesive to the other. This encapsulation, the company reports, protects the inlay and reduces the effects of electrostatic discharge (ESD), while the windshield-compatible adhesive protects against harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

TagMaster Intros Cloning Functionality for Easier Reader Installations
TagMaster, a Swedish manufacturer of RFID solutions for rail and transportation applications, has launched a new release of its reader system software. The reader System Software release (SSW) 1.6.1, known as Ease of Use—Cloning, is designed to help reduce the costs associated with automatic vehicle identification (AVI) installations. The release supports volume installation of readers via a method TagMaster refers to as cloning. According to the company, cloning will assist solutions providers and systems integrators in the configuration of new interrogators by automatically duplicating a configuration to the next reader using a USB stick attached to the device. The cloning functionality generates a configuration script that is downloaded to a USB stick attached to the interrogator. This script can then be utilized to configure the next reader automatically, TagMaster reports, reusing the settings and making it easier to configure a number of readers. The functionality also enables the storing of previously made configurations for use in future reader set-ups.

Sirit Announces New AVI Reader, Renews Contract With California Toll Authority
Canadian firm Sirit, a manufacturer of RFID interrogators and tags, has added a ruggedized, multi-protocol RFID reader to its IDentity series of fixed-position UHF RFID readers. The IDentity 5200, or ID5200, is designed for various automatic vehicle identification (AVI) applications, including electronic tolling, traffic management and electronic vehicle registration. It can be deployed across various points and positions throughout, and can accommodate two lanes simultaneously while providing for multi-protocol operations. The ID5200 supports the ISO 18000-6C, ISO18000-6B and ISO 10374 standards, as well as the iPx (Supertag), T21 and EASAlarm protocols. Additional protocols may be supported through firmware updates, according to the company. The new interrogator can operate in the 860-960 MHz UHF frequency ranges, and is available for order now, with delivery expected in the fourth quarter of 2009. In other news, Sirit has announced it has been awarded a 15-month renewal contract for toll transponders worth $6.6 million, from California's Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA). The order includes two options to purchase up to $1.7 million in additional toll transponders. According to Sirit, BATA expects to begin distribution of transponders under this order in late October 2009.

Fujitsu Unveils UHF Tags for Roll Cages, Document Management
Fujitsu and Fujitsu Frontech have developed an ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) passive RFID tag that the companies say will help shipping and other product-handling businesses track metal roll containers and improve their logistics operations. A roll container is a type of hand carriage used for temporary storage, as well as for transporting merchandise to loading zones. The frame is constructed from steel mesh or tubular steel, with wheels attached to its basket-shaped container. The tags, developed with the help of logistics equipment rental company Nikken Lease Kogyo Ltd., were designed for easy attachment, and so that multiple tags can be read simultaneously even when roll cages are stacked, regardless of whether the tags are aligned horizontally or vertically. The tags support the ISO 18000-6C (EPC Gen 2) specification, and measure 109 millimeters by 55 millimeters by 18 millimeters (43 inches by 2.2 inches by 0.7 inch). Each tag weighs approximately 25 grams (0.9 ounce) and has a transmission range of about approximately 2.5 meters (8.2 feet), using a 4-watt EIRP circularly polarized antenna. Nikken Lease Kogyo intends to apply the tags to rental roll containers in order to provide increased efficiency in its customers' logistics operations. In addition to the roll container tags, Fujitsu and Fujitsu Frontech have announced the availability of UHF RFID tags for the management of paper documents, contracts and mail. According to the companies, the tags can be read even when spaced only 2 millimeters (0.1 inch) apart in a stack of documents. The document-management tags comply with the ISO 18000-6C (EPC Gen 2) specification. Sales of the new tags begin at the end of the month, but for now are available only in Japan.

Australia's Riverina Regional Library Adopts RFID
The Riverina Regional Library (RRL), located in New South Wales, Australia, is leveraging an RFID-enabled system to improve library efficiencies and customer service, and is outsourcing the entire process of ordering, cataloguing, RFID-tagging and bar-coding its collection, available to approximately 107,000 constituents across nine local government areas. The implementation employs UPM Raflatac 13.56 MHz RFID tags compliant with the ISO 15693 and 18000-3 specifications, and the Smart Library RFID system, developed by FE Technologies, based in Victoria, Australia, which will manage the implementation. In addition to the tags, the Smart Library RFID system also includes self-checkout stations, mobile tag encoders, security gates and portable scanning units. The regional library first implemented the system at its Wagga Wagga City Library branch, which serves 57 percent of its constituency, and is now expanding it to 10 additional branches.
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