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Axcess Unveils Sensing Appliance

New, wallet-sized RFID transmitter works with a variety of sensors to broadcast alerts over any landline or wireless system.
Aug 19, 2002August 19, 2002 -- Axcess Inc. (NASDAQ: AXSI), a Dallas, Texas, company that offers security and asset tracking systems, has unveiled a new, wallet-sized RFID transmitter that works with a variety of sensors to broadcast alerts over any landline or wireless system. The device is designed to help companies build a low-cost, early warning system.

The Axcess Universal Sensing Appliance is an active (battery-powered) RFID tag with IO (input-output) connections. Companies can take an off-the-shelf sensor and wire it to a dry contact on the tag, or the sensor can be embedded in the tag. The transmitter can send raw information, such as the current temperature, or it can be programmed with minimum and maximum thresholds.

The information is picked up by an Axcess reader and sent to a PC running Axcess's Onlinesupervisor software. Each user can customize the software to filter the data and provide alerts based on a set of rules. The system can send e-mail alerts to the appropriate individuals or authorities.

Axcess recently introduced a sensor that can detect the unauthorized movement of assets. The company aims to build on its current RFID infrastructure to reach new markets.

"We are currently testing potential bio- and chemical-terrorism sensors," says Axcess CEO Allan Griebenow. "We believe they also play well in safety and manufacturing environment."

The Universal Sensing Appliance costs about $20. Griebenow says simple sensors could cost as little as $1. More complex sensors could cost upwards of $100. A radiation sensor that could detect a possible "dirty bomb" attack -- in which conventional explosives are used to spread radiation -- costs about $150, he says. The base price for Axcess's control software is around $10,000.

Griebenow says the new tag and Axcess's infrastructure will appeal to companies looking to beef up security for homeland defense. But he says he is also targeting the occupational safety market. Axcess tracks personnel through badges, so the system can detect not only a dangerously high level of a certain chemical, but also who may have been exposed to it.

"The Department of Energy has been concerned for a long time not just about tracking radiation leaks, but also knowing where and when they occurred and how many people were exposed," he says. "Our system provides a cost-effective way to capture that information."
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