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RFID World 2007 Announcement Wrap-Up

The RFID World exhibition and conference was held this week in Dallas, and the RFID Update team was on site to cover this leading industry event. Today's dispatch focuses on the announcements that were made at the show.
Mar 29, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

March 29, 2007—The latest RFID World exhibition and conference, held this week in Dallas, was a launching pad for many new RFID products and software applications. A number of the new releases were enhancements or product line extensions, rather than major innovations. The iterative product development trend could be taken as a sign the technology is maturing. Indeed, exhibitors spoke more of actual applications and end-user customers, particularly for asset management applications, than at events in years past, when major product introductions outnumbered user references.

OATSystems had both product and customer announcements. The company introduced its Real-Time Promotion Execution Solution, which tracks promotional displays and can issue alerts to consumer goods manufacturers and retailers if displays aren't moved to the retail store floor according to promotion plans. The company separately announced that hygiene products manufacturer Kimberly-Clark is trialing the system with multiple retail partners.

The solution includes a mobile RFID smart label encoder from ADASA, which was one of the more innovative products introduced at the show. The new product earned ADASA the Excellence in RFID Technology award presented during the keynote address on Tuesday (see Awards Honor RFID Innovators). ADASA's handheld encoder was one of few non-traditional products introduced at the show.

Semiconductor and RFID chip and reader manufacturer Impinj announced that it will work with METRO Group to develop a comprehensive Gen2 item-level tagging solution for the giant German retailer's high-value garments and accessories. "We anticipate a significant return on investment for tagging high-value garments," said Dr. Gerd Wolfram, the managing director of MGI METRO Group Information Technology.

RFID hardware manufacturer Alien Technology made a handful of announcements. The company is offering its LoadImage tag programming technology to all vendors of Gen2 reader technology. According to the company, LoadImage allows Alien Gen2 tags to be encoded and locked in 23 milliseconds, which represents a 10x improvement over prevailing Gen2 tag programming rates. The company's RFID Solution Center in Dayton, Ohio, has been awarded the Performance Test Center Accreditation by EPCglobal. The center now also offers EPCglobal-certified Applied Tag Performance Testing to help companies ensure the readability of their EPC/RFID-tagged goods as they move through the supply chain. Lastly, Alien announced support for IBM's newly launched WebSphere RFID Premises Server.

According to IBM, 6.0 of the Premises Server aggregates and analyzes massive amounts of RFID and other sensor information from every corner of an enterprise.

Store Kraft, which makes retail display cabinets, introduced a "smart cabinet" from its 5Stat division that integrates high frequency RFID technology from Texas Instruments and GlobeRanger's edgeware platform to provide inventory visibility for items on display, like jewelry. Several retailers are piloting the project, according to the companies. Read the announcement.

Most of the announced product and technology developments centered on readers and software.
  • Industrial Portals showed its recently announced MOD2 line of reader portals with multiple I/O ports to interface with light stacks, motion sensors, and other devices, as well as improved compatibility with any brand of RFID equipment.
  • Intel showed the R1000 Gen2 reader chip it announced earlier in the month (see Intel Announces Gen2 Reader Chip). The R1000 combines all the components and functions needed for RFID reader functionality onto a single chip, which provides size and production cost advantages. The R1000 is built into ThingMagic's new Mercury 53 embedded reader, which was announced at the show.
  • Intermec showed its latest RFID reading system for mounting on forklifts and other industrial vehicles, the IV7C, which the company announced the previous week. The IV7C includes a reader, ruggedized wireless computer, plus antennas and an adaptable load backrest.
  • RF SAW featured a new mobile system in use at NASA to read RF SAW's passive 2.45 GHz tags for long-range (up to 30 meters) asset tracking and inventory control.
  • Transpond Global Solutions' new IntelliAntenna uses an Ethernet connection to transfer tag read processing responsibility to a backend application server. The company positions the product as a "thin," lower-cost alternative to traditional fixed-position readers.
  • Unitech introduced a handheld and a fixed position reader. The RH767 is a IP54-rated ruggedized handheld computer with integrated RFID reading capability. The RS600 Fixed Reader operates in the 902-928 MHz frequency band, is ISO 18000-6B and EPCglobal Gen2 compliant, and provides multiple input/output ports.
  • Wireless Dynamics has built an RFID reader in an SD card form factor. The newly announced SDiD 1210 can be inserted in the SD card slot of a smart phone or other device to provide low frequency RFID reading capability.
New software releases centered on asset management.
  • Fluensee combined its AssetTrack Express software, a handheld reader, and 250 passive tags into a sub-$10,000 RFID starter kit announced at the show.
  • SenseIQ announced an upgrade to its InSight Platform to provide asset visibility from the shop floor to the supply chain.
  • Systems Concepts and Motorola's Enterprise Mobility Business (formerly Symbol Technologies) demonstrated how the former's Traxware software can work with the latter's mobile and fixed-position RFID readers for closed-loop asset tracking applications.
  • CYBRA announced its new EdgeMagic software for managing edge devices, reading RFID tags, and integrating data into enterprise applications on the IBM iSeries and AS/400 platforms.
There was relatively little news about chips and inlays. Avery Dennison introduced its AD-222 Gen2 inlay, but made bigger news with its purchase of Paxar (see Avery Dennison to Acquire Paxar for $1.3b). Checkpoint Systems announced three new Gen2 tag designs.

Texas Instruments helped develop two of the antenna designs for the new Checkpoint tags. TI also announced that ten inlay manufacturers, including Checkpoint, have chosen the company's RFID chips (both HF and Gen2 UHF) for their tags and labels.
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