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RFID Weekly News Roundup -- July 24, 2009

Politics, patents, market projections and new products feature prominently in this week's roundup of RFID industry news.
Jul 24, 2009This article was originally published by RFID Update.

July 24, 2009—A governor is calling attention to RFID, perhaps to divert attention from his own troubles. That's just one of the attention-getting developments in RFID from the past week, which also include a report on a major pharmaceutical trial, a new set of market forecasts, progress on patent disputes, RFID-related job training investments and more as highlighted in this week's news roundup.
  • South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who earlier this summer made headlines by giving his security detail the slip, flying to South America to see his mistress and claiming he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail the whole time, has -- surprise -- come out in opposition to RFID-enabled documents that are intended to strengthen security and accurately identify people attempting to enter the US. Columbia, South Carolina TV station WJBF reports that Sanford this week warned federal lawmakers about negative implications of the REAL ID Act, which includes provisions encouraging states to issue RFID-enabled drivers' licenses. Sanford expressed privacy concerns related to RFID identification cards.
  • The European Union published a report on its BRIDGE pilot project that is testing RFID and complementary technologies in the pharmaceutical supply chain. The report concludes that full, cross-border supply chain tracking with RFID is feasible within the EU and provides recommendations for pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, transporters, wholesalers and pharmacies. The full report is available free at www.bridgewp6.eu and www.bridge-project.eu. For background on the BRIDGE project see Europe Launches Initiative to Drive RFID Adoption.
  • Middleware was the fastest-growing segment of the RFID market in 2008, according to a brief released this week by VDC Research. The Boston market research and consulting firm said RFID middleware sales growth approached 70 percent last year, and will experience more than 60 percent compound annual growth for the next five years.
  • CEITEC, a Brazilian developer of application specific integrated circuits (ASICs), announced it opened a design center staffed with 60 engineers in Porto Alegre that will be used to design RFID, wireless and digital media chips. CEITEC said the facility is the first IC design center in Latin America and was built with a $210 million investment from the Brazilian government made to develop Brazil's microelectronics industry. CEITEC is also building a factory next to the facility to manufacture the chips designed there.
  • Alien Technology announced that the patent infringement claims brought against it by Avery Dennison were dismissed and litigation was stayed by a federal district court. The disputed patents related to RFID production processes.
  • A new report from RNCOS said the global RFID market will experience 28 percent compound annual growth between 2010 and 2013, with China, India, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand among the highest-growth markets. RNCOS, a global research firm headquartered in India, said the RFID market would grow in 2009 but at about one third the rate of recent years.
  • Two Michigan community colleges have teamed with RFID solution providers and won federal grant money to create RFID labs and student training programs. Dynamic Computer, an RFID integrator in Michigan, and Stratum Global, a Chicago-based RFID software developer, are creating RFID labs at St. Clair County Community College and Mott Community College. The colleges are using job training grant money from the U.S. Department of Labor to create the RFID labs and curriculum to teach students about RFID and prepare them for RFID certification tests offered by CompTIA. See the announcement for more details.
  • Solicore, a Lakeland, Florida company that develops flexible batteries for use with RFID tags, ID cards and medical devices, announced it received a $5 million strategic investment from Rogers Corp., a specialty materials firm in Rogers, Connecticut. With the Rogers investment Solicore has raised $13.3 million in its current round of financing. Rogers gains manufacturing rights to Solicore technology and an equity position in the company.
  • TOP Food & Drug is taking the RFID-enabled customer loyalty program that RFID Update previously reported on (see Grocer Uses RFID to Increase Customer Loyalty) from a pilot program to a production system that will be in place at all 18 of its stores. Accelitec, which developed the RFID loyalty card solution for TOP Food & Drug, issued an announcement about the program expansion.
  • VUANCE, a developer of RFID-based security and verification systems headquartered in Franklin, Wisconsin, announced it won a $5 million contract to provide access control and monitoring systems for Allens, a vegetable packer headquartered in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. During the five-year contract VUANCE and systems integrator Orion Systems will implement systems at up to 20 facilities.
  • Aurora Health Care will implement an RTLS system from Patient Care Technology Systems (PCTS) to manage 3,100 assets at its St. Luke's Medical Center campus in Milwaukee. The system will use ZigBee-standard RTLS technology provided by Awarepoint, according to the PCTS announcement.
  • RF Technologies of Brookfield, Wisconsin, announced it earned Premier Certification status from Cisco. RF Technologies provides RTLS systems that use Cisco WiFi networks.
  • ThingMagic introduced its Vega RFID reader and development kit. The Vega reader was developed for use in trucks, vans and other vehicles and includes interfaces to connect with in-dash PCs, on-board laptops, GPRS modems and telematics platforms. ThingMagic provides the RFID readers Ford integrates with select vehicles as part of an RFID-enabled tool tracking system (see Ford Builds RFID into Pickups and Vans to Track Cargo).
  • FileTrail, a records management software company in San Jose, California, introduced RFID Toolkit, which customers can use to add RFID tracking capabilities to their file management systems.
  • RFID is part of the newest exhibit at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. A recent $50 million renovation included installation of interactive kiosks with moveable claws that children use to pick up shells and other items. The claw has an RFID reader that recognizes tagged items when they are picked up, which cues a screen to display information about the item. More details are available here.
  • Visonic Technologies introduced its new High-Definition IR Reader, which improves the accuracy of its RTLS system to the sub-room level.
  • RF Code announced a new version of its Asset Manager software that uses input from active RFID tags and sensors to track and manage assets. New features include more user configuration options, enhanced remote management capabilities, and map views that show asset locations.
  • The N310 handheld reader introduced this week by Vancouver-based NephSystem has a Bluetooth interface for integration with handheld computers and other devices.
  • CareFusion has integrated RFID capability into its Pyxis ProcedureStation that it markets to hospitals to manage supplies. The company announced the embedded RFID capability will enable automated dispensing and improved inventory management. CareFusion is in the process of becoming a public company and is a subsidiary of healthcare distribution giant Cardinal Health.
  • Previously this week RFID Update covered the monthly report on RFID activity by financial management firm Robert W. Baird & Co., which found increasing market confidence among resellers and summarizes recent security-oriented developments (see Highlights from Baird's RFID Monthly for July).
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