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RFID Weekly News Roundup -- September 3, 2009

Investment to develop RFID tags to secure pharmaceuticals plus RTLS contract agreements by a major hospital supplier highlight this week's RFID news, which also includes several NFC developments.
Sep 03, 2009This article was originally published by RFID Update.

September 3, 2009—RTLS in the healthcare industry and new developments in near field communication (NFC) technology highlight this week's RFID news. The roundup also includes coverage of a government investment that could spur pharmaceutical adoption, new RFID and RTLS implementations around the world, and several product launches.
  • The US National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a $500,000 grant to develop a secure passive UHF chip for authenticating pharmaceutical products in the supply chain. A key requirement and innovation is that cryptography must run on the chip itself, according to SecureRF, an RFID security specialist that announced it won the NSF grant.
     
  • AeroScout announced it was selected as the exclusive Wi-Fi RFID provider for Premier Purchasing Partners. Under the three-year contract, AeroScout is the preferred RFID asset tracking and management solution provider for the 2,200 US hospitals and 63,000 healthcare sites that belong to the Premier healthcare alliance. Premier also contracted this week to offer RTLS solutions from Skytron, which use ZigBee-standard wireless technology developed by Awarepoint. See the announcement.
     
  • RFID tag producer UPM Raflatac and Nordic printing service company Hansaprint launched a service that allows customers to design and order print products with integrated NFC tags. The new TagAge portal lets customers design labels, stickers, patches and other products, which can include an NFC tag plus bar codes, graphics, variable text and other custom input. "We believe we're able to offer a unique proposition to the NFC market. In the emerging market, most customers require low volumes of customized products, and we believe our offering fits nicely with their needs," said Jukka Saariluoma, Hansaprint's development director.
     
  • The value of mobile payments transacted with near field communication (NFC) technology will grow from $8 billion this year to $30 billion in 2012, according to a forecast released this week by Juniper Research, a UK market research company. "Many people focus on the use of NFC for payments but in fact it is poised to revolutionize the way many people shop too. The ability to tap smart posters and receive coupons and product information also presents new channels to market for merchants," said report author Howard Wilcox. "Whilst vendors see widespread availability of NFC phones in the future, the jury is out as whether interim solutions will attract users or actually have a detrimental effect."
     
  • Mobey Forum, a financial industry association that facilitates mobile payment systems, and NFC Forum, the near field communication industry association, announced they will formally work together to create standards for secure, interoperable mobile financial transactions.
     
  • Market research firm Frost & Sullivan is predicting growing use of airline baggage tracking systems will lead to more than a six-fold increase in RFID sales to the aviation industry in the Asia-Pacific region. The firm released forecasts that showed the industry spent $27.3 million on RFID systems in 2008, but will spend $188.3 million in 2015.
     
  • RTLS provider Radianse formed a strategic partnership with Hill-Rom, a leading hospital and medical products provider, to integrate location-sensing technology into Hill-Rom's Nurse Call system. According to the announcement the integrated system can be used to track personnel, patients and assets.
     
  • IBM and Implanet, an implantable medical device manufacturer, have jointly developed an RFID-based system to validate surgical implants prior to surgery and update patient and hospital records systems to provide lifetime traceability. RFID tags are applied to product packaging and are not surgically implanted, but instead given to patients to keep with their medical records. See the announcement for more details.
     
  • Toronto-based RFID manufacturer Sirit is providing an electronic toll collection system for the AUSA highway system in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Sirit announced 90 of its IDentity readers will be used to cover approximately 58 kilometers on six highways and roadways.
     
  • Ubisense, an ultra-wideband (UWB) RTLS technology developer headquartered in the UK, announced its products are now compliant for use in Korea. The company also said POSCO, the world's fourth-largest steel producer, has implemented a UWB RTLS system at its plant in Pohang, South Korea.
     
  • Penang Public Library in Malaysia has deployed RFID to become fully automated. It is the first such deployment in Malaysia to use the Gen2 flavor of RFID. UPM Raflatac supplied tags for the system, while local integrator SMARTAG Solutions performed the installation. The announcement from Raflatac has more details.
     
  • Academia RFID, an RFID training, consulting, research and development firm, announced two new online courses devoted to EPC standards: EPCglobal Data Capture Software Standards and EPC Information Services (EPCIS) for RFID Visibility Data.
     
  • RF Code has integrated a liquid sensor with its RFID asset management tags. The new product is included in an evaluation kit the company introduced this week. RF Code has also recently received $6 million in funding, according to this report.
     
  • Convergence Systems Ltd. (CSL) of Hong Kong introduced an integrated fixed-position UHF reader with antenna for outdoor or indoor use. The new CS203 has an IP68 environmental resistance rating, passed MIL-STD 810 testing, has Power over Ethernet and sells for a suggested retail price of $700.
     
  • Dutch RFID manufacturer SMARTRAC introduced its SmartFlexibleTag, a passive UHF transponder developed for laundry applications.
     
  • RFID reader manufacturer ThingMagic announced a new application programming interface (API) for all its Gen2 readers, both embedded and fixed models. The company believes the new API will enable faster development.
     
  • RFID TagSource, a Camden, New Jersey company that provides RFID asset management solutions, announced a new alliance program for complementary technology and solution providers.
     
  • Security technology developer Verayo has teamed with auto-ID solutions provider Bartronics of India to offer its unclonable RFID chip in the Indian market. Bartronics will incorporate the technology into anti-counterfeiting, ticketing, access card, and identification applications for the Indian market. See more details in the announcement.
     
  • Brooks Automation has upgraded the components in its 13.56 MHz technology demonstration kit. The German company announced its demo kit now includes a more powerful reader with range up to 50 centimeters, four different antennas and nine transponders.
     
  • Former Motorola CEO and Sun Microsystems executive Ed Zander joined RTLS provider Awarepoint's board of directors, the San Diego company announced. Awarepoint also announced Dr. Dennis O'Leary, former president of the Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies hospitals in the US, joined the company as chief strategy officer.
     
  • Vuance, which provides active RFID-based security and identification systems, announced a second-quarter loss of $267,000 on revenues of $3.7 million.
Recent RFID Update coverage includes:
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