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RFID News Roundup

NXP joins RFID/NFC carbon emissions tracking program; Spartanics lab offers laser die-cutting services to tag and label makers; IDTronic intros UHF RFID and Bluetooth mobile reader; Cybra sees 30-40 percent revenue growth in 2010 as RFID market strengthens; LaserCard supplies next-generation green cards with RFID to U.S. DHS; Carl's Jr. hamburger franchise and Tetherball roll out RFID rewards program.
May 27, 2010The following are news announcements made during the past week.

NXP Joins RFID/NFC Carbon Emissions Tracking Program
NXP has joined the European Supply Chain Institute's (ESCI) Supply Chain Carbon Council. The council is focused on how radio frequency identification and Electronic Product Code (EPC) technologies, as well as supporting data-management technologies, can be used to help companies track and manage carbon emissions throughout their supply chains (see RFID News Roundup: ESCI Supply Chain Carbon Council Promotes RFID). NXP is joining the council as a lead sponsor of its multi-year program, and reports that it will share with the council its RFID systems expertise, in an effort to improve the visibility of product emissions in supply chains. "NXP has joined the Supply Chain Carbon Council due to the unique benefit and value our RFID chips play in making the supply and use of goods more efficient with a smaller carbon footprint," says Tim Newsom, the sales and marketing director of tags and labels for NXP's identification business line. Newsom says his company believes RFID provides valuable intelligence in the effort to make consumer goods greener. "NXP will support companies who desire to decrease their carbon footprint and increase their supply chain visibility and consumer value," he states.

Spartanics Lab Offers Laser Die-Cutting Services to Tag and Label Makers
Rolling Meadows, Ill.-based Spartanics, a manufacturer of laser die-cutting systems, steel rule die-cutting systems, screen printing lines, automated counters and other equipment, has opened its Spartanics Laser Cutting Applications Laboratory for Materials Research. The lab is offering its services to RFID tag and label makers that want to use rapidly advancing laser die-cutting technology for cutting flat stock materials with inlaid RFID components. Engineers at the lab can determine if the materials that manufacturers plan to use can be handled by modern laser die cutters. Spartanics' laser die-cutting applications engineers have extensively tested laser die-cutters with varying laser strengths and software configurations, the company reports, with a wide range of materials, including plastic films, polyesters, polycarbonates, foams, textiles, paper, adhesive tapes, non-woven materials, wood, laminates, pressure-sensitive substrates, magnetic materials, polypropylene, abrasives and rubber. Spartanics says it formally opened the lab to establish a knowledge base for cross-industry access, and that it is a natural outgrowth of the ongoing research and development investments the firm has been making to advance laser die-cutting technology. In the future, the lab plans to publish the studies, as well as partner with major materials suppliers around the world. "The explosion in new materials with different properties—tensile strengths, toughness, resilience, etc.—has been especially pronounced in the last decade," said Paul Dirienzo, Spartanics' director of engineering, in a prepared statement. "During this same time period, laser die-cutting technology, largely due to more sophisticated software engineering, continues to evolve at such a rapid pace that the conclusions one might make today about whether a certain plastic, non-woven, or even nanomaterial can be adequately handled by digital die-cutting is likely not going to be the same in just a few years." The lab provides no-cost detailed engineering analysis of maximum material thicknesses that can be handled with these different substrates, including brand-name materials, correlated to laser power and other variables.

IDTronic Intros UHF RFID and Bluetooth Mobile Reader
IDTronic, an RFID hardware provider based in Germany, has introduced a new mobile ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID interrogator with Bluetooth connectivity. The Mobile Bluetooth Reader I-Poll UHF operates in the 860 to 960 MHz range and supports the ISO 18000-6C and EPC Gen 2 standards. The interrogator has an integrated antenna reading distance of up to 1.5 meters (4.9 feet). I-Poll also has an integrated USB and Bluetooth interface for connecting to PCs or PDAs. According to IDTronic, the interrogator features anti-collision capabilities so it can read dozens of tags simultaneously, making it well-suited for warehouse and supermarket applications. I-Poll's user interface consists of two scan buttons, one buzzer and two colored LEDs.

Cybra Expects 30 to 40 Percent Revenue Growth in 2010 as RFID Market Strengthens
Cybra, a software developer and systems integrator specializing in bar-code, RFID, forms and Web-based solutions, says it expects significant growth in its principal RFID end markets through 2011. The company's RFID software solutions are specifically designed to leverage IBM's Power Systems platform. The anticipated growth in key RFID markets, such as apparel and distribution, are expected to more than double Cybra's RFID product and services revenues in 2010, the company reports. This growth, coupled with increased customer interest in Cybra's traditional auto-ID products, should lead to overall revenue improvement by as much as 40 percent year over year, the company indicates. According to the company, a number of active deals are in the firm's pipeline, and are expected to be announced shortly. Cybra's own RFID growth experience is echoed in a new report by global market research firm RNCOS. In the report, entitled "Global RFID Market Analysis till 2010," RNCOS estimated the global RFID market is projected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of more than 28 percent between 2010 and 2013, and generate $10.7 billion in revenue by 2013. According to Cybra, the firm expects RFID projects to add between 25 percent and 30 percent revenue growth in 2010 and 2011. Recent new customers include Elite Medical Supply, near Buffalo, N.Y., which is using Cybra's EdgeMagic RFID software to track its inventory to meet Medicare and Medicaid mandates designed to reduce fraud, and Blue and White Foods, which will utilize the software to reduce errors through improved inventory management in multiple warehouse locations, as well as on direct-to-store delivery trucks. EdgeMagic is an integrated RFID control solution designed to help organizations build any type of RFID system, from complying with the full range of RFID mandates to closed-loop asset-management RFID applications.

LaserCard Supplies Next-Generation Green Cards With RFID to U.S. DHS
LaserCard, a provider of secure ID solutions, has introduced a next-generation U.S. Permanent Resident Card (also known as a green card) featuring advanced optical security media and an EPC Gen 2 passive RFID tag. The company says it is not at liberty to disclose the manufacturer of the RFID tag or the tag model. LaserCard's green card complies with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), a directive on land-border crossings that facilitates legitimate travel and trade at U.S. land borders. Mailing of the new card by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to legal permanent residents began on May 10 of this year. The green card is issued to lawful permanent residents as evidence of their authorization to live and work in the United States. LaserCard has been shipping quantities of the new card to the DHS for several months under a previously announced contract, the company reports, and has supplied the U.S. government's optical security media-based green cards since 1997. The new card exploits LaserCard's enhanced visual and forensic security features, and includes an RFID tag to provide compliance with the WHTI program. According to LaserCard, the new green card is the first implementation of optical security media and RFID on a single card platform. "We worked closely with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to develop the most physically secure and counterfeit-resistant identification credentials available today," said Bob DeVincenzi, LaserCard's president and CEO, in a prepared statement. "This new version with enhanced visual and physical security puts a credible copy even further out of the reach of counterfeiters."

Carl's Jr. Hamburger Franchise and Tetherball Roll Out RFID Rewards Program
Hamburger chain Carl's Jr. is launching an RFID-based mobile loyalty program at restaurants in Oklahoma and Texas that leverage the Mobiquitous platform from application service provider Tetherball. The solution employs high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz RFID tags complying with the ISO 14443 standard; the tags, supplied by ViVOtech, are provided to customers as part of a Carl's Jr. loyalty program, and customers affix them to their mobile phones. Each tag uniquely identifies a customer via Tetherball's software. Carl's Jr. is able to send offers to its patrons via standard text messaging, and the offers can be redeemed electronically when the phone's Tetherball RFID tag is read by existing in-store contactless point-of-sale (POS) terminals, provided by ViVOtech. The Carl's Jr. Mobile Rewards program is up and running at 37 Oklahoma locations and two northern Texas locations, Tetherball reports, and has seen redemption rates as high as 39 percent. Customers opting into the program receive, on average, one text coupon offer per week. Carl's Jr. can also track the program's success, Tetherball adds, since each coupon offer has a special promotional code enabling stores to track redemptions via their POS systems. "This new medium allows us to reach a broad range of customers well beyond our loyal base of core 'young hungry-guy' customers," said Troy Beats, VP of marketing and operations for Star Chasers Oklahoma Inc., a franchisee of 39 Carl's Jr. locations, in a prepared statement. "Most people today, young and old, are using their mobile phones for just about everything, especially when they are out and about and thinking of where to eat." Other companies using Tetherball's Mobiquitous platform include Dairy Queen (see Dairy Queen Serves Up Personal Discounts With RFID).
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