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RFID News Roundup

RFideaWorks unveils updated middleware with new pricing; new industry group formed to spur MIFARE4Mobile services; Smartrac launches gamma radiation-proof RFID tags; German apparel maker, RFID vendors offer RFID-enabled inventory solution; Savi's SmartChain CMA solution gets SAP certification; Psion Teklogix unveils new channel strategy.
Jul 08, 2010The following are news announcements made during the past week.

RFideaWorks Unveils Updated Middleware With New Pricing
RFideaWorks, a privately held company headquartered in Longwood, Fla., has unveiled a new version of its middleware solution that handles data not just from active and passive RFID systems, but also from other automatic-identification technologies, such as contact memory buttons, sensors, actuators, biometrics and GPS. The middleware solution, known as RFIdirector, features a newly patented architecture designed to expand the functionality and capability of an RFID or auto-ID system. The middleware is standards-agnostic and supports Electronic Product Code (EPC) and other commercial and military coding schemes. The middleware also offers out-of-the-box support for most popular fixed RFID readers, the company says. Additionally, the solution supports a heterogeneous data environment, in that information may be normalized to permit customer applications to view all inputs as though the data streams were operating in the same environment (the so-called "data fusion" capability). The middleware is available now; a one-year annual subscription license costs $495 (renewal rates are the same price). A subscription includes free support and upgrades. The company also offers a perpetual, or "regular," license for $995, which includes free support and upgrades as well. A 10-PC enterprise license is available for $7,995. A 30-day trial, consisting of fully functional software, is available now as an instant download, with no registration required. RFideaWorks first launched its RFIdirector middleware in 2004 (see Striving for Total Interoperability), charging $9,995 per server for use of its technology.

New Industry Group Formed to Spur MIFARE4Mobile Services
Seven vendors in the Near Field Communication (NFC) market have joined forces to create the MIFARE4Mobile Industry Group. The group's aim is to enable its members to collaborate and work together to standardize and advance the uniform management of MIFARE applications on NFC-enabled secure elements (such as SIM cards) and mobile phones. Members include Ericsson, Gemalto, NXP Semiconductors, Oberthur Technologies, STMicroelectronics, Venyon (a company in the Giesecke & Devrient group) and ViVOtech. The group indicates it will act as a vehicle to provide future direction, discuss experiences and share best practices, in order to ensure the evolution, interoperable development and implementation of MIFARE4Mobile technology. In the next few months, the group will further develop the specifications supporting MIFARE DESFire technology and multiple Trusted Service Managers, following the initial MIFARE4Mobile release from late 2008 supporting MIFARE Classic technology. Licenses for the MIFARE4Mobile Interface specifications are free of charge. The current version of the MIFARE4Mobile interface specifications, released by NXP, is available here, and has been licensed more than 200 times by major industry players worldwide. These interface specifications are grouped into three categories: wallet/user interface APIs, over-the-air (OTA)/Trusted Service Manager APIs and secure-element platform APIs.

Smartrac Launches Gamma Radiation-Proof RFID Tags
Smartrac, an RFID inlay supplier headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, has announced a new addition to its S-Tag product portfolio: an RFID transponder that, according to the company, is able to withstand gamma radiation levels of up to 45 kilograys. According to Smartrac, the transponder—a high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz technology that complies with the ISO/IEC 15693 standard—is designed for use in medical applications in which aseptic conditions are compulsory. Gamma radiation can be beneficial, in that it can destroy the DNA of any microorganism; thus, sanitization is reliable. It is also the only process in which products can be sanitized, Smartrac reports, including their packaging, as gamma rays can permeate materials and casings (such as metal containers) easily, and without any appreciable temperature increase. The new S-Tag has a diameter of 16 millimeters (0.6 inch), and comes with a Fujitsu FRAM chip. According to Smartrac, this chip type offers low power consumption, improved scalability, high-speed writing, long rewriting endurance, long data retention and high-quality communication performance. Due to the chip's ferroelectric characteristics, the company notes, the data is in no way affected by the radiation sterilization process. Furthermore, optional customer-specific laser engraving of identification numbers on the tag's surface makes the use of additional stickers and bar codes obsolete. Besides medical applications, the company reports, the new S-Tag is also suitable for use in aerospace, plant breeding, food irradiation and laundry applications.

German Apparel Maker, RFID Vendors Offer RFID-Enabled Inventory Solution
German retailer Gerry Weber International has partnered with RF-iT Solutions, a provider of RFID systems for the fashion industry based in Graz, Austria, and German systems integrator Pranke GmbH to offer the detego RFID Starter Kit. The kit, developed by RF-iT Solutions, includes the detego Suite software modules for goods-inbound verification, inventory verification and electronic data interchange. It is designed to work with EPC Gen 2 passive RFID tags, and customers can choose several hardware options: EAS antennas for article surveillance, point-of-sale readers, RFID gates and RFID printers. Starting this summer, the companies report, all items that Gerry Weber manufactures will be equipped with RFID tags, and any retailer that sells Gerry Weber goods can leverage the kit to take advantage of the tags in order to improve inventory management. Retailers will be able to register all deliveries and the current inventory with a handheld device, and automatically check for completeness. With more transparent inventory data, Gerry Weber indicates, it will more easily be able to detect an out-of-stock situation and immediately rectify it. "The RFID Starter kit provides a quick and efficient entry into an RFID-based inventory management for our retailers," said Dr. David Frink, Gerry Weber's managing director of IT, logistics and production, in a prepared statement.

Savi's SmartChain CMA Solution Gets SAP Certification
Savi Technology, a manufacturer of active RFID readers and tags, has announced that version 6.0 of its SmartChain Consignment Management Application (CMA) software platform has received SAP certification. The SAP Integration and Certification Center (SAP ICC) has certified that SmartChain CMA 6.0 successfully integrates with the SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (SAP NetWeaver PI) offering to exchange critical information with instances of SAP Business Suite software. This was certified via the NW-XI-CNT 7.1 interface scenario, Savi reports. SmartChain CMA is software designed to help organizations improve consignment visibility, item traceability and inventory management through the real-time tracking of movements and handlings, as well as comply with the appropriate NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG) and MH-10 standards. The certified integration enables Savi's SmartChain CMA platform and applications for asset, shipment and consignment management to link supply chain visibility information in transit and on-site with sophisticated operational planning tools. As a result, Savi reports, customers running SmartChain CMA together with SAP enterprise applications can more quickly adjust their supplies and deliveries to changes in demand or situational requirements. Savi and SAP also indicate they are working together to identify markets in military, commercial and humanitarian supply chains that require real-time asset tracking, consignment planning and execution capabilities. In addition, Savi joined SAP's PartnerEdge program as a SAP software solution partner, through which partners work closely with SAP to develop and certify the technical integration of their solutions with its software. Integrated partner applications extend, complement and add value to SAP solutions, Savi explains, thereby helping mutual customers more successfully meet business needs and drive strong results.

Psion Teklogix Unveils New Channel Strategy
Psion Teklogix, a provider of mobile computing solutions, has announced a new global Partner Program designed to encourage innovation by offering channel partners a variety of tools and features for the co-creation of mobile hardware, software and services. Among Psion Teklogix's products is an EPC Gen 2 Developer kit, as well as a variety of RFID reader modules, such as the RD7950 module, which reads EPC Gen 2 and Gen 1 Class 1, 0+ and 0 tags, in addition to ISO 18000-6b and EM Micro tags. The new program platform provides Psion Teklogix's value-added resellers, systems integrators, application providers and hardware partners with the ability to leverage the company's tools, features and services, including discounts, marketing materials and funds, technical support and training. The program includes Psion Teklogix's I-Serv repair and support services, access to the firm's sales and marketing experts (which can include price lists), FAQs, co-branded marketing campaigns and more. Additionally, Psion Teklogix's online open innovation community, Ingenuity Working, can be leveraged as a collaborative environment designed to bring together customers, partners and developers to co-create mobile hardware, software and services. Anyone participating in the online community can make their specific expertise—hardware modules, software applications, technology and so forth—available to the wider community on a global basis.
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