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RFID News Roundup

Zebra intros next-gen RTLS leveraging ultra-wideband RFID technology; Axcess International 433 MHz active tags incorporate HID iCLASS 13.56 MHz RFID technology; ABI Research forecasts RFID market in 2011 greater than $6 billion; RFID solutions provider Galbital announces UHF-based Smart Logistics System; TagMaster unveils new 2.45 GHz handheld RFID reader, announces Confidex partnership on UHF; Bethesda Hospitals' Emergency Preparedness Partnership selects Versus RTLS; TI launches portfolio of microcontroller development kits for RFID, ZigBee.
Sep 23, 2010The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Zebra Intros Next-Gen RTLS Leveraging Ultra-Wideband Technology
Zebra Enterprise Solutions (ZES), a division of Zebra Technologies, has announced the availability of its Dart ultra-wideband (UWB) real-time locating system (RTLS). The RTLS is built on the current Sapphire UWB RTLS' core capabilities, but will provide a common platform for UWB active RFID tags for tracking the locations of personnel and equipment, in operations in the United States, Canada and the European Union (EU) markets. According to the company, Dart UWB is designed particularly for industries with highly metallic environments, such as IT, aerospace, financial, federal government, and aerospace and defense. Dart UWB also includes a full set of location products certified for use in potentially hazardous and explosive environments, as defined by Europe's ATEX directive. These intrinsically safe location products have been designed for use in extreme, regulated environments, such as petrochemical and other process-focused manufacturing industries. The Dart UWB portfolio is complaint with the FCC Part 15.250 and draft ETSI EN 302 500-1 V2.1.1 specifications, and provides real-time location accuracy of better than 30 centimeters (1 foot). The tag's battery life is designed to last up to seven years at a 1 Hz blink rate, and the system supports a long read range of up to 200 meters (650 feet). The RTLS includes the Planning Software System Builder, a virtual planning tool designed to aid in the installation and optimization of the Dart UWB system. The Dart Hub provides power, data and clock to the Dart Sensors over a single shielded Ethernet cable. The Dart Sensors are placed throughout the site, originating from the hub and then typically daisy-chained to one another. The DartTag and DartTag Badge are dustproof and waterproof (IP67 rated). The DartWand Module enables end-user configuration and inventorying of DartTags, and is capable of activating and deactivating a DartTag, as well as programming its blink rate at several nominal iterations, from approximately 0.01 Hz (one blink every 75 seconds) to 200 Hz (one blink every 0.005 seconds). RFID Global Solution (RFIDGS), a ZES partner and a provider of real-time asset-visibility solutions for the commercial, defense and government markets, piloted the Dart UWB solution and has been using ZES' first-generation Sapphire RTLS. According to RFIDGS, the benefits of Dart UWB include improved ease of system and tag configuration, more ruggedized tags for harsh environments, extended battery-life options and global interoperability. Zebra first unveiled its plans regarding its Dart UWB solution this past July (see RFID News Roundup: Zebra Unveils Next-Gen Ultra-Wideband Real-Time Locating System). RFID Journal will host a Solution Showcase about this new product next month, featuring Craig Fransen, Zebra Enterprise Solutions' product manager.

Axcess International 433 MHz Active Tags Incorporate HID iCLASS 13.56 MHz RFID Technology
Axcess International has announced that it has successfully integrated HID Global's iCLASS 13.56 MHz contactless smart-card technology into its Axcess Dot Wireless ID product. Axcess manufactures the Dot chip, which provides dual active-passive capabilities so it can be employed as both a passive EPC Gen 2 tag and a 433 MHz active tag. Optimized to make physical access control more powerful, the iCLASS 13.56 MHz read/write contactless smart-card technology supports multiple applications, such as biometric authentication, cashless payment and PC log-on security, Axcess International reports. iCLASS readers also support the U.S. federal government's HSPD-12 directive for secure credentialing. "By integrating HID iCLASS technology into the Axcess DOT credential, customers have the ability to leverage their investment in existing access control systems," said David Koma, the director of business development for HID Global's HID Connect, in a prepared statement. "The combination of these two technologies creates a single, powerful credential that efficiently solves a number of common business problems." According to Axcess International, the integrated solution will be on display in HID Global's booth at the annual American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) trade show, to be held in Dallas, Texas, on Oct. 12-14. Axcess International and HID Global have worked together on other integration initiatives as well. In October 2009, Axcess announced plans to integrate HID Global's 125 KHz proximity tags in its Dot Wireless Credential system (see RFID News Roundup: Axcess Licenses HID Global Proximity Technology). That integration was aimed at extending existing access-control systems into more advanced workforce-management solutions, including local location identification, tracking and control capabilities.

ABI Research Forecasts RFID Market in 2011 Greater Than $6 Billion
In what seems to be an indication that the RFID market is coming out of the slowdown caused by the recent recession, the value of the overall RFID market should exceed $6 billion next year, according to market research and analysis firm ABI Research. The market covered in the forecast, the firm reports, includes both traditional applications, such as access control, automobile immobilization, electronic toll collection and e-ID/ID documents, as well as "modernizing" applications, such as animal ID, asset management, baggage handling, cargo tracking/security, contactless payment and ticketing, real-time location systems (RTLS), and supply chain management. The forecasts and key market trends are part of the 2010 edition of the firm's annual overview of the entire RFID market. In a prepared statement, Michael Liard, ABI Research's practice director, summed up the "big picture" as generally optimistic despite last year's economic woes, adding that the weakened economy caused many to reduce marketing expenditures, staff size and on-hand inventory levels, beginning in late 2008 and continuing throughout last year. But by the end of 2009, ABI Research heard more positive talk from vendors and solution providers. "Overall 2009 continued the forward momentum for both RFID solution providers and the user community," Liard said in the statement. "That trend continues in 2010." The latest research indicates compound annual growth rates of between 21.7 percent and 28.8 percent for the five primary applications over the period of 2010 to 2014. Last year, ABI Research did not release overall RFID revenue figures, preferring instead to focus on RFID's "bright spots," such as the retail market (see For Clothing Retailers, Item-level RFID on Upswing).

RFID Solutions Provider Galbital Announces UHF-based Smart Logistics System
Galbital RFID Solutions, an RFID systems integrator and solutions provider headquartered in Israel, has introduced its Smart Logistics System (SLS), an RFID system designed to help organizations improve their logistics operations. The solution includes the RFID Sleeve, an all-in-one integrated ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID reader in a standard metal tine extension that fits onto forklifts. The RFID Sleeve supports the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C specifications, and includes a unique antenna, a short-range wireless communication device, a load-sensing device and a battery pack. The Smart RFID Pallet is a UHF solution for wooden and plastic pallets that is an "RFID Cube" installed in the center of a pallet. The EPC Gen 2 RFID passive RFID tag embedded in the Cube can be read by the RFID Sleeve from any direction, independent of the types of goods stored on the pallet. SLS also includes the SLS Forklift Controller, a processing unit to be installed on the forklift that includes RFID software, as well as an indication panel. SLS also includes an optional 13.56 MHz floor reader designed to identify the floor and drive-in locations. Galbital intends to market its SLS solution worldwide, according to Israel Master, Galbital's VP of business development, and is currently running a beta implementation at Carmel Containers Systems, located in Israel.

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