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RFID News Roundup

Australia's Dandenong Hospital selects Wi-Fi RTLS from Ekahau for emergency department; STL Technologies partners with Impinj on RTLS for criminal-justice sector; RFID Consortium announces new member, extension of royalty discounts; Identive Group Announces NFC product, production capacity increase; Cleveland VA chooses ClearCount's SmartSponge System to enhance safety in OR.
Jun 09, 2011The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Australia's Dandenong Hospital Selects Wi-Fi RTLS From Ekahau for Emergency Department
Southern Health's Dandenong Hospital, in Australia, has chosen a Wi-Fi based real-time location system (RTLS) from Ekahau. According to the RTLS provider, the solution will be used in the hospital's emergency department in order to ensure staff safety. Southern Health is the largest public-health service in the state of Victoria, and Dandenong Hospital says it needed a communications system for its emergency department that would work with its existing Motorola Solutions Wi-Fi network and NEC IP-PBX system, thereby allowing employees to be located in real time, as well as transmit two-way text messages, sound a duress alarm to summon security, and make voice calls—all with a single system. Ekahau's business partner, Integrated Wireless, an Australia-based specialist in wireless emergency-communications systems for health care, will handle the deployment, and has designed a solution incorporating Ekahau's RTLS Controller (ERC) software for managing location data. "Ekahau's patented location software gives us excellent location accuracy and can be installed on any hardware device with a Wi-Fi antenna, turning those devices into de facto tags," said Feargal O'Farrell, Integrated Wireless' sales and marketing director, in a prepared statement. "The most difficult part of the Southern Health deployment was delivering such a major system in such a short timeframe; however, Ekahau RTLS enabled us to rapidly deliver the fully integrated solution."

STL Technologies Partners With Impinj on RTLS for Criminal-Justice Sector
STL Technologies, a U.K.-based software firm serving the criminal-justice sector, has announced that it has signed a partnership deal with RFID hardware provider Impinj. Under the terms of the deal, STL Technologies will employ Impinj's ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 RFID readers in its real-time location system (RTLS) for managing physical case files. STL's RTLS solution is designed to improve the management of physical case files from initial creation to handover to the police's criminal-justice partners. According to Impinj, the deal marks its third approved partner in the United Kingdom, and is its first partnernership in the criminal-justice sector.

RFID Consortium Announces New Member, Extension of Royalty Discounts
The RFID Consortium, a group of RFID vendors that hold patents essential to the development and use of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID products leveraging standards defined by EPCglobal and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), has announced that Federal Signal Corp. has joined as its newest member, and will participate in the consortium's joint-licensing program for patents essential to the UHF RFID standard, as both a licensor and a portfolio licensee. Federal Signal, which acquired RFID specialist Sirit last year (see RFID News Roundup: Federal Signal Buys Sirit to Bolster Intelligent Transport and Safety Offerings), joins fellow patent owners 3M, ETRI, France Telecom, Hewlett-Packard (HP), LG Electronics, Motorola Solutions, Trimble's ThingMagic division and Zebra Technologies. The consortium was created to promote the adoption of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID technology, by offering a single license to patents essential to the practice of the UHF RFID standards owned by the participating companies. "The UHF RFID patent landscape is complex, with essential patents covering various aspects of the technology present in multiple countries and held by many different owners," said Jim O'Hagan, an RFID Consortium spokesperson and Zebra's director of patents and technology, in a prepared statement. "The RFID Consortium offers everyone manufacturing or selling UHF RFID tags or readers a single low-cost license under many essential patents from multiple leading global firms." Participation in the UHF RFID licensing program and the RFID Consortium is open to all holders of patents essential to the UHF RFID standards. The consortium has also extended discount royalty packages for early adopters offered under its UHF RFID licensing program, effective until Nov. 30, 2011. Launched on Aug. 31, 2010, the licensing program included an initial early-adopter period that expired at the end of March 2011. Based on the number of ongoing license negotiations, the group is now announcing a one-time extension of these discount rates to those licensees that enter into patent portfolio licenses on or before Nov. 30. The program's early-adopter discounts have generated substantial interest, the consortium reports, and an extension will offer licensees an additional opportunity to lock in the lowest available rates. The program's early-adopter rates can bring the royalty rate for UHF RFID label products to as little as $0.80 per 1,000 units, and the rate for UHF RFID readers to as low as $5 per unit, the consortium notes. In all cases, effective rates may vary based on volume, and may require the execution of a license agreement containing other terms and conditions, on or before Nov. 30, 2011. Full details of these terms and the license agreement can be obtained from Sisvel, which administers the consortium's licensing program.

Identive Group Announces NFC Product, Production Capacity Increase
SCM Microsystems (SCM), a business unit of Identive Group, a solutions provider of products, services and solutions for the security, identification and RFID industries, has announced its SCM3712 commercial Near Field Communication (NFC) reader module, a compact add-on enabling peer-to-peer functionality for a range of devices and equipment, from handheld card readers to point-of-sale (POS) terminals to vending machines. The reader can be plugged into an existing commercial device to make it NFC-ready, the company reports, and enable contactless, secure data exchange for such applications as cashless payments, ticketing, electronic ID and loyalty couponing. The SCM3712 has a small footprint, connects via a USB interface and is available with either an integrated antenna or an optional external antenna. It supports the ISO 14443 and FeliCa protocols, and is fully capable of handling NFC Forum-compliant tags based on Mifare, FeliCa and Topaz technology, as well as NFC-enabled mobile phones or other devices. The SCM3712 NFC reader module is available now to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and systems integrators. The new NFC module will also be included within SCM's soon-to-be-released NFC software development kit (SDK) for application developers. The SDK will include NFC tags, software, drivers and tools. Identive Group has also announced plans to increase its global production capacity to meet a growing market demand for high-frequency (HF) and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID inlays. To keep up with the rapidly growing demand for core RFID technology, the company more than doubled its production capacity in Germany in early 2010 says Michael Kober, Identive Group's managing director of transponders, and further boosted its capacity with the acquisition of Smartag, in Singapore, at the end of last year. The company plans to increase production capacity at its Munich and Singapore plants, and to commence production of RFID inlays in the United States, with the goal of doubling its total inlay production capacity over the next 12 months. The expansion, according to the company, will help Identive Group capitalize on the rising demand for high-performance RFID products to support emerging applications, such as NFC tagging, payment and pharmaceutical tracking. The firm expects to increase its capital spending over the next four quarters, to support its RFID inlay production requirements.

Cleveland VA Chooses ClearCount's SmartSponge System to Enhance Safety in OR
The Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center—one of the five largest VA hospitals in the United States, located in Northeast Ohio—has implemented the RFID-based SmartSponge system from ClearCount Medical Solutions, a Pittsburgh-based company focused on improving surgical safety. ClearCount's system leverages passive 13.56 MHz RFID tags that support the ISO 15693 and 18000-3 standards, as well as handheld readers and/or a built-in RFID interrogator that, at the start of an operation, records the number of tagged sponges in prepacks as workers set them on a tray fitted with an interrogator antenna. Following an operation, used sponges are then discarded into a bucket, also fitted with an interrogator antenna, to record the number of sponges thrown away. A small LCD screen displays the counts, confirming whether there is a match. The handheld reader enables surgical teams to scan a patient during postoperative safety checks, and to locate any sponges mistakenly left behind (see RFID News Roundup: ClearCount Receives FDA Clearance for Handheld Reader in RFID-enabled Surgical System). According to ClearCount, team members—including both hospital and risk-management staff members at the Cleveland VA—conducted a rigorous review process, evaluating a variety of technologies designed to minimize the risk of a sponge being left inside a patient during surgery. Ultimately, the team chose ClearCount as a comprehensive solution that both verifies sponge counts and detects sponges if they remain within a patient. To date, ClearCount Medical Solutions reports, this dual approach has made retained sponges a true "never event" in all operating rooms in which the ClearCount system has been deployed. Medline Industries is ClearCount's exclusive distributor of its SmartSponge system. "The Cleveland VA provides great care and has the opportunity to implement new technologies and innovations," said Susan Fuehrer, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center's medical center director, in a prepared statement. "It's our duty to provide the very best care that we can, and I'd like to think Cleveland is the best of the best." The Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center serves almost 100,000 veterans annually—an increase of 140 percent over the last decade. Since the first quarter of 2011, the hospital has implemented the ClearCount solution across its entire suite of operating rooms.
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