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RFID News Roundup

Great Wolf Lodge debuts RFID-enabled social-media app; Ekahau, Nordic ID team up on Wi-Fi and passive RFID asset-tracking solution; Positek adopts Tagsys' new UHF tag for the textile market; IT Asset Management Solutions adds RF Code's Physical IT asset-tracking solution to its portfolio; Russian high-tech firms, retailer partner on RFID project, Store of the Future; ABI Research estimates RFID software market to reach $500 million by 2016.
Jun 30, 2011The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Great Wolf Lodge Debuts RFID-enabled Social-Media App
Great Wolf Resorts, which operates numerous indoor waterpark resorts throughout North America, is debuting a new high-tech feature at its parks that combines radio frequency identification and social media. The application, dubbed Great Wolf Connect, will initially be launched at Great Wolf Lodge—Grand Mound, in Washington State, located halfway between Seattle and Portland, Ore., and will enable guests to link the RFID technology in their waterpark wristbands with their Facebook accounts, to automatically share photographs from photo-friendly Paw Posts throughout the resort. In 2005, Great Wolf first introduced RFID wristbands from Precision Dynamics Corp. (PDC) at its resort in the Pocono Mountains, Pa., after which it added the technology at new constructions in Mason, Ohio, and Niagara Falls, Canada (see RFID Serves Up Benefits for Guests and Hosts). PDC's RFID technology leverage 13.56 MHz tags embedded in the wristbands, and can be used for keyless room entry; food purchases, game tokens and other items; and entering the resort's water park. The wristbands also act as a means of identifying the patrons as guests. Built by Fish Technologies, Great Wolf Connect enables a guest to have photos taken by the various digital cameras located throughout the park, which are then automatically posted to that person's Facebook page throughout his or her visit. After check-in, a guest can register his or her wristband at a Great Wolf Connect kiosk, and link it directly to that individual's Facebook account. Then, at any of five Paw Posts located throughout the resort, the visitor can simply scan the wristband and smile for the digital camera at each spot. That photograph—or a general photo of each attraction—and a caption will then be automatically posted on that person's Facebook wall. The Paw Post locations include popular photo opportunities throughout the resort, including its signature Tipping Bucket, as well as a full view of the waterpark from an elevated balcony inside the park, the lobby's Great Clock Tower and other locations. "Family vacations are what memories are made of, with photos lining the fronts of refrigerators and pages of albums for years," said Steve Shattuck, Great Wolf Resorts' corporate director of communications, in a prepared statement. "Today, our guests use Facebook as both a virtual postcard and a photo album. With technology we already had in place, we were able to make sharing one step easier."

Ekahau, Nordic ID Team Up on Wi-Fi and Passive RFID Asset-Tracking Solution
Ekahau a provider of Wi-Fi-based real-time location system (RTLS) solutions, has announced that in conjunction with Nordic ID, a Finnish manufacturer of RFID handheld readers and other devices, it has developed a solution for adding location information to passive RFID and bar-code labels. The solution, according to Ekahau, is designed for tracking such low-cost assets as surgical implements, drug supplies and other inventory. Ekahau's RTLS technology lets users track any assets in real time throughout a hospital campus, using active Wi-Fi tags. Now, working with Nordic ID, Ekahau's RTLS is also capable of tracking passive RFID and bar-code labels, as well as managing, storing and viewing assets and their respective location history within the same database. The combined Ekahau-Nordic ID solution consists of Ekahau RTLS software, Nordic ID Merlin handheld RFID interrogators and Nordic ID Morphic bar-code scanners. The Merlin reader is available in an ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) version that supports the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C specifications, with a reading distance of up to 1.5 meters (4.9 feet), and a high-frequency (HF) model that supports the ISO 15693 standard, with a reading speed of up to 40 tags per second at a distance of 3 centimeters to 10 centimeters (1.2 inches to 3.9 inches). When used with Ekahau's solution, the system can determine the interrogators' and/or scanners' locations via RTLS, and the associated RFID and bar-code information collected by Nordic ID's systems can then be viewed and managed with the Ekahau Vision business logic and analytics software, which enables users to view asset locations on a real-time map, generate asset reports and audit trails, and alert users if any items are running low, or are located in the wrong location. "Previously, there were two primary ways to keep track of RFID and bar-code assets: the first was to manually input the location on a piece of paper or database—which is resource-intensive and is prone to human error. The second alternative, only available for RFID, has been to install costly reader gates throughout the facility," said Arttu Huhtiniemi, Ekahau's VP of product management, in a prepared statement. "The Ekahau-Nordic ID solution changes the game without installing any additional hardware. All you need is Ekahau software and Nordic ID handheld scanners. With those, you can walk into a room and press a button on the scanner to audit and put your assets in the database and on the map." The solution is currently available from Ekahau and its distribution partners.

Positek Adopts Tagsys' New UHF Tag for the Textile Market
Tagsys RFID has announced that Positek RFID, a provider of RFID-based garment-tracking systems for the hospitality and garment-rental industries, will use Tagsys' new LinTrak ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tag for laundry and textile services applications. The LinTrak tag, introduced earlier this month, is specially designed to withstand harsh industrial laundry processes, supports the EPC Gen 2 standard and has a read range of 10 feet (see RFID News Roundup: Tagsys Intros UHF Tags for Textile Tracking). Positek RFID will combine the LinTrak tags with its suite of textile-, garment- and linen-tracking software, to provide a complete, end-to-end RFID UHF solution for the laundry industry. Many of Positek RFID's customers have used high-frequency (HF) RFID tags, operating at 13.56 MHz and complying with the ISO 15693 standard, to track linens, uniforms and rental equipment, such as mats. But in April 2010, the firm added UHF RFID to its portfolio, via a partnership with Fujitsu Frontech North America (see Positek RFID Offering UHF System for Tracking Linens, Textiles). "The LinTrak UHF tag will help us further expand the use of UHF in the textile maintenance industry and bring cutting-edge new capabilities to our portfolio of textile maintenance solutions," said Jeff Markman, Positek RFID's president, in a prepared statement. "The Tagsys UHF LinTrak tag shows Tagsys' commitment to the industry and will enable new applications and opportunities for our clients."

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