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RFID News Roundup

French mailboxes deliver information via RFID; most health-care RTLS adopters see improved operational efficiencies, according to KLAS Research report; GAO RFID intros reader with long read range and high read rate; United Cargo flies wireless asset-tracking devices; Norwegian road-construction company puts RFID on track; Premo launches antenna for NFC apps.
Jan 05, 2012The following are news announcements made during the past week.

French Mailboxes Deliver Information Via RFID
La Poste, France's postal service, has added Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID stickers to mailboxes throughout Paris' 4th arrondissement, a section of the capital city situated on the right bank of the River Seine, and housing Paris City Hall and Notre-Dame de Paris, among other attractions. The NFC stickers are provided by Connecthings, a French company headquartered in Paris that provides and implements contactless mobile services using NFC, peer-to-peer and QR codes, and other types of two-dimensional bar codes, designed to transmit information to mobile devices via a camera. The NFC stickers, which automatically and wirelessly share information with NFC-enabled mobile phones, are built to create smart mailboxes that can provide passersby with such information as the nearest post office or location to buy stamps, as well as mail pick-up times for particular mailboxes. The mailboxes also contain 2-D and QR bar codes, so customers without NFC-enabled devices can also take advantage of the service. The digital service—an integrated solution based on Connecthings' services that can include everything from managing and editing the tags to the content housed on the back end—will also provide a map of the local area, lists of cultural events, local classified ads and other services related to local merchants.

Most Health-care RTLS Adopters See Improved Operational Efficiencies, According to KLAS Research
A new study regarding real-time location systems (RTLS), released by KLAS Research, a market and vendor research firm focusing on health care, indicates that the majority of health-care organizations leveraging RTLS technologies are realizing operational gains. KLAS Research interviewed more than 150 organizations for the study, ranging from facilities housing 25 beds to larger networks of facilities and providers with thousands of beds, in order to glean insight about their RTLS experiences. Respondents discussed the depth and breadth of their deployments, and how well their vendors' solutions performed, as well as contracting, implementation, product quality, support and overall vendor relationships. Some key differentiators, according to KLAS Research, are total cost of ownership, reporting/analytics tools and depth of use. Overall, the study found that 95 percent of responding organizations using RTLS solutions cite operational-efficiency gains. Providers utilizing RTLS systems reported finding success when automating the monitoring of refrigerator temperatures; tracking assets, patients or staff members; assessing hand-hygiene compliance; and engaging in a variety of other uses. According to the report's author, Steve VanWagenen, much of a facility's success with RTLS depends on the breadth of its deployment, the variety of ways in which the technology is being employed, and the level of integration between RTLS systems and other solutions. Specifically, the largest gains were cited in regard to equipment utilization and staff efficiency, with 75 percent attributing those improvements to their RTLS. Other improvements included better documentation, as well as better alerts and reporting (each at 19 percent), a reduction in time spent locating assets, improved monitoring and recording of temperatures, and improved loss prevention (each at 11 percent). Providers also shared the lessons they have learned while deploying their real-time location systems, such as adjusting staff workflow in order to incorporate RTLS use, and strengthening the RTLS infrastructure prior to going live so as to improve adoption and maximize return on investment (ROI). The study found that only 10 to 15 percent of respondents are currently utilizing an RTLS solution, and cited solutions from a variety of providers, including AeroScout, Awarepoint, Ekahau, General Electric (GE), Intelligent InSites, Radianse and Versus Technology. The study, titled "Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) 2011: Maximizing the ROI"—which can be purchased here—also includes updates about RTLS solutions offered by CenTrak, Cerner, Hill-Rom, Sonitor Technologies and TeleTracking.

GAO RFID Intros Reader with Long Read Range and High Read Rate
GAO RFID Inc. has launched a new rugged RFID reader that, according to the company, provides a long read range and a high read rate. The integrated reader, model 216012, is part of the firm's family of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) 900 MHz RFID interrogators, and can be used both indoors and outdoors. The reader is designed for use at warehouse dock doors, on forklifts, in parking lot gates, on outdoor patrolling vehicles and at highway toll stations, as well as for livestock tracking and container ports, according to GAO RFID. It supports the ISO 18000-6C and EPC Gen 2 standards, and has a dense reader mode aimed at improving performance when used in dense reader environments. The device has a read range of 9 meters (29.5 feet) with AD431 tags from Avery Dennison, and 13 meters (42.7 feet) with DogBone tags provided by UPM RFID. Measuring 30 centimeters by 30 centimeters by 7.5 centimeters (11.8 inches by 11.8 inches by 3 inches) and weighing 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds), the reader offers Ethernet connectivity and can be powered though 12-volt DC supply or Power over Ethernet (POE). It can work reliably under a temperature range of -20 degrees to +60 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees to +140 degrees Fahrenheit).

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