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RFID News Roundup

TracTech Systems integrates with The Edge software on RFID-enabled jewelry-management system; Missouri State University implements contactless campus card system; Intellitix links RFID and Facebook at Coachella Festival.
May 17, 2012The following are news announcements made during the past week.

TracTech Systems Integrates With The Edge Software on RFID-enabled Jewelry-Management System
TracTech Systems, a provider of RFID-enabled jewelry inventory management technology, has announced a partnership with Abbott Jewelry Systems, a manufacturer of a jewelry store management system known as The Edge. The two companies are combining TracTech's ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2-based RFID products, which include high- and low-volume printers that can print and encode a variety of tags and labels to fit the requirements of the jewelry industry, and several reader options. According to Tim Murphy, TracTech's VP of sales and marketing, the company offers tags in various form factors, including tags that can be applied directly to stone parcels, and those with larger antennas that work well with metal-intensive watches. Reader options include the A100 "Black Box" (for reading dense inventories in large quantities), the M360 "Counter Pad" (for smaller quantity reads, as well as point-of-sale and in-counter inventory) and the CP100 "Counter Pad" (a wireless folding pad that opens up to reveal an RFID reader and a touch-screen for displaying product information). "The CP100 is specifically designed for gathering sales metrics," Murphy states, "such as how often an item has been shown, and by which salesperson, and for empowering the sales force with all the critical product information contained in the retailer or manufacturer reps' lines." TracTech's RFID system integrates with a variety of software packages for the jewelry industry—including, now, The Edge. The Edge utilizes Microsoft's .NET Framework, with such features as desktop-to-Internet connectivity, store-to-store connectivity via the Internet and more. The Edge software supports wired and wireless networks and multiple storefronts. The addition of TracTech's RFID technology to The Edge, Murphy says, enables jewelers to count and analyze their jewelry inventory in minutes, instead of hours, thereby freeing up employees for critical sales and service activities.

Missouri State University Implements Contactless Campus Card System
Blackboard Inc.—a provider of technology solutions designed to help schools and professional, corporate and government organizations extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security—has announced that Missouri State University (MSU) has selected its contactless campus card system. Blackboard Transact, based on the standard Near Field Communication (NFC) ISO 14443 specification, is designed to integrate MSU's student-identification, door-security, commerce and campus-payment systems with a single contactless card, in order to make the student experience more convenient and secure, the company reports. Blackboard Transact leverages Sony's 13.56 MHz FeliCa RFID chip in Blackboard's BearPass ID cards, which are pre-printed and personalized for the campus. The solution includes point-of-sale (POS) readers—NCR's POS70 XRT with a Blackboard PS4100 FeliCa interface—and Blackboard's DR4200 FeliCa Card Readers, which are connected to S2 Security's S2 Netbox Enterprise Door Access systems. With Blackboard Transact, more than 25,000 students, faculty members and administrators can pay for purchases and enter buildings with a tap or wave of the BearPass ID cards, according to Blackboard. "It's our mission to provide a safe and secure campus, and with Blackboard we're truly future-proofing our system," said Kent Thomas, a special assistant to Missouri State University's president, who spearheaded the project, in a prepared statement. "Blackboard was the clear choice to update our legacy card system. The company leads the market with technology that improves security and reduces the chances of identity theft, but also provides great management efficiency and system integration." MSU students can add money to their student ID account, view transactions online, immediately halt account activity if their card is lost or stolen, and use their smartphone to manage their account, Blackboard reports. The university can also employ the cards to operate electronic access-control devices for academic, administrative and student buildings, in order to ensure that only authorized individuals can gain entry to secured facilities and events.

Intellitix Links RFID and Facebook at Coachella Festival
Intellitix, a provider of RFID access-control and cashless-payment solutions, supplied its cashless-payment and access system to this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which runs for two weekends in April and is held in Coachella, Calif. During the festival, approximately 80,000 to 85,000 attendees were provided with Intellitix wristbands containing ISO 15693-compliant inlays. Intellitix's solution also includes handheld RFID readers from M3 Mobile, as well as Intellitix custom-built access-control portals featuring Feig Electronic reader antennas and multiple battery backups, hard-wired for Internet and Wi-Fi connectivity. The access portals are rated IP65, meaning that testing has confirmed them to be dustproof and waterproof. The solution also includes wristbands with ISO 15693-compliant inlays and handheld readers supplied by M3 Mobile. Intellitix's solution managed access control across the festival's entire site, including public, VIP, production and backstage areas for personnel, in addition to all parking, a camping site and shuttle busses. The system enabled the use of various touch points via portals positioned at key areas around the festival site throughout both weekends. Additionally, RFID entrance portals were used to validate each wristband, allowing registered users to automatically check in upon arrival. A Live Click service that leveraged a link to Facebook allowed attendees (who signed up for that service when registering) to automatically update their Facebook status using the RFID-enabled wristbands whenever they checked in at one of the portals. More than 30,000 attendees registered for Live Click, Intellitix reports. Access control was accomplished using the regular entrance portals, and there were second-line customer service personnel stationed at these points, using the handheld readers to troubleshoot in the event that any visitors' wristbands scanned red on a portal. There were two main public entrances with banks of RFID portals, a VIP entrance, an artists' entrance, and VIP areas within the site, according to Greg Parmley, Intellitix's CIO. In advance of reaching the site, Parmley says, all vehicles had an RFID pass affixed to the windshield, which was read to check validity before the vehicles entered any parking/camping area. The farthest point from the site was the car camping entrance (located approximately a mile away), and vehicle passes and wristbands were checked at that site as well. The portals and readers used at the car camping entrance were networked with the main system. The solution enabled entry for production vehicles to specific car parks, and all golf carts on site were scanned while moving into and out of the main arterial roads backstage. In addition, access to shuttle busses to and from the site was managed via an RFID pass card (purchased separately) that could be read and validated using the Intellitix portals and interrogators.
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