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RFID News Roundup

New multiprotocol UHF reader module; RF Code introduces auto-ID network appliance; EPCglobal completes first EPC standards; new print-and-apply RFID system; Datamars offers smaller laundry tag.
By Bob Violino
Jun 18, 2004The following are news announcements made during the week of June 14.

New Multiprotocol UHF Reader Module
SIRIT Technologies, a Mississauga, Ontario-based provider of RFID reader technology, has introduced a multiprotocol UHF RFID reader module that supports a variety of UHF protocols. The module is designed for integration into handhelds, portable data terminals, printers, label applicators, mobile computers and other devices. It can read tags based on the Class 0
SIRIT's UHF reader module
and Class 1 standards from EPCglobal. Firmware can be upgraded to support EPCglobal's proposed UHF Gen 2 protocol and ISO 18000-6. SIRIT’s new module comes with a serial RS232 interface and is available with an optional integrated antenna. The module will be available in production quantities in the third quarter of 2004. Pricing hasn't been disclosed.

RF Code Introduces Auto-ID Network Appliance
RF Code, a Mesa, Ariz.-based developer of auto-ID data collection middleware and active RFID technologies, has introduced a pocket-size, network appliance designed to simplify auto-ID installations. The TAVIS Data Router can take data from bar code scanners, passive EPC RFID readers, active RFID and real-time locating systems, and GPS and cellular tracking technologies and filter it locally to reduce the data traffic on a company's network. RF Code, which recently joined EPCglobal, says that using a network appliance when deploying EPC and other auto-ID technologies significantly reduces deployment and ongoing maintenance costs. The TAVIS Data Router is available immediately. Pricing hasn't been disclosed.

EPCglobal Completes First EPC Standards
It's official: Class 1 and Class 0 are now EPC standards. EPCglobal announced the finalization of its work on the first global standards for Electronic Product Code technologies. The formalization of the standards is a largely symbolic gesture because end users have been moving forward with plans to implement EPC technologies based on the Class 1 and Class 0 specifications and EPCglobal has no plans to develop tests for compliance to the standard. Instead, the organization will focus on interoperability testing to ensure that Class 1 and Class 0 tags and readers that are made by different vendors will work with one another. Many end users are now focused on the process of developing a UHF Gen 2 standard. EPCglobal plans to approve a Gen 2 specification by October.

New Print-and-Apply RFID System
RedPrairie, a Waukesha, Wis.-based provider of supply chain execution software, has teamed with Xterprise, a Dallas-based systems integrator, to offer an off-the-shelf print-and-apply system. The package includes RedPrairie's RFID Igniter middleware, user interface and workflow management software, and a label printer and applicator from Printronix, an Irvine, Calif.-based maker of label printers. The Igniter middleware accepts orders for RFID labels from manufacturing or warehousing software applications from a variety of vendors, generates EPC numbers and manages the coordination of Printronix's print/encoding and applicator equipment in conjunction with conveyor systems. Xterprise integrated the user interface and workflow-management software to create the packaged solution. The system will be available in 90 days. The printer and applicator costs $21,500. Pricing for the software and other components depends on complixity of the project.

Datamars Offers Smaller Laundry Tag
Datamars, a Lugano, Switzerland-based provider of RFID tags for the laundries, has introduced a new, smaller transponder designed for use on hotel towels and sheets, hospital linens and other items made of cloth. The round tag is just 10mm in diameter (0.39 inches) and 1mm thick (0.04 inches). The Laundrychip operates at 135 kHz and is based on the proposed ISO 18000-2 standard. Instead of coiling the antenna in the middle of the tag, Datamars coils the antenna around the edge of the circular tag. The company says this gives the tag three to four times the read range of other 135 kHz tags. The new tags are available immediately. Pricing hasn't been disclosed.

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