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RFID News Roundup
Xerafy Intros New Read-on-Metal RFID Label; Pennsylvania medical center adds RFID for parking management; Smartrac reaches one-billion milestone of providing RFID inlays, Prelams with wire-embedding technology; Insignia Hospitality Group's hotels install RFID locks; Awarepoint acquires new clients, deployments; Bosch Group, University of St. Gallen partner on R&D for the Internet of Things.
Insignia Hospitality Group's Hotels Install RFID Locks
Insignia Hospitality Group, based in Midland, Texas, and an operator of 12 hotels (Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Springhill Suites, Residence Inn brands by Marriott, and Hilton's Hampton Inn & Suites), has announced that it is using ILCO 790 RFID locks, supplied by Kaba, at its new hotels. Insignia also reports that it plans to retrofit existing properties with these locks going forward. "When we develop a new property, we look ahead to the equipment we believe our brands will adopt in the future," said Darpan Bhakta, Insignia's president, in a prepared statement. "ILCO RFID locks cost about the same as mag-stripe units and always work. RFID technology eliminated the problem of erased keys. It is more than reliable and secure; it is the future of door-lock technology." Kaba's ILCO 790 RFID locking system utilizes contactless technology to provide hotel guests with easy room access, and leverages NXP Semiconductors' Mifare Mini RFID chips as cost-effective guest keycards. The Mifare Mini chip, which operates at 13.56 MHz in accordance with the ISO 14443A standard, is designed for applications requiring less than the Mifare Classic 1k chip's 1 kilobyte of memory, while offering the same security features and file structure. The Mifare Mini chip can hold 320 bytes of memory.
Awarepoint Acquires New Clients and Deployments
Real-time location system (RTLS) provider Awarepoint has announced that it has achieved strong growth during the third quarter of 2012, with new client contracts and deployments on the upswing. During the three-month period ending on Sept. 30, the company indicates that it has added more than 20 million square feet of coverage across 32 sites and more than 82,000 newly deployed RTLS tags, representing a 226 percent deployment growth year over year. Awarepoint's solution includes ZigBee-based RTLS hardware, application software (offered in the form of software-as-a-service), and maintenance, management and consulting services. Clients have deployed Awarepoint's patented technology and software platforms in the areas of asset management and tracking, rental reduction, temperature monitoring, hand hygiene, emergency service, perioperative departmental workflow and throughput, enterprise patient tracking and workflow automation. Among the new contracts is the Yale New Haven Health System, in New Haven, Conn., which handles approximately 132,000 emergency department (ED) visits annually. Yale New Haven has installed AwarePoint's awareED module and wearable tags to track patients' locations within the ED. In addition to automating the clinical documentation process by feeding RTLS location data and time stamps into its Eclipsys and Allscripts electronic health record (EHR) systems, the facility plans to analyze admit-to-discharge timeframes, which has become an important metric in determining reimbursements, according to Awarepoint. AwareED supports Meaningful Use Stage 2 metrics for emergency department throughput, including median arrival to departure time for admitted patients and discharged patients, as well as admit decision time. (The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently published a final rule specifying the Stage 2 criteria that health professionals and hospitals must meet in order to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs.) Another of AwarePoint's recently completed deployments took place at the Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center, located in Milwaukee, Wis. The facility is now live on Awarepoint's RTLS platform, known as the aware360°Suite, and has the latest version of awareAssets for tracking and locating mobile medical equipment. A customer since 2009, Aurora has tagged 3,100 infusion pumps to track their utilization, which has allowed it to decrease capital purchases and nearly eliminate rentals, resulting in a total one-time savings in excess of $2 million, Awarepoint reports, with additional ongoing service reduction savings as well. Pump utilization increased by 60 percent during the first two months alone, and pump losses (also called "shrinkage," due to misplacement and/or theft) were reduced from 14.2 percent to 0 percent, the company adds. Another recent deployment is at New York—Presbyterian Hospital and the Columbia University Medical Center, in New York City, where Awarepoint's awareSurgical solution is being used to optimize central sterile processing workflow, by ensuring that case carts are prepped for surgery on time.
Bosch Group, University of St. Gallen Partner on R&D for the Internet of Things
The Bosch Group, a global supplier of technology and services, has partnered with Switzerland's University of St. Gallen (HSG) on an innovation lab—the Bosch Internet of Things & Services Lab—which is working to discover and test business models for the Internet of Things & Services (IoTS), and to develop Internet-based products and services, made possible through a variety of technologies, including RFID. Five graduate students are currently working under the direction of Dr. Markus Weinberger, at the innovation lab's research facility on the university campus, Bosch reports. By next year, it is expected that there will be 10 HSG and Bosch employees working at the facility. Bosch expects that the Internet of Things & Services will revolutionize great swaths of the economy during the coming years, and offer a big potential for growth. The company expects that the work carried out at St. Gallen will help it realize this potential. One major area of research is networked mobility. Bosch Software Innovations GmbH, the Bosch Group's software and systems unit, will provide operational support to the initiative. Bosch Software Innovations already uses a software platform as infrastructure for electric vehicles in Singapore, and is now expanding the platform in stages, including leveraging networked mobility, or eMobility, to help drivers find vacant parking spaces. At the innovation lab, researchers Paul Rigger and Thomas von Bomhard are involved with a project to use bicycles as mobile advertising spaces. Displays mounted on the sides of bicycles can be controlled via the Internet, thereby making it possible, for instance, to change an advertising display to a message especially relevant for a particular neighborhood as the cyclist rides into that area. Another researcher, Kristina Flüchter, is investigating the commercial and technical requirements for running a fleet of e-bikes. Flüchter is working on the assumption that the organizations that run hotels, leisure facilities, transport services and so forth, in tourism regions, might be interested in jointly operating an e-bike scheme. Another major area of study is the smart networking of buildings, and researchers can draw on the expertise of a range of Bosch business areas, including Bosch Solar Energy (for energy supply), Bosch Thermotechnology (for heating and heat pumps), Bosch Security Systems (for data protection and access control), Bosch Healthcare (for telemedicine and emergency call systems), Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte (for household appliances), Bosch Software Innovations, and Bosch Energy and Building Systems (for energy management). Researcher Dominic Wörner is working on a smart heating-control system whose features include the ability to process weather forecasts from the Internet. In addition, researcher Markus Köhler is working on the networking of buildings. Both are looking into the question of how to actively involve the owners or users of a building in utilizing important resources, such as electricity and water, more sparingly. The lab is making use of a unique combination of scientific research, practical applications, business administration and technology management. HSG's technology-management department is currently collaborating with 50 companies on topics related to the Internet of Things & Services.
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