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RFID News Roundup
TempTrip announces RFID-enabled temperature tag for food, pharmaceutical cold chains; CAEN RFID intros wearable handheld UHF reader with Bluetooth support; Smartrac launches 6-millimeter HF RFID tag; IDTronic intros cylindrical UHF RFID antenna for industrial automation processes; Kiddicare installs ZBD's RFID-based e-paper and electronic shelf displays; Snagg releases new pet collar with an embedded microchip; Libelium launches Waspmote Plug & Sense.
Kiddicare Installs ZBD's RFID-based E-paper and Electronic Shelf Displays
ZBD, a provider of RFID-enabled electronic-paper, or e-paper, display systems for retailers and industrial users, has announced that Kiddicare, a baby-equipment retailer headquartered in the United Kingdom, has chosen to roll out ZBD's e-paper system across its entire retail operations. The solution is designed to replace solution traditional paper labeling, providing retailers with a cost-effective and efficient way to manage pricing, product and promotional information at the point of purchase. It consists of epop (which stands for electronic point of purchase) e-paper displays and interrogators known as Bounce Communicators. An epop is a small, high-resolution, LCD display that attaches wirelessly to the shelf edge and is capable of displaying rich content including any combination of text, images, barcodes and logos. The screen is bistable, meaning that it requires no power to retain an image indefinitely. The epops are controlled wirelessly by the Bounce Communicators located in the back office that integrate into retailers' existing IT systems in real time, according to ZBD. ZBD Solutions' software consists of Bounce Architect (to manage data related to pricing and product details) and Bounce Processor (to prompt the changes to epop labels via RFID). The Bounce Communicators can forward appropriate pricing and product data to each epop, based on that unit's unique ID number, via an 868 MHz transmission, using a proprietary air-interface protocol. The epop, powered with a coin-cell battery, receives that data, updates its details and displays the new information on its e-paper screen, while simultaneously sending an 868 MHz transmission back to the Bounce Communicator, thus verifying that the transmission has been received. Kiddicare successfully tested ZBD's e-paper system at its flagship store at its Peterborough, U.K. headquarters, according to ZBD, which provided the retailer with the ability to synchronize pricing and information online and in the store. Following the trial, Kiddicare has committed to a wider rollout across all new superstores, ZBD says. Kiddicare was acquired by supermarket giant Morrisons in 2011, which is expanding Kiddicare's physical store network, with plans for 10 new superstores open over the next year. Kiddicare opened its first superstore in Nottingham in September 2012 with a variety of technologies to enhance the customer experience, including touch-screen "browse and order point" technology with bar-code scanning allowing shoppers to check product availability as well as choose from multiple delivery options, free Wi-Fi service, in addition to ZBD's e-paper system, according to ZBD. "As a multi-channel retailer, keeping store pricing in line with our Web site is one of our biggest challenges," said Scott Weavers-Wright, Kiddicare's chief executive, in a prepared statement. "With ZBD's fully graphic displays, we can now add QR codes to the shelf to provide additional information on customers' mobile phones, or store assistants' tablets. This information could include product demonstrations, customer reviews or anything else that will enhance the shopping experience. It's all available via our free in-store Wi-Fi network." ZBD's e-paper solution is being used by other companies, including T-Mobile Austria (see T-Mobile Austria Updates Prices Wirelessly).
Snagg Releases New Pet Collar with an Embedded Microchip
Snagg, a Palo Alto, Calif., firm founded by a musician who employed RFID to help identify stolen guitars (see RFID and the Arts), has announced a new pet collar that includes an embedded low-frequency (LF) RFID chip. The RFID-enabled collar is designed for people who have concerns about having chips injected into their pets, according to Snagg. The collar leverages a 134 kHz LF passive RFID chip, compliant with ISO 11874 11785 RFID standards for electronic animal identification. Each chip's unique ID number is associated with information about the pet owner, and that information is housed in a Snagg database. Once a customer receives a collar or harness, the customer can register the pet in the database, providing pictures and specifics at no charge, according to Snagg. Animal control units and veterinarians can access the nationwide database as well, to view information about a pet's owners. There's a notification tag sewn on the collar, at the point where the chip is embedded, that indicates the collar has a pet microchip, and instructs the person to visit www.snagg.com, according to Brian Schuh, Snagg's CEO. Schuh says even if the person misses the notification on the collar, it has become standard practice for many animal control units and veterinarians to scan the area between the shoulder, and that scan would pick up the information in the chip on the collar as well. Available now, the collar is $24.95, including microchip and registration. It can be ordered from Snagg's Web site. Upon receiving the order, Snagg will contact the customer to determine size (up to XL Dog) and design. Snagg says it can also make full harness with an embedded RFID chip.
Libelium Launches Waspmote Plug & Sense
Libelium, a Spanish wireless sensor hardware provider, has launched Waspmote Plug & Sense!, a new line of Libelium encapsulated wireless sensor devices that the company says enable systems integrators to implement scalable, modular wireless sensor networks and reduce installation time from days to hours. Libelium's product platform consists of various sensors, or Waspmotes, that include a ZigBee 2.4 GHz 802.15.4 radio transmitter and an antenna, enclosed in a PVC container. The new Waspmote Plug & Sense! models are preconfigured to create such widely applicable services as smart cities, smart parking, smart agriculture, air quality, smart security, ambient control and, radiation control. Plug & Sense! Models are set to send information to Meshlium, the Libelium sensor gateway that uploads data to the cloud, making the data accessible from anywhere and easy to integrate into third-party applications, Libelium says. Each Waspmote Plug & Sense! is equipped with six connectors to which sensor probes can be attached directly. It features an IP65-rated dustproof and waterproof enclosure for outdoor deployment. The Waspmote Plug & Sense! platform may be solar-powered to allow energy harvesting and years of autonomy, according to the company. Once installed, Waspmote Plug & Sense! sensor nodes can be programmed wirelessly via an over-the-air-programming (OTAP) feature. Sensors can be replaced or added without having to uninstall the mote itself, keeping maintenance costs to a minimum. For example, a network with carbon dioxide probe sensors may easily add a noise sensor by simply attaching it, thereby extending the service, LIbelium explains. The platform, available online here includes an open-source development environment and API, without software license fees and an intuitive graphic interface programming tool.
Nanotron Technologies partners with South African RF distribution specialist RF Design
German Real-Time Location System (RTLS) provider Nanotron Technologies has announced a reseller, distribution and service agreement with RF Design in South Africa. From the three RF Design offices in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban, Nanotron's customers in South Africa will be provided with support in technical design and other assistance, according to Nanotron, which already has among its customers in South Africa several global providers of safety equipment to mine operators. These clients (which Nanotron says it is not at liberty to identify) apply Nanotron's proximity-awareness CSS technology for avoiding heavy mining machinery collisions with people or assets, thus improving mine safety significantly, the company says. Besides South Africa, Nanotron's clients serve mining customers in North America, Australia, Russia and Europe. Nanotron's solution employs 2.4 GHz active RFID tags complying with the IEEE 802.15.4a standard, and includes readers. The tags transmit a chirp—a brief signal across the entire 2.4 GHz band—that is received by the readers, with Nanotron software using the signal's time difference of arrival (TDOA) to calculate each tag's location within approximately 3 meters (9.8 feet).
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