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RFID News Roundup

NorthPeak, Epsilia unveil RFID-enabled solution to improve cold-chain performance; Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies, TagMaster NA combine long-read-range and smart-card technologies; London's Portland Hospital implements patient security solutions from Stanley Healthcare; NXP delivers NFC to Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 devices; Murata, Cogiscan intro RFID-based PCB traceability solutions; Ekahau introduces Vision 2.0 location analytics platform for hospitals.
Murata, Cogiscan Intro RFID-based PCB Traceability Solutions
Murata Americas and Cogiscan, a provider of track, trace and control solutions for the electronics manufacturing industry, have announced a new partnership. The two companies report that they will combine their respective products to offer complete printed circuit board (PCB) track, trace and control solutions using Murata's RFID tag, Magicstrap, designed specifically for mounting on PCBs. The Magicstrap technology is designed to connect the RFID IC with the PCB's ground plain, by way of a 3-D multi-layer impedance matching circuit that provides dual bandwidth. The multi-layer matching circuit, designed by Murata, includes an RFID chip (compliant with the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C standards) mounted on ceramics. According to Murata, this announcement reflects the joint promotion of both companies' core strengths, while providing customers with a total RFID solution. Murata reports that Cogiscan's strength is in providing hardware and software solutions to customers based on their tracking and control requirements, while its own is the development of the necessary RFID components, as well as the ability to provide technical support when a tag is applied directly to a PCB. Cogiscan and Murata will jointly market and support the solution. "This is a natural collaboration for our companies," said David Kirk, Murata Americas' president, in a prepared statement. "RFID offers great potential compared to traditional identification and tracking methods, but this technology must be part of a complete solution to make it easy-to-use and implement." François Monette, Cogiscan's co-president, added, "We have always believed in the potential of RFID for PCB track, trace and control applications. Now, there is an off-the-shelf solution available from well-established suppliers at a reasonable cost, and we look forward to implementing this technology in a wide variety of electronic products."

London's Portland Hospital Implements Patient Security Solutions from Stanley Healthcare
Stanley Healthcare Solutions, a division of Stanley Black & Decker, has announced that The Portland Hospital for Women and Children, located in London, England, has selected and implemented the company's patient-security solutions to help protect newborn patients and children. Stanley Healthcare Solutions' line of wireless and electronic systems for monitoring assets, inventory and people includes the RFID-based Hugs, Pedz and Passport patient-security solutions, acquired from VeriChip in 2008 (see Stanley Bolsters RFID Portfolio With VeriChip Subsidiary). Those systems employ active tags that transmit signals at a variety of frequencies (some incorporate dual frequencies), and communicate via proprietary air-interface protocols. The company also offers fall-management solutions, such as Bed-Check, with pressure-sensitive pads to indicate an unsafe movement, and HealthTrax asset- and patient-tracking software that works in conjunction with real-time location system (RTLS) and RFID technologies. More than 1.5 million Hugs, Pedz or Passport battery-powered RFID tags are currently in use at hospitals, with approximately 15,000 customers at long-term and acute-care facilities, as well as at hospitals, utilizing Stanley Healthcare's solutions. In June 2012, Stanley Healthcare Solutions acquired RTLS provider AeroScout (see Stanley Healthcare Solutions Acquires Wi-Fi-based RTLS Company AeroScout). AeroScout's RTLS leverages Wi-Fi technology; at the time of the acquisition, Stanley Healthcare reported that it planned to incorporate its existing RFID technology with AeroScout's Wi-Fi-based hardware and MobileView software platform. The Portland Hospital for Women and Children is using the Hugs infant-protection system with Kisses mother-infant matching, as well as the Passport patient-protection system. These applications are part of Stanley Healthcare Solutions' Patient Security platform, and share a common device and communication network. The Hugs and Passport solutions, deployed across all nine floors of The Portland Hospital, have been integrated with a range of other security systems, including access-control equipment, elevators and video surveillance systems. The Hugs solution is designed to help protect infants from the potential threat of abduction; with the Kisses option, hospitals also receive an electronic means by which to properly match infants with their mothers, in support of traditional matching ID bands. The Passport solution, specifically designed to protect children from abduction or patient flight, offers such unique features as a tamper-resistant tag with a cut-resistant band, the ability to remove the tag for medical procedures and then reattach it using the same band, and a customizable "whiteboard" to help manage the patient census. The Portland Hospital is already planning to expand its deployment of Stanley Healthcare Solutions' products into a new patient area currently under construction on the ground floor, according to Stanley Healthcare. The medical facility is the only private hospital in the United Kingdom entirely dedicated to women and children. The Patient Security solutions in use at the hospital were implemented by Turun UK Ltd., a Stanley Healthcare Solutions partner.

NXP Delivers NFC to Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 Devices
NXP Semiconductors has announced that Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system will integrate the software stack of NXP's NFC controller, known as PN544, thereby enabling rich user experiences and convenient interactions for mobile users. By being pre-integrated and end-to-end-validated by Microsoft, NXP reports, its Near Field Communication (NFC) technology becomes suitable for handset manufacturers looking to deliver NFC-enabled smartphones based on Windows Phone 8 quickly to market. The company first announced that it was working on compatibility with Windows 8 more than a year ago (see NFC Companies Prepare for Windows 8). Multiple Microsoft original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners have already announced Windows Phone 8 handsets with NFC functionality, including HTC, Nokia and Samsung. Windows Phone 8 smartphones with NFC capability will be able to leverage a range of NFC applications that provide contactless convenience and simplicity, as well as security for mobile transactions, NXP reports. For example, a Windows Phone 8 smartphone user can tap a tag to check in at a restaurant, tap a smart poster to access links to a Web site, or tap another NFC-enabled device to share content, such as a picture or video. With a secure element, NFC also enables a virtual wallet with credit cards, loyalty cards and coupons for mobile transactions, as well as solutions for mobile ticketing and access control. Additionally, NFC further enables interoperability by connecting Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8-based devices, such as laptops, ultrabooks and tablets.

Ekahau Introduces Vision 2.0 Location Analytics Platform for Hospitals
Ekahau, a provider of Wi-Fi-based real-time location system (RTLS) solutions, has announced the availability of Ekahau Vision 2.0, a new version of the company's location analytics platform for hospital administrators, employees and caregivers. Ekahau's Vision 2.0 software platform, the company reports, provides clear visibility into hospital workflows, delivering business intelligence from rules based on the movements of assets and individuals. The system consists of battery-powered Wi-Fi tags, mounted to assets or carried by people; the Ekahau RTLS Controller software, used to locate and manage tracked devices; and Ekahau Vision software. Vision 2.0 is now available as an upgrade for existing Ekahau customers, and as a part of all new Ekahau RTLS deployments. According to Ekahau, the new version provides improved visibility into the location of individual assets and groups of assets, enabling staff members to more quickly locate equipment and prevent loss, waste and theft. An updated interface includes reporting tools and dashboard views of workflow patterns across departments, including pharmacies, laboratories, ORs, ERs and catering areas, thereby offering business intelligence that improves decision-making.

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