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Gentag and AHC Debut NFC RFID Solution for North American Home Health Aides

The two companies are launching a product that includes a specially built cell phone and software that enables workers to chronicle their patient visits via system already in use the United Kingdom.
By Claire Swedberg

Gentag commercially released its first handsets in the United Kingdom in June 2012. To date, AHS indicates, 145 of its home health-care service provider clients are using the technology, with 21,000 NFC-enabled handsets made by Nokia, Samsung or other phone manufacturers, as well as 4,000 from Gentag.

Since Gentag developed the phone for use with the iConnect app, the company has been approached by other home health-care firms wishing to use the handsets. AHC and Gentag are now offering a kit that includes Gentag's GT-601v2 NFC cell phone and iConnect software, to be used by care workers in North America and the United Kingdom. In the United States, Gentag has tested its phone with subscriber identity modules (SIMs) from AT&T, T-Mobile and Vodafone, though the company has yet to select a North American carrier for use with the iConnect software.

The GT-601v2, Peeters says, offers an alternative to smartphones that are not only costly but can pose a variety of distractions for personnel on the job. By deploying the Gentag solution, companies could expect employees to put their smartphones aside while working, and to simply use this NFC device enabling them to communicate with the home office, track a client's care, log in and out of each visit, take pictures, or place personal calls when needed—but not get distracted by social networking, games or other apps offered on their smartphone. In addition, Peeters notes, Gentag can also offer the GT-601v2 with custom-adapted firmware, as requested.

Although the solution targets home health care and is intended for sale to companies that might purchase the devices in high volume, Peeters says it also has a use case for more personal applications. This, he explains, includes enabling parents to acquire the phones for younger children, allowing them to alert their parents upon returning home from school, simply by tapping the phone against an NFC tag at the door. "We see so many markets for this," he states.

"We're really proud of our product," says Marc Bense, Gentag's general manager for Europe. "No other phone performs as well, especially for the NFC read performance and field-proven robustness." The phone can interrogate NFC RFID tags located up to nearly 10 centimeters (4 inches) away, he reports, while most NFC phones must be much closer to a tag before they can capture its data. The Gentag kits are available in quantities of 3,000 units or more during the initial offering, he says. In such volume, he adds, the phones will cost $99 apiece.

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