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RFID News Roundup

Savi releases next-generation active RFID tags; Farsens unveils new RFID-enabled, battery-free pressure sensor tag; Secura Key launches multi-reader access control panel; European Commission clears Honeywell's acquisition of Intermec; Performance Buildings' office-sharing system built on HID Global access technology; Idaho police officer and school counselor launch RTLS-based Petty-Ford Security Solutions.
By Beth Bacheldor
Jun 20, 2013

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: Savi Technology; Farsens; Secura Key; Honeywell, Intermec; Performance Buildings, HID Global; and Petty-Ford Security Solutions.

Savi Releases Next-Generation Active RFID Tags
Savi Technology has announced new versions of its family of active RFID tags that it says deliver improvements in range, reliability, battery life, storage capacity and computing capability. The upgraded versions of the ST-654 "data-rich" tag, the ST-621 "license-plate" tag and the ST-618 asset tag now use Savi's proprietary system on a chip (SoC) technology, unveiled in July 2010 (see Savi Unveils Developer Tools Program, System on Chip, to Spur Growth). The SoC combines all of the primary capabilities of Savi's RFID tags, including a ultra-high frequency (UHF) 433 MHz transceiver (for transmitting data to a reader), a low-frequency (LF) 123 kHz receiver (enabling a dormant tag to wake up when they detect an LF signal transmitted by a Savi Signpost or Signpost-Reader installed at a chokepoint), memory, ISO 18000-7 firmware, and an ultra-low-power 32-bit ARM core processing chip, all on a single 9-millimeter by 9-millimeter package. The ST-654 active RFID tag is suited for applications including the tracking of shipping containers, vehicles and other large assets and delivers real-time asset information to guide supply chain operations. It provides 128 kilobytes of data storage. The ST-618 is a rugged active RFID tag suited for the locating, tracking and managing of medium to high-value assets in both defense and commercial applications, and the ST-621 license plate tag is a low-costing active RFID tag designed for various applications, including the tracking of shipping containers and other conveyances, Savi says. The new tags' static UHF is increased by 30 percent to 650 feet, which, according to Savi, as well beyond the requirements established by the U.S. Department of Defense in the current RFID III contract and RFID IV proposal. The new tags' static LF range has also been improved and is three times greater than previous versions of these tags&mdashan improvement that reduces the number of readers required for chokepoint (gate) detection of tags, the company reports, and enables users to automatically identify and track critical assets over much longer ranges. The upgraded tags also double the quantity of UHF collections at 25 miles per hour, improving the reliability of tracked asset information and the speed at which shipments can move through facilities and routes, according to Savi. The SoC technology reduces power consumption in the tags, extending battery life beyond five years. Validation of the tag improvements was completed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), one of 10 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories managed by DOE's Office of Science, as part of their certification of the tags for use on the Department of Defense's In-Transit Visibility network (RF ITV). The new tags are already in use by the U.S. Department of Defense. They are available now from Savi directly, with pricing unchanged from previous versions. While select vendors are licensed to sell Savi's ISO 18000-7 tag designs under the DOD's RFID III contract, Savi says it is the only provider that can offer this newer version with the significantly improved performance and capabilities.

Farsens Unveils UHF RFID tag with Battery-Free Pressure Sensor

Farsens' Vortex1 wireless sensor

Farsens, a provider of passive RFID-enabled sensor technology and wireless sensor networks, has introduced the Vortex1, an ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID sensor tag designed to monitor pressure in sealed places without the need of batteries or wires. The tag is ideal for pressure-sensitive asset and process management applications. Because it needs no wiring and requires no maintenance involving battery changes, it works well for retrofitting piping systems, gas/liquid containers or similar assets and processes, the company says. The sensor tag supports the EPCglobal Gen 2 standard and has a reading distance of around 1.5 meters (5 feet). It incorporates the LPS331AP pressure sensor from ST Microelectronics that has with a pressure range from 260 to 1260 millibars. The tag is delivered on the form of printed circuit board (PCB) and has 96 bits of EPC memory and 32 bits of Tag ID (TID) memory. It can be embedded in a wide variety of materials such as plastics or concrete and encapsulated in an IP67 or IP68 casing for usage in harsh environments. The Vortex1 comes in a variety of sizes and with four different antenna designs, giving customers a variety of options to best meet the needs of their required applications, according to Farsens, which is headquartered in San Sebastián, Spain. The existing antenna designs include three basic dipole antennas to maximize the communication distance. They are 150 millimeters, 135 millimeters or 135 millimeters long and 36 millimeters wide. They have different properties for completely battery free and battery assisted passive solutions. The fourth antenna features a meander, omnidirectional antenna design and the tag is 82 millimeters by 36 millimeters; this is designed to provide better performance for applications in which the tag needs to be read in different positions. The company can also create custom antenna designs. Samples and evaluation kits are available; pricing is available from Farsens.

Secura Key Launches Multi-Reader Access Control Panel
Secura Key has introduced the NOVA.16 (model SK-MRCP), a multi-reader access control panel for proximity and contactless smart card technologies that can connect&mdasha local area network or a high-peed, RS485 peripheral network&mdashup to 16 single-door Secura Key Smart Readers, each containing all of the inputs and outputs to control and monitor a single door. The panel is based on the ARM Cortex M3, 32-bit RISC processor and provides a major technology upgrade to Secura Key's legacy SK-NET system, according to Secura Key. The combination of a control panel and Smart Readers eliminates the labor and cost of cable home runs, and multiple control panel installations, Secura Key reports, and the architecture is similar to high-end system panels, but designed for the deployments with one to 16 doors. To add individual doors, customers can easily connect additional Smart Readers and make all door connections at the reader. To go beyond 16 doors, an additional NOVA.16 can be added to the network or be daisy chained using RS485, according to Secura Key. In addition, the NOVA.16 reduces the number of control panels required for multi-door systems, which is a critical issue for IT, Electrical and Utility Rooms where space for security electronics is at a premium, the company says. The control panel also can communicate with the SK-WIO-1 single-door Wiegand interface, which allows any Wiegand device to be connected to NOVA.16, including keypad, biometric and long-range card readers, as well as non-Secura Key card readers. The NOVA.16's RS-485 communications lines are hardened with gas discharge tube surge suppression, and the control panel has a 3-amp heavy-duty power supply with power line noise immunity and continually monitors backup-battery status. Communications speeds and transaction storage capacity have more than doubled over previous controller models, Secura Key says. The ARM platform will enable future feature enhancements and system upgrades. NOVA.16 can be combined with Secura Key legacy 2-door control panels on the same system, since they use the same programming conventions and user interface.

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