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RFID News Roundup

Strategic Systems & Technology unveils package for quick-start RFID asset tracking; Kit Check chooses Safecor Health to apply tags to pharmacy kit medications for hospitals; GearID readies Bluetooth- and NFC-enabled GearTag for tracking personal items, pets and more; Birkeland Current launches active RFID technology to help people conserve electricity; Savi Technology to deliver nearly $7 million worth of active tags to the U.S. Marines.
By Beth Bacheldor
Sep 05, 2013

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: Strategic Systems & Technology Corp.; Kit Check; Safecor Health; GearID; Birkeland Current; and Savi Technology.

Strategic Systems & Technology Unveils Package for Quick-Start RFID Asset Tracking
RFID systems integrator Strategic Systems & Technology Corp. has unveiled its Strategic RFID Portal System software that runs on Motorola Solutions RFID equipment and is designed to make it easier to deploy and customize RFID implementations. The Strategic RFID Portal System consists of a Web-based application that runs on a networked server, as well as a fixed portal application that runs on Motorola's FX7400 and FX9500 fixed RFID readers. It also includes an app for handheld readers. The system tracks RFID-tagged assets as they pass through a threshold or other chokepoint, the company reports, in order to provide each item's last known location, as well as its location history and time in process. The Strategic RFID Portal System uses Motorola Solutions hardware components, including fixed and handheld RFID readers and antennas. Specifically, the configurable system includes the software, fixed Motorola readers and antennas, Motorola MC3190-Z and MC9190-Z handheld or mobile readers, EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags, and installation and training. The software can be configured to track only those items in which a customer is most interested, and can also be customized to include unique identifiers and descriptions to items, locations, antennas and readers—data that can then be used to populate reporting fields. A system dashboard provides a graphic summary of daily reads, item distribution and readers' last check-in points. Reports regarding item history, location history and more can be run and exported. Server requirements for the Strategic RFID Portal System are a quad-core processor, 8 gigabytes of random access memory (RAM) and 100 gigabytes of free hard disk space, as well as Microsoft's Windows Server 2008 with IIS 7, SQL Server Management Studio, SQL Server 2008 and Web Deploy 3.0. Client requirements are Windows XP or newer, Internet Explorer 9, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, as well as Microsoft Excel 2003 or newer (for exporting to Excel functionality).

Kit Check Chooses Safecor Health to Apply Tags to Pharmacy Kit Medications for Hospitals
Kit Check, a provider of automated hospital pharmacy kit-processing software, has announced an RFID medication-tagging program with Safecor Health, an outsourced medication re-packager for hospitals within the United States. Kit Check's solution leverages ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) readers built into a Kit Check scanning station, along with UHF EPC RFID tags attached to medications, as well as to the kits in which they are packed. With RFID tags added to medications, a Kit Check scanning station can count and validate every item automatically. Instead of 30 minutes of manual labor, the company explains, RFID combined with Kit Check's cloud-based software enables these processes to take place within seconds. In addition, the solution helps hospitals determine if any kits contain recalled drugs, as well as which ones, simply by accessing the Kit Check software. This eliminates the need for workers to manually perform a search in the event of a recall. By partnering with Safecor Health, Kit Check's customers now have two options: having their internal staff add the RFID tags to medications, or leveraging Safecor Health to ship pre-tagged medications ready for immediate use. According to Kit Check, Safecor Health is currently applying RFID tags for eight Kit Check customers at an annual rate of 350,000 medication pharmacy kits, and the collaboration provides access to more than 700 hospitals already using outsourced repackaging services. Kit Check and Safecor Health are also collaborating to introduce the Kit Check solution to other hospital pharmacies throughout Safecor Health's customer base. Applying tags to pharmacy kits, which are used throughout hospitals and can contain up to 200 medications apiece, eliminates the manual process of replenishing hospital pharmacy kits and verifying expiration dates, Kit Check explains. Typically, a hospital pharmacy kit is returned to the pharmacy after use so that consumed medications may be replaced. A pharmacy technician must determine which items are missing and handle each individual medication manually, the company adds, to ensure that it is not nearing expiration. After expiring items are removed and medications are restocked, a pharmacist must double-check the accuracy of each kit's contents. The RFID-enabled Kit Check solution automatically counts and validates every item. Kit Check's solution has helped North Carolina's CaroMont Regional Medical Center to reduce the amount of time that employees spend locating recalled medications, replacing drugs and resealing kits (see North Carolina Hospital Identifies Recalled Drugs Via RFID).

GearID Readies Bluetooth- and NFC-enabled GearTag for Tracking Personal Items, Pets and More

The GearTag
GearID has announced a battery-powered tag designed to help people track their belongings, such as wallets, purses and even pets or children. The startup has also announced that it has kicked off a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise money to develop the tag. The GearTag is a small plastic tag containing a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radio capable of communicating with smartphones within a 100-meter (328-foot) range. BLE, a specification that is part of the Bluetooth 4.0 standard, allows for periodic rather than continuous data transfer, thereby prolonging a battery's lifespan since the tag often remains dormant. According to GearID, the GearTag coin-sized battery will last for approximately one year and can easily be replaced by a customer. The firm is also developing GearTag apps to run on BLE-equipped mobile devices, such as the latest Apple iPhones and iPads. The app is used to set up each GearTag and pair it to the mobile device, as well as record information regarding each tagged asset. That information can then reside on the device and/or be hosted by GearID in the cloud; if hosted in the cloud, the data can be accessed at any time via the native apps or on a Web browser. The app can be used to page particular tags in order to locate the items to which those tags have been affixed. If the GearTag is in range, it will answer the page by chirping. Similarly, the tag can be used to page and locate the mobile device to which it is paired. Once a GearTag has been paired using the GearTag app, alerts can be set to trigger in the event that a GearTag is moved out of range of the mobile device. For example, if a tag moves out of range of its paired smartphone, an alert will set off an alarm on the GearTag. A 'Marco' feature can ascertain the approximate distance between the mobile device and the tag; as the mobile device moves closer, the feature displays whether the device is getting closer to (hotter) or further from (colder) the tag. According to GearID, if a tagged item is lost and out of range, that tag could be located by the greater community of GearTags. If another user is in the vicinity, the company reports, the lost tag will broadcast its identity to the user's smartphone, which will then report the location to the GearTag servers. Each tag also carries a unique passive Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID inlay and QR code that can be scanned via a smartphone bar-code scanner app. If someone finds and scans a tagged item, GearID explains, his or her Web browser is directed to the GearTag Web site, where that person is provided with instructions indicating how to return the item to its owner while preserving the privacy of both parties. The GearTag is now available for pre-order through Kickstarter; one GearTag is available for a pledge of $30, and two are available for $50. An early-bird special of a $20 per GearTag has already sold out. GearID says it expects to deliver the GearTags by year's end. The GearTag is not the first such Bluetooth tag on the market. Reveal Labs is developing the Tile, while Sticknfind Technologies already offers its sticker tag (see Who Says RFID Tags Pose a Privacy Risk or Are Too Costly?).

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