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RFID News Roundup

RF Code launches smallest active asset-management tag; Survitec selects Tego's RFID solution for ATA 2000-compliant life vests; RPH Engineering unveils RFID-enabled gun safe; Dutch mental health-care provider uses Ekahau's RTLS to ensure staff safety; Canada's National Research Council partners with industry to develop printed RFID tags; Cubic Transportation Systems launches NextWave Mobile Business System for transit agencies; PinPoint Commercial and Thrive Senior Living build RFID-enabled assisted-living community.
By Beth Bacheldor
Oct 03, 2013

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: RF Code; Survitec, Tego; RPH Engineering; Ekahau; Canada's National Research Council; Cubic Transportation Systems; PinPoint Commercial and Thrive Senior Living.

RF Code Launches Smallest Active Asset-Management Tag

RF Code's M174 tag
RF Code has introduced its smallest RFID-enabled asset-tracking tag to date: the M174. The company says the battery-powered 433 MHz tag offers improved data transmission for higher accuracy, and a selection of installation tabs for flexibility in mounting and reuse throughout its lifespan. Designed for rack-mounted assets, the M174 integrates an infrared (IR) sensor with four receivers for clear signal transmission from any direction; broadcasts its unique ID number and IR location using RF Code's patented communication protocol; and features anti-collision technology for environments containing a high tag density. According to RF Code says, it has replaceable tabs allowing easy installation using flag, loop or thumbscrew tabs on any standard rack-mounted assets that need to be tracked, located and identified, as well as a replaceable tab design enabling reuse throughout the life of the tag. In addition, the tag is approximately 40 percent smaller than the company's current IT asset tag, yet still has a five-year battery life (the tag is powered by a coin cell battery) and the same read range, RF Code reports. The M174 tag will perform reliably in extreme temperature environments, the company indicates, ranging from -20 degrees to +70 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees to +158 degrees Fahrenheit). What's more, it performs well after exposure to humidity and hot-cold cycles. Encased in Lexan polycarbonate, the tag measures 1.56 inches (39.6 millimeters) long by 1.27 inches (32.3 millimeters) wide and 0.35 inch (8.9 millimeters) high, and weighs 0.4 ounce (11 grams). The tag works with RF Code's new Asset Manager Mobile, an asset-management software application for iPads, tablets and smartphones, as well as interactive desktop graphing and charting capabilities (see RFID News Roundup: RF Code Launches New Mobile Management Platform for Data Centers).

Survitec Selects Tego's RFID Solution for ATA 2000-compliant Life Vests
Survitec Group, a manufacturer of safety and survival equipment for the aviation and defense industries, has announced that it has selected Tego as its RFID solution provider for tagging the life vests it supplies to Airbus. Survitec says it is using Tego's RFID tagging solution, which includes Tego's rugged high-memory EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID TegoChip, its EPC Gen 2 passive UHF Dual Memory TegoTag inlay, TegoView software for compliance with the ATA Spec 2000 standard for RFID tagging from the Air Transport Association of America (ATA)—now known as Airlines for America. Tego will also provide its RFID expertise. With the addition of Tego's RFID solution, Survitec can now deliver tagged life vests compliant with the latest version of ATA Spec 2000, including the new dual-record data format now required by aviation companies. Survitec has already began delivering tagged life vests to other key customers, the company reports.

RPH Engineering Unveils RFID-Enabled Gun Safe

The GunBox
Engineering firm RPH Engineering is developing an RFID-enabled safe designed to keep firearms protected and out of the wrong hands, but also convenient to access when needed. The GunBox features an aircraft-strength aluminum alloy shell, and uses RFID and a biometric fingerprint scanner to keep handguns securely locked. It can be opened via an RFID-enabled ring or wristband, which is included with every box, or via a biometric fingerprint reader that can store multiple fingerprints. The box can also be programmed to open using a combination of the RF signature and fingerprint reader. The GunBox has incorporated off-the-shelf parts adhering to existing standards (ISO 15693), and the device's printed circuit boards (PCBs) and firmware were developed in-house, according to Michael Colton, The GunBox's electrical engineer. According to Colton, The GunBox is using Murata's MagicStrap high-frequency (HF) chips for their extremely small size and integrated antenna. For the reader, The GunBox uses an STMicroelectronics CR95HF 13.56 MHz multi-protocol contactless transceiver IC with a PCB loop antenna. Ryan Hyde, The GunBox's inventor and engineer, developed the RFID-enabled gun safe after realizing that gun owners are forced to choose between safety or convenience when storing their firearms. The GunBox addresses both of these needs, the company reports, by enabling rapid access to a firearm via a fingerprint ID, a unique RFID ring or bracelet or a combination of both. In addition to the RFID and biometric fingerprint capabilities, the device features alert notifications when open, moved or tampered with; GPS tracking as it is moved; battery backup that lasts several weeks; several mounting holes for discreet storage in almost any orientation; and a Kensington lock port for additional security. RPH Engineering is using crowdfunding via an Indiegogo campaign to raise $100,000. The company is offering funding options ranging from $10 (for a bumper sticker) to $390 (for the fully capable version that includes RFID, the biometric capability, alerting and GPS tracking). The GunBox is slated for delivery by December 2013.

Dutch Mental Health-care Provider Uses Ekahau's RTLS to Ensure Staff Safety
Ekahau has announced that Bouman Mental Health Care, located in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, is employing Ekahau's RFID-based real-time location system (RTLS) to improve staff safety via location-aware alerting. Ekahau's RTLS solution consists of the company's Wi-Fi-based RFID tags, infrared (IR) beacons to make location data more granular and Ekahau's Vision software (which determines the location of that individual's tag). Hospital employees wear Ekahau's active RFID badges and also use Ascom i62 handsets featuring Ekahau Positioning Clients to request help from nearby caregivers, and to make their real-time location known during emergencies. The handset acts like the Ekahau tags, the company explains, regularly beaconing a unique ID number linked to a particular staff member's identity. Bouman provides care to patients with addictive disorders and other psychiatric illnesses, among other services, and ensuring staff safety is critical, according to Ekahau. Employees who require assistance can pull down on the Ekahau badge's patent-pending safety switch, and their location will appear as a text message displayed on badges worn by other employees and security teams closest to the incident. Ekahau's active RFID badges operate over an existing Aruba Networks wireless local area network (WLAN), and eliminate the need for dialing and map look-ups. In addition, Ekahau notes, when an alarm is triggered on an Ascom handset, or in the event that a fire evacuation is required, mass notifications are instantly sent to Ekahau badges and Ascom handsets. The system also offers alarm escalation to external parties, the company adds, thereby ensuring staff safety during evening shifts. The Ekahau RTLS solution was implemented in eight buildings on campus, by Zetacom, a Dutch systems integrator and Ekahau certified partner. Other organizations that have deployed Ekahau's RTLS with the Ascom handsets include St. Andrew's Healthcare, the United Kingdom's largest nonprofit provider of mental-health services (see St. Andrew's Healthcare Gets Help in Real Time).

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