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RFID News Roundup

Alien releases EPC Class 1 reader for Europe; AIM Global introduces RFID mark; NCR offers labels and services; Tagsys receives $9 million in funding.
By Bob Violino
Sep 24, 2004The following are news announcements made during the week of Sept. 20.

Alien Releases Class 1 Reader for Europe
Alien Technology, a Morgan Hill, Calif.-based RFID systems provider, has announced the release of EPC Class 1 UHF readers and tags for the European market. The company says that the EPC Class 1 readers have been designed to meet all aspects of the new European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI) regulatory standard (EN 302 208) and that its new EPC Class 1 tags with 96 bits of user-programmable memory have been specifically developed to operate in Europe. The new standard allows UHF RFID readers to emit four times as much power, so readers based on the new standard offer performance closer to what can be achieved in North America. Alien's European readers include new capabilities such as "listen-before-talk"—a feature that allows readers to detect other readers in operation and avoid interfering with them. The readers and tags will be available beginning in mid-November. Alien did not disclose pricing.

AIM Global Introduces RFID Mark
AIM Global, a trade association for
automatic identification and data-collection technologies, has introduced a new RFID mark to help workers distinguish between labels that contain RFID transponders and those that don't. The AIM RFID mark aims to provide a standard way to clearly show the presence of an RFID transponder in a label or package, its frequency and data structure. The mark contains a two-character code. The first character indicates the frequency and coding authority; the second indicates the data content and/or structure. A provision is also made to identify compatible RFID readers/encoders. Both light-on-dark and dark-on-light versions of the AIM RFID mark can be downloaded free of charge from the AIM Web site at www.aimglobal.org/download.asp starting Oct. 15.

NCR Offers Labels and Services
NCR's Systemedia Division, a manufacturer of bar code labels, printer ribbons and bar code scanners, has introduced a suite of products and services aimed at companies looking to meet RFID tagging requirements from major retailers. Products include labels based on the EPC Class 1 or Class 0 specifications required by retailer mandates; thermal transfer ribbons that are designed to eliminate static (which can damage tags) and print on RFID smart labels; and RFID printers from Zebra Technologies and Printronics. NCR is also offering software for controlling printers and formatting labels, and it will service the printers after their warranty expires. The products are sold separately through NCR's direct sales force. They are available immediately in North America and will be rolled out in Europe, the Middle East and Asia once RFID standards and frequency ranges in these regions have been finalized.

Tagsys Receives $9 Million in Funding
French RFID systems provider Tagsys says it has received $9 million in a third round of funding from Add Partners and AXA Private Equity, Endeavour, Saffron Hill Ventures and Joint Investment Fund for Young Enterprises, which all had previously invested in Tagsys. The new investment brings Tagsys's total financing to over $30 million. The company says it will use the funds to continue its product and market development efforts. Tagsys is a leading provider of 13.56 MHz RFID tags, which are used in a wide variety of applications, including tagging clothing in laundries and item-level tracking.
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