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RFID News Roundup

Xerafy, Omni-ID resolve RFID patent-infringement dispute; Farsens unveils Titan battery-free RFID-operated relay switch; Credit card website develops iBag—an RFID-enabled purse to curb debt; Meditek adds new Skytron SkyTrac smart cabinets to product portfolio; PiiComm, NeWave partner on RFID-enabled medical inventory-management solution; Smartrac, Avnet Electronics Marketing Americas enter distribution agreement.
By Beth Bacheldor

Meditek Adds New Skytron SkyTrac Smart Cabinets to Product Portfolio

SkyTrac four-shelf cart (model HFM1500)
Meditek, a Canada-based provider of health-care products, has announced that it has added RFID-enabled smart cabinets from Skytron to its product lineup. First announced in August 2013 (see RFID News Roundup: Skytron Unveils RFID-enabled Smart Cabinets for Tracking Health-care Products), Skytron's SkyTrac cabinets are designed to help health-care facilities automatically track such consumable items as sutures, stents and implants used for patient care. The smart cabinets feature RFID technology from WaveMark, which includes 13.56 MHz RFID readers compliant with the ISO 15693 standard, as well as reader antennas. In addition to allowing hospital personnel to spend less time on inventory control, the cabinets are also able to issue alerts for recalled or expired products. The associated data-collection and -analysis benefits, Meditek reports, help hospitals avoid under- and over-stocking, and capture critical product use data for patient records to improve efficiency and patient safety. According to Meditek, WaveMark has reported that individual hospital departments have saved more than 500 staff hours thanks to its RFID technology, as well as reducing on-hand inventory by as much as 30 percent and experiencing annual savings of $350,000 to $750,000. Some examples of the benefits of using SkyTrac smart cabinets include automatic RFID data-collection reads in the cabinets every 30 minutes, integration with such technologies as a hospital information system (HIS), an electronic medical record (EMR) system and an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Several designs and sizes are available, including a five-shelf cabinet (model HF1000) measuring 80 inches tall (with wheels), 44.5 inches wide and 21 inches deep. There is also a smart cabinet for guiding catheters and other long products stored on hangers (model HFH1000), a tabletop smart cabinet (model HFT1500) for small assets, and a four-shelf mobile cart that can be easily transported from a storage room to a procedure room (model HFM1500).

PiiComm, NeWave Partner on RFID-enabled Medical Inventory-Management Solution
PiiComm, a Canadian provider of managed mobility services, and NeWave Sensor Solutions, a supplier of item-level RFID tracking technologies, have announced a partnership to deliver to the Canadian market an automated inventory-management solution for tracking valuable medical supplies at hospitals and clinics. According to PiiComm, the two companies are combining their technologies into a Smart Inventory Management System (SIMS) to help hospitals and other health-care organizations more effectively manage medical supplies, valuable assets and staff compliance. PiiComm is responsible for the sale, implementation, integration and support of the SIMS solution, the components of which include NeWave Sensor Solutions' patented Wave antenna system, fixed RFID readers, software, professional services and ongoing support. Unlike a patch antenna that radiates a single beam in a given direction, NeWave's antennas are designed to uniformly illuminate a volume of space, PiiComm explains. PiiComm supplies EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) passive RFID tags from many vendors, including Omni-ID, Metalcraft and Avery Dennison, and deploys readers from Motorola Solutions (the FX series) and Intermec by Honeywell (the IF series). Featuring bins to house medical products, the SIMS solution can automatically monitor the state of a hospital's inventory and the locations of all items. An RFID tag is attached to each end of the bin, which is divided in half, forming "primary" and "safety" stock sides, so that as an item's primary supply is depleted, the bin can simply be reversed on the shelf to expose the safety stock side. SIMS continually monitors and reports which of the two possible positions each product bin is in (primary or safety), and the change data is consolidated in the SIMS Web-based software portal. The SIMS solution, PiiComm says, provides both a health-care facility and its medical products supplier with real-time visibility and continual updates regarding each inventoried item's stock position, as well as a complete stock order report. The solution is designed to eliminate the need for kanban and card-based systems that require staff members to pull stock cards or take action to ensure accurate inventory. According to PiiComm, the SIMS solution can, in many situations, be retrofitted to existing shelving systems, and is scalable to meet a customer's particular needs. PiiComm offers multiple software options to suit specific customer requirements, including the SIMS Sky Eye or custom applications and integration software developed by PiiComm Professional Services. SIMS Sky Eye is cloud-based software with customizable reports to allow a user to quickly view an accurate stock status by product, as well as what that company needs to order. SIMS is delivered to the Canadian market by PiiComm, and elsewhere by other NeWave-certified systems integration partners, according to PiiComm. It is marketed globally by NeWave Sensor Solutions and in Canada, exclusively by Avenue RFID Inc.

Smartrac, Avnet Electronics Marketing Americas Enter Distribution Agreement
Avnet Electronics Marketing Americas, a division of electronic-components distributor Avnet, has announced that it has entered into a distribution agreement with Smartrac, an RFID inlay supplier headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The distribution agreement focuses on Near Field Communication (NFC) and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID products. Avnet now offers Smartrac's solutions that are used in access control, contactless payment cards, automated fare collection, border control, RFID-based car immobilizers, asset tracking, baggage handling, industry and manufacturing, inventory management, logistics, supply chain management and other applications. The two companies will also collaborate on offering design-in support and services, Avnet reports, as well as developing customized solutions for customers. Corey Wilson, Smartrac's global director of consumer experience, added in the statement that the "partnership will provide a dedicated focus on delivering proven high-quality RFID tags and inlays targeting a variety of applications and use cases."

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