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RFID News Roundup

U Grok It raises $600,000 in angel funding, begins manufacturing UHF smartphone readers; Xerafy, RFID Global Solution, Alien Technology partner on RFID kit for hospitals; Holland RFID, Xerafy announce oil-and-gas partnership; Walgreens' Duane Reade drugstores deploy Bluetooth beacons; Nivea embeds StickNFind beacons in magazine ads; CSL creates dual-mode access cards in partnership with HID, announces new temperature tag; Qualcomm establishes subsidiary as standalone Bluetooth beacon company.
By Beth Bacheldor

Nivea Embeds StickNFind Beacons in Magazine Ads

A Nivea ad with a StickNFind Bluetooth beacon bracelet
StickNFind Technologies' Bluetooth beacons—active RFID tags that leverage Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology—have been used as part of magazine advertisement in the April 23 edition of the Brazilian newsweekly magazine Veja. The company's sticker tag, known as Stick-n-Find, was used in an ad conceived by advertising agency FCB Brasil for Nivea's SUN Kids sunscreen. Embedded on the right side of the advertisement page was a detachable bracelet made of water-resistant paper and containing the Stick-n-find Bluetooth beacon. The magazine readers were instructed to download Nivea's phone app via iTunes or Google Play, and to then pair the bracelet with the app to help them monitor their children's whereabouts on the beach. An alarm can be configured to trigger if a child wanders beyond a distance set in the app. Approximately the size and thickness of a U.S. quarter, the Stick-n-Find beacon comes with a standard watch battery that can be replaced, so the tags are reusable. The tag has a range of about 100 feet. According to Nivea, consumers who have not purchased the magazine with the bracelet but wish to use the app can buy the tag through the StickNFind's website.

CSL Creates Dual-Mode Access Cards in Partnership With HID, Announces New Temperature Tag

CSL's CS8304 Cold Chain Temperature Logging Tag
Convergence Systems Ltd. (CSL) has announced that, in partnership with HID Global, it has created a new series of RFID access-control ID cards that operate at both ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) and high-frequency (HF). For long-range access control, all three cards in the Dual-Mode series contain a battery-assisted passive (BAP) UHF RFID tag complying with the EPC Gen 2 standard, and offering a UHF read range of 20 meters (66 feet) in free space and 5 meters (16 feet) on the human body (using CSL's CS203 reader). For high-security applications, the cards employ 13.56 MHz HF RFID technology compatible with NXP Semiconductors' Mifare or HID Global's iClass. The CS9110, made with a Mifare passive HF chip, and has an HF read range of 2.5 centimeters (1 inch). The CS9111, made with an HID eProx HF tag, offers an HF read range of 9 centimeters (3.5 inches). And the CS9112, made with an HID iClass HF tag, has an HF read range of 2.5 centimeters (1 inch). All three card models are pre-printable, the company reports, and feature an ultra-thin battery that allows them to fit into a wallet. CSL has also unveiled the CS8304 Cold Chain Temperature Logging Tag, compliant with the EPC Class 3 Gen 2 standard, which features 10 kilobytes of logging memory for the saving of temperature data throughout a trip. Built for use in the harshest, coldest and most demanding of cold chain applications, the CS8304 tag is fully enclosed by a plastic case to meet IP 67 standards, CSL reports. A light- emitting diode (LED) indicates temperature violations. Powered by a lithium battery, the CS8304 is designed to perform well amid products with high water content—which, the company notes, is typically a killer for passive tags. It can be read by any EPC Gen 2-compliant reader, measures 86 millimeters by 54 millimeters by14 millimeters (3.34 inches by 2.12 inches by 0.55 inch) and has an operating temperature of -20 degrees to +60 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees to +140 degree Fahrenheit) and a temperature accuracy of +/- 0.5 degree Celsius. The CS8304 can be configured to take temperature measurements at a rate ranging from once per second to once every 2.5 days.

Qualcomm Establishes Subsidiary as Standalone Bluetooth Beacon Company
Qualcomm has announced that its Qualcomm Technologies Inc. (QTI) subsidiary has spun off one of its divisions as a standalone company, known as Gimbal Inc., to market its Gimbal technology platform that includes Gimbal Bluetooth beacons—battery-powered tags that transmit a unique ID number via the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol. QTI has signed a definitive agreement with a group of third-party investors to establish Qualcomm Retail Solutions (QRS), an existing subsidiary of QTI, as an independent, standalone company. Once the transaction closes, the third-party investors will collectively assume a controlling interest in the business, Qualcomm reports. QTI will remain a substantial investor, and all aspects of QRS, including the Gimbal technology platform, will be part of this transaction, with the QRS entity renamed Gimbal Inc. According to a Qualcomm spokesperson, the move to transition QRS into a standalone business is intended to provide Gimbal with greater latitude in serving its partners and customers, with the speed and agility required to capitalize on its leading industry position. While the spokesperson declines to comment on any future product development plans by Gimbal Inc., she says Qualcomm "remains committed to our vision of the Digital Sixth Sense and believes Gimbal Inc. is a business at the forefront of driving this vision. As such, Qualcomm Technologies remains very interested in the future success of Gimbal Inc., and is retaining an ongoing equity interest." The third-party investors are funding the business via a new investment round that includes additional funding from QTI. The investor group comprises a mix of venture-capital, strategic and individual investors, including the i-Hatch LBS Fund, which includes such strategic corporate investors as Zebra Technologies Corp. and AEG. The transaction is expected to close in May 2014. Rocco Fabiano, QRS' current president, will serve as Gimbal Inc.'s CEO. The Gimbal beacons are designed to complement GPS technology, Qualcomm explains, by allowing devices and applications to derive their proximity to beacons at a micro-level. A user's mobile application can be enabled to search for the beacon's transmission, and once it comes within physical proximity to the beacon and detects it, the app can notify the customer of location-relevant content, promotions and offers. The Gimbal beacons are built and configured to Apple's iBeacon specification. Qualcomm's Gimbal platform is context-aware and offers geofencing, proximity, interest sensing, consumer privacy controls, a communication platform and more. For example, Gimbal Interest Sensing provides applications with inferred end-user interests, based on mobile phone usage. The solution includes Gimbal proximity beacons and a software development kit (SDK) for the iOS and Android platforms, as well as Gimbal Manager, a Web-based tool for managing geofences, privacy, profile rules, content, distribution, data and analytics.

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