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Toronto Expands RFID-Enabled Bike-Sharing Program

Bike Share Toronto has contracted with PBSC Urban Solutions to supply new bicycles and stations, using Syrma's HF RFID tags and readers.
By Claire Swedberg

PBSC is now offering electric bicycles (e-bikes) known as Boost bikes, which have integrated pedal-assisting electric motors and rechargeable batteries to power them. The batteries could also be used to power the bike's tag, boosting its read range and enabling other functionality. However, the company declines to specify the type of functionality it might add.

Syrma Technology, headquartered in India and with offices in the United States, France, Switzerland, Germany and Singapore, makes RFID hardware—including readers based on Texas Instruments' and NXP Semiconductors' reference designs—for bike-sharing programs, as well as for a variety of other applications. The company can also provide bicycle-sharing solutions that utilize its own RFID middleware to provide access to the bikes and track their usage. The middleware enables inventory management based on the tagged bikes' locations, explains Paul Dahl, Syrma's business development director, as well as a billing system to link each user's payment information with his or her account and bike access.

PBSC's Jean-Paul Paloux
According to Dahl, Syrma also provides its passive HF RFID tags to a leading hobbyist radio-controlled car manufacturer, which embeds the tags into rechargeable batteries for authentication purposes. "Syrma RFID tags are helping to identify the type of battery and its capacity," he explains, "ultimately cutting down on wasted time by eliminating the hassle of programming and using complicated setups." A user can read the tags via a handheld RFID reader in order to confirm a particular car's battery type before attempting to recharge that battery, in order to prevent errors that could damage a battery or the car itself.

Additionally, the company provides its passive Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID tags to the medical industry, which is affixing the tags to blister packs to enable the reuse of untouched pharmaceuticals. If a person receives medication and then decides that he or she no longer wants it, the medicine can be shipped back to the provider. If the drugs are tagged with Syrma tamper-resistant tags, the provider can determine whether the product is intact, thereby ensuring that it never resells any medication that has been tampered with.

"This is one example among the various health-care-focused RFID solutions that Syrma has developed over the years," Dahl states. "We remain very excited about the RFID use cases in health care, and we see a lot of future potential for our RFID solutions to make a positive impact in health care in a variety of applications." To date, Syrma's RFID solutions for the health-care industry have included tags, software and readers for authenticating and monitoring the use of medical instruments, as well as disposable and durable medical supplies. In addition, Syrma has developed RFID solutions for tracking assets and monitoring patients.

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