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RFID News Roundup

Sirit signs multiyear tollway contract; WJ offers open source software; VF Corp. picks Monarch products; RSI ID enabled for tag manufacturing.
By Ari Juels
Apr 01, 2005The following are news announcements made during the week of Mar. 28.

Sirit Signs Multiyear Tollway Contract
Sirit, a Canadian RFID hardware provider based in Ontario, has completed a five-year supplier agreement worth approximately $12.9 million with the E-470 Public Highway Authority in Colorado; the E-470 is a tollway running along the eastern perimeter of Denver. Since 1998, the contract between the two companies had been renewed on an annual basis. This multiyear contact decreases the highway authority's transponder-procurement costs and makes provisions for the use of a battery-replaceable transponder, which Sirit is currently developing for initial testing in 2006. The E-470 highway authority currently has 104 automatic vehicle identification (RFID) readers from Sirit in use—one for each toll lane. More than 307,000 Sirit RFID transponders have been issued to drivers of the E-470, which supports more than 160,000 drivers each day.

WJ Offers Open Source Software
WJ Communications, a San Jose, Calif.-based supplier of RFID readers, RF semiconductors and RF modules, is offering its dynamic link library (DLL), the software architecture for its MPR Series PCMCIA card RFID readers, to the public on an open source basis. The company is offering DLL as open source software in order to promote and facilitate the use of the MPR Series RFID cards in handheld, printer, portal or other reader applications. The DLL, along with documentation, will be provided to WJ Communications customers so that they can develop custom reader-control software. The company has already been providing a host control program, or application program interface (API), with each reader sold, but it says including the open source DLL will make it faster and easier for its customers to build onto the DLL code to create value-added host applications. WJ Communications also hopes that offering the DLL will reduce customer application development time and facilitate the integration of its MPR cards into OEM RFID printer products.

VF Corp Picks Monarch Products
Paxar, the White Plains, N.Y.-based maker of RFID and bar code printing products for the retail supply chain, announced that VF Corp., a Greensboro, N.C.-based apparel company whose branded products include Lee, Wrangler, Earl Jeans and The North Face, has chosen Paxar's Monarch RFID printer-encoders and smart labels for its Imagewear division. The Imagewear division will use Monarch system to tag pallets and carton of products being shipped to major retailers. VF says it conducted extensive testing of RFID equipment and labels before choosing Paxar's products, which it says have proven to be "virtually 100 percent readable." VF also purchases merchandising tags and labels from Paxar.

RSI ID Enabled for Tag Manufacturing
Chula Vista, Calif.-based systems integrator RSI ID Technologies has secured the assembly line machinery necessary to manufacture RFID tags in-house, outsourcing only the silicon used in the tag's integrated circuit. RSI can now produce complete RFID tags, including inlay assembly and smart label conversion. "We're cutting a lot of middlemen out," says Wolf Bielas, RSI ID's CEO. RSI ID is gearing up to have a manufacturing capacity of 250 million RFID tags per year by the end of 2006. The company also recently acquired a patent enabling it to manufacture antennas, as well. The company says its ability to manufacture antennas in-house guarantees supply, ensures quality and enables a higher level of customization for each customer's unique needs. RSI also produces RFID-enabled ("smart") shelving for retail environments, real-time location systems, and custom-developed software, and offers middleware integration, systems integration, training and consulting services.
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