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RFID News Roundup

OrganicID proves HF capability in organic circuit; Sun upgrades RFID software for Gen 2; ABI launches RFID database service; software boosts handheld reader; Paxar giving 110 percent; new funding for TAGSYS.

By Ari Juels
Apr 22, 2005The following are news announcements made during the week of Apr. 18

OrganicID Proves HF Capability of Organic Circuit
OrganicID a Colorado Springs, Colo.-based company that is attempting to produce printable RFID tags made of organic polymers, is successfully printing rectifier circuits that can process radio waves at frequencies of 13.56 MHz and higher. The company has been printing the rectifiers, which are one part of the chip used in an RIFD tag, successfully since last year, but until now had only been able to conduct simulations of the circuit operating at 13.56 MHz. The company hopes to eventually print entire RFID tags that operate at this frequency, which it says is most likely to be used in item-level tagging in the retail supply chain. "The rectifier needs to operate at 13.56 MHz in order for an RFID tag to operate at that frequency," says the company's vice president, Jon Barad. "The rest of the circuits can operate at lower frequencies." (A rectifier converts alternating current to direct current, which is what will be used to power the entire integrated circuit in an RFID tag.) "This proves that OrganicID can walk the talk," says Barad, about the company's movement from simulated to actual tests of the rectifier. The company will continue to develop all of the elements within an integrated circuit until it can print an entire RFID tag using organic polymers. German company Poly IC has already printed an entire RFID tag using organic polymers, but 125 kHz is the highest frequency at which it operates. Poly IC recently announced it has developed a rectifier that works at 13 MHz.

Sun Upgrades RFID Software for Gen 2
Sun Microsystems has upgraded its core RFID offering with the release of its Java System RFID Software Version 2.0. Java System RFID Software is RFID middleware connecting readers and sensors to enterprise applications. According to the company, the new software includes the additional capability to connect to both ISO and EPC Generation 2 readers. It also simplifies the integration of RFID data from readers and sensors into enterprise application systems with the inclusion of support for Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and Java Message Service (JMS). Version 2.0 includes a browser-based management interface for centralized monitoring and management of RFID devices and other sensors. Sun released Java System RFID Software Version 1.0 in July 2004.

ABI Launches RFID Database Service
Industry-analyst firm ABI Research has launched its RFID Industry Database: an online searchable version of its quarterly RFID market reports. The quarterly report details RFID company backgrounds, offerings, capabilities, partnerships, customer wins and standing relative to competitors, applications and vertical markets. ABI also includes its Vendor Matrices—where RFID vendors are compared according to "innovation" and "implementation" experience. The new RFID Industry Database service is part of the ABI Research RFID Research Service, which requires an annual subscription.

Software Boosts Handheld Reader
Panatrack, a software developer and systems integrator based in Delafield, Wis., has released PanatrackerRFID, a software product for Symbol Technologies' MC9000-G handheld bar code/RFID reader and designed for receiving RFID-tagged shipments or shipments with a mixture of RFID tags and bar codes. At the receiving dock, an operator uses the PanatrackerRFID system to record the receipt of tagged containers, cases and pallets (reading the RFID tags and/or bar codes on the items). By integrating with a shipper's back-end system, PanatrackerRFID can compare each shipment being received against its corresponding advance shipping notice (ASN). With this function, the operator first calls up the ASN, then reads the pallet and case labels on all of that order's shipments. Once all the order's shipments are received, the Symbol handheld displays a list of any missing items. The operator can then use the handheld to break apart the pallet and try to find the tags carrying these items by either interrogating them again with the RFID reader or, if the labels also have bar codes, scanning the bar codes to find the remaining items on the ASN. The software is available only with an application programming interface for the Symbol MC9000-G, but APIs for other hardware devices are in development. The MC9000-G reads EPCglobal Gen 1 Class 0, Class 1 and will be firmware upgradeable to EPC Gen 2. PanatrackerRFID is available now. Pricing information for the software is not being released; the MC9000-G device must be purchased separately.

Paxar Giving 110 Percent
White Plains, N.Y.-based Paxar, a supplier of RFID and bar code labeling systems marketed under the Monarch brand, is confident that its Class 1 RFID labels and tags encoded by the Monarch 9855 printer-encoder will not fail. If they do, Paxar says it will give, upon inspection, a full refund for each failed tag, plus an additional 10 percent. The refund applies to any label returned to Paxar that could not be encoded by the Monarch printer-encoder, or cannot be read, or any label that the customer received through the Monarch Q-Service for RFID program, in which Paxar pre-encodes the RFID inlays on the customer's behalf. During the Monarch smart label manufacturing process, the RFID chip in every smart label goes through two tests. If a chip fails either test, or even performs poorly, it is discarded. Then, when the user encodes a label through the Monarch 9855 printer-encoder, the label is tested a third time. If it fails this time, a black bar is printed on it.

New Funding for TAGSYS
TAGSYS, a provider of RFID tagging systems for product tracking and authentication, has announced the completion of a $12.2 million round of funding from ENVEAVOUR Venture Capital, based in Geneva, Switzerland, and New York-based hedge fund Elliott Associates, and its affiliates. The new investment brings TAGSYS' total financing to more than $43 million. Elliott Associates joins previous investors, including ENDEAVOUR, AXA Private Equity, Add Partners, Joint Investment Fund for Young Enterprises (FCJE) and Saffron Hill Ventures.
Saffron Hill Ventures and FCJE also participated in the new
round. TAGSYS, which has a U.S. headquarters in Doylestown, Pa., says it will use the funds to expand its R&D initiatives and to increase its manufacturing capacity.
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