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RFID News Roundup

IBM, Intermec put full middleware suite in IF5; R and V Group guarantees Gen 1 labels, drops price; Bearing Point offering bag tracking consultation; study shows little change in consumer awareness of RFID; Plitek giving inlays the third degree; Cogiscan offering RFID for electronics manufacturing; OTI shipping 10 million RFID cards in 2005; Macau casino ordering 600,000 RFID gaming pieces; CISC creates products to simulate and measure portals; USDA offers grant program for NAIS trials, research.
By Andrew Price
Cogiscan Offering RFID for Electronics Manufacturing
Cogiscan develops RFID systems for electronics manufacturing systems used by contract manufacturers' circuit boards for the telecom, datacom, aerospace and defense industries. The company has released two new RFID-enabled products. Its RFID Smart Feeder retrofit kit consists of 125 kHz tags and interrogators that can be integrated with the feeder trays of manufacturing systems to ensure the proper components are put into the manufacturing process at all times. This can replace manual approaches to such quality control processes involving scanning bar codes. The company has also released an RFID-enabled feeder cart system, which allows manufacturers to track and trace the storage carts in which parts feeders are kept.

OTI Shipping 10 Million RFID Cards in 2005
On Track Innovations (OTI), of Fort Lee, N.J., provides RFID-based smart card solutions for homeland security payments, petroleum payments and other applications. OTI says it will deliver more than 10 million RFID-enabled payment cards to the payment market in the United States, including Visa, MasterCard and American Express, by the end of the year. This indicates a strong demand for RFID payment devices. OTI's tags and readers used for payments comply with the ISO 14333A and 14333B standards. Other hardware providers contributing hardware to the RFID payments market include Axalto, CPI Card Group, Hypercom, Ingenico, Verifone and ViVOtech.

Macau Casino Ordering 600,000 RFID Gaming Pieces
Gaming Partners International, based in Las Vegas, says it recently secured a major contract to supply RFID chips to the new Rio and Grand Waldo casinos in Macau, which Galaxy Resorts is opening early next year. The order includes more than 600,000 gaming chips and other gambling tokens with embedded 125 kHz RFID tags. This is the largest order for RFID-enabled gaming products the company has received in the 10 years it has been selling them. By adding RFID tags to the chips and other gambling tokens, casinos can then track their movements and perform speedy and accurate inventory counts.

CISC Creates Products to Simulate and Measure Portals
CISC Semiconductor, an Austrian designer of embedded microelectronic systems, has developed software to simulate the performance of different RFID portal and tagging designs, as well as a way to measure actual performance. The company has developed its CISC ASD (Application and System Design) software to formulate RFID packaging and portals. The CISC RFID field recorder is a handheld device that can measure the radio field within and around an RFID portal. CISC ASD includes a software library that holds detailed data on the EPCglobal Class 1 Gen 2 standard and other protocols specifying the way tags communicate with interrogators and other behavioral characteristics required for performance simulation. The CISC RFID field recorder allows for evaluation of the best use of all the multiple options provided by the standards. These options include selection of data rates, sessions and identification loops for anticollision. CISC's equipment is currently being used at the Metro Group RFID Innovation Center in Germany, to help model pallets loaded with RFID tagged cases and trace their movement through an UHF RFID portal. The CISC ASD, available commercially now, is priced at €10,000 per license. The RFID field reader will not be available commercially until January; CISC estimates the cost of the reader will be in the thousands of euros. So far, the company has developed versions of its ASD software and field recorder suitable only for testing in the European-sanctioned 868 MHz UHF range. However, CISC says versions for other frequencies and regions can be made available as demand dictates.

USDA Offers Grant Program for NAIS Trials, Research
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) says it will award $3 million in grants to state and tribal agencies to fund research in developing or testing potential solutions for animal identification and automated data collection. This award will be granted in support of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), a program intended to identify specific animals in the United States and record their movements over the course of their life span. NAIS will support state and federal animal disease monitoring and surveillance through the rapid tracing of infected and exposed animals during animal disease outbreaks. RFID technology is being studied and tested for use as a means of identifying and tracking livestock. Funding application packages are available on the APHIS Web site. The deadline for application is Dec. 30. Applications can be submitted electronically to Neil E. Hammerschmidt or through Grants.gov.

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