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RFID News Roundup

ABI report says UHF chipsets may lower reader prices; costs stymieing RFID in European supply chains; Avery Dennison RFID names 17 qualified converters; AeroScout, Alanco team up on Wi-Fi tracking; HID, INSIDE partnering on access control apps; New Zealand passports carrying Philips chips; South Korea approves use of Savi 433.92 MHz systems; AIM Global unveils RFID Emblem.
By Andrew Price
Dec 09, 2005The following are news announcements made during the week of December 5.

ABI Report Says UHF Chipsets May Lower Reader Prices
A report from Oyster Bay, N.Y.-based ABI Research, titled "The Market for RFID Readers" says end users' frustration over the high prices for ultra-high-frequency (UHF) RFID interrogators (readers) might be eased within the coming year, if integrated chipsets for readers become widely available and reader production increases. These two factors are likely to drive down UHF interrogator manufacturing costs, says the report. Integrated chipsets combine many disparate interrogator components—such as RF signal processors for receiving and broadcasting signals—into a single unit. Chipsets generally cost manufacturers less than the combined price of separately purchasing the components used therein. ABI Research analyst Sara Shah says chipsets are currently used to manufacture high-frequency (HF) readers, and that designers believe the prices of UHF readers, which currently run between $2,500 and $3,000, will likely fall when integrated chipsets become available for those readers. According to the report, prices for UHF readers might fall in late in 2006 or early 2007. Increasing orders for UHF readers will also drive prices down. In writing the report, Shah interviewed end users, as well as interrogator designers and manufacturers. The full report, available on the ABI site, costs $4,000.

Costs Stymieing RFID in European Supply Chains
A study of technology in European supply chains has found that while manufacturers, retailers and logistics providers see potential benefits from investing in RFID, most companies believe the technology is still too expensive to deploy. Published by U.K.-based distribution and logistics research group Analytiqa, the "Technology Across the Supply Chain" report draws on interviews, conducted in the third quarter of 2005, with more than 100 manufacturers, retailers and third-party logistics providers (3PLs) in Eastern and Western Europe. "Some [survey participants] are still looking to implement bar code systems. It shows that they are beginning to understand the visibility benefits of RFID, but there is a cost-prohibitive factor and they see bar codes as a cheap alternative," says Mark O'Bornick, senior analyst at Analytiqa. Even so, the survey found that RFID was considered the second most important future investment after enterprise resource planning systems, but ahead of warehouse management, inventory management and forecasting systems. Sixty-five of the survey respondents were manufacturing companies, 24 were retailers and 11 were 3PLs. Some of the barriers to RFID uptake that respondents indicated included doubts over the ability to use data collected through RFID, the lack of standard systems and the price of the tags. Companies also stated the technology's real benefits would stem only from RFID-enabled visibility across the entire supply chain. The research is available at Analytiqa's Web site at a cost of $1,495.

Avery Dennison RFID Names 17 Qualified Converters
Avery Dennison RFID, a Clinton, S.C., designer and manufacturer of RFID tags, has announced that 17 RFID converters have met its standards to become Avery Dennison "Qualified Converters." The converters named are: CCL Label, Kennedy Group, Lowry Computer Products, Mid South Graphics, Moore Wallace, MPI Label Systems, Nashua, National Label, NCR Systemedia Division, Paxar Americas, R&V Group, RSI ID Technologies, Sato America, Topflight Corporation, Weber Marking Systems, WS Packaging and Zebra Technologies. Before awarding the certifications, Avery Dennison says it worked with the technical staff of each company for several months to conduct comprehensive evaluations of both Avery Dennison's RFID inlays and the converter's manufacturing and testing capabilities. The company is undergoing similar efforts with converters in Europe.

AeroScout, Alanco Team Up on Wi-Fi Tracking
AeroScout, a San Mateo, Calif., provider of Wi-Fi based active RFID solutions, has joined with Alanco Technologies, a provider of RFID-based tracking systems for correctional facilities, to develop and deliver a 2.4 GHz real-time location system (RTLS) for the corrections industry. The two firms are currently undertaking a pilot of Alanco's inmate tracking system using AeroScout's Wi-Fi RTLS technology within a European prison. Prior to working with AeroScout, Alanco provided its inmate tracking system only with 900 MHz tags and interrogators (see L.A. County Jail to Track Inmates). However, the vendor says a Wi-Fi-based system can be deployed internationally with more ease than a 900 MHz system, because the UHF band is regulated differently in countries outside the United States. Since the Wi-Fi tags can be read by standard Cisco wireless access points, the Alanco/AeroScout system can be less expensive to implement by end users with existing Wi-Fi networks than a UHF system requiring the installation of 900 MHz interrogators.

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