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RFID News Roundup

ACG readers now NFC-capable; Sirit releasing new AVI interrogator; companies combine platforms for patient, asset tracking.
By Andrew Price
May 19, 2006The following are news announcements made during the week of May 15.

ACG Readers Now NFC-Capable
ACG Identification Technologies, a provider of smart card and RFID hardware, says it has added Near Field Communication (NFC) support to its families of Easy and Multi ISO-compliant high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz interrogators. These readers come in a variety of form factors, including fixed-position readers, handheld devices and a reader module sold to original equipment manufactures. The modules can be built into either stationary or mobile devices. Makers of cell phones and other mobile devices are using the NFC air-interface protocol to enable data exchange with mobile or fixed hardware containing RFID interrogators, for such applications as contactless payments or sending text and photos wirelessly. NFC devices exchange data at close proximity to each other. Existing users of any ACG interrogators from the Easy or Multi ISO lines can upgrade the devices to NFC compatibility by downloading firmware provided by ACG.

Sirit Releasing New AVI Interrogator
Sirit, a maker of RFID hardware, has introduced a new ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID interrogator for use in parking and vehicle access control applications. The IDentity MaX reader is a compact fixed-position reader measuring 10 inches by 12 inches, which can read the Sirit IDentity tags up to 12 feet away, depending on which tag is it reading. The Sirit IDentity MaX tags and readers communicate in the UHF band and use the EPC Class 0 air-interface protocol. The new MaX reader has an integrated antenna and can be powered through its Ethernet port, enabling a single cable to carry both power and data communications. Sirit says initial production units are scheduled to begin shipping in early July. The company also plans to introduce versions of the reader for use in Europe, as well as one for Korean operators. Sirit also sells transferable and non-transferable windshield-mountable tags and license plate-mountable tags, along with a new badge design to allow customers to choose the tag form factors best suited to their own environments.

Companies Combine Platforms for Patient, Asset Tracking
Exavera Technologies, a Portsmouth, N.H., provider of RFID tracking systems for health-care and homeland security applications, is working with Patient Care Technology Systems (PCTS), a Mission Viejo, Calif. provider of patient-processing and tracking software for hospitals, to integrate their products. The resultant solution is designed to deploy an automatic patient- and asset-tracking system using RFID-enabled patient wristbands and asset tags to locate and track patients, from the admitting process to surgery or other care procedures. The two companies have signed an agreement to market their combined solution to hospitals. The PCTS software provides real-time patient location and care-status information by pulling data generated by RFID tracking systems in which tags are placed on assets or integrated into patient wristbands, then read by an infrastructure of reading devices. The software uses rules-based intelligence to measure interactions between staff, patients and mobile medical equipment to identify patient-care milestones. The RFID tag location data is generated using Exavera's eShepherd RFID system, which includes 915 MHz active tags that send data to Exavera's proprietary RFID interrogators.
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