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RFID News Roundup

TransCore acquires IntelliTrans; PanGo introduces PanOS Platform 4.0 and PanGo Locator 4.0; Gao RFID separates from Gao Tek; U.S. Department of State to begin issuing e-passports to the general public; Swedcom unveils new RFID antenna; ThingMagic, SATO America form partnership, offer RFID products; ABI Research reports 14 percent increase in RFID reader shipments; SkyeTek ships small, low-cost UHF RFID reader module.
By Andrew Price
Swedcom Unveils New RFID Antenna
Swedcom, a Belmont, Cal., provider of radio base station antennas, has announced the release of an RFID antenna, the SR 7008. Designed to function with UHF frequencies ranging from 900 to 930 MHz, the antenna supports both RHCP (right hand circular polarization) and LHCP (left hand circular polarization). The SR 7008 is 10.1 inches in length and weighs 2 pounds, yielding a gain of 6 dB for linear setups or 8 dB for circular. This device features a return loss of 20 dB (VSWR 1.2), with printed circuit board technology (PCB) for improved power management and isolation at 915 MHz of 30 dB. The antennas are encased in a plastic cover and may be wall- or mast-mounted for indoor or outdoor use. The SR 7008 is VESA 100/75 standard-compliant at 3.94 in. (100 mm) for access to various mounting systems.

ThingMagic, SATO America Form Partnership, Offer RFID Products
RFID technology developer ThingMagic, located in Cambridge, Mass., is partnering with Charlotte, N.C.-based SATO America, a provider of bar-code printing, labeling and RFID solutions. Under the terms of this partnership, ThingMagic will become a SATO America Preferred RFID Partner and begin providing SATO America its Mercury4e embedded UHF RFID readers. SATO America will use the interrogators in the United States with its CL408e/CL412e RFID tabletop printers and M8485Se RFID OEM print engine. In partnering with ThingMagic, SATO America says it hopes to serve its automotive, government, manufacturing and retail customers better, and to begin serving the automatic identification and data collection (AIDC) industry, as well. SATO RFID printer-encoders can read, write and print smart labels with visual images, text and bar codes on the label surface, as well as read and encode the transponder embedded in the label. ThingMagic's Mercury 4e reader is credit card-sized, supports two antennas and is designed to read passive UHF tags complying with a variety of standards, including EPC Gen 2 and such older protocols as ISO 18000-6B, EPC Class 0, rewriteable EPC Class 0 and EPC Class 1. SATO printers incorporating the Mercury4e reader are immediately available from SATO America through authorized resellers and distributors.

ABI Research Reports 14 Percent Increase in RFID Reader Shipments
New metrics released by market research firm ABI Research, located in Oyster Bay, N.Y., report that the global market for UHF RFID interrogators and reader modules grew to more than 35,500 unit shipments in 2005. According to Michael Liard, director of RFID and contactless practice at ABI Research, the shipments examined for the purpose of this report consisted solely of interrogators that read passive UHF tags based on EPC Gen 1, EPC Gen 2 and ISO-18000-6C standards. "[The] reader volume figure includes finished readers (handheld, fixed and vehicle-mount) and OEM/embedded modules (such as those that go into thermal bar printers/RFID encoders)," Liard explains. All readers studied were used for supply chain management, Liard says, noting that other applications will be added in the future. ABI Research's analysis shows the number of UHF passive-tag readers sold has grown nearly 14 percent in the first quarter of 2006, as compared to the same period last year. These market-size findings are available as part of ABI Research's RFID Reader Market Sizing Database report, compiled in collaboration with several global RFID equipment manufacturers. According to the research firm, this new report focuses on passive UHF supply-chain technologies. Future updates to ABI Research's market metrics are expected to include additional frequency ranges, active technologies and other applications. ABI Research also publishes a similar RFID tag IC market-sizing report; for more information, consult the firm's Web site. The RFID Reader Market Sizing Database report is part of ABI Research's RFID Research Service, which provides RFID forecasts examining technologies, applications and markets through 2011; specialized research reports; the ABI Vendor Matrix; ABI Insights; analyst inquiry support; and regular quarterly updates analyzing RFID market developments.

SkyeTek Ships Small, Low-cost UHF RFID Reader Module
SkyeTek, a provider of embedded RFID reader technology located in Westminster, Col., has announced the availability of its M9 UHF SkyeModule, an EPC Class 1 Gen 1 and Gen 2 ISO 18000-6B/C OEM reader module. Approximately half the size of a business card, the M9 was designed for such embedded UHF applications as item-level inventory, printing and handheld reading and encoding. Based on SkyeTek's Advanced Universal Reader Architecture (AURA), the M9 contains a ReaderWare software layer for enhanced reader intelligence, providing adaptive behavior, tag support and standards-compliant security. The M9, priced at $199 per module and $59 per ReaderWare license, offers support for anti-collision, dense-reader mode, security, inductive UHF and an array of EPC Class 1 Gen1 and Gen 2 ISO 18000-6B/C tags, including as-yet-unreleased tags based on Gen 2 silicon. According to the manufacturer, as tag memory increases, customers will be able to leverage ReaderWare Security to provide privacy protection, anti-tampering and anti-counterfeiting on generic tags without additional costs.

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