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RFID News Roundup

ILS announces compliance starter kits; RF Technologies, Emergin partnering to simplify wireless alerts; aerospace market ready for takeoff, says ABI; Ingenico integrates reader into payment PIN pad; ACG announces new RFID reader for fare collection; Ekahau raises $16 million in 2006.
By Andrew Price
Nov 03, 2006The following are news announcements made during the week of Oct. 30.

ILS Announces Compliance Starter Kits
Integrated Labeling Systems (ILS), a provider of RFID solutions and other automatic-identification technologies, says it has created a number of RFID Starter Pilot Kits designed to enable users to meet the basic requirements for current Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) compliance. Customers can choose from five different printer-encoders—the Zebra R110xi or R170xi, the Printronix SL5x04r or SL5x06r, or the Intermec PM4i. The Zebra and Printronix printer-encoders can be paired with a Symbol XR400 or Symbol MC9060-G interrogator; the Intermec printer-encoder can be paired with an Intermec IF4 or IF5 interrogator. ILS also resells the RFID Tag Manager middleware made by epcSolutions, bundling this into the starter kits. The middleware comes with label-printing templates customized to comply with retail or government tagging mandates. The starter kits are available now. For pricing or more information, contact ILS.

RF Technologies, Emergin Partnering to Simplify Wireless Alerts
RF Technologies, a provider of RFID-based asset- and patient-tracking systems for health-care applications, is partnering with Emergin, a provider of clinical event-management and notification solutions. This will allow RF Technologies to help assisted-living facilities, nursing homes and senior residences streamline a diverse set of alert communication applications into a single alert-notification platform. The company says this will eliminate the need for multiple wireless devices, while improving efficiencies and staff productivity. Through the partnership, facilities will be able to link identification devices that communicate over RF and other technologies, for such applications as patient-wandering alerts and accident or fall alerts, through Emergin's integration platform. As a result, says James Hermann, vice president of business development for RF Technologies, a facility's staff will be able to use a single pager or wireless phone to receive event notifications from multiple systems. This, he predicts, will reduce hardware costs and may shorten response times.

Aerospace Market Ready for Takeoff, Says ABI
Aerospace and defense companies believe RFID to be a major driver for competitive advantage because it can improve a company's management of supply chains and assets, says a new study from market research firm ABI Research. By 2011, ABI predicts, the RFID market for aerospace and defense will surpass $2 billion. The most promising RFID applications in the aviation industry, according to ABI Research director Michael Liard, are in maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO). The vision for RFID held by these companies, he says, is to use it to improve service performance in a manufacturer's storeroom by simplifying inventory, purchasing and other business processes. RFID tagging can introduce efficiencies in locating parts, tools and materials, and in generating documentation required to meet regulations in the aerospace and defense industry. Liard notes that RFID can also help enable aviation firms to shift from a focus on corrective maintenance to predictive maintenance strategies. The report, titled "The RFID Aerospace Defense Market," assesses the opportunities and business benefits of RFID in aerospace and defense markets. It is available to subscribers of ABI's RFID Research Service.

Ingenico Integrates Reader Into Payment PIN Pad
Point-of-sale terminal manufacturer Ingenico is launching its first PIN pad (a key pad designed for entering a personal identification number) with a fully integrated RFID (contactless) interrogator for processing payments using RFID-enabled cards or other RFID-enabled devices, such as key fobs containing tags compliant with the ISO 14443 A/B, FeliCa and ISO 15693 and near-field communication protocols. The new product, the Ingenico 3070 contactless, is available now only in Europe and was unveiled at the Cartes 2006 smart-card conference this week in Paris. The i3070 is designed both for multilane retail and traditional merchant sales terminals. In addition to an RFID reader made by Inside Contactless, the i3070 includes a contact-based smart-card reader and magnetic-card reader. A user can connect the i3070 to a cash register or payment terminal via a single cable.

ACG Announces New RFID Reader for Fare Collection
ACG Identification Technologies, a provider of smart-card and RFID hardware, announced a new RFID smart-card reader at this week's Cartes 2006 smart-card conference in Paris, where it provided demonstrations of the unit. The reader is fully compliant with the Integrated Transport Smartcard Organization (ITSO) specification, designed to ensure interoperation between RFID devices used for public transport ticketing and related services in the United Kingdom. ACG says the reader is designed for use in public transport applications and can be integrated into fare-collection turnstiles and kiosks, or on-bus payment terminals. The device can read and write to ISO 14443 A/B, ISO 15693 and MiFare transponders. The interrogator also supports one or two external antennas that can be mounted a few meters from the reader. ACG says it can connect with back-end systems via a USB, Ethernet or serial connection. Market release of the reader is scheduled for the first quarter of 2007.

Ekahau Raises $16 million in 2006
Ekahau, a provider of an RFID real-time location system that utilizes Wi-Fi-based tags transmitting over the 2.45 GHz band, says it raised a total of $16 million in financing during 2006. The funding is comprised of $12 million in equity funding and $4 million in venture loans and government funding. Finnish venture capital firm Nexit Ventures contributed to the round and was also a founding Ekahau investor. New investors for this round include two Finnish investment firms—the Sampo Group and Finnish Industry Investment, as well the investment arm of the 3M Co., based in St. Paul, Minn. Ekahau says it will use the infusion of capital to fund its growth and international expansion, R&D, sales and marketing efforts. The company adds that it has several new products in the pipeline for 2007.
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