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RFID News Roundup

NCR offering out-of-box mandate compliance package; Symbol launches advanced services for new technologies; WJ Communications debuts Gen 2 reader module; Semtech purchases Muehlbauer RFID production line; RFID4U rolling out new training courses.
By Andrew Price
Dec 15, 2006The following are news announcements made during the week of Dec. 11.

NCR Offering Out-of-Box Mandate Compliance Package
Retail business solutions provider NCR has announced a packaged solution designed to help manufacturers meet retailers' mandates for delivering merchandise RFID tags attached at the case and pallet levels. The package, dubbed NCR RFID Retail Compliance, includes NCR RFID application software, a Zebra R110Xi RFID printer-encoder, a bar-code scanner and a startup supply of RFID labels from NCR's Systemedia label division, based on the EPCglobal Gen 2 standard. The application software included in the offering is based on NCR's TransitionWorks auto-ID development platform, which NCR recently upgraded (see NCR Enhances Auto-ID Software). The package also comes with a year of software telephone support and installation tutorials to help end users configure the printer-encoder and software, as well as encode and read the smart labels. The package is available now, with prices ranging from $12,000 to $18,000, depending on whether the customer chooses such hardware options as a touch-screen kiosk station, or a handheld RFID reader to verify that the smart labels have been properly encoded.

Symbol Launches Advanced Services for New Technologies
Symbol Technologies has announced the Symbol Advanced Services, a suite of service solutions designed to help customers deploy new technology in three categories: RFID systems, wireless security and mobility software. With Advanced Services, Symbol works with and through its PartnerSelect members—other technology vendors—to advise Symbol customers and help them deploy RFID, wireless security or mobility software. This involves a four-step approach: plan and assess; analyze and design; implement; and manage and support. Symbol's Advanced Services for RFID solutions provide customers the engineering design and onsite deployment expertise necessary to help enterprises streamline operations and increase productivity, and to meet regulatory mandates. More information about the Symbol Advanced Services is available at Symbol's Web site.

WJ Communications Debuts Gen 2 Reader Module
WJ Communications, a San Jose, Calif., maker of RFID interrogators, has announced a new Gen 2 reader module, the WJR 7000, which it will begin selling to interrogator manufacturers for use in handheld and other mobile interrogators, such as those mounted on forklifts. Its small PCMCIA form factor—roughly that of a business card—makes the WJR 7000 especially appropriate for use in mobile readers. The UHF module can read and encode passive tags compliant with the EPCglobal Gen 1 Class 1 and 0+ protocols, as well as its Gen 2 (ISO 18000-6C) and ISO 18000-6B standards. It can also perform all dense reader mode functions described in the Gen 2 standard. The dense-reader mode allows interrogators to avoid RF interferences and better perform when used near many other transmitting readers. The WJR 7000 will be available in January, though a price has not yet been set.

Semtech Purchases Muehlbauer RFID Production Line
Semtech RFID Ltd. has ordered an RFID smart-label production line from Germany's Muehlbauer technology group>. Semtech has a manufacturing base in Dongguan, Guangdong, China. It purchased from Muehlbauer a flip-chip RFID inlay production line and a converting line for the fabrication of RFID smart labels or RFID tickets. The machinery can produce 10,000 labels per hour. Alphie Soong, general manager of Semtech's RFID business unit, says Semtech plans to produce both HF (13.56 MHz) and UHF (900 MHz) RFID tags and labels, which it will sell to RFID application developers and integrators in China. He says the company also works with a maker of RFID-enabled dice, and that Sino-Tech has existing customer relationships with major electronics firms including Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, and LG, which Semtech plans to leverage. He says his company decided to invest in RFID product equipment because it believes the global demand for RFID labels and tickets will grow significantly next year. Semtech expects to begin producing label and tickets by the second or third quarter of 2007.

RFID4U Rolling Out New Training Courses
RFID4U, a Sunnyvale, Calif. provider of RFID education, has released new training courses: CompTIA RFID+ Weekend boot camp, and Asset Tracking Using RFID. The classes are offered in locations across the United States. The weekend boot camp is a two-day course that begins with a Friday-evening hotel reception and includes an intensive Saturday and Sunday course, followed by an opportunity to take the CompTIA RFID+ certification exam on Sunday afternoon. Designed to certify professionals to deploy and maintain RFID systems, this test is administered on behalf of CompTIA, a nonprofit organization providing certifications for technology professionals. The first weekend boot camp will be held on Feb. 10-11 in Las Vegas. The course fee of $2,699 includes hotel accommodations for two nights. The Asset Tracking Using RFID course is a one-day class designed to provide RFID fundamentals, followed by instruction on how to use RFID for tracking laptops and other valuable assets. The course will be offered in San Jose, Calif., on Jan. 22 and April 9. It costs $695.
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