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RFID News Roundup

NEC adds health-care functionality to its Wi-Fi RTLS; Kyocera to RFID-Enable Mobile Phones; Raflatac doubles tag-manufacturing capacity in Finland; Avery Dennison ships new Gen 2 inlay; InnerWireless' Spot RTLS commercially available.
By Andrew Price
Mar 02, 2007The following are news announcements made during the week of Feb. 26.

NEC Adds Health-care Functionality to Its Wi-Fi RTLS
NEC Unified Solutions has expanded its Wi-Fi-based networking and real-time locating system, Univerge, to include a component designed specifically to help health-care organizations track medical devices, patients and hospital staff. Univerge consists of a wireless LAN controller; access points able to communicate via the 802.11a/b/g protocols with active 2.45 GHz RFID tags; and software designed to help users plan deployments and configurations, monitor the network and create reports. Such reports can help staff locate tagged equipment and patients, while providing records of a patient's movement though the hospital and tracking which equipment was used to more accurately document a patient's hospital stay for billing purposes. The system can be set up to trigger alerts automatically if, for example, a tagged patient enters an unauthorized zone. The controller is available in two versions: the Univerge WL 5100 and the Univerge WL 5050; the latter adds voice communications to the network by providing support for voice over wireless LAN (VoWLAN).

Kyocera to RFID-Enable Mobile Phones
Kyocera Technology Research Corp. (KTRC), the advanced technology and research group of Kyocera Wireless, has chosen Sirit, a Canadian maker of RFID and near-field communications (NFC) technology, to provide NFC technology for new wireless handsets the company is developing for Kyocera Wireless. NFC utilizes short-range 13.56 MHz RFID technology to enable users to transmit information securely from one NFC device to another. Sirit and KTCR expect the techology to become a standard feature on mobile phones. Sirit is a provider of HF and UHF RFID-enabled electronic toll-payment systems and automatic vehicle-identification products, as well UHF RFID products geared for supply chain operations. Its product lineup includes the Sirit Mobile NFC Platform (which includes Java-based software and specifications), which KTRC will incorporate into Kyocera Wireless' forthcoming NFC mobile handsets. The availability of the NFC-enabled handsets has not yet been announced.

Raflatac Doubles Tag-Manufacturing Capacity in Finland
RFID tag and inlay manufacturer UPM Raflatac announced this week plans to double its Finish production capacity for making ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) and high-frequency (HF) RFID tags and inlays. The additional RFID tag production capacity will be installed and ready for use in March 2007, when UPM Raflatac relocates its RFID production plant in Jyväskylä, Finland, to newer, more modern premises in the same area. Company executives say production is being increased in response to growing sales and customer demand. "With twice the capacity, we'll be able to secure our leading position in the market," Christer Härkönen, senior VP of RFID at UPM Raflatac, said in a prepared statement. The company also has an RFID production plant in North Carolina.

Avery Dennison Ships New Gen 2 Inlay
Avery Dennison RFID, a business unit of Avery Dennison Corp. has rolled out its AD-222 RFID tag. The new tag measures 4 inches by 0.5 inch and offers wide-band functionality, as well as improved read rates and better performance compared with its predecessor, the AD-220. The AD-222's new wide-band communications functionality means the inlay can operate across the globe in regions operating between 866 and 954 MHz (the AD-220 was designed to operate at 902 to 928 MHz). It supports EPCglobal's UHF Class 1 Gen 2 specification and has 96-bit memory. Available now, the inlay is designed for use in a variety of applications, including supply chain tracking, inventory monitoring and even self-serve retail kiosks with RFID capabilities, according to Avery Dennison.

InnerWireless' Spot RTLS Commercially Available
InnerWireless has begun shipping a commercial version of Spot, its real-time locating system (RTLS). The InnerWireless system is designed to help health-care organizations track and locate medical devices, assets and people at room-level accuracy. Spot includes passive RFID tags, beacons and access points. The tags periodically listen for signals from the beacons—RF transceivers typically attached to ceilings in rooms and hallways throughout a facility. Unlike other real-time locating systems that rely on Wi-Fi communications, the Spot tags and beacons communicate with each other using ZigBee, which is based on the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless communication standard. When the beacons receive data from the tags, they transmit it to a location engine that calculates room-level position. According to InnerWireless, the company has received interest in Spot from more than 30 organizations. In the summer of 2006, Saint Luke's East-Lee's Summit—located in Lee's Summit, Mo., and part of Saint Luke's Health System of 11 hospitals and multiple physician practices—tested InnerWireless' RFID tags, beacons and access points integrated with PanGo Networks' PanGo Locator location management software and McKesson's STAR Patient Location Tracker (see Hospital Tries ZigBee to Track Patients).
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