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RFID News Roundup

Calif. legislature advances RFID bills; PINC, C3 combine yard management offerings; new book offers insights, guidelines on item-level RFID tagging; Savi supplying NATO; WJ Communications announces low-power reader module.
By Andrew Price
Jun 22, 2007The following are news announcements made during the week of June 18.

Calif. Legislature Advances RFID Bills
This week, majority votes from members of California's Assembly Judiciary Committee advanced four California State bills drafted to address RFID technology. Three were directed to other Assembly committees, but one—SB 362, which would prohibit the use of subcutaneous RFID implants without consent—is up for a floor vote and could soon land on Governor Schwarzenegger's desk. The Assembly Judiciary Committee approved SB 28, prohibiting the California Department of Motor Vehicles from embedding RFID inlays in driver's licenses; SB 29, preventing California public schools, school districts and county education offices from issuing any student IDs that use radio waves to transmit personal information, or to enable such information to be viewed remotely to track attendance, until Jan. 1, 2011; and SB 30, restricting how RFID technology could be deployed in identification cards issued by governmental entities in California. The three bills will next be sent to the Transportation, Education or Appropriations committee, respectively.

New Book Offers Insights, Guidelines on Item-Level RFID Tagging
Chuck Wilson, Gary Andrechak and Chris Zimmardi, employees in the Security Solutions Group at Hitachi America, have written a book about radio frequency identification. The new book provides a detailed survey of how RFID can be used to track goods and assets at the item level in retail supply-chain and warehouse-management applications, as well as in manufacturing, authentication, brand-protection, access-control and secure document management, mass-transit and event-ticketing applications. Entitled RFID: Item Level Management, a Practical Approach, the book provides a primer on RFID technology, covering passive RFID tags of all frequencies, as well as semi-passive tags, but not active tags. With an intended audience of businesspeople and technologists, the book contains step-by-step examples of item-level RFID tagging system deployments, while examining current consumer concerns based on possible violations of privacy rights via RFID technology. Published by Mullaney Publish Group, the book is available at Amazon.com and costs $35.

Savi Supplying NATO
Savi Technology announced plans to supply its RFID-based hardware, software and services to the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA), the principal manager of logistical support for weapons maintenance, transportation and communications systems for NATO. Announced this week at the 2007 Paris Air Show, the contract enables the 26 NATO alliance nations, as well as non-NATO nations of the alliance's Partnership for Peace initiative, to order Savi's RFID tracking solutions—which can help provide real-time visibility into supply chains—from NAMSA. Centralizing procurement of the RFID technology through NAMSA is designed to help control costs and quality, Savi says, and to promote the use of standard systems. The company also announced that it will partner with IFS Defense, a London-based provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems for the aerospace and defense markets. The partners plan to integrate Savi's RFID systems with IFS' ERP software.

PINC, C3 Combine Yard-Management Offerings
C3 Solutions, a provider of yard-management solutions, has formed a strategic partnership with asset-tracking application provider PINC Solutions, to integrate PINC's Yard Hound real-time visibility system with C3's Yard Smart yard-management solution. The combined solutions will enable end users to manage the movement of trailers across a docking facility and storage yard, while also tracking the real-time location of the assets. According to Greg Braun, C3's vice president of business development, the company has been seeking a means of collecting real-time trailer-position data as part of its offering, but the high costs of such systems have been prohibitive. The low cost of the PINC solution, which uses passive RFID tags, led to the partnership. The C3-PINC combination is slated for deployment in the summer of 2007, as part of a yard-management pilot project with a logistics and transportation provider.

WJ Communications Announces Low-Power Reader Module
WJ Communications has announced the WJM1000, a lower-power version of its WJM3000 RFID reader module for OEM customers. WJ says it designed the WJA1000 to enable OEMs to create RFID mobile devices—such as handheld readers or mobile printer-encoders—in a small form factor and with optimal power requirements from the RFID module, thus increasing battery life. The WJM1000 operates over the North American UHF frequency band (902-928 MHz) and includes the RF, digital circuitry and embedded firmware required for the ISO 18000-6C (EPC Gen 2) and ISO 18000-6B international standards. Using the same antenna, says Prashant Upreti, WJ's RFID marketing manager, a device employing the WJM100 module can attain read rates of 5 to 8 feet, as compared with the 20 feet attainable with the WJM3000. However, the WJM1000 draws 370 milliamps (mA) of power to generate RF output power from 10 dB (10mW) to 24 dB (1/4W), whereas the WJM3000 consumes from 780 mA to 1 amp of power to produce the same RF output. In production now, the WJM1000 sells for $299.
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