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RFID News Roundup

Sokymat's new EPC Gen 2 asset-tracking tag and compact HF tags; Emerson & Cuming announces new metal-mount tag; Schreiner buys X-ident; HF tag maker opens Brazilian plant to serve growing market; Newham College launches RFID lab; NFC Forum issues tag specs; RFID growth expected to triple in U.S. health-care sector.
Newham College Launches RFID Lab
Newham College of Further Education, located in East London, together with industry sponsors Cisco Systems, Intermec Technologies, Wavetrend, Trovan, Sonitor, Integral RFID, RadiantWave and RedPrairie, plans to launch an RFID training facility. The mission of the Discovery Lab, which opened on July 20, is to provide potential RFID end users an interactive environment in which they can learn about the technology. The lab features a range of RFID hardware and solutions, including smart shelves with embedded reader antennas for inventory applications. The center will provide RFID training conducted by RFID4U, which is authorized by the Computer Technology Industry Association to administer the CompTIA RFID+ test, a vendor-neutral professional certification that validates a professional's knowledge and skills in the areas of installation, maintenance, repair and upkeep of RFID systems.

NFC Forum Issues Interrogator, Tag Specs
The NFC Forum, an association promoting the adoption of near-field communication (NFC) technology, announced the publication of four tag specifications around which it plans to standardize NFC readers. NFC technology is being implemented to let consumers make payments, gather information and eventually exchange data with other mobile electronic devices using passive high-frequency RFID tags and interrogators. The forum maintains that any NFC interrogator must be able to both read and write to these four tag types, says David Turner, who works for Microsoft's mobile and embedded devices (MED) division, and is responsible for leading MED's engagement in the NFC Forum. The NFC Forum is publishing the four tag specifications, he says, so manufacturers of interrogators designed for NFC applications can know which tag standards the devices will need to be able to read to qualify for NFC Forum standards testing. The four tag specifications are based on the ISO 14443A and ISO 14443B standards, as well as Sony's FeliCa specification. The NFC Forum is currently developing the certification tests it will administer to reader makers looking to have their products certified as standard NFC readers. The tag specs are available to the public for download at no charge from NFC Forum's Web site.

RFID Growth Expected to Triple in U.S. Health-Care Sector
The sales of RFID systems to the U.S. health-care industry is expected to more than triple in the next three years, according to a report published by market research and analysis firm Kalorama Information, a Rockville, Md., company specializing in the health-care and medical markets. The firm estimates that annual sales of RFID technologies in the U.S. health-care market stand at about $297 million in 2007, but that figure is expected to jump to more than $1 billion by 2010 and $3.1 billion by 2012, according to the new report, entitled "RFID Opportunities in Healthcare in the U.S." Other market studies predict strong growth of RFID in the health-care industry, though at least one, by IDTechEx, has smaller projections. In its report "RFID in Healthcare 2006-2016," IDTechEx says the worldwide market for RFID tags and systems in health care will rise from $90 million this year to $2.1 billion by 2016 (see Report Sees Sharp Rise in Pharma RFID). Kalorama explains that RFID is being considered by hospitals, nursing homes, pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacies that want to use the technology to track assets, better manage inventory, monitor patients in real time, and track medicine and its dispensing. The report is available now for $3,995, directly from Kalorama Information, and is also available from Marketresearch.com.

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