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RFID News Roundup

Academia RFID offers retail-specific training; Barcoding Inc. intros plug-and-play RFID reader; Savcor purchases RFID antenna company Intune Circuits; Pennsylvania hospital to deploy RTLS to track assets, patients; ODIN to help DHS implement RFID for customs, border protection.
Jul 24, 2008The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Academia RFID Offers Retail-Specific Training
Academia RFID, a Canadian training and consulting company that offers university-level courses and training, has announced a new two-day course developed to address what the firm calls a lack of RFID training specific to retailers and marketers. The course, entitled "RFID Retail," covers advanced concepts of radio frequency identification technology for retailers and marketers, including best RFID practices, reducing out-of-stocks, automating inventory management and improving customer service, and it presents proven retail applications through case studies intended to help participants build their business cases and calculate their return on investment. "RFID Retail" is being offered at Academia RFID's Center of Excellence in Montreal, or customers can access an online version at their own location.

Barcoding Inc. Intros Plug-and-Play RFID Reader
Barcoding Inc., a Baltimore-based provider of auto-identification technologies, has introduced the CaptureTech RFID Interpreter, an RFID interrogator that can be used with a Windows-based PC without any additional software or software changes. According to Barcoding Inc., companies can implement the interrgator and begin reading and identifying RFID tags in less than a minute. The reader plugs into a USB port on the PC and leverages Barcoding's CaptureTech RFID Wedge, announced in March of this year (see Wedge Device Aims to Ease RFID Setup). The Wedge has been embedded into the CaptureTech RFID Interpreter so that once the interrogator reads a tag, the tag data is automatically converted into a format that PC-based software—including Word, Excel and other Microsoft Office applications—can comprehend. To input the data, a user opens the desired software application, places the cursor where the information is to be entered, and scans the RFID tag over the top of the interrogator. RFID Interpreter also offers built-in Ethernet capabilities and can be purchased with an optional external antenna. Available now, the interrogator is priced starting at $1,995.

Savcor Purchases RFID Antenna Company Intune Circuits
Savcor Group has purchased Intune Circuits, a manufacturer of RFID antennas. Savcor, headquartered in Sydney, Australia, maintains two business areas: Savcor FACE, which provides technologies for electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding, decorative coatings and antenna circuits for mobile phone suppliers; and Savcor ART (Advanced Rehabilitation Technology), which offers solutions for the electrochemical protection and remediation of steel and concrete structures. Intune Circuits is a relatively new company, launched in 2005 by two Finnish industrials—including tag and inlay manufacturer UPM Raflatac, which owned approximately 60 percent of Intune—and a government venture headquartered in Vantaa, Finland (see Finnish Venture to Make RFID Antennas). In a prepared statement, Savcor indicated it bought Intune to boost its global customer list, and to obtain the intellectual property and manufacturing capabilities Intune possesses. Financial details have not yet been disclosed, but Savcor says the acquisition will provide it an inroad into the global RFID market—which, according to global consultancy IDTechEx, is currently valued at $5.29 billion and is likely to grow to more than five times that size in another 10 years. The Intune acquisition, Savcor reports, complements its existing operation in Beijing, where it conducts copper etching work (as part of its manufacturing of copper-based flexible circuits for mobile phone handsets). The company says it plans to redirect a significant amount of that work to the Beijing plant Intune currently subcontracts to third parties. Savcor further indicates it will work with Intune management and staff to review opportunities to introduce efficiencies to Intune's operations, and to integrate its manufacturing operations with Savcor's. In addition to the Intune acquisition, Savcor also announced that it has signed an agreement to manufacture high-frequency (HF), ultra-high resolution RFID antennas for UPM Raflatac.

Pennsylvania Hospital to Deploy RTLS to Track Assets, Patients
Moses Taylor Hospital, located in Scranton, Penn., has announced plans to implement a real-time location system (RTLS) combining Sonitor's ultrasound-based indoor positioning system (IPS) with Amelior EDTracker software from Patient Care Technology Systems (PCTS). Amelior EDTracker is designed to enable emergency departments to monitor and analyze patients' physical locations, as well as the status of their care, then to display that information in charts and graphs via LCD screens and computers located throughout a hospital. Sonitor's IPS utilizes battery-powered tags that transmit 20 to 40 kHz acoustic signals to receivers. Through frequency modulation, each tag communicates a unique signal to the receivers, which employ Sonitor's patented Digital Signal Processing (DSP) algorithms to calculate the signals' locations, and to convert them to data. The receivers then transmit the location and tag data to a central computer via an existing LAN. Moses Taylor Hospital plans to employ the RTLS to automatically track patients and assets in its emergency department, in order to track the location of resources, as well as the progression of patient care.

ODIN to Help DHS Implement RFID for Customs, Border Protection
RFID systems integrator ODIN Technologies, based in Dulles, Va., has announced that it has been selected as a partner for a $62 million Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) contract, awarded to Unisys in January. The contract, issued by the DHS' Customs and Border Protection (CBP) unit, features RFID technology for identification cards, combined with technology designed to recognize license plates, that will be utilized to help secure and streamline processes at border crossings. The WHTI specifies that RFID will be deployed at more than 300 border-crossing lanes that inspect and process travelers into the United States from Canada and Mexico. DHS first began testing at U.S. border-crossing points in mid-2005 (see Homeland Security to Test RFID).
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