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RFID News Roundup

ThingMagic intros USB RFID reader; Idesco announces compact RFID interrogators designed for variety of applications; Xterprise teams with Microsoft on flexible financing options for its RFID solution; SkyRFID unveils eight UHF RFID tags designed for metal; ClearOrbit's RFID, bar-code system certified by SAP.
Nov 13, 2008The following are news announcements made during the past week.

ThingMagic Intros USB RFID Reader
ThingMagic has introduced a new UHF EPC Gen 2 RFID reader that can be controlled and powered by a desktop or notebook PC via a USB connection. The USB reader incorporates ThingMagic's M5e-Compact RFID module, which the firm introduced in March 2008. Optimized for EPC Gen 2 tags, the M5e-Compact is designed for mobile, portable and handheld RFID applications; compared with the M5e, it consumes one-third the power and is half the size. According to ThingMagic, the new USB RFID reader is compact (3.8 inches by 2.4 inches by 1 inch), and is designed for solution providers, systems integrators and application developers that are developing and deploying read/write UHF RFID applications. The reader includes an integrated RFID antenna and is designed for a read range of up to 12 inches. It supports ThingMagic's application development tools, including Reader Assistant, and includes a USB cord. The new reader is FCC- and ETSI-certified and costs $495, with volume discounts available. RFID tags are not included.

Idesco Announces Compact RFID Interrogators Designed for Variety of Applications
Idesco, an RFID tag and reader manufacturer based in Oulu, Finland, has announced a new line of compact high-frequency (HF) and low-frequency (LF) RFID interrogators that the company says are ideal for a range of applications, including data collection, identification, payment systems, locking solutions and vending machines. The Desktop Reader is designed to be installed on a wall or on the surface of another device, such as a point-of-sale system. It can also be used on a desk as, for example, a tool for encoding cards. The device can be equipped with Idesco's various reader modules that support a number of different passive RFID tags. The Desktop Reader measures 95 millimeters (3.6 inches) by 62 millimeters (2.4 inches) by 24 millimeters (1 inch) and is also available with a USB connection so it can be powered from and connected to another device, such as a PC or vending machine. The USB interface is available for the following 13.56 MHz reader modules: Idesco Access 7 C, Access 8 CM and 8 CM (with Mifare read-only technology) and Access 9 CM (with Mifare read-write technology). The USB interface is also available with the LF IR 6090 B reader module, with Idesco's Microlog technology. The Desktop Reader is available now; pricing depends on the module chosen.

Xterprise Teams With Microsoft on Flexible Financing Options for Its RFID Solution
Xterprise, an RFID solutions provider based in Dallas, has launched a new financing program in partnership with Microsoft. Created to help stimulate the adoption of RFID technology, the financing program involves Xterprise's Clarity platform, which consists of software built on the Microsoft platform using the BizTalk Server 2006 R2 with BizTalk RFID middleware and a Microsoft SQL server, as well as RFID tags and interrogators that operate according to the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6c standards. Buyers can qualify for financing from Microsoft to purchase the Xterprise software, but the financing can also be used for Xterprise services. The financing program is offered through a number of independent software vendors like Xterprise that have been selected by Microsoft. Financing can apply to services, RFID hardware and Xterprise application licenses, and the solution need not necessarily involve Microsoft components, according to the company's CEO, Dean Frew. "This is a financing vehicle for any solution that someone wants," he says. "It obviously can be used for our Clarity application suite, but also we want to open it up to clients that just want to get an RFID project started, and they might just want our professional services." The financing total can be as small as $3,000, or up to millions of dollars, with Microsoft providing the funding from its coffers. The financing period can cover months to years, and the customer is not required to make payments during a pilot, for up to six months. For Microsoft's part, a spokeswoman says the company is providing the financing options in light of current economic difficulties, "to ensure that customers can achieve better visibility into their business to reduce costs and expose revenue-generation opportunities today. Financing is, at times, a viable option for a customer." For additional information regarding the Microsoft financing program, visit Microsoft's Web site.

SkyRFID Unveils Eight UHF RFID Tags Designed for Metal
SkyRFID, headquartered in Ontario, Canada, has announced the availability of eight ceramic RFID inlays for applications in which metal is present. The inlays support the EPC Gen 2 standard, provide read ranges from 2 to 6 meters (7 to 20 feet), operate at temperatures of up to 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit), and are designed to work in asset- and product-tracking applications in which very small tag size and tolerance of high temperatures is necessary, according to SkyRFID. The smallest is a metal-mount RFID tag that measures 25.5 millimeters by 9 millimeters by 3 millimeters (1 inch by 0.4 inch by 0.1 inch) and can be fastened to a metal object using the attached self-adhesive tape strip on the back of the tag. This tag offers a read distance of 2 meters and can handle temperatures ranging from -40 to +150 degrees Celsius (-40 to +334 degrees Fahrenheit). According to SkyRFID, this tag is ideal for PCB boards and small assets. Another inlay, a "mount-in-metal" high-temperature tag, is almost as small, with a form factor of 21 millimeters by 17 millimeters by 2 millimeters (0.8 inch by 0.7 inch by 0.1 inch) and handles up to 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit) while providing a read distance of 1 meter (39 inches). SkyRFID reports that this inlay is suited for any small metal object capable of having a recess to house the tag. Also introduced were several other multipurpose metal-mount tags that, according to the company, could be utilized for warehousing, pallet tracking, asset management, product identification and automotive component tracking. These tags are somewhat larger—from 80 millimeters by 11 millimeters by 3.7 millimeters (3.1 inches by 0.4 inch by 0.1 inch) with a 5-meter (16-foot) read distance, to 130 millimeters by 22 millimeters by 3.7 millimeters (5.1 inch by 0.9 inch by 0.1 inch) with a 6-meter (20-foot) read distance. The maximum temperatures on these tags are 120 to 150 degrees Celsius (280 to 334 degrees Fahrenheit), which the company claims is high enough for most applications. One of the tags has 128 bits of memory; the others offer 96 bits of memory.

ClearOrbit's RFID, Bar-code System Certified by SAP
ClearOrbit, an Austin, Texas, company that provides supply chain execution and collaborative supply management software, has announced that its Compliance Label Manager (CLM) bar-code and RFID printing management software has been certified by enterprise applications vendor SAP to work with SAP's NetWeaver Application Server-based J2EE Engine 7.1. According to ClearOrbit, the certification was achieved by demonstrating that CLM meets all of the technical and business criteria established by SAP for its SAP NetWeaver Certified status. Companies employ CLM to automate the design, development, deployment and printing of bar-code and RFID labels across their global operations. With the SAP certification, CLM can now be more easily integrated within the SAP framework, without the need for custom coding, and more easily leverage data and information from a variety of applications, including logistics and other applications, when designing, printing and managing bar-code and RFID labels.
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