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RFID News Roundup

NFC payments trial planned for Middle East; RFcamp intros new HF metal-mount tag; NFC Forum serves up two new specifications; Databac announces physical security products for RFID-enabled ID cards; STid unveils new reader for tags featuring Mifare Plus, DESFire chips; CSL, Omni-ID team up on distribution agreement.
May 21, 2009The following are news announcements made during the past week.

NFC Payments Trial Planned for Middle East
Consumer finance company Dubai First and United Arab Emirates (UAE) telecom services provider du have announced they are partnering on a Near Field Communication (NFC) pilot for mobile payments in the Middle East and North Africa regions. Approximately 250 customers—selected from Dubai First's recently launched Platinum MasterCard (available to residents of Jumeirah Beach Residence and surrounding localities) with Dubai Properties Group—will participate in the pilot, which Dubai First and du claim is the region's first. The participants will be able to securely download their credit card functionality to specially equipped NFC-enabled mobile handsets over du's mobile network. Once the handset has been personalized, customers will be able to make purchases using their du mobile lines at multiple MasterCard PayPass-enabled merchant locations in the UAE. Dubai First and du will run the pilot for six months, during which time selected customers can take advantage of special offers at retailers and a range of promotions presented on the interactive NFC platform. The NFC initiative will be launched commercially later in the year, and will be expanded to include several specialty applications. According to the company, the pilot will help it evaluate how customers use this new technology. Although the use of RFID-enabled applications is relatively low in the Middle East compared with other regions, the use of the technology is on the rise in that area of the world (see Middle East RFID Market Heats Up). To help Middle Eastern companies better understand and leverage RFID's potential, RFID Journal is hosting RFID Journal LIVE! Middle East in Dubai, on June 15-17, 2009.

RFcamp Intros New HF Metal-Mount Tag
Korean tag maker RFcamp has unveiled a new high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz metal-mount tag. The tag, known as Titan Biscuit, is made with NXP Semiconductors' Icode SL2 chip. It complies with the ISO 15693 standard and measures 2 inches by 8.3 inches by 0.1 inch. The tag has a read range of 2 inches when attached to metal, and 4 inches on non-metal. According to RFcamp, the tag passed performance tests in 200 degree Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit) for six hours, withstood 200 cycles ranging between -45 degrees and +85 degrees Celsius (-49 degrees and +185 degrees Fahrenheit), and passed performance tests operating for 168 hours in 85 degrees Celsius and 95 percent humidity. In addition, the company indicates, the Titan Biscuit is designed to withstand extreme thermal shock and is IP68-rated, signifying it is waterproof and dust-proof. RFcamp is building its global sales network by signing distributor or reseller agreements with several partners around the world, and expects to release two additional tags by the third quarter of this year: the Titan-PICO and Titan-FINE metal-mount tags.

NFC Forum Serves Up Two New Specifications
The NFC Forum, a Wakefield, Mass., organization formed in 2004 to advance the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, has announced the release of two candidate specifications—the NFC Digital Protocol and NFC Logical Link Control Protocol (LLCP) specifications—aimed at advancing the integration, implementation and standards interpretation of NFC technology. The NFC Digital Protocol specification addresses the digital protocol for NFC-enabled device communication, providing an implementation specification on top of the ISO 18092 and ISO 14443 standards. The specification is designed to show developers how to use the NFC, ISO 14443 and JIS X6319-4 standards together to ensure global interoperability between different NFC devices, and between NFC devices and existing contactless infrastructure. According to the forum, the specification defines the common feature set that can be used consistently and without further modification for major NFC applications in such areas as financial services and public transport. It covers the digital interface and the half-duplex transmission protocol of the NFC-enabled device in its four roles as initiator, target, reader/writer and card emulator. The specification includes bit-level coding, bit rates, frame formats, protocols and command sets, which are used by NFC-enabled devices to exchange data and bind to the LLCP protocol. (Based on IEEE 802.2, LLCP supports either small applications with limited data transport requirements, such as minor file transfers, or network protocols, such as OBEX and TCP/IP.) The NFC LLCP specification defines a low-level protocol to support peer-to-peer communication between two NFC-enabled devices—an essential element for bi-directional communications. It defines two service types, connectionless and connection-oriented, organized into three link service classes: connectionless service only, connection-oriented service only, and both connectionless and connection-oriented service. The connectionless service offers minimal setup, with no reliability or flow-control guarantees (deferring these issues to applications, and to the reliability guarantees offered by the ISO 18092 and ISO 14443 MAC layers). The connection-oriented service adds in-order, reliable delivery, flow-control and session-based service layer multiplexing. The two specifications are available to the public for download at no charge here, and both are candidates for final release pending feedback from NFC Forum members and other standards organizations.

Databac Announces Physical Security Products for RFID-enabled ID Cards
Databac Group, a provider of identification solutions, has taken the wraps off a portfolio of new products designed to help stop identity theft by blocking the unauthorized reading of RFID-enabled contactless cards, passports and driver's licenses. The Secure Sleeve and Secure Badgeholder products create an RFID shield by blocking the electromagnetic energy necessary to power and communicate with contactless smart cards, passports, driver's licenses and travel cards. While encased in the holder, the card or passport cannot be read or copied. The portfolio includes four products: the Secure Sleeve Credit/ID card, a pouch-style card holder designed to protect a single card; the Secure Sleeve Passport, designed to protect a single passport embedded with an RFID chip; the Secure Badgeholder Duolite, a rigid card holder that blocks the interrogation of up to two ID cards; and the Secure Badgeholder Classic, a rigid card holder that blocks the reading of a single ID card. The Secure Sleeve products can be preprinted with graphics, the company reports. All four products are available now.

STid Unveils New Reader for Tags Featuring Mifare Plus, DESFire Chips
STid, a French manufacturer of RFID interrogators and tags, has launched a security reader for access control applications compliant with NXP Semiconductors' Mifare Plus and DESFire EV1. Announced approximately one year ago (see NXP Announces New, More Secure Chip for Transport, Access Cards), the Mifare Plus chip supports a number of data security protocols, including those employing the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). The DESFire EV1 chip supports more hardware and software security features than standard Mifare Classic chips. STid's new Mifare Plus/DESFire EV1 LXS reader is designed to create a high level of security between it and an RFID-enabled card, by invoking the encryption keys and cryptography algorithms of Mifare Plus and DESFire EV1. It leverages a secure protocol developed by STid (the STid Secure Common Protocol), and employs standard algorithms such as AES to secure communications and authentications between the interrogator and middleware or other RFID management software. The LXS is compliant with the ISO 14443A, ISO 14443B and ISO 18092 (NFC) standards. The reader is encased in a polycarbonate waterproof box. To help companies install the reader and integrate it with their existing systems, STid is offering several different development kits.

CSL, Omni-ID Team Up on Distribution Agreement
Convergence Systems Limited (CSL), an RFID equipment manufacturer based in Hong Kong, and tag maker Omni-ID have announced a global distribution agreement in which CSL will market and resell Omni-ID's full line of RFID tags to its growing network of system integrators, many located in Asia. As part of the deal, CSL will also offer a starter solution bundle to its resellers that will include CSL's CS101 handheld RFID interrogator, asset-tracking software and Omni-ID RFID tags.
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