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RFID News Roundup

FileTrail, Lexmark team up on solution to track and manage media, assets; RFID momentum strong in several markets, VDC Research reports; Lowry, Northrop Grumman, GTSI win DOD auto-ID contracts; NFC Forum announces new membership level for NFC implementers; 3M upgrades RFID tracking software; Tharo launches PR100 EPC Gen 2 handheld reader; Laird Technologies unveils RFID reader antennas for outdoor use.
NFC Forum Announces Membership Level for Implementers
In an effort to expand the ranks of its membership, the NFC Forum has added a new membership level for developers and providers of Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID solutions. The organization is an association promoting the adoption of NFC technology. The new category, known as the Implementer membership, is designed for companies directly implementing NFC solutions in the field worldwide. It complements existing NFC Forum membership levels, which are primarily targeted at technical specification development. The annual fee for an Implementer membership is $5,000, and entitles a company to attend and participate in NFC Marketing Committee Working Group and Task Force meetings, and to review pre-release specification drafts, as well as receive other benefits, such as discounts on product certification. "No one knows more about customer needs and best practices than the companies that deliver NFC solutions around the world every day," said Koichi Tagawa, chairman of the NFC Forum, in a prepared statement. "The Implementer level brings NFC Forum membership within reach of these organizations, and as we work together to build the future of NFC, their knowledge and expertise should prove to be very valuable." The NFC forum makes memberships available to nonprofit institutions for an annual fee of $1,000, and the organization continues to offer memberships to for-profit companies at several levels: Associate ($10,000), Principal ($25,000) and Sponsor ($50,000).

3M Upgrades RFID Tracking Software
3M's Track and Trace Solutions group has announced an upgrade to its RFID Tracking System software. Version 3.0, compatible with Microsoft's Vista operating system, is available now and features new Web-based locating and reporting abilities enabling users to generate lists of items checked in and out, as well as create custom reports. The updated software also includes e-mail notifications and provides configurable, real-time alerting features, helping to save users' time when locating valuable assets, such as legal or military files (see Marin County DA Saves With RFID and Fort Hood to RFID-Tag Medical Records). Additionally, the software now includes options to export data in PDF, CSV and Excel formats.

Tharo Launches PR100 EPC Gen 2 Handheld Reader
Tharo Systems, a provider of software for product identification, bar-code and RFID labeling, has introduced a new handheld ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 interrogator, the PR100. The device weighs 1.8 pounds, is powered by a 12-volt rechargeable battery, features an LCD display and offers a read range of up to 5 feet. The PR100 can store up to 4,000 RFID scans in its internal memory, and includes software allowing customers to save RFID data in a Microsoft Access database format, create and search custom reports, and export CSV files. Data can be uploaded to a PC with a USB connection. The PR100's suggested retail price is $995.

Laird Technologies Unveils RFID Reader Antennas for Outdoor Use
Laird Technologies, a designer and manufacturer of components for wireless systems and electronics applications, has announced the release of its line of RFID HD RooTenna antennas for ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) 865-960 MHz RFID interrogators. According to the company, the RooTenna series integrates a high-performance RFID antenna and a compartment for reader electronics into an IP-67-rated weatherproof housing enclosure (the IP-67 rating signifies the antennas are protected against damage from moisture, dust and vibration), making it suitable for harsh environments. The antennas cover industry-standard 902-928 MHz and 865-868 MHz RFID frequencies, as well as a wideband version for 865-960 MHz. The series offers six different circularly polarized UHF antenna options, available in a choice of right-hand (RH) or left-hand (LH) circular polarization. The die-cast enclosure can be pole- or wall-mounted, and a heavy-duty tilt bracket is available for those installations requiring up or down tilt. Eleven engineered knockouts are provided: nine sized for N connectors, and two sized for a cable feed-through.

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