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RFID News Roundup

IBM WebSphere software lets users leverage sensors; FileTrail unveils RFID-enabled tracking solution for evidence; Bluestar signs distribution deals with Intermec, Impinj; Coca-Cola selects Impinj's EPC Gen 2 technology for RFID-enabled drink dispenser; Bluehill ID buys FastCards, adds RFID to Multicard Secure ID solutions.
Aug 20, 2009The following are news announcements made during the last week.

IBM WebSphere Software Lets Users Leverage Sensors
IBM has introduced new software for its WebSphere RFID middleware platform that the company says will enable customers to leverage sensor information in addition to passive and active RFID data. The software also includes new processing capabilities so end users can search for, analyze and better respond to business events, such as temperature fluctuations in a cold chain. WebSphere Sensor Events captures data from a variety of sensors, such as temperature or air-quality sensors, then processes that information in business-event processing technology IBM obtained as a result of its 2008 acquisition of AptSoft. The new software leverages business-process management and events-management capabilities already incorporated in WebSphere, as well as Tivoli (IBM's system, network and service-management software). The software features a user interface that customers can navigate to create or change the business rules and decision parameters they want to apply to the sensor data they're collecting. The new software also includes a reference application for container and pedigree tracking, an application for data-center resource management and inventory visibility, simplified integration with back-end data repositories, IBM's Maximo asset-management software and IBM's InfoSphere Traceability Server. The latter manages and aggregates products' serial numbers and provides a framework for generating electronic pedigrees through standards-based EPC Information Services (EPCIS). The software also supports bar codes, IBM reports, and can work with a variety of handheld RFID and bar-code interrogators. It comes in a standalone configuration, as well as an enterprise edition featuring high availability, support for clustering and failover functions.

FileTrail Unveils RFID-enabled Tracking Solution for Evidence
FileTrail, a provider of browser-based records-management software and RFID technology, has announced a solution designed to help companies in the justice and law-enforcement fields track, document and manage evidence. FileTrail RFID Evidence Management can be used to create an unalterable log that traces, via RFID, every piece of evidence, to ensure proper evidence handling and management. "Traditional bar-code methods for evidence handling and management aren't efficient," said Darrell Mervau, FileTrail's VP of business development, in a prepared statement. "All it takes is one mislabeled or misplaced piece of evidence to disrupt a court proceeding. With FileTrail RFID, you guarantee a secure solution that spans the entire evidence lifecycle—from collection to disposal." In addition to tracking evidence to create a chain of custody, FileTrail also lets users alarm doors and building exits to safeguard evidence from unauthorized removal. The solution includes browser-based technology that users can log into via any Web browser, in order to search for items based on case number, evidence type, date, officer or other custom fields.

Bluestar Signs Distribution Deals With Intermec, Impinj
Bluestar, a Florence, Ky., distributor of point-of-sale, hospitality, RFID and other auto-ID products, has inked distribution deals with RFID systems providers Intermec and Impinj. The deal with Intermec will help to strengthen Intermec's reseller network in Latin America, and will cover Intermec's entire product portfolio, including its rugged mobile computers and label and receipt printers. Bluestar will distribute Intermec solutions to customers in Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Puerto Rico. The partnership will focus on the transportation and logistics, government, direct sales delivery, field service, health-care, manufacturing and distribution, and retail industries. The Impinj deal will enable Bluestar to distribute Impinj's RFID readers and antennas in the North American and Latin American regions. The deal includes Impinj's newest RFID reader, the Speedway Revolution, which can automatically adjust to external conditions, such as RFID tag density or the presence of metallic objects, thus enabling improved performance and easier installation (see New Impinj Reader Goes on Autopilot).

Coca-Cola Selects Impinj's EPC Gen 2 Technology for RFID-enabled Drink Dispenser
RFID systems provider Impinj has announced it is working with Coca-Cola on the beverage company's development of an RFID-enabled drink dispenser. The dispenser, known as Freestyle, offers customers more than 100 drink options and employs passive, EPC Gen 2 RFID technology to identify 30 or more cartridges, determine the quantity of flavoring for each, and transmit data back to Coca-Cola indicating which drinks are being consumed, and when (see RFID to Revolutionize Coca-Cola's Dispensers). The dispensing platform's design will utilize both Impinj's Monza RFID microchips and Indy reader chips, which together provide the system's core RFID capability, according to Impinj. "The Coca-Cola Freestyle platform is a brilliant example of a successful integration of RFID technology into a high visibility consumer application," said William Colleran, Impinj's president and CEO, in a prepared statement. "We are pleased to be a key partner with The Coca-Cola Company in its development." Testing of the Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensing system has already begun in selected U.S. markets.

Bluehill ID Buys FastCards, Adds RFID to Multicard Secure ID Solutions
Bluehill ID, a Switzerland-based company focused on the development of RFID and other automatic identification technologies, has announced the acquisition of FastCards, an online issuer of RFID-enabled photo ID cards. FastCards, an official issuing body of the Maritime Security ID Card of Australia, and a provider of identification and RFID solutions to such events as Sydney's World Youth Day 2008, will now operate under the name Multicard, aligning it with sister company Multicard, headquartered in Switzerland and Germany. Multicard supplies card solutions for secure identification programs, with in-house capabilities for credential issuance, personalization and fulfillment services for consumer, government and corporate customers. Multicard also provides enrollment and accreditation solutions using data-capture equipment for the enrollment of ePassport and other government ID and corporate ID applications. "We are extremely pleased that Fastcards is joining the Multicard family," said John Rogers, Bluehill ID's executive VP of acquisition integration, in a prepared statement, adding that "the combined Multicard will offer even more services and expertise in ID management, especially in software and contactless card applications, while also achieving greater operational synergies."
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