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News Wrap-Up from RFID Journal Live, Part 1 of 2

This week's RFID Journal LIVE! 2007 saw a flurry of announcements from a slew of RFID vendors and stakeholders. This article is the first of a convenient, two-part rundown of selected announcements. Also be sure to watch for tomorrow's .
May 03, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

May 3, 2007—This week's RFID Journal LIVE! 2007 saw a flurry of announcements from a slew of RFID vendors and stakeholders. Following is the first of a convenient, two-part rundown of selected announcements. Also be sure to watch for tomorrow's Part 2.
  • Microsoft's BizTalk RFID created a buzz, with a number of RFID vendors announcing support for the platform, including Alien Technology, Cactus Commerce, Maximum Data Solutions, Reva Systems, SATO, Tata Consultancy, Xterprise, and Zebra.
  • Wal-Mart CIO Rollin Ford gave the keynote address Monday evening, using the opportunity to reiterate his employer's commitment to RFID. The company will equip another 400 stores by the end of this fiscal year. Ford also tied RFID benefits such as reduced out-of-stocks to the company's environmental sustainability efforts. "On a daily basis, more than 24 million people shop our stores. If 100,000 extra trips are avoided by having items in stock, we will save customers $22.8 million a year in gas savings and reduce greenhouse gases by 80,209 metric tons." Wal-Mart issued a press release on the speech.
  • TrueDemand Software has made portions of its forecasting and replenishment software available free as a hosted application, the company announced. The goal is to enable consumer goods companies shipping RFID-tagged items to retailers to quickly identify the root causes for failures in store and shelf replenishment, promotions, and new product introductions. The free service offers trend analysis based on a number of key metrics, including RFID read rates and supply chain analytics like transit times, inventory levels, lost sales due to supply chain failures, and root causes for out-of-stock by SKU, store, and day. "In an effort to drive adoption we have decided to make basic parts of our solution free to Wal-Mart suppliers," said TrueDemand CEO Eric Peters. "As a founding sponsor of EPCglobal, we thought this could be our way of helping to jumpstart the industry and drive value." TrueDemand also announced that it closed a deal with Kimberly-Clark to power the giant CPG manufacturer's forecasting, replenishment, and store operations processes.
  • Alien Technology and Unisys announced FLIER (Flexible Logistics Information Environment for RFID), which they describe as an end-to-end, vendor-neutral solutions environment for RFID systems configuration and demonstration. FLIER incorporates a web-based dashboard which organizations can use to configure a complete solution from a broad choice of interchangeable hardware devices and software packages spanning edgeware applications, warehouse management systems, ERP applications, and RFID components like readers, applicators, printers, and RFID-enabled carts and forklifts. In addition, organizations can use the FLIER dashboard to select demonstrations of their potential solutions across a variety of industry-standard use case scenarios like retail or DoD compliance, asset management, and pharmaceutical e-pedigree. Unisys architected, designed, and integrated FLIER, which is housed at Alien's RFID Solutions Center in Dayton, Ohio. Read the announcement for more.
  • RFID inlay manufacturer Avery Dennison and hardware provider Motorola have signed a major strategic agreement whereby Avery Dennison will supply tags to Motorola for Motorola's RFID customers. See Motorola Taps Avery Dennison for RFID Tags for more details.
  • Savi Technology announced the QuickStart e-Seal Licensing Program for its intellectual property that is part of the recently ratified ISO standard for electronic cargo seals, ISO 18185. The program offers reduced fee incentives for those that enlist prior to June 30th. See the announcement. According to Savi's site, "e-seals are an emerging class of active RFID devices that incorporate both a mechanical locking mechanism and an active RFID module to provide wireless alerting and location capabilities not currently possible with traditional bolt seals, which are easily breached." ABI Research published a white paper on e-seals, the market opportunity, and the significance of ISO 18185.
  • RFID hardware manufacturer Intermec introduced what it calls the smartest enterprise RFID reader available, the IF61. It includes an Intel Celeron M 600 MHz processor, up to 1 GB of scalable Flash memory, and an optional 40 GB spinning drive capable of storing data from billions of EPC tags. It can host applications written in Java, JavaScript, Visual Basic .NET, or C# .NET, and perform the typical functions of an industrial PC or server such as filtering, storing, manipulating, and formatting information from tags before sending to the host in the required data format. Read the announcement for more of the features and specifications.
  • Checkpoint Systems launched Evolve, a family of RFID tags that integrate both EPC and electronic article surveillance (EAS) capabilities. The Evolve tags are designed to offer retailers EPC supply chain visibility benefits while also serving as anti-theft devices for use with existing EAS security systems. See the announcement.
  • Antenna, inlay, and tag manufacturer RSI ID Technologies announced that it has doubled production capacity for RFID tags due to increased demand partly attributable to recent efforts in Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific. The company also introduced 40 new inlays designs, bringing its total to more than 60. RSI employs a rapid antenna design process, which, in addition to quickly augmenting its own inlay design portfolio, allows it to design and manufacture custom tags for clients in under one month.
  • RFID solutions provider Xterprise announced an update on its work with plastic pallet pooling provider iGPS (see Xterprise Provides RFID for Plastic Pallet Pool for background on the deployment). Collaborating with Alien Technology, Xterprise developed an extended, branded version of its XAM 2.0 application called iSUM (Intelligent Stock Use and Movements) to offer iGPS granular visibility of its distributed inventory of plastic pallets. XAM 2.0 is a recently launched asset tracking application optimized for the management of reusable transport item (RTI) inventories. It is built on Microsoft's BizTalk RFID platform for communications with readers, sensors, and other devices. See Xterprise's announcement for more details, and the announcement from Alien, who supplied readers for the iGPS deployment.
  • Omnitrol Networks' flagship product, the OMNITROL, has been selected by Boeing Phantom Works, the advanced research and development group of Boeing, to serve as a development tool to evaluate aspects of edge device controllers including domain specific languages, process simulation, RFID application level events (ALE), and Java business integration (JBI). More details here.
  • RFID training firm OTA Training announced a collaboration with EPCglobal Argentina and Argentinean auto ID solutions provider Telectrónica to provide what the firm calls the region's first hands-on, vendor-neutral RFID training. Telectrónica has made a substantial investment in RFID, including the creation of an advanced RFID testing and training facility in Buenos Aires, where OTA will offer classes from May 15th through the 18th. CompTIA RFID+ certification will also be offered. More details here. OTA also recently announced that it had partnered with global systems integrator Domino Integrated Solutions Group to offer training and certification services across Domino's four global Centers of Excellence, one located in the US, two in Europe, and one in Asia.
  • RFID printer manufacturer Zebra Technologies announced its selection of RFID training company RFID4U to offer technical RFID education and hands-on training in the set-up and deployment of Zebra RFID printer/encoders. In addition, Zebra authorized RFID4U to offer its vendor-neutral testing and certification program to qualified applicants in Zebra's RFID Partner Program network, according to the announcement. Zebra also announced that one of its R110Xi printer/encoders recently printed the millionth RFID label for SimplyRFID, a provider of RFID solutions to more than 1,000 DoD suppliers.
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