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RFID Weekly News Roundup June 4, 2009

This article highlights RFID news and developments from the past week. RTLS and near field communication (NFC) technologies provided most of the innovation in this week's news, which also includes reports of tracking cardiac devices and Manchurian tigers, plus changes at several industry vendors.
Jun 04, 2009This article was originally published by RFID Update.

June 4, 2009—RTLS and near field communication (NFC) technologies provided most of the innovation in this week's news, which also includes reports of tracking cardiac devices and Manchurian tigers, plus changes at several industry vendors.
  • RFID sales in China will grow 20.6 percent this year to CNY 7.03 billion (US $1.03 billion) according to a summary of reports from Chinese public agencies.
  • The Chicago Tribune reported Zebra Technologies will lay off 64 employees from its headquarters outside Chicago starting next month and plans to eliminate 600 production-related positions from its facilities there and in California by the end of the first quarter of 2010. Zebra said it had 3,200 employees in its 2008 annual report.
  • Something to build on: the RFID in Construction Consortium announced its has formed to help the construction industry find safe and effective uses of RFID and related technologies. "Our job is to bring together the best educators, technologists and construction experts in order to share globally our findings," consortium co-founder Harry Pappas said in the announcement. "We are pleased to offer a holistic approach to the use of RFID, sensors, and wireless technologies to the global construction industry through our high quality, educational programs."
  • Monday the Department of Homeland Security expanded its use of electronic passports, enhanced drivers licenses and other RFID-enabled identification documents at US border crossing points. Federal Computer Week provides a concise recap here.
  • Awarepoint introduced an RTLS tag that has been certified to be sterilizable. The reusable tag communicates by ZigBee-standard wireless technology and was developed to track items that are sterilized in medical and other settings. It is the first sterilizable RTLS tag, according to Awarepoint's announcement.
  • RadarFind introduced a new RTLS tag specifically developed to track patients using cardiac telemetry devices in hospitals. The cardiac telemetry devices transmit the patient's heart rate to nurses stations. RadarFind's new tags are used with the devices to enhance the data with the patient location. See the announcement.
  • Visonic Technologies, an RFID and WiFi RTLS developer in Israel, announced its Elpas 2 infrastructure that uses Ethernet or WiFi networks to backhaul RFID and infrared data transmissions.
  • WiFi RTLS provider AeroScout announced it gained 30 new hospital customers in the first quarter, and expanded systems at 40 existing healthcare customers. Q1 revenue was up more than 150 percent, according to the company.
  • Chalmers P. Wylie Veterans Ambulatory Care Center, a VA medical center in Columbus, Ohio, implemented an RTLS system from Versus Technology that will track up to 300 patients in more than 150 locations. The system uses RFID and infrared tracking technology, according to the announcement.
  • Enumclaw Public Library in Washington state is implementing an RFID management system from Norcross, Georgia-based Integrated Technology Group (ITG). More details here.
  • Fleetmind Solutions, a fleet management technology provider headquartered in Montreal, announced it will integrate Gen2-standard RFID tags and readers from Alien Technology into its solutions for waste management and recycling firms to identify and verify containers.
  • Niceware International of Milwaukee introduced the latest version of its software for designing RFID smart labels and facilitating their output from enterprise systems.
  • Unibar, a Rochester Hills, Michigan company that develops similar software for Unix and Linux environments, was acquired by Data Systems International (DSI), the Overland Park, Kansas firm announced this week.
  • Mobile loyalty and rewards solution provider Tetherball announced an RFID-based mobile marketing platform that enhances retailer loyalty programs by providing consumers with small tags that affix to their mobile phones. Dairy Queen has been named as a customer, with one Dairy Queen franchisee claiming 900 Tetherball-based loyalty members per store. The new Tetherball platform incorporates contactless technology from ViVOtech.
  • RFID hardware manufacturer Sirit announced a partnership with livestock tracking solution provider eriginate wherein it will provide eriginate with its tags and readers for use in that company's livestock track-and-trace solutions.
  • Omni-ID has signed another reseller in American Barcode and RFID Inc. See the announcement for more details.
  • RFID tag manufacturer SMARTRAC has joined the Smart Card Alliance, the non-profit association representing the North American smart card industry.
  • The UPC bar code turns 35 this month, according to an announcement from GS1 US. The first UPC bar code was scanned on a pack of Wrigley's gum in Troy, Ohio, near Dayton on June 26, 1974. Ironically, later in the week NCR, which played a major role in the commercialization of UPC technology, announced it was moving its longtime headquarters from Dayton to Georgia.
  • China's Xinhua news agency reports the Chinese government is implanting RFID chips in Manchurian tigers and other endangered species. No word on whether the people responsible for physically getting the tag into the tiger are themselves considered endangered species.
Previous RFID Update coverage this week included:
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