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RFID News Roundup
IBM adds analytic app for container tracking to InfoSphere Traceability Server; Inside Contactless works on new NFC application development platform, provides tags for Taggo universal loyalty cards; ABI Research sees bright spots in RFID market; G&D rolls out cell phone sticker for contactless payments; U.S. Marine Corps taps SRA for RFID implementation; Atlantic City's Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino wins big with RFID; IPS ships new thin-film, single cell battery.
G&D Rolls Out Cell Phone Sticker for Contactless Payments
Smart card maker Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) has unveiled its Convego Air Mobile, an RFID-enabled sticker that, according to the company, offers the full functionality of a credit or debit card. Once the thin, pliable foil sticker has been affixed to a cell phone or PDA, the device can be used to pay bills at all cash terminals and ticket machines that support MasterCard PayPass contactless payments. The Convego Air Mobile payment sticker measures 43 by 33 millimeters (1.7 by 1.3 inches) and can be affixed to any recent cell phone, smart phone or PDA. The sticker's surface provides sufficient space for customer-specific designs and optical personalization by laser engraving. Convego Air Mobile is currently being used in several pilot projects by various banks in Europe and North America. G&D sees the pay sticker as an important transitional technology on the way to contactless payment transactions by cell phone.
U.S. Marine Corps Taps SRA for RFID Implementation
SRA International, a provider of technology and consulting services and solutions to government organizations and commercial clients, has announced that it has won a $4.4 million contract from Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM), which serves as the principal agent for equipping U.S. operating forces to accomplish their war-fighting mission. The U.S. Marine Corps's (USMC) Passive Radio Frequency Identification (pRFID) Infrastructure Support and Sustainment contract includes commercial, off-the-shelf readers, antennas and middleware that support the U.S. Department of Defense's (DOD) pRFID specifications, and covers one base year, plus four option years. SRA will also provide project management, system maintenance support and sustainment services, system engineering and enhancements, and training. The SRA team includes GlobeRanger and RFID Global Solution. The USMC will employ pRFID as a part of a comprehensive suite of automatic identification technologies (AIT), to facilitate accurate, automatic data capture of assets and goods traversing the Marine Corps' supply chains. The Marine Corps will leverage pRFID in the supply chain to improve the management and execution of operational logistics processes within the Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEFs) at Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton in the United States, and at USMC camps on the Japanese island of Okinawa. In the first phase of the project, SRA will conduct site assessments. Following completion of these assessments, SRA reports, the schedule for establishing the initial capability will be determined, and the first site may be up and running by January 2010. Supplies will be tagged by the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), as well as by other military services or vendors.
Atlantic City's Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino Wins Big With RFID
Thanks to an RFID-enabled system from Capton, the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., has saved more than $130,000 in liquor costs versus the previous year's performance. The Trump Plaza is using Capton's Beverage Tracker at its Beach Bar, and at Liquids, the main bar at the casino's boardwalk entrance. The Beach Bar rings up $21,000 per day in liquor sales, and is rebuilt from scratch on the beach every year. Beverage Tracker consists of RFID-enabled liquor spouts that can be fitted into liquor bottles, as well as an RFID interrogator and software. The spouts contain a battery-powered 418 MHz RFID tag and a measuring device. Whenever a bartender pours a drink, the tipping of the bottle activates both the tag and the measuring device, thereby allowing the spout to measure the volume of liquor poured (in ounces) before the employee tips the bottle back up. The tag then transmits that information (and the microchip's unique identification number, as well as the brand and size of liquor bottle to which it is attached) to the interrogator's antenna. The spout's tag has a maximum read range of up to 100 feet from the antenna. According to Capton, the Trump Plaza decided to implement the Beverage Tracker system to more effectively deal with the level of unaccounted-for pours and over-pouring. The system quickly paid for itself, according to Tony Sanza, Trump Plaza's director of food and beverage. "Over the course of three months, we saved over $130,000 in liquor costs versus our previous year performance in the Beach Bar, "Sanza said in a prepared statement. "The numbers improvement in Liquids was just as impressive. By our calculations, a six-point drop in liquor costs in the Beach Bar paid for the system within three weeks. Even with the relatively low-volume free-pour operation in Liquids, the system was paid for within five months." Other hotels using Capton's Beverage Tracker include the Vendue Inn, in Charleston, S.C. (see Charleston Inn Using Capton's Liquor-Monitoring System), Treasure Island, a Las Vegas hotel and casino (see Vegas Hotel-Casino Uses Tags to Keep Tabs on Liquor) and Harry Denton's Starlight Room, in San Francisco's Sir Francis Drake Hotel (see To Teach Bartenders How to Make Cocktails, Just Add RFID).
IPS Ships New Thin-Film, Single Cell Battery
Infinite Power Solutions (IPS), a manufacturer of rechargeable, thin-film energy storage devices, is now shipping its new thin-film, single cell battery, the Thinergy MEC102. The MEC102 has an expected lifetime of up to 20 years, provides a nominal 4-volt output and features a patented flexible package design that, according to the company, maximizes the cell's active area and minimizes the device's footprint to deliver high energy and power density. The MEC102, IPS reports, is ideal for wireless sensors and semi-active RFID tags, as well as for a number of other micro-electronic devices, including those involving energy harvesting. Specific features include multiple capacity options up to 2.5 milliampere-hours, and up to 10 milliwatt-hours (36 Joules) of energy; a high discharge rate capability of 100 milliamperes (continuous), and 300 milliwatts (continuous); an ultra-thin form factor of 170 micrometers (total package thickness); an all-inorganic, solid-state construction; and an ultra-low self-discharge rate of less than 1 percent charge loss per year. The batteries can be stacked vertically in a series, or in a parallel configuration for greater power and capacity, without consuming additional system footprint. A five-cell stack remains less than 1 millimeter (0.04 inch) in total height, and delivers 500 milliamperes of continuous discharge current (approximately 1.5 watts of power). The Thinergy MEC102 is available now to qualified customers in production quantities, and can be ordered directly from IPS' manufacturing factory in Littleton, Colo.
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