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RFID News Roundup

SAG announces HF transponder for on-metal tracking applications; GS1 Hong Kong expands test of EPCIS-based RFID platform; Albertan government adjusts RFID requirements for cattle; Mexico installs RFID-enabled electronic vehicle registration system; Wellcore intros ZigBee-based monitoring and alerting system for seniors; Inside Contactless and TazTag partner on NFC apps.
Jan 07, 2010The following are news announcements made during the past week.

SAG Announces HF Transponder for On-Metal Tracking Applications
Securitag Assembly Group (SAG), an RFID transponder solution company headquartered in Taiwan, has unveiled a new RFID tag, the 30 Metal Tag, a high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz transponder designed for use on metal. The 30 Metal Tag comes either with or without stickers for affixing to assets, and supports the ISO 15693 standard. The circular tag is 30 millimeters (1.2 inches) wide and 3 millimeters (0.1 inch) thick, SAG reports, and can operate at temperatures ranging from -25 degrees to +55 degrees Celsius (-13 degrees to +131 degrees Fahrenheit). The transponder has a rating of IP68, signifying it is waterproof and dust-proof. According to SAG, the new transponder is ideal for applications to identify utility poles and boxes, factory automation, and asset tracking and management of elevators, steel containers, cylinders and appliances.

GS1 Hong Kong Expands Test of EPCIS-based RFID Platform
GS1 Hong Kong has announced it has successfully completed testing of ezTrack, its online track-and-trace platform to provide end-to-end supply chain visibility, that was used among three regions: Hong Kong, Guangdong and Taiwan. The testing was part of a memorandum of understanding announced in June 2008 in the three regions. EzTrack, an RFID infrastructure based on the Electronic Product Code Information Service (EPCIS)—a standard enabling businesses to exchange RFID and product data in real time—allows companies to plug into a Web application without further IT investment (see GS1 Hong Kong Launches Online Track-and-Trace Platform). According to GS1, the testing and connectivity established in Hong Kong, Guangdong and Taiwan has set the foundation for regional logistics supply chain visibility. GS1 Hong Kong partnered with the Guangdong RFID Technology Service Center, and together the two organizations signed an agreement with Malaysia in September 2009, as an initial step toward extending coverage to the Pan-Asia region. Malaysia plans to move toward connectivity in line with that goal. The collaboration's objective, GS1 indicates, is to further facilitate barrier-free trade and identify business opportunities to develop RFID-based applications. "We hope that the platform can serve as a cornerstone in solidifying regional integration of various networks, further enhance cross-border trade ties, and significantly contribute in driving the development of global standard-based RFID technology in Guangdong," said Zou Sheng, vice-director of the Guangdong Provincial Economic and Informatization Commission, in a prepared statement.

Albertan Government Adjusts RFID Requirements for Cattle
The government of Canadian province Alberta has announced a new animal health and food safety regulation that will provide ranchers and beef producers with greater flexibility in meeting RFID-tagging requirements. The new Traceability Cattle Identification Regulation, which takes effect on Mar. 1, 2010, repeals the Traceability Livestock Identification Regulation. It consists of two parts: tagging requirements for cattle identification, and cattle move-in reporting for feedlots. According to the Traceability Division of Alberta's Agriculture and Rural Development ministry, all producers now have until cattle are 10 months of age, rather than 8 months, to apply industry-approved RFID tags and register each animal's birth date. Producers using actual birth dates also have the option of utilizing a cattle identifier (tattoo or printed dangle tag) by three months of age, until applying an RFID tag at age 10 months, or when the animal leaves the farm, whichever comes first. Previously, RFID tags were required at three months of age. Feedlots that handle 1,000 or more head per year are now required to report move-in information to the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA). Previously, only feedlots handling 5,000 or more head of cattle were required to do so. Alberta has had livestock traceability regulations in effect since Jan. 1 of last year.

Mexico Installs RFID-enabled Electronic Vehicle Registration System
Mexico is leveraging an RFID-enabled electronic vehicle registration (EVR) system, developed by Sirit with partner and automatic vehicle identification (AVI) systems integrator Axiompass, to help improve security and safety on roads throughout the country. First announced by Mexico's president, Felipe Calderon, in June 2009, the initiative, according to Sirit, includes Sirit's IDentity 5100 (ID5100) interrogators and transponders. The ID5100 utilizes ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID technology and supports the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C standards. The device is capable of capturing RFID tag reads on vehicles traveling at speeds of up to 100 miles (160 kilometers) per hour, Sirit reports, and has been designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, temperatures, humidity and vibration. The ID5100s installed in Mexico read the country's National Public Vehicle Registry tags, while cameras capture images of drivers' license plates. The data is then transmitted to a central database, and the system correlates the information so regional enforcement agencies can locate identified vehicles on a watch list and take appropriate action as those vehicles travel along the highway. To date, the two companies indicate, 42 lanes have been installed by Axiompass and are fully operational. Other countries in Latin America are employing AVI systems for automated toll collection, including Uruguay, which has been upgrading its toll-collection system with RFID in all of its toll plazas (see Uruguay Deploys RFID-enabled Toll System). That nation has been working with Telsis, a Uruguay-based company, and AVI firm Telectronica, and the system also leverages Sirit's ID5100 RFID interrogator and transponders. However, Sirit indicates that Mexico's system is the first operational EVR system in Latin America.

Wellcore Intros ZigBee-based Monitoring and Alerting System for Seniors
Wellcore Corp., a San Jose, Calif., company focused on developing wellness, safety and security solutions, has announced its Mobile Personal Emergency Response System (M-PERS), designed to help seniors live more active, independent lives. The system features a battery-operated tag that employs motion detection, ZigBee, Bluetooth and advanced pattern recognition as part of an automatic fall-detection and -monitoring solution that can automatically send for emergency services and alert designated caregivers and family members. If the tag detects a fall, or if the wearer presses a button on the device, it automatically communicates via ZigBee with the base station inside the home. According to Wellcore, traditional personal emergency response systems (PERS) require users to push a button, do not indicate whether the device is being worn, and typically only work within the home. Wellcore's product, on the other hand, summons help with or without the push of a button, reminds the wearer to put it on, and works anywhere—even outside of the home—when used in conjunction with a Wellcore-compatible cell phone. When a fall is automatically detected, a Wellcore specialist contacts the wearer to assess the level of urgency. If the wearer requests assistance or does not respond, the company dispatches emergency services and issues an alert to designated family members and caregivers. The button can also be pressed at any time to initiate the same immediate response. If the tag is being worn outside of the home, and if it detects a fall or the wearer presses the button, the device communicates via Bluetooth to the cell phone, which then automatically summons emergency responders. The wearer's exact location is determined using the cell phone's GPS, Wellcore reports. The motion sensors within the device are able to discern between sitting, walking, running and resting, and that information is collected over time to create patterns typical of the wearer. The system can then show the activities of to the wearer, who can gauge his or her activity levels over time, and to caregivers (who can access the data securely via the Web), via a dashboard application and more detailed reports, according to Wellcore.

Inside Contactless and TazTag Partner on NFC Apps
Inside Contactless, a provider of contactless chip technologies, has partnered with TazTag, a company specializing in contactless solutions leveraging Near Field Communication (NFC) and ZigBee standards, to develop and bring to market a variety of secure, NFC-based, multi-application contactless solutions. The duo has already integrated Inside Contactless' MicroRead NFC chip into TazTag's TazCard, an NFC electronic wallet (e-wallet) and platform for developing e-wallet applications (such as ticketing, payment, loyalty and more), and TazKiosk, an interactive NFC kiosk for use with the TazCard. The TazCard is a special-purpose, Java-based tablet computer, approximately the size of a credit card. It features a 3.5-inch color touch screen, biometric authentication, audio output, data storage and a tamper-resistant secure element, and offers USB and 6lowPAN communications (6lowPAN is an IETF standard for IPv6 over low-power wireless networks), in addition to the NFC functionality provided by the MicroRead chip. "The TazCard represents a new class of versatile NFC devices that will open the door to a broad range of new NFC applications, and we are very excited to be participating with TazTag in the development of their innovative NFC products," said Bertrand Moussel, an executive VP of sales for Inside Contactless, in a prepared statement.
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