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RFID News Roundup

RFID Sensor Systems to unveil ultra-long-range passive tags; Balluff intros new tag for use in high temperatures; Zebra Enterprise Solutions expands partnership with TagStone, adds IDBlue as partner; Rio de Janeiro employs contactless payment for public transportation, fast food and more; GS1 Healthcare publishes new report, guidelines; STMicroelectronics launches dual-interface EEPROM, enabling remote access to electronic devices.
Apr 01, 2010The following are news announcements made during the past week.

RFID Sensor Systems Launches Ultra-Long-Range Passive Tag
RFID Sensor Systems will unveil a new ultra-long-range passive EPC Gen 2 (ISO 18000-6c) tag at RFID Journal LIVE! 2010, being held on Apr. 14-16, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. The T070 Steel Ultimo Ranger metal-mount tag has a read range of up to 150 feet and measures 6.25 inches by 0.75 inch. The tag operates at 850-960 MHz. RFID Sensor Systems indicates it has been developing wireless systems and micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) sensors for 13 years, with numerous contracts with industry, as well as with the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies, and is now commercializing its technology into several RFID sensor products. "We are delighted to adapt our breakthrough antenna technology to micropower UHF RFID applications," said William Carr, the company's CEO and founder, in a prepared statement. "During the coming year, our R&D department will extend this technology covered by several patents pending to a family of UHF Gen 2 tags with both ID and micropower sensor capabilities." The T070 RFID tag, which contains an Alien Technology Higgs 3 RFID chip with 800 bits of memory, is available for volume purchasing directly from RFID Sensor Systems' Web site.

Balluff Intros New Tag for Use in High Temperatures
Balluff Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Germany's Balluff and a manufacturer of a range of sensors, has announced a new RFID tag model, the BIS M-107-03/L-H200, designed to withstand temperatures as high as 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit) for limited periods of exposure. According to Balluff, the compact tag—measuring 40 millimeters by 22 millimeters by 6.5 millimeters (1.6 inches by 0.9 inch by 0.3 inch) in size—complies with the ISO 15693 standard and is designed to track manufacturing processes. A typical application might consist of painting and coating operations in which heat-sealing, oven-drying or curing occurs. In this type of application, the tag is not operated during high-temperature exposure, and data is thus reliably preserved. The tag's memory can be read and encoded at temperatures between -25 degrees and +70 degrees Celsius (-13 degrees and +158 degrees Fahrenheit). The tag also allows unlimited reading and writing of data, with user memory up to 112 bytes or ASCII characters. Compatible read/write heads are available in multiples sizes and configurations to fit most applications, the company reports.

Zebra Enterprise Solutions Expands Partnership With TagStone, Adds IDBlue as Partner
TagStone and Zebra Enterprise Solutions (ZES), a division of Zebra Technologies, have announced an expansion of their partnership. As part of ZES' channel partner program, TagStone can integrate a broad range of Zebra's hardware solutions into its own product portfolio, including active and passive RFID and ultra-wideband (UWB) technologies. TagStone, a Middle East provider of wireless technology and business intelligence solutions, first began collaborating with ZES in 2007 to better help their clients manage assets, vehicles, personnel and supply chains in diverse business environments. The partnership with ZES initially focused on the automotive sector and the development of TagFLEET, a turnkey, real-time vehicle-management solution built by TagStone, based on ZES' real-time locating technology. Most notably, TagStone has implemented TagFLEET at General Motors (GM) and Mercedes-Benz dealers located in the Middle East, with plans to collaborate with ZES over the next few months on large, regional implementations within the automotive sector, as well as on multiple security and defense projects. Kuwait's Alghanim Automotive, for instance—one of the world's largest GM dealerships and service centers—is using RFID to track cars that it moves from zone to zone within the company's new multistory complex while the vehicles are being serviced. Alghanim implemented the system with TagStone's assistance (see Kuwaiti Car Dealership Streamlines Repair Service). Now, after several successful implementations of the TagFLEET solution, TagStone is poised to expand its partnership with ZES to support the company's initiatives beyond the automotive industry, and into related product lines and industries. These include TagGUARD Perimeter Security, which includes solutions to authenticate and authorize the movement of individuals in highly secure environments; TagSHIELD Critical Asset Management, used to monitor the location, movement and use of critical items, such as weapons and inventory; and TagSECURE Safety Management, designed to manage employees' health, safety and security, while ensuring regulatory and training compliance. ZES has also announced the addition of RFID solutions provider IDBlue to its partner program. The new partnership enables IDBlue to leverage technology from ZES to expand its offering of customized solutions in the oil and gas industry. "By partnering with ZES, we can expand our reach into more industries by utilizing the broader range of identification technologies now available to us," said Steve Taylor, IDBlue's CEO, in a prepared statement. IDBlue is currently working in partnership with ZES on a project with a local logistics firm in Canada, and has been engaging the two companies to provide solutions to a variety of customers in the oil and gas sector.

Rio de Janeiro Employs Contactless Payment for Public Transportation, Fast Food and More
Inside Contactless, a provider of contactless chip technologies, has announced that its MicroPass 4003 contactless intelligent payment processor is powering MasterCard's PayPass contactless payment technology, recently launched in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. MasterCard PayPass leverages embedded passive 13.56 MHz RFID chips complying with the ISO 14443 standard to communicate a cardholder's payment information to payment terminals. Credicard MasterCard cardholders in Rio de Janeiro can use their MicroPass-powered key fobs to pay at the Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) lift, Supervia train stations, UCI cinemas, McDonald's fast-food restaurants and Estapar/Riopark parking lots throughout the city, and will soon be able to utilize them at the Rio de Janeiro Metro system as well. Brazilian company Redecard plans to add more PayPass merchant acceptance locations in the near future, Inside Contactless reports. "Since its introduction last fall, these key fobs have enjoyed wide acceptance, especially amongst the city's younger cardholders, and we are already preparing the next shipment of inlays to keep up with the demand," said Bertrand Moussel, Inside Contactless' executive VP of sales, EMEA and LATAM, in a prepared statement. Inside Contactless worked with Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) to develop the key fob. According to Inside Contactless, G&D's key fobs are manufactured using a specially designed inlay based on the MicroPass 4003 contactless payment platform—which was designed from the ground up to support the MasterCard PayPass contactless payment application—and employs a special antenna design that fits within the small form factor.

GS1 Healthcare Publishes New Report, Guidelines
GS1 Healthcare has announced a new Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) Healthcare Implementation Initiative Report and a new Global Location Number (GLN) in Healthcare Implementation Guide. GS1 Healthcare is a global user group of pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors, as well as group purchasing organizations, hospitals, pharmacies, logistics providers, governmental and regulatory bodies, and associations. Its mission is to lead the health-care sector to the successful development and implementation of EPC RFID and other global standards for patient safety, supply chain security and efficiency, traceability and accurate data synchronization. GDSN and GLN implementations can be used to support RFID applications. The Global GDSN Healthcare Implementation Initiative is designed to demonstrate how the GDSN is positioned to meet current and emerging regulatory and tender requirements for electronic product catalogue data, and to facilitate sector-wide implementation. The new report is intended to assist companies in implementing the GDSN, and outlines the key tasks, processes and best practices necessary to ensure a smooth implementation. The report will be updated periodically as new implementations are made available and additional lessons learned can be shared. The GLN in Healthcare Implementation Guide serves as a general handbook for the implementation of GLNs in health care, explaining what a GLN is (a globally unique GS1 identification key for identifying any physical location or legal entity in the supply chain that needs to be unambiguously identified), how GLNs are applied and utilized, the GLN data structure, steps for implementing GLNs and more.

STMicroelectronics Launches Dual-Interface EEPROM, Enabling Remote Access to Electronic Devices
STMicroelectronics recently announced the sample availability of its M24LR64 RFID-enabled memory chip, the first in a new family of products designed to provide the flexibility to remotely program or update electronic products, anytime during their lifetime, and anywhere in the supply chain. The new devices enable manufacturers to update parameters, as well as regionalize or activate software without connecting a programmer or opening the retail packaging. This method of accessing memory, STMicroelectronics believes, will allow businesses to not only add new functions and capabilities to their products, but also reduce manufacturing costs, simplify inventory management and respond more quickly to changing market demands. What makes the M24LR64 unique, the company reports, is that its EEPROM memory can be accessed not only via a standard I2C serial interface (providing communication with most microcontrollers or ASICs), but also a standard ISO 15693 RFID interface for wireless communications with RFID interrogators. The new dual-interface product line provides a link between the operation of electronic devices and the RFID world. This, the firm notes, will enable new types of products, including those requiring asset tracking, data collection, diagnostics or traceability, such as medical devices, industrial equipment and automotive electronics. According to STMicroelectronics, computer peripherals and consumer products will be able to take advantage of the M24LR64 feature set for easy and convenient parameter and regional setting updates, even when the device is in its package seal. What's more, RFID systems requiring additional monitoring, such as cold-chain verification, will also benefit from the M24LR64's high-memory density. The M24LR64 has 64 kilobits of memory and comes with a 32-bit password-protection scheme to protect the data from unauthorized tampering, or to prevent unexpected access to memory. The M24LR64 is available as a bare die, at 90 cents apiece for orders of 1,000. Sampling has already begun, with volume production scheduled for the second quarter of 2010. STMicroelectronics reports plans to introduce additional members of the dual-interface EEPROM family in the second half of 2010.
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