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RFID News Roundup

NXP selected to secure new German national identity card; Precyse Technologies closes $11 million in private funding; SPC joins Dash7 Alliance; Infinite Power Systems receives $20 million in venture capital funding; SimplexGrinnell, GuardRFID team up on distribution for RTLS, security solutions; Legic, Shanghai United Sea Trading partner on RFID locking systems; Raftar offers free RFID trial for medical device companies.
Aug 19, 2010The following are news announcements made during the past week.

NXP Selected to Secure New German National Identity Card
NXP Semiconductors has announced that the German government has chosen an inlay solution containing its SmartMX secure contactless microcontroller chip for the new German contactless National Identity card (Neuer Personalausweis). The German contactless ID cards, which will replace the current paper-based IDs, are slated to launch in November 2010, and more than 60 million cards are expected to be rolled out over the next 10 years, according to NXP. The SmartMX microchip platform features several security mechanisms designed to protect against identity theft and identity tracking, including the ability to guard against reverse engineering and attack scenarios with light and lasers, as well as a dedicated hardware firewall to protect specific sections on the chip, NXP reports. The chip is designed to provide faster read-and-write capabilities, and can be delivered in a thin, 250µm chip package suitable for a variety of contact and contactless eGovernment applications. More than 150 companies are working to prepare for the roll-out of the new ID cards, NXP reports, and are participating in trials to offer such services as online banking, registration for online shopping, airline passenger check-in, online tax declaration and car registration. The new German ID card can also be used as a travel document within the European Union—and to some other countries, such as Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt—instead of a passport.

Precyse Technologies Closes $11 Million in Private Funding
Precyse Technologies, a manufacturer of real-time location and supply chain visibility solutions based on active RFID technologies, has announced that it has closed its second round of financing, totaling $11 million in funding, from a Georgia-based private investor group. Following the closing, Precyse appointed Russ Chandler as the chairman of its board of directors, and initiated the relocation of its corporate headquarters to Atlanta, Ga. Precyse will use the capital raised to expand its operations into new markets and continue to drive innovation. The firm unveiled a new wireless technology, known as N3, at RFID Journal LIVE! 2010, which took place in April of this year (see RFID News Roundup: Precyse Technologies Releases New Bidirectional, Long-Range RTLS Products), and incorporated the technology into all of its product lines, which include wireless sensors, active RFID-based asset tags, wireless infrastructure including interrogators (which Precyse calls base stations) and location beacons, the Asset Tracking server, and middleware. According to Precyse Technologies, N3 technology includes support for wireless sensors, machine-to-machine (M2M) control and real-time location using a single reader infrastructure with a one-mile range. The system is designed to be frequency-agnostic, enabling customers to choose between 433 MHz, 915 MHz, 2.4 GHz or any other custom frequency that maximizes the corporate spectrum use.

SPC Joins Dash7 Alliance
System Planning Corp. (SPC), a provider of multi-communications-path GPS asset-tracking and -monitoring services, has announced that it has joined the Dash7 Alliance, a coalition of organizations promoting the use of RFID solutions compliant with the ISO 18000-7 (Dash7) standard for active 433 MHz tags and readers. Formed in March 2009, the alliance aims to facilitate the adoption of ISO 18000-7 RFID technology, which is currently being used primarily in the defense industry (see Dash7 Alliance Forms to Advance Active RFID Standard). Operating in the license-free 433 MHz spectrum, Dash7 offers multi-kilometer range, a multi-year battery life, sensor and security support, and tag-to-tag communications, SPC reports. As a member of the alliance, SPC will work with more than 50 organizations worldwide that are Dash7 members, to advance the development of the ISO 18000-7 standard. SPC is adding a Dash7 reader module to the asset-monitoring units of its GlobalTrak system, which is designed to monitor the location and the physical status of shipping containers. The integration will provide another level of usable inventory detail for shippers and their supply chain partners, SPC indicates.

Infinite Power Systems Receives $20 Million in Venture Capital Funding
Infinite Power Solutions (IPS), a manufacturer of rechargeable, thin-film energy storage devices, has announced that it has raised $20 million in a third round of venture funding. IPS makes thin-film single cell batteries, such as its Thinergy MEC102, which 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. The company reports that the new capital will be used to expand the company's manufacturing capacity, accelerate the build-out of its global sales channels and further support advanced research and the development of its Thinergy storage devices. Existing financial investors D. E. Shaw Ventures, Polaris Venture Partners and Core Capital Partners co-led the financing, which also included new investor Generation Investment Management and participation by Applied Ventures, LLC, as well as two additional strategic investors.

SimplexGrinnell, GuardRFID Team Up on Distribution for RTLS, Security Solutions
Vancouver, Canada-based GuardRFID Solutions, a developer of active RFID solutions, has inked a distribution deal with SimplexGrinnell, a provider of fire-alarm, fire-sprinkler, fire-suppression, integrated-security, communications and nurse-call systems and services. Under the terms of the deal, SimplexGrinnell will have access to GuardRFID's active RFID-enabled real-time locating system (RTLS). The solution, designed to support multiple applications for tracking, locating and helping facilities protect individuals and assets on a single backbone, leverages GuardRFID's active tags, which transmit at 433 MHz and leverage a proprietary protocol. "SimplexGrinnell and our customers have been very pleased with the features and performance of GuardRFID's TotGuard systems," said Suzanne Rahall, SimplexGrinnel's health-care marketing manager, in a prepared statement. "The system is easy for the staff to use, and they like to be able to mix and match tag styles on one system. We look forward to bringing TotGuard and the wander-prevention and asset-locating systems to more health-care facilities in the near future."

Legic, Shanghai United Sea Trading Partner on RFID Locking Systems
Legic Identsystems, a Swiss manufacturer of 13.56 MHz contactless smart card technology, has partnered with Shanghai United Sea Trading to offer new mechanical and electronic locking systems that leverage Legic's Advant 13.56 MHz contactless smart card platform, which is compliant with the ISO 14443 and ISO 15693 standards. "Thanks to the collaboration with Legic, we are able to expand our product portfolio, offering mechanical as well as electronic locking solutions in all fields of physical access control," said Joseph Gu, the director of Shanghai United Sea Trading, in a prepared statement. "Our customers benefit from modern security standards and from a cutting-edge technology that meets the highest requirements in terms of flexibility and convenience." What's more, Legic reports, the partnership with will help strengthen its business in China.

Raftar Offers Free RFID Trial for Medical Device Companies
Raftar, a provider of RFID and mobile application-based logistics systems and distribution solutions for medical device manufacturers and distributors, has announced a free pilot offer designed to let qualifying medical device companies prove the case for RFID without any up-front investment or obligation. Raftar's offer consists of a full bundle of RFID-based warehouse and mobile, field-service automation software, EPC Class 1 Gen 2-based RFID reader equipment, tags, implementation, and training services, with an estimated market value of $100,000, at no cost to qualified companies for the 90-day pilot, the company says. The pilot will enable participants to deploy an RFID-based case-scheduling and inventory-management and -tracking solution that extends from a selected warehouse location to the point of consumption at the hospital in the field, Raftar reports. The solution, according to the company, can be deployed as a standalone system or integrated with an enterprise-resource planning (ERP) system to provide a warehouse-automation solution. It can also be integrated with case scheduling and field inventory tracking through mobile applications on smart phone devices such as the iPhone and Blackberry. After the 90-day pilot, participating companies will have the option to discontinue the program with no obligation, or to deploy a fully functional production system. "The driver here is to remove the uncertainty surrounding RFID in the medical devices industry," said Ismail Nalwala, Raftar's president and CEO, in a prepared statement. The application deadline for the offer is Sept. 30.
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