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RFID News Roundup

Spectrum Health picks Awarepoint system to track assets; Awarepoint expands to Australia; William Frick & Co. unveils new UHF tags for warehousing, distribution; Intelleflex, Lockheed Martin develop perimeter-monitoring security system; IDTronic intros UHF RFID key fob; ETRI joins RFID Consortium.
Aug 26, 2010The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Spectrum Health Picks Awarepoint System to Track Assets; Awarepoint Expands to Australia
Spectrum Health System has announced that it has selected a ZigBee-based real-time location system (RTLS) from medical equipment and software distributor Skytron and Awarepoint, a manufacturer of RTLS solutions. The RTLS, which includes a software application called the InSites Enterprise Visibility Platform, provided by Intelligent InSites, will be used to track and manage more than 5,300 hospital assets throughout its downtown and cross-town campuses, inclusive of 1.8 million square feet, for Butterworth Hospital, the Fred and Lenna Meijer Heart Center, the Helen DeVos Women's and Children's Center, and Blodgett Memorial Hospital. "Tracking medical equipment that requires preventative maintenance to ensure patient safety was priority Number 1," said Robert Rinck, Spectrum Health System's director of clinical engineering, in a prepared statement. The solution, according to the hospital, will also be utilized to help optimize the use of a variety of mobile assets, including infusion pumps, wheelchairs and computers on wheels, as well as reduce rentals and capital purchases, and improve workflows. Awarepoint's asset tags, the companies report, broadcast low-power radio messages that enable Spectrum Health to quickly locate specific assets and provide real-time location data via the Intelligent InSites' Enterprise Visibility Platform. The information is then leveraged to visualize the location and status of assets, track equipment utilization rates, and generate rules-based notifications and alerts, thereby resulting in increased productivity and more efficient resource deployment. What's more, the information collected about the assets will be shared with the hospital system's existing equipment-management software, via the Intelligent InSites application. In other Awarepoint news, the company has announced that it has signed a contract with a new distributor, Wi Protect Pty. Ltd., based in Sydney, Australia. The agreement grants distribution rights throughout Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Wi Protect recently contracted the first major RTLS public hospital project in Victoria, Australia. "Up until now, Awarepoint has been cautious to expand internationally. Finding distributors we could trust was a challenge," said Brad Weinert, Awarepoint's president and COO, in a prepared statement. "Partnering with Wi Protect expands our global strategy of ventures and alliances around the world. This, along with our strong confidence in Wi Protect, has been the catalyst for this international growth."

William Frick & Co. Unveils New UHF Tags for Warehousing, Distribution
William Frick & Co. has recently added new ultrahigh frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 passive RFID tags designed to help warehousing and distribution centers improve productivity and manage inventory. The Long-Read Warehouse Tag (WF-SM-AT01), the company indicates, has a read range of more than 16 feet and can be used to track shipping containers in a logistics environment, for scanning items in tall shelves, and for a variety of other applications, such as tracking heavy machinery. It can be directly screwed on or attached via adhesive to metallic surfaces without degradation in readability. The tag can also be printed with 1-D and 2-D bar codes and human-readable text. The Multi-use RFID Tag (WFS-SM-003) combines a magnetic tag, an adhesive-backed tag, and an RFID wire-attached tag into one multipurpose identification tag, according to William & Frick. The WFS-SM-003 tag can also be printed with bar codes and text, and can be read from four to 10 feet away, depending on hardware and environmental conditions. The tag is resistant to chemicals, water and abrasion. Finally, the RFID Floor Tag (WHS-SM-FLR1), designed for floors, walls and other flat objects, is thin (measuring 0.05 inch in thickness) and designed to be durable enough to withstand being driven over with a forklift, the firm reports. The tag can be used to mark floor location in a warehouse or distribution facility, in order to aid in automatic data collection and inventory control. The tag's permanent 3M adhesive, the company notes, provides a high-strength bond to concrete, plastic or painted surfaces, and the adhesive also bonds well to surfaces lightly contaminated with oil, enabling it to be a suitable choice for factory and warehouse floors.

Intelleflex, Lockheed Martin Develop Perimeter-Monitoring Security System
Intelleflex and Lockheed Martin's Advanced Technology Center (ATC) have announced that they've developed what they call a Versatile Advanced Monitoring System (VAMS) for perimeter security, using Intelleflex's newly released XC3 technology platform, which leverages battery-assisted passive (BAP) RFID and chips, tags, reader modules, fixed interrogators and mobile readers compliant with the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6 Class 3 standards. VAMS employs proprietary Lockheed Martin elements that include firmware, interrogation protocols, and detection and tracking algorithms. The system is able to detect stationary objects, single or multiple intruders, air-dropped assets, left-behind items, and intruders who vault perimeter fences or drop by parachute. As an intrusion is detected, a camera is automatically cued and pointed at the intrusion coordinates for operator alarm and verification. "We developed this system in response to needs articulated by the U.S. government," said Dr. Vibeke Libby, a principal ATC scientist and the inventor of VAMS, in a prepared statement. "Our goal was to create a robust and versatile system that offers an affordable solution to new challenges for perimeter security. Our close partnership with Intelleflex is ideal. We have been able to combine our companies' proprietary technologies, resulting in an unprecedented range of new capabilities." Recently, Lockheed Martin's scientists and engineers at ATC successfully demonstrated the VAMS system, which is designed for government and commercial applications, the companies report. According to Intelleflex, the XC3 technology's RF capabilities include a 100-meter (328-foot) response range, 60 kilobits of on-chip extended memory, security using multi-layer password protection and over-the-air data encryption. It also enables sensor-based solutions, including a temperature sensor tag that improves cold chain visibility and management.

IDTronic Intros UHF RFID Key Fob
IDTronic, an RFID hardware provider based in Germany, has introduced a key fob equipped with an Alien Technology Higgs 3 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) Gen 2 RFID chip that supports the global frequencies of 860 to 960 MHz, and is compliant with the EPC Class 1 Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6 specifications. According to IDTronic, the key fob is completely waterproof, and can be used with all common UHF readers at a reading range of up to 80 centimeters (31.5 inches). The key fob can be personalized via such options as custom pad printing, IC encoding and serial-number printing. It is available now in a variety of colors, including black, blue, red, green and yellow.

ETRI Joins RFID Consortium
The RFID Consortium, a group of RFID vendors that hold patents essential to the development and use of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID products that leverage standards defined by EPCglobal and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), along with its administration arm, Sisvel, have announced that the Electronics and Telecommunication Research Institute (ETRI) has joined the consortium and will participate in its joint licensing program for patents essential to the UHF RFID standard. ETRI joins other patent owners 3M, France Telecom, Hewlett-Packard (HP), LG Electronics, Motorola, ThingMagic and Zebra Technologies. The consortium was created to promote the adoption of UHF RFID technology by offering a single license to patents essential to the practice of the UHF RFID standards owned by the participating companies. Sisvel is the administrator of the licensing program (see RFID Consortium Readies to Launch First Licenses). "As a leader in information and communications technology research, ETRI is a great addition to the consortium and their participation will enhance the value of the consortium's patent portfolio license for manufacturers and sellers of UHF RFID products," said Jim O'Hagan, an RFID Consortium spokesperson and Zebra Technologies' director of patents and technology, in a prepared statement. "Through the RFID Consortium, manufacturers will have access to a single low-cost license to essential patents from multiple leading global firms." Participation in the UHF RFID licensing program and the RFID Consortium is open to all holders of patents essential to the UHF RFID standards.
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