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RFID News Roundup

UPM Raflatac to launch security RFID tags; Pramari unveils update to open-source RFID software; EPCglobal ratifies version 1.5 of Tag Data Standard; North Dakota unveils voluntary RFID cattle-tracking program; ABI Research forecasts higher-frequency RFID- and RTLS-enabled asset-management system revenues to hit $845 million in 2014; RadarFind intros temperature sensor.
North Dakota Unveils Voluntary RFID Cattle-Tracking Program
The North Dakota Department of Agriculture has unveiled a new voluntary program to help market the state's beef domestically and abroad. Under the direction of Doug Goehring, North Dakota's agriculture commissioner, and authorized by the state's legislature, the program includes a five-year contract with animal-traceability IT firm AgInfoLink, which will provide cattle tracking using radio frequency identification. "The age and source verification will be provided through AgInfoLink's USDA-approved Process Verified Program," Goehring said in a prepared statement. "This information is required by beef-importing countries, such as South Korea and Japan. The department will enroll, train and audit producers and feeding operations." Under the voluntary program, animals designated as North Dakota Verified Livestock will be identified by specially designed tags, manufactured by AllFlex USA. The cost of the program for producers is $2.75 per RFID tag, or $4.05 per head of cattle, for both RFID and visual ear tags. Feedlot enrollment is $275 per year. Age/source records of 10 percent of the enrolled producers and all enrolled feeding operations will be audited annually, Goehring says, for accuracy and program compliance.

ABI Research Forecasts Higher-Frequency RFID- and RTLS-enabled Asset-Management System Revenues to Hit $845 Million in 2014
By 2014, ABI Research estimates that sales revenue for higher-frequency RFID- and RTLS-enabled asset-tracking and asset-management systems will total $845 million. This year, the research firm reports, only about 37 million higher-frequency RFID tags are expected to ship—but in 2014, such shipments will total almost 150 million. This increase will result in an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for 2010 to 2014 of more than 40 percent. ABI's definition of higher-frequency RFID systems includes passive UHF tags, active RFID tags (UHF and microwave) and all RTLS solutions, such as those involving Wi-Fi or ultrawide-band (UWB) technology. These figures are part of ABI Research's new "RFID and RTLS-enabled Asset Tracking and Management" study, which also includes a detailed analysis and assessment of specific applications for asset tracking and asset management, focusing on passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF), active RFID, and RTLS-enabled solutions. ABI Research attributes the growth to the fact that although the recent global recession has affected the RFID market, many businesses continue to realize that optimizing their return on assets (ROA) and eliminating unnecessary asset investment is critical. ABI Research cites such industries as aerospace and defense, automotive manufacturing, commercial services, and non-CPG/industrial manufacturing as showing the fastest and strongest growth in the use of RFID systems. The study, which included a survey of 80 RFID end-user organizations (excluding those with no interest in radio frequency identification, as well as those utilizing the technology for item-level retail tracking, or for tracking individuals in health care), reveals that 65 percent of respondents were piloting, deploying or had already deployed an RFID-based system for tracking and/or managing assets. "Most people assume the savings will be in 'soft money': the ability to reduce employees' time spent on this kind of work," said Michael Liard, ABI Research's practice director, in a prepared statement. "But deployments that have been carried through to completion are delivering surprising returns in 'hard' money: lower CAPEX [Capital expenditures] and less inventory 'shrinkage.'"

RadarFind Intros Temperature Sensor
RadarFind, a provider of real-time location system (RTLS) technology, has announced a new temperature-measuring RFID tag. The RadarFind system includes active ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID transponders that operate at 902 to 928 MHz and can be attached to assets and interrogators that plug directly into an outlet. The readers capture a tag's signal, which includes a unique ID number, and transmit that data wirelessly over the same UHF band, to so-called collectors installed around a hospital. The collectors then pass that information on to a RadarFind server via a local area network. The interrogators can calculate an asset's location to within several feet on the floor on which that item is located, using a combination of signal strength and other processes. The small cube-like temperature-measuring tag can provide a visual alert (its built-in flashing light can be commanded to illuminate), and the system sends messages via e-mail or pager when temperatures fall above or below pre-set parameters. This integrated alarm mechanism, according to RadarFind, safeguards vaccines or other temperature-sensitive medications and samples when cooling equipment fails to perform adequately. The temperature-tracking tag is compliant with IP65, meaning that testing has confirmed it is dustproof and waterproof. The waterproof certification enables the tags to report accurate information when placed in therapeutic baths, or if they come into contact with substances stored within a refrigerator. The tag's temperature-measurement range is -40 degrees to +70 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees to +21 degrees Fahrenheit), and its low power consumption extends the sensor battery's life beyond eight years. Hospitals can employ the temperature-sensing tags to wirelessly monitor refrigerators and freezers containing medications, blood and tissue samples, as well as other medical devices that warrant continuous temperature monitoring. Real-time temperature data is continuously sent to RadarFind's collectors.

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