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RFID News Roundup

Clarian Health chooses Ekahau RTLS, starting with 10,000 tags; Gov. Schwarzenegger signs Toll Tag Privacy Bill; Taiwan Bike Association opts for timing solution using Raflatac EPC Gen 2 Tags; RF Code announces active reader with Wi-Fi connectivity, PoE; Evolis enhances card printers with UHF Gen 2 encoding capabilities; Southern Atlantic Healthcare Alliance chooses RadarFind RTLS.
Sep 30, 2010The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Clarian Health Chooses Ekahau RTLS, Starting With 10,000 Tags
Ekahau, a provider of Wi-Fi-based real-time location (RTLS) technology, has announced that Clarian Health, an academic medical center in Indiana with more than a dozen hospitals throughout that state, is deploying Ekahau's solution for tracking assets. According to Ekahau, the initial 10,000-tag deployment, scheduled to take place in November of this year, will target the health-care system's three downtown Indianapolis hospitals—Methodist Hospital, Indiana University Hospital and Riley Hospital for Children—and is expected to be expanded system-wide to include such applications as improving patient workflow, staff safety and temperature management. The RTLS will leverage the hospital system's existing Cisco Wi-Fi network. "At Clarian Health, we use leading-edge technologies to help us improve patient care, increase efficiency and ensure the safety of everyone at our facilities, and we continually seek innovations to support these goals," said Christen M. Mann, the director of purchasing and contract services for Clarian Health's Supply Chain Operations division, in a prepared statement. Using Ekahau's RTLS, Clarian Health's clinicians will be able to instantly locate all tagged clinical assets. The system, which consists of the Ekahau Positioning Engine and Vision software, coupled with a variety of Wi-Fi tags and sensors, works with any generation or brand of Wi-Fi network—which was important to Clarian Health, since each hospital within its statewide network employs varying generations and types of Cisco Wi-Fi equipment.

Gov. Schwarzenegger Signs Toll-Tag Privacy Bill
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law Senate Bill 1268, known as the FasTrak Privacy Bill, which is aimed at protecting the "locational privacy" of individuals so that they can't be tracked while driving. The state's legislature passed the bill this past summer, and the law sets down minimal requirements by which state agencies must abide when collecting data culled at RFID-enabled toll-road systems (see Calif. Law Seeks to Avert Privacy Intrusions Related to RFID Toll Tags). California's transit agencies have been issuing RFID transponders for electronic toll collection since 1993. Currently, more than 2 million drivers across the state carry FasTrak transponders in their vehicles, in order to bypass long lines at tollbooths (the system deducts a toll from a user's account each time an RFID interrogator mounted at a toll booth reads the tag of that person's car). SB 1268 aims to ensure the protection of a driver's private data, collected via FasTrak or other toll-collection systems. Specifically, the law prohibits transportation agencies from selling or sharing personal data, requires them to purge that information when it is no longer required, sets penalties for violations and ensures that FasTrak subscribers are given notice of the privacy practices affecting them. SB 1268 will become law on Jan. 1, 2011.

Taiwan Bike Association Opts for Timing Solution Using Raflatac EPC Gen 2 Tags
The Taiwan Bike Association has chosen an RFID-enabled timing solution, Cycling Challenge, from Bicom Information Technology, to help make time-taking easier and ensure the accuracy of bicycle-race results. The RFID solution, which leverages EPC Gen 2 DogBone ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID inlays from UPM Raflatac, will provide racers with the ability to immediately enquire about their racing times, and also receive a personalized certificate and information concerning their performance. To use the solution, a player will receive a label with an embedded RFID inlay, printed with information about that racer, such as his or her name, number and emergency contact details, at a qualification and RFID checkout point next to the registration stations. The RFID label is then attached to that individual's helmet. The starting and finishing lines are each equipped with four antennas and a UHF reader that records each racer's departure and arrival times. The Taiwan Bike Association will use the solution at its five annually organized races, UPM Raflatac reports, as well as at a hundred other cycle races arranged in that country. "Real-time features enabled by RFID technology, such as ranking and performance data queries, are an asset to the race service management: the processing times and required staff are substantially reduced compared to other timing solutions," said Joy Tsai, Bicom Information Technology's project manager, in a prepared statement.

RF Code Announces Active Reader With Wi-Fi Connectivity, PoE
RF Code has announced a new fixed RFID reader, the model M250, that the company says is designed to read its 433 MHz active transponders in tag-dense environments, and in remote sites with poor network connections. Two versions of the M250 reader are available: one with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, and another that uses Power over Ethernet (PoE). The PoE option is designed to reduce the operational costs associated with providing power to the device, the company reports, since there's no need to wire for power—all that is required is to drop an Ethernet cable and attach the reader to the existing network. The M250 models work with all RF Code active RFID asset tags and environmental sensors, as well as all wired and wireless network infrastructures; the company's active tags and readers leverage RF Code's patented communication protocols to allow for very high tag densities. The readers pick up data transmitted by tags and sensors, such as an asset's ID number, and then relay that information. According to RF Code, the M250 is designed to provide increased data reliability over cell networks or poorly connected remote locations; if the network connection goes down, for example, the reader will continue to capture and store tag and sensor information. Once the network connection is restored, the device will then automatically forward captured data to the software for management. The M250 reader's maximum sensitivity (maximum range) depends upon the installation, location and antenna configuration. The operating read range is software-configurable, and can be adjusted for customized applications. Both versions of the M250 are available now.

Evolis Enhances Card Printers With UHF Gen 2 Encoding Capabilities
Evolis, a provider of solutions for plastic card personalization, has introduced an ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) Gen 2 RFID encoding option for its Pebble and Dualys card printers. "The addition of Gen 2 encoders to our line of printers will allow organizations to implement efficient and reliable RFID systems while benefiting from Evolis' unique alliance of quality and value," said Gerardo Talavera, Evolis' managing director, in a prepared statement. Evolis has partnered with TransTech Systems, a provider of ID badges and access-control solutions, to introduce and market its first UHF card-printing solution.

Southern Atlantic Healthcare Alliance Chooses RadarFind RTLS
The Southern Atlantic Healthcare Alliance (SAHA) has announced that it has selected RadarFind to provide real-time location systems (RTLS) for its 16 member hospitals throughout North Carolina. The RTLS will be used to track medical equipment, patients and staff members. 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. RadarFind has existing relationships with four SAHA hospitals, including WakeMed Cary Hospital (see Asset Tracking Underway at WakeMed Cary Hospital) and Wayne Memorial Hospital (see At Wayne Memorial, RFID Pays for Itself). By analyzing utilization data gathered by the RadarFind system, the company indicates, WakeMed has been able to reduce its inventory of rental infusion pumps by 20 percent. In addition to locating assets, the system can also provide status and context to location by communicating information regarding whether a piece of equipment is in use, available or in need of cleaning, via RadarFind's sensor-network technology, which also includes temperature-monitoring applications and alarm capabilities.
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