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RFID News Roundup

Awarepoint doubles revenue in 2010, sets stage for expansion; RFID aids in rescue of hundreds of starving llamas; Xerafy survey says read performance drives RFID decisions; Comprion, Monetech offer new NFC testing service; report on NFC business models identifies strategies for success; IER unveils new 2-D bar-code and NFC reader.
Feb 03, 2011The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Awarepoint Doubles Revenue in 2010, Sets Stage for Expansion
Real-time location systems (RTLS) provider Awarepoint has announced that it ended 2010 with 100 percent annual growth in revenue and 91 hospital sites contracted, consisting of 45,062,013 million square feet of RTLS network coverage in U.S. hospitals and 135,265 health-care assets under management. The privately-held San Diego-based company says the results represent a 30 percent increase in contracted hospitals, a 50 percent growth in square feet of RTLS network coverage and a 58 percent rise in health-care asset tags under management by Awarepoint from 2009's year-end figures. Additionally, revenue growth exceeded 100 percent for the third year in a row. Awarepoint provides ZigBee-based RTLS hardware, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based software, and maintenance, management and consulting services. Among its many customers are the Texoma Medical Center and the Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center (OLOL), located in Baton Rouge, La., (see Our Lady of the Lake Boosts Efficiencies With Awarepoint's RTLS), as well as Adventist Health, the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, Jackson Health System, of Miami, Fla. (see Jackson Memorial Enlists Thousands of RFID Tags to Track Assets), the Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center (see San Jose Medical Center Installs ZigBee-based RTLS Across 10 Buildings), Spectrum Health Systems (see RFID News Roundup: Spectrum Health Picks Awarepoint System to Track Assets; Awarepoint Expands to Australia), the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the University of California San Diego Medical Center (see UCSD Medical Center Expands Its RFID Deployment), the University of California San Francisco Medical Center and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (see Army Medical Center Looking to Boost Asset Awareness). Late last year, Awarepoint also announced that it had completed another round of financing worth $9 million that included current investors Cardinal Partners, Jafco Ventures and Venrock, as well as Silicon Valley Bank. This financing follows the company's March 1, 2010, announcement of $10 million in expansion (see RFID News Roundup: Alien, Awarepoint Each Scores $10 Million in Funding). "The successful closure of this financing reflects the strength of our expanding client base, and the confidence our investors have in Awarepoint's focus on both building a great product and ensuring long-term success of our clients," said Jay Deady, Awarepoint's president and CEO, in a prepared statement. "This financing is also an indication of the confidence our banking partner has in Awarepoint." Specifically, Awarepoint indicates that it plans this year to invest in its software capabilities. According to Valerie Fritz, Awarepoint's senior VP of marketing, the company will focus on expanding its software capabilities to support the increasing market maturity of RTLS in health care, "moving beyond asset tracking to focus on applications, analytics and dashboards that impact patient, personnel and equipment workflows and impact throughput, intervention, infection control and compliance initiatives in hospitals." The financing will also be used to boost sales and marketing efforts, Fritz says, and to expand the company's current account management, business improvement consulting and training teams that can help hospitals realize both the hard- and soft-dollar benefits of Awarepoint's solutions.

RFID Aids in Rescue of Hundreds of Starving Llamas
Some 600 llamas that that were starving at a defunct animal sanctuary have been successfully rescued and are now being relocated to new homes—thanks, in part, to RFID tags and readers. On Dec. 3, 2010, representatives of the llama community were contacted regarding more than 1,000 starving animals at the Montana Large Animal Sanctuary & Rescue. Southeast Llama Rescue, Northeast Llama Rescue, Southwest Llama Rescue, the Llama Association of North America, the Lama Lifeline Committee and AniMeals.com immediately mobilized resources to evacuate the 600 llamas found at the sanctuary. Among those who have been working with Northeast Llama Rescue is Ellen Prosser, who owns Fort Lucas Farm, located in Colrain, Mass., where she and her husband raise llamas and alpacas. When the stranded animals were first discovered, Prosser says, none of the animals had any identification. "They had no names, no medical histories, and few identifiers," she states. To help resolve this problem, Digital Angel Corp.'s Destron Fearing subsidiary donated the necessary RFID tags and interrogators. Destron Fearing's LifeChip Bio-Thermo microchips, each about the size of a grain of rice, contain passive 134.2 kHz transponders pre-encoded with ID numbers. The chips are inserted using single-use syringes, and the numbers can be registered in a registry or database regarding each of the tagged animals. In the case of the rescue, the chips proved to be extremely valuable tools for gathering, moving and treating the llamas. The RFID technology has been providing an efficient and accurate means to positively identify the llamas, Prosser says, "so as to track them for medical purposes, to tie a name to a particular animal, and to make sure adopters get the animal they choose down the road. The microchips are our best current technology for doing that." The process of inserting the microchips, she adds, was quicker and less stressful than the alternative of tattooing the llamas. At this time, Destron Fearing's LifeChip has been used in the evacuation of approximately 400 llamas, with the remaining animals currently in the process of being removed. The rescue groups rely on donations. Information on how to support their efforts can be found at Fort Lucas Farm's Web site, or by contacting the Northeast Llama Rescue at NELR, Box 410, Middleburgh, NY, 12122.

Xerafy Survey Says Read Performance Drives RFID Decisions
Xerafy, a provider of RFID tags for metal assets, recently surveyed end users and systems integrators, who said that when it comes to performance requirements, read distance and performance mattered most in their purchasing decisions. Respondents represented a variety of industries using on-metal or in-metal RFID tags for such applications as manufacturing, warehouse, oil and gas, and aerospace; the survey was conducted from October to December 2010. Approximately 70 percent of respondents said they felt read performance controlled their choice, with most (44 percent) reporting that applications required a read distance greater than 10 feet, and 27 percent saying they desired a tag with equivalent signal performance for both metallic and non-metallic assets. The results regarding what influences purchasing decisions were somewhat surprising, Xerafy reports, in that the company assumed price to be the most important factor, whereas the survey found that the capability to embed a tag in an asset held the most influence, by 40 percent. The second highest factor was tag size. According to Xerafy, the greater need for the RFID tag to fit the application, versus just selling on price, signifies an interesting shift in the adoption of RFID technology. Because 75 percent of respondents indicated the two main markets for RFID-on-metal applications to be manufacturing and warehouse, the company notes, the choice for read performance over other features made sense. Consequently, Xerafy plans to introduce several new products designed for these key markets in 2011.

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