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RFID News Roundup

Trimble, Truecount to deliver ThingMagic-powered RFID solutions; IDS Microchip releases new EPC-based Sensory Tag Chip; RF Code, Geist unveil data-center power-monitoring solution; PPG intros biodegradable Teslin substrate for smartcards, RFID inlays, more; taxis at Monterrey International Airport get tagged; SK Telecom exports EPC RFID reader USIM card to China.
Mar 24, 2011The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Trimble, Truecount to Deliver ThingMagic-Powered RFID Solutions
Wireless, mobile and RFID provider Trimble has partnered with RFID retail solutions provider Truecount, which will leverage Trimble's ThingMagic enterprise-grade RFID readers to deliver item-level RFID platforms for retailers and their end-to-end supply chains. Zander Livingston, Truecount's CEO, launched his new company in 2010 with the goal of providing a retailer-focused RFID software package for tagging goods at the item level (see American Apparel's RFID Guru Launches RFID Software Startup). By implementing item-level RFID, Livingston says, retailers can achieve up-to-the-minute inventory visibility that is more than 99 percent precise, providing a huge competitive advantage to retailers that implement it, by streamlining and accelerating inventory and management processes. Truecount will also host ongoing demonstrations of its item-level RFID software at the ThingMagic booth (124) at RFID Journal LIVE! 2011, which will be held on Apr. 12-14, at the Orange County Convention Center, in Orlando, Fla. Truecount states that it has structured each demo to showcase key capabilities and benefits of advanced RFID technology for the end-to-end retail supply chain, providing a firsthand view of three critical functions: "in-line tagging," which gives retailers the ability to tag items at any point within the supply chain, from the manufacturing source to final shipping and delivery to the store; "receive," which shows the speed and accuracy of receiving at the item level with RFID (item-level RFID takes 96 percent less time than using bar codes for similar tasks); and "move to," which captures and corrects inventory-handling errors in real time, ensuring that the correct item is in the proper location at the necessary time. Truecount has also announced that it will offer free, individual consultations to all retailer attendees that stop by Trimble's ThingMagic booth at the conference. The consultations are designed to help retailers evaluate the best approach to item-level RFID for their operations, Livingston explains, and to address specific issues ranging from integration and implementation to timing and tag use. The complementary consultation will include an introduction to RFID, with information about how retailers can apply the technology to their individual business model in order to achieve the greatest benefits. A significant feature of Truecount's solution is its scalability, Livingston says, delivering a compelling return on investment for midsize firms, as well as large, multi-store chains.

IDS Microchip Releases New EPC-based Sensory Tag Chip
Swiss semiconductor firm IDS Microchip, which focuses on RFID and sensor solutions, has begun shipping the first production parts of its new RFID sensory tag chip, based on the EPC Gen 2 Class 3 standard. The single chip, the company reports, is designed to enable such applications as supply and cold chain with dynamic shelf-life monitoring, tracking history and condition of constructions, the controlling and recording of medication, process control in factory automation, and remote metering and supervision. The SL900A can automatically measure, time-stamp and record sensory information, which typically includes temperature, pressure, humidity and vibration. According to IDS Microchip, the chip can also be configured to automatically execute an alarm or notification when critical conditions occur. This event-driven capability, the company reports, enables various applications in the cold chain, pharmaceutical, and food and health industries, as well as in the construction industry, and makes it possible to determine the conditions of materials used, in an economical, non-invasive and practical manner. The SL900A works in semi-passive mode (battery-assisted), as well as in fully passive mode (EPC Gen 2 Class 1). According to IDS Microchip, the chip is ideal for applications using thin and flexible batteries (1.5-volt or 3-volt) for autonomous logging from the integrated temperature sensor or external sensors (an SPI/IO port allows the connection of external circuits). Other key features include a temperature range of -40 degrees Celsius to +110 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees Fahrenheit to +230 degrees Fahrenheit), a transmission frequency range of 860 to 960 MHz, a real-time clock, 9-kilobit electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) and anti-collision capability. The SL900A is available in 16-LD QFN format—measuring 5 millimeters by 5 millimeters (0.2 inch by 0.2 inch)—or as a dice-on-wafer (DoW) version. Development kits (including an R902DRM reader board and an SL900A smart data logger board) are available on request, emulating a complete system with demo soft- and firmware with source codes. IDS Microchip will demonstrate the new SL900A tag chip at RFID Journal LIVE! 2011, which will be held on Apr. 12-14, at the Orange County Convention Center, in Orlando, Fla.

RF Code, Geist Unveil Data-Center Power-Monitoring Solution
RFID technology firm RF Code and the Geist Data Center Solutions Group of Geist have announced an integrated solution for monitoring data-center power. Geist has integrated RF Code's wire-free power-monitoring solution into a line of its power distribution units (PDUs), the two companies report, providing Geist's customers with an affordable power-monitoring alternative to traditional wired approaches requiring Ethernet connections that are expensive to install and maintain. The solution consists of RF Code's PDU active 433 MHz RFID sensor tags that easily plug into a Geist Satellite Current Monitoring PDU, as well as RF Code RFID readers and software that compiles and manages the power-monitoring data. Instead of utilizing an Ethernet connection for each PDU, Geist's customers can now plug an RF Code R170 PDU tag into the Geist PDU. The system then streams the energy-consumption information wirelessly to an RFID reader, and then to RF Code's Sensor Manager software or Geist's Environet platform, a suite that graphically details an organization's mission-critical environment, from an enterprise-wide view to the smallest component within it. In September 2010, RF Code announced a similar solution involving Raritan (see RF Code, Raritan Launch System for Monitoring Server Power Consumption).

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