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RFID News Roundup

QID's reusable RFID-enabled hard tag features UPM RFID Combo inlay; Clavis Technologies participates in Korean asset-tracking project, secures investment; South Africa's Oppikoppi Music Festival to provide NFC cards to attendees; ClarIDy Solutions intros UHF and HF RFID Demo Kit, announces new integrator partnership; Siemens' Industry Automation Division launches RFID-enabled safety switch.
Jul 08, 2011The following are news announcements made during the past week.

QID's Reusable RFID-enabled Hard Tag Features UPM RFID Combo Inlay
QID Solutions Inc., a Hungarian provider of RFID solutions and tags primarily for the fashion retail sector, has announced that its QID smartPIN utilizes UPM RFID's new Combo inlay, which is equipped with NXP Semiconductors' Ucode chip. The Combo inlay, one of UPM RFID's specialty products, has dimensions of 39 millimeters by 7 millimeters (1.54 inches by 0.28 inch), and comes with 96 or 240 bits of memory. The QID smartPIN tag is EPC Gen 2-compliant, works with a variety of existing electronic article surveillance (EAS) technologies, and locks via a standard EAS pin, but also works as a standalone RFID EAS tag. At the RFID Journal LIVE! 2011 conference and exhibition, held this past April, QID Solutions introduced its QID smartPIN reusable RFID hard tag to the U.S. market (see RFID News Roundup: Hungarian RFID Provider Debuts RFID EAS Hard Tag in North America). The smartPIN offers a read range of 0.8 meter to 2.5 meters (2.6 feet to 8.2 feet) with a handheld RFID reader, and 2.5 meters to 4 meters (8.2 feet to 13.1 feet) with a fixed interrogator. "QID's smartPIN is truly a revolutionary product in its compliancy with the existing EAS market," said Mikko Nikkanen, UPM RFID's business development director, in a prepared statement. "Shop inventory using RFID readers and smartPINs attached to apparel, for instance, is much faster than traditional bar-code-based inventory. Moreover, you don't lose the code from the item that easily."

Clavis Technologies Participates in Korean Asset-Tracking Project, Secures Investment
Clavis Technologies International Co., Ltd., a provider of RFID-enabled solutions to various industrial markets, headquartered in Louisville, Ky., with offices in Seoul, Korea, has announced that it has been selected to participate in an asset-tracking implementation that leverages radio frequency identification to track computer assets among businesses in the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) for South Korea's Ministry of Unification (MOU). The KIC is an industrial park located in the city of Kaesong (Gaesong) in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), just across the demilitarized zone from South Korea. More than 50 midsize South Korean companies are currently using North Korean labor to manufacture products in Kaesong, but projections are for as many as 2,000 firms to do so, according to Clavis. The complex was planned, developed and financed largely by South Korea, with support from the United States, and has become a symbol of the growing level of engagement between North Korea and South Korea, the company reports. For some time, Clavis indicates, the assets—owned by 122 South Korean manufacturers in KIC—have been manually and irregularly checked, with theft and administrative errors occurring frequently. To improve the situation, MOU selected Clavis to create an RFID-enabled asset-tracking system that can automatically manage and update data, verify the current status of assets entering and exiting the system, and connect that information through the process of registering computer information and confirming RFID data in Seoul. Clavis provides computing solutions using its RFID platform—the URIS Network Group—which consists of software and middleware for customizing and managing RFID data into enterprise applications, and complies with all EPCglobal RFID standards, including EPC Gen 2. For the MOU implementation, Clavis has focused on making it easier for users to print and encode RFID labels, as well as improve the scalability of information that users want to add to RFID tags. "We appreciate the ministry's trust in our systems and will strive to improve tracking for the government and South Korean manufacturers in such an important economic zone," said Hwan Sup Lee, Clavis' CEO, in a prepared statement. For this project, the ministry has begun checking computer systems and important strategic goods to protect against theft, and it plans to expand into other strategic goods as well, such as appliances, machines and gas tanks, by creating a tracking system to hold the information for all government agencies. Clavis has also announced that it has secured $500,000 through a purchase agreement that it entered into with Benex Investment, a Korean venture capital and private equity fund management company, on Dec. 15, 2010. Upon signing the agreement, Benex Investment invested $500,000 in Clavis as an initial purchase of 1 million shares of the company's preferred stock, at a cost of $0.50 per share. The agreement also contains a one-time option, exercisable at Benex's sole discretion, to purchase up to 9 million shares of Clavis' common stock at a 10 percent discount off the average trading price, within 10 days after the adjustment period's expiration, during the 90-day period commencing on the closing date's first anniversary. "We appreciate their support and will continue to demonstrate to our shareholders how our company will use this financing to increase our market share of RFID-enabled technologies into new industry verticals and geographic regions," Hwan Sup Lee said. "While this information was first filed with the SEC in December of 2010, we feel it is very important that the public is aware of key investors in the company and will continue to provide updates on our progress as well as future operational or financing changes in the company."

South Africa's Oppikoppi Music Festival to Provide NFC Cards to Attendees
Unknown Brother, the 17th annual rendition of the Oppikoppi music festival, will feature payment cards equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Festival-goers can use the NFC cards to purchase food and beverages. The three-day event, to be held during the first weekend of August 2011, near the South African mining town of Northam, is expected to feature 80 bands and entertain up to 15,000 attendees, many of whom will camp out in the bush at the event. The festival features mostly South African bands, though international acts are also included in the mix. The NFC cards, which allow payments to be made simply by tapping the card by an NFC reader, are the result of a collaboration between Standard Bank's Beyond Payments subsidiary and Oppikoppi's organizer, Hilltop Live. The so-called Oppikoppi tap n go cards will be issued to every visitor free of charge. Stations will be set up throughout the entertainment area, where visitors will be able to preload funds onto their Oppikoppi cards, using cash, credit or debit cards, or mimoney—Standard Bank's e-currency that exists as voucher codes on a user's mobile phone. To make a payment, Standard Bank explains, a cardholder can simply tap his or her card against a participating vendor's cash register, and the correct amount will then be deducted from that person's balance. "The idea behind NFC payment systems is to simplify spending for consumers," said Herman Singh, Beyond Payments' CEO, in a prepared statement. "We believe that Unknown Brother provides the ideal opportunity to introduce the concept—the convenience factor of the Oppikoppi card will mean an enhanced festival experience for visitors." Once the festival has ended, any value remaining on the Oppikoppi cards will be converted into mimoney, which can then be spent at more than 25 of South Africa's premier online and brick-and-mortar retailers. These include kalahari.net, Look & Listen, Ster-Kinekor, Mr. Delivery, Incredible Connection and Takealot. The large number of Oppikoppi attendees will be a formidable pilot audience for Beyond Payments' tap n go venture, Standard Bank reports, and Hilltop Live hopes to standardize the payment innovation and roll it out at all of its major festivals and events, which include more than 60 a year. "The solution not only provides an enjoyable and more efficient user experience for our festival goers," said Carel Hoffmann, Hilltop Live's president, in the statement, "but importantly, it also provides a cashless event which addresses the risk and cost of cash handling, as well as simplifies the reconciliation process amongst merchants at the event." Last month, the Isle of Wight Festival, an event dating back to the late 1960s, leveraged NFC-enabled wristbands, preloaded with £30 ($48) that could be used to purchase food and beverages with a simple tap of the wrist, according to ID&C, a U.K.-based provider of security, promotional and contactless payment wristbands (see RFID News Roundup: Isle of Wight Festival Guests Sport Contactless Wristbands). MasterCard also participated in that project.

ClarIDy Solutions Intros UHF and HF RFID Demo Kit, Announces New Integrator Partnership
ClarIDy, an RFID solutions provider based in Hsinchu, Taiwan, has announced a new RFID Demo Kit for its distributor and reseller partners. The kit, which can be equipped to support a variety of RFID standards—including the EPC Gen 2 specification and the ISO 14443A/B, ISO 15693, ISO 18000-3 Mode 1 and FeliCa HF frequency protocols—as well as ZigBee, includes the necessary hardware, such as an RFID reader, a bar-code scanner, bar-code labels, and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) and high-frequency (HF) RFID tags. It also comes with three demo software applications, including IDSmart Dcenter, which serves as the middleware linking the hardware and software, as well as applications for warehouses, factories and more. The RFID Demo Kit (part number SCK-001) starts at $1,800 and is available now, but sufficient lead time is required to customize the kit for a particular distributor or reseller. According to Megan Wu, ClarIDy's product manager, the company has numerous distributors and resellers in China and Taiwan, and is now focusing on developing a global market. The new RFID Demo Kit, she says, is geared for all. "At Computex, the biggest IT show in Taiwan, we actually met many potential partners, including some in Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, Romania, the Netherlands, Belgium," Wu states. "Besides that, we have one official distributor in Russia, called ERFID." ClarIDy recently announced its formal partnership with CJSC ERFID, which will market its ClarIDy IDSmart solutions on the Russian market, and will engage in collaborative systems development for CJSC ERFID's customer base. The partnership announcement follows a one-year collaborative relationship. According to ClarIDy, the agreement was made possible with the help of the Taipei-Moscow Economic and Cultural Coordination Commission (TMECCC), in Moscow, and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA).

Siemens' Industry Automation Division Launches RFID-enabled Safety Switch
Siemens' Industry Automation Division has launched an electronic contactless safety switch for protective equipment, including protective covers, flaps and doors that are difficult to adjust, or that frequently open and close. The new 3SE63 safety switch, based on 125 kHz contactless passive RFID transponder technology, is designed for applications in safety circuits, to monitor the positions of doors, flaps and hoods. In this case, the safety switch monitors the position via an RFID-enabled electronic actuator that can determine if, for example, a safety door is opened, and can then share that safety and diagnostic output data with other systems. The new switch has a plastic enclosure that provides protection up to IP69K, which means the switch is designed to address high-pressure, high-temperature wash-down applications, is resistant to detergents and is designed for a long service life, as well as for use under extreme environmental conditions. The switch can be utilized in safety applications up to performance level "e" (according to EN 13849-1), as well as SIL 3 (according to IEC 61508/62061), and is suitable for connecting several devices in parallel. The 3SE63 switch is equipped with integrated monitoring functions for open-circuit, external voltage and cross-circuit, and has two short-circuit-proof, 24-volt DC safety outputs. Further comprehensive diagnostic functions, such as threshold indication, can be displayed on the device's status LEDs, or can be obtained from the diagnostics output for further processing. According to Siemens, the switch features universal mounting holes that provide variable mounting by means of four screws, for any mounting position.
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