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RFID News Roundup

Identive Group unveils NFC marketplace, buys identity-management firm; NFC app provider Proxama launches smart-poster campaign; RFID market remains strong, says ABI Research; Smartrac introduces line of NFC transponders; Awarepoint reports its RTLS and workflow solutions installed in 46 hospitals.
Jul 21, 2011The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Identive Group Unveils NFC Marketplace, Buys Identity-Management Firm
Identive Group, a provider of products, services and solutions for the security, identification and RFID industries, has launched a Web site and online marketplace focusing on Near Field Communication (NFC) solutions for systems integrators and application developers. Through its NFC Web site, www.IdentiveNFC.com, the company is offering a range of NFC products, as well as educational resources. Products include NFC tags that can be personalized for businesses participating in Google's smart-poster campaign for its Hotpot service, an NFC-enabled adjunct to Google's Places service (see Google Brings RFID-enabled Hotpot to Portland, Austin). Launched in September 2009, Google Places features Web pages that the search engine's users can access to find information regarding a business' hours of operation, as well as photos, videos, coupons, customer ratings and reviews. Identive's NFC online marketplace offers a selection of NFC Forum compliant tags—including Google NFC tags type 1, 2 and 4—which are the core component of all NFC-based applications, from mobile payment to electronic ticketing. The marketplace also includes NFC readers in mobile and desktop form factors that come with NFC tags to initiate transactions, services or other applications; an NFC software development kit (SDK) designed to help application developers and systems integrators accelerate NFC readers' time to market; and terminals that support device-to-tag and peer-to-peer applications, such as event ticketing, retail loyalty, physical and logical access, vending, public transport and mobile payment. In addition, the online marketplace offers such educational resources as webinars, webcasts and educational materials regarding NFC technology and applications. What's more, Identive Group has announced that it has acquired Polyright, a provider of identity-management solutions for the education and health-care markets, based in Sion, Switzerland. This acquisition was made pursuant to an agreement executed on July 18, 2011, between Identive Group's Multicard subsidiary and Polyright's co-owners, Securitas AG and the Kudelski Group. According to Identive Group, Polyright's core competence is the development, installation and maintenance of single-credential, multi-function identity-management and cashless-payment solutions integrated with third-party systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) or access control. Polyright's platform allows the integration of such functions as personnel and user management, physical and logical access control, cashless payments, and the use of such third-party services as car parking, bicycle and vehicle rental, printing and photocopying, and similar applications. "Polyright's exceptional position in the education and health-care markets in Switzerland will provide a strong addition to our Multicard business in the loyalty and commercial sector," said Ayman S. Ashour, Identive Group's chairman and CEO, in a prepared statement. "The Polyright team has done an excellent job in building an identity management software platform that allows for easy integration of multiple applications, and their reach to leading clients in Switzerland as well as their direct link to consumers is an important attraction for us."

NFC App Provider Proxama Launches Smart-Poster Campaign
Proxama, a provider of Near Field Communication (NFC) solutions, has announced a new initiative leveraging NFC-enabled smart posters to support the launch of VH-1's latest TV series, Basketball Wives. The campaign, Proxama reports, offers NFC mobile phone users an exclusive trailer for the new series, along with a link to the Basketball Wives' Facebook page, when they tap their devices on poster sites situated on bus shelters around New York City and Los Angeles. Each poster site has a preprogrammed NFC chip affixed to the poster's rear, that transfers the content immediately to handsets tapping that poster. Working with Proxama on this project are Nokia, Hyperspace, and the digital and innovations division of out-of-home ad and marketing agencies Posterscope, CBS Outdoor, JCDecaux and Cemusa. The campaign, according to Proxama, is being carried out to illustrate the benefits that NFC-based marketing can offer to the advertising and business communities, as well as to consumers. Nokia's C7 Astound phone, deployed in the United States by T-Mobile since March 2011, is being employed to demonstrate the tap'n'load process of obtaining content from the posters. According to Proxama, the tags being used for the Basketball Wives campaign are Kovio's 2K tags. Consumers owning a Samsung Nexus S phone can also access the promotion. Proxama has been involved with similar campaigns; in May of this year, the company developed an outdoor marketing campaign in London using NFC technology to support the film X-Men: First Class, while in June, the firm hosted a murder mystery game in Norfolk, England, in which approximately 150 individuals utilized NFC-enabled smartphones to collect clues on NFC tags embedded in such items as a scarf, a pen drive, a police body outline and a letter opener, in order to solve the live, interactive whodunit game. With regard to the Basketball Wives promotion, Neil Garner, Proxama's founder and CEO, said in a prepared statement that it is important to demonstrate the potential that NFC offers to advertisers, businesses and consumers, adding, "NFC offers advertisers greater opportunities to build 'hyper-local' promotional campaigns using media-rich, high quality content through a simple tap of the phone. And because content is delivered immediately without lengthy downloads or cumbersome procedures it leads to a much more satisfying customer experience and keeps down costs."

RFID Market Remains Strong, Says ABI Research
Based on its ongoing research and data-collection efforts pertaining to the worldwide RFID market, ABI Research reports that despite the economic setbacks of 2008 and 2009, the market rebounded well last year, growing by slightly more than 14 percent to reach approximately $5.3 billion. The fastest-growing application between 2011 and 2016, ABI Research indicates, will be item-level tracking in supply chain management (SCM). According to Michael Liard, the company's research director, the revenue for item-level SCM RFID systems is estimated to reach about $820 million in 2016, representing a nearly 30 percent compound annual growth rate from 2010 to 2016. According to ABI Research, the growth in SCM is driven by a high-volume demand for passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) systems to support retail apparel tagging in the United States, Europe and other select markets (despite a retail slowdown in 2010); pharmaceutical tagging in Korea, due to a government compliance mandate; wine, tobacco and other anti-counterfeiting tagging efforts, notably being undertaken in China; and the tagging of other items over the long term, including cosmetics, consumer electronics and more. In 2016, Liard says, North America and Asia combined will account for more than 80 percent of item-level tracking-system revenues, driven largely by retail apparel tracking in the United States, anti-counterfeiting measures in China and pharmaceutical tracking. ABI Research's "RFID Market Data" report contains the firm's latest RFID market segmentation and forecasts, with extensive data regarding RFID revenues and unit shipments, segmented by technology, application and vertical market. This report is part of the firm's RFID Research Service.

Smartrac Introduces Line of NFC Transponders
Smartrac, an RFID inlay supplier headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, has announced that it now offers a complete collection of Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled transponders. Smartrac's NFC product offerings include inlays for labels, tickets and cards, as well as complete tags that operate at a frequency of 13.56 MHz and provide a typical read distance of 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) or less. "We have been looking into the potential of NFC for a while," said Christian Fischer, Smartrac CEO's, in a prepared statement. "Now that adoption of NFC is creating a substantial demand, we are ready to support our customers with a complete NFC transponder range." In addition to NFC products, Smartrac offers a variety of ready-made and customized RFID transponders in all current frequency standards—low-frequency (LF), high-frequency (HF) and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF)—and the company reports that it has supplied more than one billion transponders to its global customer base to date, for such applications as public transport, access control, RFID-based car immobilizers, animal identification, libraries, industry and logistics. Smartrac is offering card inlays in the standard card inlay format, ticket and label inlays in several sizes, and tags in various sizes and forms, according to Smartrac spokesperson Tanja Moehler. The company will add the various product datasheets to its Web site in the next few weeks.

Awarepoint Reports Its RTLS and Workflow Solutions Installed in 46 Hospitals
Real-time location system (RTLS) provider Awarepoint has announced that 46 hospitals and health-care systems, including 19 new client facilities, have contracted to use the company's RTLS and workflow software applications to improve their quality of care, patient safety, operational efficiency and employee productivity. Awarepoint provides ZigBee-based RTLS hardware, software-as-a-service (SaaS) based software, and maintenance, management and consulting services. The new contracts and activations, the company reports, have increased the number of Awarepoint clients to 153 hospitals and asset tags under management to 216,884. Newly contracted facilities include 17 additional Northern California hospitals and clinics owned by Kaiser Permanente; University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina, located in Greenville, N.C.; and the University of Maryland Medical Center, in Baltimore, Maryland. "In Q2 of 2011, Awarepoint exceeded bookings of the entire year of 2010, with even stronger pipeline demand in place for future quarters," said Jay Deady, Awarepoint's president and CEO, in a prepared statement. "This unprecedented growth demonstrates both an inflexion point for market demand and confidence in RTLS to deliver real financial benefits resulting from clinical efficiencies and outcome improvements."
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