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RFID News Roundup
NGV Global recommends RFID for monitoring compressed natural gas refueling; TagMaster announces expanded port installation in South Africa; Rome's Capitoline Museums install NFC RFID tags in exhibit halls; Ekahau, Juniper Networks partner on wireless integration for RTLS; Tagsys joins VICS Item-Level RFID Initiative.
Dec 08, 2011—The following are news announcements made during the past week.
NGV Global Recommends RFID for Monitoring Compressed Natural Gas Refueling
NGV Global, a New Zealand-based organization representing more than 300 companies and associations—and with a prime objective of increasing the use of natural gas and biomethane for transport, as well as facilitating efficiency, safety and durability within all areas of the industry—has announced that it is formally recommending radio frequency identification as a means of verifying compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles and cylinders at the point of refueling. CNG vehicles store fuel on board under high pressure, in comparison with other fuel-type vehicles. A full CNG cylinder typically has fuel stored at an absolution pressure ranging between 3,000 and 3,600 pounds per square inch, according to NGV Global. While existing industry standards already require additional precautions for CNG vehicles, and although the industry does have an exceptional track record, the organization reports that there are some who take unnecessary risks. NGV Global thus recommends a point-of-refueling control measure that can prevent gas from being dispensed into unsafe vehicles, or those not designed for natural gas. According to the organization, point-of-refueling is the critical point of control in the CNG fuel chain at which control can be implemented before high-pressure gas is dispensed into the vehicle. The RFID recommendation, which follows more than 12 months of study on the subject, is outlined in a 66-page position paper released by NGV Global and available as a free download. The paper, titled CNG Cylinder and Vehicle Verification at the Point of Refueling: Methodologies for Increasing the Safety of Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles, examines a range of verification options, but concludes that RFID systems present the simplest and most secure form of verifying a vehicle, while simultaneously providing additional features not easily achieved via other options (such as contact buttons). The document notes that there are fewer means of circumventing an RFID system, and that such a system can best detect tampering or foul play compared to other verification technologies. Examples of situations that could be detected by RFID verification, the paper reports, include illegal or unqualified CNG conversions; the use of LPG, acetylene, oxygen or other cylinders not designed for CNG applications; the use of adaptors to dispense CNG fuel into LPG vehicles; the use of CNG cylinders beyond their inspection or expiration dates; and the fitting of additional CNG cylinders to a vehicle by unqualified personnel. RFID verification also offers other commercial, operational and fleet operators benefits, the document notes, such as end-of-life cylinder monitoring, theft recovery, warranty tracking and the prevention of driving away while the fuel coupling is still attached—benefits that could potentially or partially offset the cost of implementing the system. What's more, the paper emphasizes the importance of having best-practice inspection programs in place for CNG cylinders and vehicles. Its intent, according to the NGV Global, is to reduce preventable incidents, and to stimulate discussion and action within the industry and among regulators. The company reports that a critical component for the success of such RFID systems will be cross-border and regional compatibility. "This will require coordination of databases, encryption systems and readers," the report states, "and should be considered from the earliest stages of discussion. NGV Global recommends that local and international steering committees be formed comprising stakeholders from all sectors of industry... Industry standards may need to be formed or adapted to accommodate widespread use of RFID systems."
TagMaster Announces Expanded Port Installation in South Africa
TagMaster has announced that the Port of Durban's Durban Container Terminal (DCT), located in South Africa and operated by the Transnet National Ports Authority, has selected TagMaster's CombiTag Classic RFID tag, which is the size of credit card and combines a short-range passive 125 kHz RFID inlay, produced by HID Global, with a long-range, battery-powered 2.45 GHz RFID transponder manufactured by TagMaster. The CombiTag's long-range transponder has a pre-programmed, 8-digit unique identity code and a 32-bit checksum for automatic verification that, in combination with a random reflection of the reader signal, is designed to eliminate substitution errors, even when several tags are identified simultaneously, the company reports. The battery keeps the long-range IC powered and its memory awake, for instantaneous reflection of the reader signal. The deployment at the Port of Durban DCT—which also includes TagMaster's LR-series long-range RFID readers—was conducted by TagMaster partner CAMCO Technologies, a provider of solutions for gate automation in maritime and railroad terminals that has also undertaken installation's at the Port of Durban's Pier1 and Port of Elizabeth sites. The DCT installation is designed to track which trucks have entered the terminal at a specific time, and that information is made visible via the port-administration system. The TagMaster technology allows the trucks to be recognized upon arrival at the primary gates, without having to stop or slow down, and a photograph of the vehicle is taken at the time of entrance through this primary gate; the tag ID and photo are then cross-referenced so they can be associated with that particular truck. At the second stage of identification, HID Global's short-range eProx technology enables the driver to be validated at the CAMCO Technologies Transaction Kiosks, located farther within the terminal. The system is linked to a domestic (central) database that has been established, containing more than 15,000 TagMaster tags at two remote locations—Port of Durban and Port Elizabeth—which are almost 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) apart, according to TagMaster. With the combined use of RFID technologies, faster identification of trucks and drivers at both short and long distances has been achieved. "By introducing the use of this tagging system we have provided the trucking community with the ability to accurately control their fleet," said Anton Bernaerd, a CAMCO Technologies representative, in a prepared statement. "The system also prohibits any fraudulent activities in connection with truck access as each card is unique to each truck."
Rome's Capitoline Museums Install NFC RFID Tags in Exhibit Halls
The Capitoline Museums—a group of art and archeological museums in Piazza del Campidoglio, located on top of the Capitoline Hill, in Rome, Italy—have introduced a new service that leverages Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, designed to provide visitors with information regarding the works of art and artifacts displayed at those museums, including history, reviews and more. The new service, offered in collaboration with Samsung Electronics Italy, allows visitors to use Samsung Star NFC smartphones that are available to museum patrons at the ticket office. While perusing art and artifacts during a visit, a patron will find NFC tags positioned at the side of numerous works; his or her Samsung Star smartphone (or other smartphone supporting NFC technology) can be used to access additional information about particular pieces of art, by holding the phone next to the tags. This supplemental information is then displayed on the smartphone. According to a press release issued by Zètema—the Roman organization that manages the city's museums, cultural services and activities, tourism and events—the NFC project was initiated because the Capitoline Museums sought to improve and enrich the traditional tourist visit using advanced solutions. Development of the project will proceed with Samsung throughout the next few years, according to Zètema.
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