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RFID News Roundup

Veterans Affairs awards $543 million RTLS contract to HP to cover all VA hospitals, clinics; Mecomo integrates Nanotron's RTLS chirp technology to track logistics items outside GPS signal areas; SencorpWhite, CAEN RFID partner on distribution agreement; Comprion intros new NFC terminal test system; RFID performs at Bamboozle music festival.
Jun 07, 2012The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Veterans Affairs Awards $543 Million RTLS Contract to HP to Cover All VA Hospitals, Clinics
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) division of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that it has awarded an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract to Hewlett Packard's HP Enterprise Services division for a real-time location system (RTLS) solution. The contract includes a five-year ordering period from the date of the award, with the maximum total value of $543 million. The contract award is the result of the VA's call for contractors to provide RTLS equipment (see RFID News Roundup: Veterans Affairs Issues Final RFP for RTLS to Cover All VA Hospitals, Clinics and U.S. Veterans Department Announces RFP for Nationwide RTLS Solution). The VA hopes to improve operations and business processes across its 21 Veteran Integrated Service Networks (VISNs). All told, the RTLS will cover 152 medical centers, 1,400 community clinics, seven Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacies (CMOPs) and a variety of non-patient facilities, such as cemeteries and offices. The VA requested a single turnkey solution throughout, with a single contractor and its partners delivering the complete solution; HP was selected from a total of six proposals received. The integrated RTLS solution will track and identify assets' locations in real time, using badges and tags attached to objects. It includes Wi-Fi-based location-finding functionality, active and passive RFID, and a number of other location technologies, including ultrasound and infrared. The contract's scope includes hardware, software, documentation and incidental services, such as training, installation, warranty, maintenance and technical engineering.

Mecomo Integrates Nanotron's RTLS Chirp Technology to Track Logistics Items Outside GPS Signal Areas
Nanotron Technologies has announced that its real-time location system (RTLS) and Chirp Spread System (CSS) solution is now being used by Mecomo, a system software developer and provider of telematics and asset-tracking solutions, in its new mecCARGO 200 system, which globally tracks logistics items. The MecCARGO 200 shipment-tracking module combines GPS and cell-ID tracking with complete indoor monitoring capabilities. Nanotron's solution employs 2.4 GHz active RFID tags complying with the IEEE 802.15.4a standard, and includes readers. The tags transmit a chirp—a brief signal across the entire 2.4 GHz band—that is received by the readers, with Nanotron software using the signal's time difference of arrival (TDOA) to calculate each tag's location within approximately 3 meters (9.8 feet). By integrating Nanotron's CSS technology into the mecCARGO 200 system, the two companies report, a business can ensure that shipment-tracking within its premises is no longer restricted by GPS or GSM signal availability, and that the shipping of high-value assets can be continuously tracked anywhere. mecCARGO 200 was developed with technical assistance from Nanotron, and the new tracking device is enclosed in a small, waterproof IP69K housing. The module combines a global GPS-based tracking device with cellular backhaul—using a small cellular modem to transmit data via cellular networks—and a Nanotron RTLS tag containing CSS technology. Indoor tracking requires readers developed for the mecCARGO 200 solution by Nanotron and Mecomo. The MecCARGO 200 system has a battery lifespan of up to two years, and is suitable for tracking small logistics items, such as packages, pallets and unit load devices.

SencorpWhite, CAEN RFID Partner on Distribution Agreement
SencorpWhite a provider of secure logistics and packaging systems, has announced that it has signed a distribution agreement with CAEN RFID, a manufacturer of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID systems for secure, wireless tracking. As the U.S. distributor of CAEN RFID's products, the company reports, SencorpWhite bolsters its wireless tracking, security and real-time monitoring capabilities. The firm has integrated CAEN RFID's FCC-compliant UHF readers into its White Systems automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), and has been testing and developing both the hardware and software for the past few months, according to Maurizio Turri, SencorpWhite's executive account manager of auto-ID integration. The White Systems AS/RS portfolio of products—which includes vertical and horizontal carousels, vertical lift modules (VLMs), mobile storage systems and light-directed systems—are designed for companies that need to reduce floor space, provide secure storage and improve inventory management. The implementation of RFID technology provides many advantages, according to SencorpWhite, including higher throughput, greater durability and increased security, as well as the virtual elimination of human error. What's more, the RFID-compatible systems serve a variety of companies that require the management of high-value inventory, including manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies, health-care providers and the military. The solutions are already available worldwide, Turri says. "We offer out-of-box, ready-to-use machines, but as manufacturers, we also effectively work with customers that want a customized solution," he states. "The partnership with CAEN RFID allows us to offer U.S. customers support for all of the CAEN product line, including the RT0005, a UHF EPC Gen 2 temperature logger, ideal for all track and trace applications." SencorpWhite will also distribute CAEN's line of RFID tags in North America.

Comprion Intros New NFC Terminal Test System
German test equipment provider Comprion has announced that it has integrated the NFC Forum's RF tests into its UT³ Platform terminal test system. The NFC Forum is an association promoting the adoption of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Comprion's UT³ solution utilizes a robot to ensure highly accurate antenna positioning, and to generate reliable results. The new integration enables the UT³ Platform to perform RF and digital tests as part of the NFC Forum Compliance Program, to assure mobile-to-mobile communication. With the UT³ Platform, Comprion reports, it is now possible to cover the RF analog portion of the compliance program. The company is currently working on the digital NFC Forum test cases, which it says will be added very soon. Last month, Comprion demonstrated the new platform at the NFC Forum's RF Plugfest, hosted in Málaga, Spain. Held throughout the year, RF Plugfests are designed to let test equipment providers show their progress in implementing NFC Forum test specifications, and to enable NFC solutions providers to test their products' interoperability with other NFC offerings. Comprion launched the UT³ Platform, and at that time offered SWP/HCI tests running on the system, and also covered the conformance testing of the contact interfaces. Certification bodies for this area are the Global Certification Forum (GCF) and PTCRB, a global organization created by mobile network operators, both of which refer to ETSI test specifications. As a growing number of NFC-enabled handsets have become available, Comprion has been able to validate additional test cases.

RFID Performs at Bamboozle Music Festival
ID&C, a supplier of identity and access-control systems based in the United Kingdom, has announced that it has provided RFID wristbands to attendees at New Jersey's Bamboozle event, held on May 18-20, 2012, at Asbury Park, N.J. The RFID technology was used by approximately 90,000 guests to gain admission to the site. The encrypted RFID wristbands, when scanned at various portals, accessed ticket-holders' information from a secure database. The three-day music festival, celebrating its 10th birthday, featured the Foo Fighters, Skrillex, Bon Jovi and many other recording artists. The wristband, known as the RFID Fabrikband Smartlock, features a passive 13.56 MHz RFID inlay compliant with the ISO 15693 standard, and is made with an Icode chip from NXP Semiconductors. The inlay is enclosed in a waterproof wristband, which ID&C calls ideal for the waterfront event. Intellitix, a provider of RFID access-control and cashless-payment solutions, supplied the portals located at two main entrances, in the VIP and production areas, and at several other locations, such as the catering and artist areas. Intellitix's custom-built access-control portals feature Feig Electronic reader antennas, have multiple battery backups and are hard-wired for Internet and Wi-Fi connectivity. The access portals are also rated IP65, meaning that testing has confirmed them to be dustproof and waterproof.
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