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RFID News Roundup

CNRFID, NRFLab collaborate to offer EPC-compliant UHF RFID tag tests; NFC technology supports Rock the Vote campaign; HID Global deploys Voyantic Tagsurance UHF tester for tag quality control; ADR Software to provide real-time workforce info for Baltimore and D.C. construction projects; Diamond Pet Foods adopts iGPS RFID-tagged plastic pallets; RFID Hotel acquired by Lodging Access Systems.
Oct 04, 2012The following are news announcements made during the past week.

CNRFID, NRFLab Collaborate to Offer EPC-Compliant UHF RFID Tag Tests
The French National RFID Center (CNRFID), a nonprofit organization created to facilitate the adoption and use of radio frequency identification technology and develop its applications, and NRFLab, a company specializing in testing active and passive RF components, have announced their collaboration and ability to offer neutral testing of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC RFID tags, as well as early comparisons of different EPC-compliant options. According to the two organizations, the collaboration will enable UHF RFID solutions developers to access CNRFID's expertise and network, and to use NRFLab's UHF RFID test platform to compare and choose the best solutions for their applications before undertaking further development or production. CNRFID offers RFID providers, users, integrators and laboratories an independent resource and a dedicated environment for their specific RF testing needs, while NRFLab provides an EPC Gen 2-compliant test platform for UHF RFID tags. The partnership, CNRFID and NRFLab report, will enable developers to validate tags in relation to the EPC standard. The test platform can then evaluate—in a fixed test environment—tag performance for such technical characteristics as wake-up power, best frequency domain, maximum reading distance, maximum data rate, timing response, response level and variation error. Moreover, developers can utilize the platform to compare their tags with those of competitors, and to determine in advance which areas need to be improved, and which have an advantage. The organizations say they expect that integrators may want to utilize the platform to choose between several different tags. Additionally, RFID reader manufacturers can use the platform to test, evaluate and record their readers' performances with various tags. In that way, CNRFID and NRFLab report, they can develop reader architectures that better match with various tags or categories of tags.

NFC Technology Supports Rock the Vote Campaign
The well-known Rock the Vote project, aimed at galvanizing the youth vote, is launching a "We Will" campaign that includes Near Field Communication (NFC) interactivity provided by Blue Bite, a mobile-marketing firm specializing in location-based campaigns, as well as messages containing photography and graphics. According to Blue Bite, We Will's objective, rendered by creative agency Apartment One and TaskForce, a social-marketing and cultural-organizing agency, is to motivate youths to vote and shape the future, rather than merely accepting it. The initiative incorporates billboards, NFC-layered bus shelters, phone kiosks, wild postings, taxi tops, college shuttle buses and digital screens placed within high-visibility areas. Blue Bite's proprietary mTag platform will be leveraged at thousands of bus shelters, allowing smartphone users to connect with the interactive campaign by tapping or scanning the mTAG-enabled posters to immediately register to vote, without having to download external applications. Embedded in each mTag is Smartrac's BullsEye 13.56 MHz passive NFC RFID inlay, designed for tokens, NFC stickers and smart posters, and featuring an antenna measuring 1.4 inches in diameter. Also working in partnership on the initiative is the PVBLIC Foundation, an aggregator of media across all platforms that works to pair media space with key nonprofits at the local, national and global levels, and The Judge Group, an independent media agency. "Layering NFC technology atop bus-shelter posters with a trusted company like Blue Bite aligns with youth voters' aptitude as early adopters and on-the-go lifestyle, said Anne Judge, The Judge Group's founder and managing principal, in a prepared statement. "It also allowed us to switch the mobile engagement message midway through posting from 'register to vote' to 'vote.' That's a welcomed tool when different states have different voter registration deadlines."

HID Global Deploys Voyantic Tagsurance UHF Tester for Tag Quality Control
Tag manufacturer HID Global has deployed Voyantic's Tagsurance UHF Tester at its production facility, to help test the functionality of equipment operating at a wide frequency range so that it can perform application-specific testing based on the tuning level in the end application. Voyantic is a Finland-based provider of RFID measurement equipment. HID Global initially used the Tagsurance tester at its research and development (R&D) and quality labs before moving the device to the production floor. Though unable to disclose specific technical details regarding HID Global's implementation, Juho Partanen, Voyantic's director of sales, says the Tagsurance production tester can detect and flag all ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags that do not meet their specified characteristics. Defects typical of any tag-production environment include defective or misplaced integrated circuits (ICs), poor IC-to-antenna attachment, and mistuned antennas. The tester can basically screen out any tags showing one or more of these defects. HID is employing the Tagsurance device to test its UHF tag products during the final phase of production. In the event that a weak or nonfunctional tag is detected, Partanen explains, the tester provides a FAIL signal that can trigger the tag's marking or removal. Because the device is able to test on a wide frequency range—from 800 MHz to 1,100 MHz—Partanen reports, it is able to monitor the wideband characteristics and sensitivity of tags and inlays within a production environment, and to detect even the smallest of changes. The speed of this highly sophisticated tester scales up, he says, to meet the requirements of most production processes currently in use. "Typical UHF readers cannot provide this kind of visibility into the tag's frequency response," Partanen states. In a prepared statement, Eric Suligoj, HID Global's director of business development for industry and logistics identification technologies, said, "Minimizing the time taken to test each tag is an important factor during the quality-control process, given the volumes of tags we produce daily. But more importantly, this tester delivers accurate characterization data we haven't had access to before. This will enable us to fine-tune our processes and continue to deliver best-in-class UHF tag products."

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