News Wrap-Up from RFID Journal Live, Part 2 of 2

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This week's RFID Journal LIVE! 2007 saw a flurry of announcements from a slew of RFID vendors and stakeholders. This article is the second of a convenient, two-part rundown of selected announcements. Also see yesterday's for more.

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This article was originally published by RFID Update.

May 3, 2007—This week’s RFID Journal LIVE! 2007 saw a flurry of announcements from a slew of RFID vendors and stakeholders. Following is the second of a convenient, two-part rundown of selected announcements. Also see yesterday’s Part 1 for more.

  • In an effort to foster more collaboration and communication among RFID research labs around the world, The Global RF Lab Alliance has been founded by the University of Arkansas RFID Research Center in the US, the RFID Lab at the University of Parma in Italy, and the LogDynamics Lab at the University of Bremen in Germany. “As RF technologies become more pervasive, it will become increasingly more important for research to expand beyond individual labs,” said Bill Hardgrave, director of the University of Arkansas RFID Research Center. In addition to the three founders, there are five charter members from across the US and Asia. The Alliance will create an academic journal to publish its research, with the first issue slated for next year. More details here.
  • Electronic security systems manufacturer ADT, inlay maker UPM Raflatac, and garment industry logistics solutions provider Salpomec announced the opening of the Apparel RFID Solution Centre in Lahti, Finland, which brings together all the elements of an RFID-enabled apparel supply chain to demonstrate a complete end-to-end solution. According to the announcement, the facility demonstrates how RFID can significantly enhance supply chain management and in-store retail operations for garment manufacturers, brand owners, retailers, and logistics providers. It is a joint venture between the three companies.
  • IBM introduced the latest in its line of thermal/RFID printers, the InfoPrint 6700 M40. Priced more affordably than many other industrial printers, the M40 is aimed at small- and medium-sized businesses or large businesses with mid-volume requirements. It offers flexible media handling, support for barcodes, and an upgrade path to RFID. “Customers with lower print volumes can now also benefit from RFID technology to optimize their supply chain and asset management applications,” said Gary Borgese of IBM’s Printing Systems Division in the announcement.
  • Intel is providing the Low Level RFID Reader Protocol (LLRP) developer’s kit and test tool from Reva Systems to RFID reader manufacturers that are developing readers based on Intel’s recently released Gen2 reader chip, the R1000. Reva Systems was very instrumental in the development of the LLRP standard, which was just ratified by EPCglobal last week and is designed to achieve industry-wide, cross-vendor RFID reader interoperability. After a 30-day prototyping period, the Reva developer’s kit will be released as open source. The hope is that an open source distribution will both stimulate rapid vendor adoption of the LLRP standard and cultivate an active community of developers that support and enhance it. Read more.
  • RFID reader manufacturer ThingMagic made two announcements. The first was that its Mercury5e reader module was selected by The IRIS Companies to power the RFID functionality of the EDIsecure XID 570i and 580i Re-transfer Card Printers, which allow the printing of color UHF RFID ID badges for secure building and office entry, personnel tracking for safety, and other workplace and access applications. The printers are the world’s first ID badge printers to use UHF RFID, according to the companies. ThingMagic’s second announcement was for a Mercury5e Developer Kit, priced at $1,495. Recall that the Mercury5e was one of the first RFID readers to take advantage of Intel’s new Gen2 reader chip, the R1000, introduced in March (see Intel Announces Gen2 RFID Reader Chip and RFID Reader Vendors Rally Around Intel’s New Chip).
  • Item-level tagging solutions provider Vue Technology unveiled a mobile version of its TrueVUE RFID Platform, which the company believes will expand its usage into new applications like vendor-managed inventory, remote tagging, and promotions compliance. “Traditional RFID infrastructures are well-suited for deployment in fixed locations such as retail, distribution, and manufacturing sites,” said CEO Robert Locke in the announcement. “With TrueVUE Mobile, we are providing a complete RFID platform that can serve different locations on different days, enabling the use of RFID across a broader range of environments and application areas.”
  • TR3 Solutions, a provider of RFID solutions to the CPG and retail markets, announced the Zero Day Prevention module, which the company says prevents out-of-stocks and zero day sales through enhanced visibility. The module is an addition to TR3’s On-Demand Solutions suite, which features a dashboard that CPG product managers use to improve promotions and perishables management and prevent out-of-stock situations. The suite is in use by more than 30 CPG manufacturers. Ocean Spray Cranberries was cited as an early adopter of the new module.
  • Active RFID solutions provider Wavetrend gained a foothold in the mining industry, which is seeing increasing adoption of RTLS technologies. The company announced a deal with NL Technologies, a Canadian-owned designer and manufacturer of underground lighting and digital communications solutions for the mining industry. NL Technologies will be able to offer its customers in the mining industry the complete portfolio of active RFID products and services from Wavetrend. Wavetrend also announced its involvement in the innovative “Motorby” pilot program in which customized messages are displayed to MINI owners as they drive by specially designed billboards (see RFID Enables Personalized Billboard Displays).
  • Another company increasing its market share in the mining industry, WiFi-based RTLS solutions provider Ekahau announced selection by CVRD Inco Ltd. as its vendor of choice for underground asset tracking technology. Toronto-based CVRD Inco is a mining and metals company and the world’s second largest producer of nickel. The company will use Ekahau’s technology to track vehicles in use at Ontario, Canada mines. Read the announcement.
  • Wal-Mart and DoD compliance software provider epcSolutions announced immediate availability of WorkinProcessManager. Built on the company’s SensorOS platform, WorkinProcessManager offers end users the ability to track their work in progress, within one or multiple locations, including when an item or project was started and when it was completed. “Tracking work in process has been a very important topic to our resellers and their end users and with this easy to use product we can offer a complete solution to those needs,” stated epcSolutions CEO Kevin Kail in the announcement.
  • Enterprise software and services provider Acsis announced the availability of Acsis Serialized Track and Trace (ST&T). Built for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, the solution facilitates regulatory and retail-mandated compliance, and improves product integrity, inventory management, and product movement visibility and intelligence. According to the company, ST&T represents a comprehensive solution from a single vendor/point of contact that consists of a process automation platform, appliances for managing device orchestration and integration, analytics integration capabilities, and end-to-end services.
  • Voice and data wireless networks provider Helicomm introduced its new standards-based, secure asset management solution, CargoMesh. The solution consists of wireless mesh access points, low-power Mobile Tags, and application management software to enable real-time services over a wireless mesh network. According to the announcement, CargoMesh can help customers improve both container asset utilization and security.
  • Mobile computing and data capture solutions provider Psion Teklogix announced agreements with two vendors. The first was with RFID hardware provider IDENTEC SOLUTIONS to market IDENTEC’s intelligent long-range RFID technology in conjunction with the Psion Teklogix’ WORKABOUT PRO and 7535 rugged handheld computing devices. The second agreement was with WiFi-based RTLS solutions provider Ekahau to equip Psion Teklogix handheld terminals with Ekahau’s locationing technology.
  • Hardware and services provider Tyco Electronics and RFID software applications provider OATSystems formed a strategic alliance to provide a series of RFID solutions to targeted verticals including aerospace and defense, transportation, and industrial segments. “Customers are looking for RFID system solutions that eliminate the tedious and risky integration that comes with working with multiple suppliers. They want a single-source provider,” said Tyco Electronics’ director of international business development for RFID products Eric Freid in the announcement. “By aligning with OATSystems, Tyco Electronics can now offer its customers the best of both worlds: solutions from the leader in RFID-enabled software applications combined with Tyco Electronics’ extensive services and hardware.” Tyco also introduced a new line of ruggedized RFID antennas for use in baler and compactor RFID applications.