RFID News Roundup

Mobile Aspects offers customers new financing options; SkyRFID debuts UHF/HF windshield tag; Panasonic offers RFID-enabled mobile computer for health care; EBV Elektronik forms RFID sales team; Virtus Asia to showcase wireless sensors at Hong Kong RFID Center; Elektrobit sells its RFID business.
Published: February 5, 2009

The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Mobile Aspects Offers Customers New Financing Options

Mobile Aspects, a provider of real-time location system (RTLS) solutions, including RFID-enabled cabinet systems designed to help health-care organizations track, store and manage medical devices and supplies, has announced a new financing program. The program, known as RFID FlexPay, provides customers with more flexible financing approaches, the company reports, as they can now rent or lease the products, rather than having to purchase them outright. Clients can choose monthly payments over a variety of term lengths that best meet their budgets. “As the demand for our solutions has continued to increase in a market where capital spending has come under greater scrutiny,” said Sridhar Mandava, Mobile Aspects’ CFO, in a prepared statement, “we wanted to respond proactively to our customers’ needs by making the RFID FlexPay program another option to acquire our technologies.” Other RFID vendors have begun offering financing plans as well, including RF Technologies (see RF Technologies Announces Financing Plan for Customers).

SkyRFID Debuts UHF/HF Windshield Tag

SkyRFID, headquartered in Ontario, Canada, has added a dual-frequency windshield tag to its product portfolio. The new tag includes a long-distance ultra-high frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 inlay, as well as a short-distance high-frequency (HF) inlay that operates at 13.56 MHz. The tag, designed for vehicle verification and identification, measures 4 inches by 2 inches, and can be attached to the inside of a vehicle windshield via a pressure-sensitive adhesive. The side of the tag visible through the windshield can be imprinted with bar codes and up to three colors of printing for logos, text and designs. According to the company, the tag is ideal for organizations that may already have existing 13.56 MHz implementations and want to expand or enhance their current implementation with EPC Gen 2 UHF without losing their existing investment in the handheld 13.56 MHz RFID readers commonly used by parking enforcement officers.

Panasonic Offers RFID-enabled Mobile Computer for Health Care

Panasonic Computer Solutions Co. has rolled out a new RFID-enabled mobile computer for the health-care market. The Panasonic Toughbook H1 is a mobile clinical assistant (MCA) designed to enable health-care professionals to access medical and patient information, as well as document a patient’s condition in real time, at the point of care. The device comes with a built-in 13.56 MHz RFID interrogator that supports the ISO 15693 standard, and a built-in contactless smart card reader compliant with the ISO 14443 A/B standard. The Toughbook H1 also has an integrated 2.0-megapixel auto-focusing camera, a bar-code scanner and a fingerprint reader, Panasonic reports. It offers a range of embedded wireless communications options, including 802.11a/b/g/draft-n and Bluetooth 2.0. The device is also available with Qualcomm‘s new Gobi wireless broadband technology. Panasonic is teaming with Intel in a series of regional events around the United States to showcase the Toughbook H1. The sessions will include a briefing on the device, as well as an overview of the advantages it brings to the health-care environment. The Panasonic Toughbook H1 Healthcare tour, which has already visited Nashville, Atlanta, Phoenix and San Francisco, is also scheduled to make stops in New York (Feb. 24), Boston (Feb. 25), Washington, D.C., (Feb. 26), Dallas (Mar. 3), Houston (Mar. 5), Chicago (Mar. 10), Minneapolis (Mar. 12) and Los Angeles (Mar. 17). For registration details, visit www.imeetingpartner.com/webreg/PanasonicH1Customer.

EBV Elektronik Forms RFID Sales Team

EBV Elektronik, a German electronics component distributor serving Europe, the Middle East and Africa, has announced a new sales division that will concentrate solely on RFID technologies. The new team will help customers select the right RFID components, and also work with the clients to develop custom RFID solutions. In a prepared statement, Slobodan Puljarevic, EBV’s CEO and president, said, “Large companies benefit from this service, as do small-to-medium-sized enterprises for which we can facilitate entry into RFID technology. This is the only way to ensure that the potential of RFID technology actually bears fruit and is successfully implemented for all those involved.” EBV Elektronik, headquartered in Poing, Germany, was founded in 1969 and operates 60 offices in 28 countries throughout Europe, as well as in Dubai, Israel and South Africa.

Virtus Asia to Showcase Wireless Sensors at Hong Kong RFID Center

Virtus Asia Ltd., a Hong Kong developer of wireless sensor applications, has announced that it has teamed with GS1 Hong Kong to help promote the adoption of RFID and sensor technologies. Virtus will work with the Hong Kong RFID Center, set up by GS1 Hong Kong. According to GS1 Hong Kong, the center provides the infrastructure and environment necessary for fostering a closer collaboration within the industry in nurturing the development of integrated RFID solutions. Virtus will showcase its applications and sensor solutions, including its multi-sensing V-logger, announced in August 2008. According to Virtus, the V-logger is the world’s smallest and most inexpensive integrated sensor that can be utilized by the logistics industry to monitor and record acceleration, temperature and humidity data during the shipping of a variety of goods. “Through the upcoming showcase on integrated sensor and RFID solutions by Virtus and other partners at the center,” said Ronald Heung, manager of the Hong Kong RFID Center, in a prepared statement, “we hope to further accelerate the development of state-of-the-art technology products, as well as the industry’s adoption of RFID technology, with an ultimate goal to further strengthen Hong Kong’s position as a regional technology hub.” Virtus Asia indicates that it plans to expand in order to increase its collaboration and interaction with GS1 and other organizations and customers in China and Asia.

Elektrobit Sells Its RFID Business

Finnish wireless-technology firm Elektrobit (EB) has announced that it has sold its RFID technology business, 7iD Technologies, to the acting management of that division, which EB acquired in 2007. In 2006, EB introduced its first RFID product—a system designed to facilitate large-scale UHF EPC Gen 2 RFID deployments in Europe (see Elektrobit Debuts RFID Products)—and a year later, it purchased 100 percent of the shares in 7iD Technologies, an Austrian firm that, at the time, had a product portfolio consisting of RFID middleware and RFID controllers. EB’s RFID business was part of its Wireless Sensor Solution group and had 20 employees. Financial details have not been disclosed.