RFID News Roundup

Interrogator supports HF and LF cards; Microsoft announces RFID software, hardware support; Philips supplying chips for French e-passports; Avery names additional qualified smart-label converters.
Published: June 9, 2006

The following are news announcements made during the week of June 5.

Interrogator Supports HF and LF Cards

Integrated Engineering, a Dutch provider of hardware for low-frequency (125 kHz) and high-frequency (13.56 MHz) RFID solutions, has introduced the SmartTrans smart card reader, a dual-frequency interrogator. Designed for access control or electronic fare collection applications, SmartTrans supports both its proprietary legacy 125 kHz cards and 13.56 MHz cards based on the ISO 14443 standard. The reader is available with or without a PIN pad, adding a level of security by requiring cardholders to authenticate themselves. The device accepts power supply voltage ranging from 4.5 to 16 volts DC and is FCC- and CE-certified.

Microsoft Announces RFID Software, Hardware Support

At the U Connect Conference for supply-chain management in Nashville this week, a number of RFID hardware vendors announced they will support Microsoft‘s BizTalk Server 2006 R2, the second version of its business-process management server. Microsoft says the R2 version, due for release during the first half of 2007, will offer end users services for developing and managing RFID implementations. Customers and partners can download early previews of the software by participating in the BizTalk Server 2006 R2 technology adoption program (TAP) at Microsoft’s Connect Web site. Three companies have all worked with Microsoft to ensure their hardware devices are fully compatible with the BizTalk platform: Sirit, a manufacturer of RFID interrogators and OEM interrogator modules; Intermec, another interrogator manufacturer; and Paxar, which sells RFID printer-encoders.

Philips Supplying Chips for French E-Passports

The French government has named Royal Philips Electronics as supplier of the RFID chips it will include in its electronic passports. The e-passports will be rolled out progressively, based on the region in which French citizens are living—including overseas—by the end of June 2006. In April, the French Ministry for Internal Affairs announced plans to introduce the first electronic passports in France. The new e-passports will be issued to comply with U.S. border regulations—the Department of State’s Visa Waiver Program (VWP)—which requires some visitors to the United States to carry e-passports with stored biometric data and a digital image of the holder, eliminating the need for a visitor’s visa. Since October 2005, French citizens have been unable to travel to the United States without a visa. The French e-passports will use Philips’ SmartMX chips with 72 kilobytes of EEPROM memory to hold such biometric information as fingerprints and facial images. The chip design received a Common Criteria EAL5+ certification by the German Federal Office of Information Security (BSI). Common Criteria EAL5+ is an international standard for security evaluations of information technology products. The SmartMX chip also supports specifications for smart passports set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and meets ISO 14443-standard power-range requirements. Philips says its chips have already been selected for e-passport deployments in 28 countries, including Germany, Austria and New Zealand.

Avery Names Additional Qualified Smart-Label Converters

Avery Dennison RFID, a Clinton, S.C., designer and manufacturer of RFID tags, says it has named eight qualified RFID label converters to its existing network of 17 converters. The additional converters consist of Brady Corp., Intermec, Marnlen Management, Metalcraft, Nosco, Plitek, Repacorp Label Products and Starport. Avery Dennison RFID awards qualification after working with the converter’s technical staff for several months to conduct comprehensive evaluations of both its own inlays and the converter’s manufacturing and testing capabilities.