RFID News Roundup

By Rich Handley

Kalahari Resorts deploys PDC Solutions wristband system ••• Embien Technologies intros automotive-ready BLE module ••• DENSO releases RFID scanner for logistics, retail ••• Apriva, On Track Innovations unveil semi-integrated solution for unattended payments ••• Brady announces AS9100C quality management system certification ••• Neology receives OmniAir 6C certification for S3 Selectable RFID tag.

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
Kalahari Resorts, PDC Solutions;
Embien Technologies;
Apriva, On Track Innovations;
Brady; and

Kalahari Resorts Deploys PDC Solutions Wristband System

PDC Solutions, a provider of identification solutions, has announced that Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, in Pocono Mountains, Penn., has selected PDC's Smart Band RFID Wristband System for electronic access control, keyless room entry and cashless purchasing for the resort's expansion, which doubled its size and guest capacities. The Kalahari Resorts Pocono Mountains indoor waterpark spans 220,000 square feet and hosts 977 guest rooms and suites.

"PDC's Smart Band RFID Wristband System has played a vital role in our goal to simplify purchases and entrance into the park and guest rooms," said Daylene Stroebe, the resort's project manager, in a prepared statement. "Since doubling our size and guest capacities with our recent expansion, these park efficiencies are more important than ever."

PDC's Smart Band RFID Wristband System

Resort guests receive a Smart Band upon checking in, which functions as their hotel room key, credit card and waterpark entrance ticket for the duration of their stay. When a wristband is scanned by an RFID reader attached to hotel door locks, turnstiles and point-of-sale stations, guest data is automatically verified without a need for cash, credit cards or room keys.

The wristband enables guests to make cashless purchases throughout the resort with a wave of a wrist. Transactions "take about half the time compared to using credit cards or cash, which leads to shorter lines and happier customers who are able to spend more time enjoying the resort's many amenities," said Robin Barber, PDC's VP of leisure and entertainment, in the prepared statement.

The Smart Band is customizable and comes in a wide variety of colors and material options, including plastic, silicone, woven fabric and thermal print-on-demand styles. Its nontransferable single-use closures and re-wearable styles are suitable for either single-day use or season-pass programs, the company reports.

Embien Technologies Intros Automotive-Ready BLE Module

Embien Technologies offers a series of embedded platforms based on ARM MCUs under the brand eStorm. As a new addition to this series, the company has released its eStorm-B1 module, specifically targeted for the automotive segment.

"While BLE has become the most preferred connectivity technology for the CE market, automotive domain was lagging behind for want of readymade modules ready to meet its stringent requirements," said Saravana Pandian Annamalai, Embien's CEO, in a prepared statement. "Today, eStorm-B1 becomes the first automotive ready module to be powered by NXP KW36A, giving a huge time-to-market advantage for automotive OEMs."

Embien's eStorm-B1 module

The eStorm-B1 offers BLE connectivity and can be added to an existing design via multiple host interface options. An NXP KW31Z/KW36A BLE SoC in the module integrates an MCU with ARM's Cortex—M0+ Core, 512 KB flash memory and 128 KB SRAM for processing. Applications include industrial automation, health care and wireless sensor networks.

The system features separate stack availability for I2C, SPI, UART and CAN connectivity, as well as AES-128 algorithm and OTA programming support. In addition, it enables users to build smart and secured devices for Internet of Things applications.

DENSO Releases RFID Scanner for Logistics, Retail

DENSO, the inventor of the QR code, has launched its UR20 product range, equipped with RFID technology. Applications include automatic payments, identification, recognition, registration and automatic storage, as well as retail.

The UR21 scanner is suitable for use in retail and can be installed at the point of sale. The scanner can be attached under a counter via an optional VESA-standard mounting frame, the company reports, as it requires little space due to its flat design. This allows a user to capture multiple RFID tags simultaneously. Customers' clothing articles can be placed one on top of another on a counter, and the U21 can read all of their tags in a single step.

DENSO's UR20 products

This, the company explains, can eliminate long queues at the point of sale. The UR21's read range is up to 80 centimeters, ensuring that only products in its immediate range are interrogated and not products being purchased by the next customer in the queue. Reading distance can be adjusted granularly, in order to adapt the scanner to various counters individually. With an additional antenna, a larger scanning area can be covered.

The second model in the UR20 series, the UR22, is suitable for use in storage-management applications in retail environments. With a scanning distance of up to 2.6 meters, the scanner can be mounted above the door of a warehouse to capture incoming and outgoing goods. Therefore, the tags no longer have to be individually identified and read by employees, but are directly captured by the UR22. The circular-polarized antenna allows for 360-degree scanning of RFID tags.

The small reader can be installed anywhere thanks to its compact design and thin antenna, the company reports. VESA-compliant screw holes also allow for installation at a variety of locations. As a result, the UR22 can be individually adapted to specific conditions.

Apriva, On Track Innovations Unveil Semi-Integrated Solution for Unattended Payments

Apriva, a provider of omnichannel payment solutions and secure mobile communications, and On Track Innovations Ltd., a provider of Near Field Communication (NFC), cashless-payment and fuel-management solutions, have announced a partnership to bring a new end-to-end EMV solution to markets supporting unattended payments.

This pre-certified payment solution supports magnetic-stripe reader transactions, and will soon be EMV-certified on various processors through Apriva. As a semi-integrated solution, the OTI TRIO reader is securely interfaced with the Apriva gateway, enabling quick integration for unattended systems. Security includes real-time data encryption, using the industry-standard DUKPT (derived unique key per transaction) encryption method, with no cardholder or card data stored.

OTI's TRIO reader

"Apriva is an excellent fit for our cashless payment solutions, as they offer a world-class gateway with multiple secure options," said Larry Susman, OTI's VP of global sales, in a prepared statement. "Our cost-effective hardware and software solution pairs strongly with Apriva's secure payment capabilities, and we are pleased to bring an unattended solution to market built upon our combined technologies, experience and success."

OTI's TRIO is a modular payment device that can support up to three cashless payment interfaces in a single enclosure. The TRIO is specifically designed for installation in unattended environments, such as kiosks and vending machines, to enable cashless payment with magnetic-payment cards, as well as mobile (Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay), as well as EMV chip and contactless-payment cards.

"Our partnership with OTI embodies Apriva's commitment to unattended payment markets," said Stacey Finley Tappin, Apriva's senior VP of sales and marketing, in the prepared statement. "As unattended payment options expand in the years ahead, OTI's success with hundreds of thousands of readers in the field worldwide aligns tightly with Apriva's vision for supporting those payments—securely and flexibly, today and into the future."

Apriva's payment gateway offers security with end-to-end encryption, tokenization and EMV capabilities, while connecting a variety of payment devices to more than 30 processors accepting all major debit and credit cards, in addition to campus cards in both the United States and Canada. Apriva currently works with more than 1,100 merchant acquirers and independent sales organizations across North America.

Brady Announces AS9100C Quality Management System Certification

Brady, a provider of industrial and safety printing systems and solutions, has announced that its Good Hope Road and Camden Road locations in Milwaukee, Wis., has achieved AS9100C certification for product identification and RFID manufacturing. AS9100C is an international quality-management system that outlines requirements for aviation, space and defense organizations.

"Reaching AS9100C is a great next step for our business, as it supports our efforts to continuously improve our processes," says Scott Vuchetich, Brady's general manager for the Americas, in a prepared statement. "By aligning with this system, we are better able to meet aerospace industry needs and maintain the highest level of quality and efficiency for our customers—from initial quoting through end production."

To meet AS9100C requirements, organizations must demonstrate an ability to consistently provide products that meet customer, statutory and regulatory requirements. In addition, organizations must strive to enhance customer satisfaction with processes for ongoing improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer, statutory and regulatory requirements.

This certification covers manufacturing processes for industry suppliers. It is strongly supported by major aerospace OEMs and is increasingly being required by Tier I suppliers within the supply chain.

Neology Receives OmniAir 6C Certification for S3 Selectable RFID Tag

Neology, a subsidiary of RFID industry company SMARTRAC, has announced that it has received certification for its 6C Three Position Selectable Mode Switch Tag (S3) from OmniAir Certification Services (OCS). The OCS certification validates that Neology tags comply with interoperability requirements across varied equipment and facilities and can withstand the harsh conditions of toll-collection environments.

The 6C product is designed specifically for electronic toll collection (ETC) and high occupancy toll (HOT) lane applications. The three-position feature of the Switch Tag allows for differentiation between three separate accounts, including SOV, 2+ Occupant and 3+ Occupant modes required by congested areas to improve customer satisfaction and mobility. Alternative uses are up to three separate accounts for business use or multi-state account management in one transponder.

The S3 Tag contains no toxic battery and is made with recyclable materials for minimal environmental impact and virtually unlimited life. Its case is ergonomically designed, with molded grip areas for ease of use. A unique two-sided color code window allows positive identification of the selected mode for motorists and law enforcement.

"The certification of our innovative S3 Tag allows toll agencies for the first time to offer an environmentally friendly alternative to battery-powered selectable transponders," said Francisco Martinez, Neology's CEO, in a prepared statement, "while maintaining three fully independent lane pricing strategies."