RFID News Roundup

By Rich Handley

Fujitsu unveils new UHF RFID tag for fashion apparel, accessories ••• Transcends releases RIFIDI 3.6 for IoT; PMRS deploys RIFIDI Edge Server for tag detection ••• Tyco Retail Solutions adds Zebra Technologies products to its portfolio ••• Checkpoint Systems offers RFID label for merchandise visibility, including retail cosmetics ••• Nedap expands long-range ID portfolio, intros new heavy-duty UHF tag ••• Identec Ltd. adds mid-range reader to its Cyphertag product line.

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: Fujitsu Frontech North America; Transcends, PMRS; Tyco Retail Solutions, Zebra Technologies; Checkpoint Systems; Nedap; and Identec Ltd..

Fujitsu Unveils New UHF RFID Tag for Fashion Apparel, Accessories

Fujitsu Frontech North America has developed a small ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tag for high-fashion apparel, garments and accessories. According to the company, the WT-A433L washable UHF RFID tag—also called the Fujitsu Fashion tag "mini"—is 33 percent smaller than its predecessor, the WT-A522L Fashion tag, with improved washing durability.

The new tag is virtually undetectable when installed in sheer garments, Fujitsu reports, and provides positive identification of an item even if the sales tags have been removed. The company showcased the WT-A433L this week, along with its entire line of washable RFID tags, at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show.

Fjuitsu's WT-A433L washable UHF RFID tag

"Fraud and counterfeiting in high-fashion apparel are on the rise. Attaching the Fujitsu Fashion tag mini in high-value garments and accessories can provide positive confirmation of an item's authenticity and also help reduce incidents of fraud," said Randy Fox, Fujitsu Frontech North America's VP of sales and marketing, in a prepared statement. "Fashion garment designers and manufacturers will benefit from its small, almost imperceptible design."

The WT-A433L tag is made from transparent materials and is virtually invisible when sewn into clothing or accessories, according to Fujitsu. From fine silks and lace to sheer gowns, the tag offers fashion designers and retailers protection against counterfeiting and fraud.

Measuring 37 millimeters by 10 millimeters by 0.3 millimeter (1.5 inches by 0.4 inch by 0.01 inch), the tag can be sewn into hems or seams, or under manufacturers' labels. It's safe for home-washing, dry-cleaning and ironing, and can be permanently installed in high-value fashion apparel, suits, formal wear, T-shirts and accessories. Fujitsu expects the tag to be made available during the second quarter of this year.

Transcends Releases RIFIDI 3.6 for IoT; PMRS Deploys RIFIDI Edge Server for Tag Detection

Transcends has announced the public release of its RIFIDI 3.6 software, intended to connect individuals with the Internet of Things. This release, the company reports, was enabled through client implementations, as well as the RIFIDI open-source community feedback, surveys and forums.

RIFIDI 3.6 includes GS1's Application Level Events (ALE) standards as part of the RIFID Edge Platform. ALE provides a simple Web service-based interface for defining business events through configuration, with no coding required. Another key feature is the ability to publish real-time sensor and RIFIDI application state changes to an MQTT message topic, with configurable end points.

Transcends' RIFIDI 3.6

In the pharmaceutical industry, applications for RFID include track-and-trace and e-pedigree systems, in which RFID offers feature-rich electronic tracking. PMRS, a manufacturer of pharmaceutical products, has implemented the RIFIDI Edge Server. To enable facility-wide RFID tracking, PMRS has created more than 50 RFID read zones at key processing and storage locations, using more than 200 RFID antennas.

All materials are tracked using a unique Electronic Product Code (EPC), integrated in a printable smart label generated by RFID printers made by Zebra Technologies. RIFIDI provides tag processing, such as received signal strength indicator (RSSI) filtering and read-zone management, to supplement existing location-based business rules.

By using RIFIDI to interface with this RFID infrastructure, PMRS has integrated RFID tag detection with its existing inventory-management systems. The locations of all materials, from in-process to finished product, are automatically updated to reflect each object's physical position in real time, as communicated by the RIFIDI Edge Server. This has enabled PMRS to improve the accuracy, efficiency and visibility of vital business processes, the company reports.

Tyco Retail Solutions Adds Zebra Technologies Products to Its Portfolio

Tyco Retail Solutions has added products from Zebra Technologies to its portfolio of third-party solutions that it can sell, integrate and support. Tyco integrates Zebra's RFD8500 and MC3190-Z mobile RFID readers with its TrueVUE Inventory Intelligence software.

Tyco has been recognized as an Advanced RFID Specialist, a Solution Partner and an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) in Zebra's new integrated PartnerConnect program. Through PartnerConnect, Tyco now has access to Zebra's products and services.

"Retailers look to us as a trusted advisor when it comes to designing, deploying and delivering inventory projects that are customized to fit the retailer's needs, and that consistently deliver double-digit improvements to key store performance metrics," said Brent Brown, Tyco Retail Solutions' inventory intelligence general manager, in a prepared statement. "We appreciate this role and are excited to incorporate Zebra's products into our offerings to help retailers satisfy today's connected consumer."

TrueVUE RFID-based solutions are designed to enable retailers to present accurate, real-time in-stock positions to meet omnichannel customer expectations. TrueVUE provides actionable data and enables enterprise-wide, item-level inventory visibility, which the company calls a critical foundation for retailers' integrated commerce and customer-engagement strategies.

Checkpoint Systems Offers RFID Label for Merchandise Visibility, Including Retail Cosmetics

Checkpoint Systems, a global supplier of electronic article surveillance (EAS) and RFID solutions for the retail industry, has announced its Wind RFID label for cosmetics categories and other merchandise-visibility applications.

The new label features Impinj's Monza R6-P RAIN RFID tag chip, optimized for serializing such items as apparel, electronics, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and jewelry. The chips support privacy, loss-prevention and brand-protection capabilities for retailers and brand owners, the company reports.

The Wind label works with a range of common systems, such as handheld and fixed readers, including Checkpoint's Wirama-based point-of-exit (PoE) pedestals (E10 2.0), ceiling-mounted (OH2) sensors and RFID DC Tunnels. It features an inlay size of 50 millimeters by 30 millimeters (2 inches by 1.2 inches), is ISO18000-6C-compliant, and can be can be encoded and printed to carry Electronic Product Code (EPC) data in several formats—RFID EPC air-interface protocol, printed bar code and human-readable text.

"We are thrilled to see Checkpoint driving always-on inventory-management solutions using its Wind label with our Monza R6-P chip featuring AutoTune," said Craig Cotton, Impinj's VP of marketing and product management. "Our strong, ongoing partnership with Checkpoint enables new solutions and tagging of new categories of items. The Monza R6-P chip includes Integra technology that enables RAIN RFID labels to deliver higher data reliability and accuracy, which is a must for retail deployments."

"Several large retailers have expressed a strong interest in expanding RAIN RFID categories to include [the] health, beauty [and] cosmetics categories," Umesh Cooduvalli, a senior director at Checkpoint, added in the prepared statement. "The new Wind RFID tags designed for these products will help them achieve their goals of auto-replenishment and inventory management." The Wind RFID label is available now.

Nedap Expands Long-Range ID Portfolio, Intros New Heavy-Duty UHF Tag

Nedap has expanded its long-range identification portfolio with an external ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID antenna, an OSDP protocol converter and MACE access cards.

The uPASS Target Antenna is an external antenna for the uPASS Target, a long-range UHF reader that identifies vehicles, individuals and rolling stock at distances of up to 10 meters (33 feet). The new antenna extends the read range of the uPASS Target reader for a wider scope, the company reports. Additionally, the external antenna can be used in situations for which the reading of both vehicle entry and exit lanes is required. Typical applications for the uPASS Target Antenna, combined with the uPASS Target reader, include bus depots, car-park facilities, internal logistics, industrial operations and automated truck activities.

Nedap's uPASS Target Antenna

The Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) is an industry standard for secure communication of RFID readers and other devices with access-control panels. With the introduction of its PCC485 protocol converter, Nedap's reader portfolio for long-range RFID now supports the OSDP protocol, ensuring secure communication.

Nedap's MACE card features 13.56 MHz smart-card technology and is designed for situations requiring high levels of security, for both parking and building access control. Physical MACE MIFARE cards can be combined with Virtual MACE credentials, using the existing MACE reader infrastructure.

The UHF Heavy Duty tag is a passive UHF RFID transponder offering long-range identification of up to 10 meters (33 feet) with the uPASS Target or 5 meters (16.4 feet) with Nedap's uPASS Reach reader. The tag features a rugged design for long-term use in outdoor and industrial environments, the company indicates, and can be mounted to a vehicle's exterior.

Nedap's UHF Heavy Duty tag

Identec Ltd. Adds Mid-Range Reader to Its Cyphertag Product Line

Identec Ltd., a manufacturer of active RFID equipment for hands-free access-control, asset-management and emergency-muster systems, has announced the launch of its RELV1 Mid-Range Reader, the latest addition to its Cyphertag range of products. Designed to provide a read range of up to 1.3 meters (4.3 feet) using Identec's active RFID tags, the unit is aimed at low-cost implementations involving access control, time and attendance, and mustering.

Measuring 240 millimeters by 200 millimeters by 18 millimeters (9.5 inches by 7.9 inches by 0.7 inch), the RELV1 features an internal antenna and a multi-color LED for notification of tag detection. It can be used as a single standalone reader, or as a pair in a back-to-back or master-slave arrangement. The device is fully ETSI-approved to EN 300 330-2.

Identec's RELV1 Mid-Range Reader

"The introduction of the RELV1 complements the existing Cyphertag range of products, and enables us to offer a full range of readers and active RFID tags to our systems integration partners, enabling them to offer more diverse solutions to their end users," said Gary Vasey, Identec's managing director, in a prepared statement. "We have developed the RELV1, along with a range of other peripheral products to support our channel, and hope that the introduction of the RELV1 brings benefits to what is a great product range from Identec. We have hundreds of installed sites worldwide through a wide range of partner companies. We hope the new RELV1 breaks new ground and enables us to reach even more partners and applications."

Additional information regarding the RELV1 reader and the full Cyphertag product line is available at Identec Ltd.'s website.