RFID News Roundup

By Rich Handley

DENSO releases RFID-enabled scanners for retail, logistics ••• SATO launches new group companies in the Philippines ••• Identiv, NXP secure CES attendees via smart event and transportation badges ••• One2Touch NFC platform provides continuous communications capabilities ••• Xiamen intros rubber tire tag.

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
DENSO; SATO; Identiv, NXP Semiconductors, CES 2017; One2Touch; and
Kimeery (Xiamen) Intelligent Technology Co..

DENSO Releases RFID-enabled Scanners for Retail, Logistics

The DENSO Auto-ID Business Unit, part of the Toyota Group, has announced the launch of its new UR20 scanner series, slated for this coming spring. The two reader models in the series, UR21 and UR22, are each equipped with radio frequency identification technology and are suited for use in retail and logistic environments, according to the company.

In clothing stores, the devices can make it possible to capture data from numerous tags via a single scan. The UR21 scanner is intended for use at the point of sale, according to DENSO. The scanner can be installed under a checkout counter with a VESA-compatible antenna fixture that can be purchased separately. Due to its thin design, the firm reports, the scanner can be placed neatly in a small area without taking up much space. It can record numerous RFID tags with one scan and, as a result, save employees the trouble of having to read multiple clothing products separately. A customer's apparel items to be purchased can be placed on a checkout counter so that their tags can be interrogated by the installed UR21 in a single movement across the counter.

The UR20 scanner series

The UR21's communication range is approximately 80 centimeters (31.5 inches). Thus, only items in its direct range will be read—items belonging to the next customer, or on adjacent checkout counters, will not be interrogated. The range can be adjusted to eight different levels, in accordance to the positioning of individual POS stations. There is also the option to install a second antenna so that a larger scanning area can be covered.

The UR22 is primarily designed for transport and logistics. It has a communication range of approximately 2.6 meters (102.4 inches) and can be installed on the upper part of a gate to capture incoming and outgoing goods. Employees need not manually read or identify the tags, since the UR22 will automatically scan them. A circular-polarized antenna enables 360-degree scanning of RFID tags, so users do not have to worry about the tags' direction or position.

With the RFID system, security tags that are now magnetically attached to clothing items could be replaced in the future with RFID tags. This technology is already integrated in the tags on clothing items, and can be deactivated when scanned by the UR20. By installing an RFID barrier with an alarm at a store's exit, DENSO reports, a retailer could thwart shoplifting, even if the security tags have been removed.

SATO Launches New Group Companies in the Philippines

SATO, a global provider of automatic-identification and data-capture (AIDC) solutions, has announced that it will launch two new group companies in the Philippines: SATO Philippines AIDC Solutions Inc. (which was registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority [PEZA] and began engaging with PEZA-registered foreign companies last week) and SATO Philippines Auto-ID SP Inc. (which will conduct business with non-PEZA-registered local companies starting next month).

The Philippines is projected to be the 20th largest economy by 2050, according to international bank HSBC, due to its growing workforce and ease of communication in English, which is one of the nation's two official languages. Manufacturing is also shifting from China to Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, due to rising wages and changes in production costs in China. These combined factors, SATO explains, influenced its decision to expand its presence in that country.

SATO has maintained a presence in the Philippines through a network of business partners and a representative office. The opening of two new group companies will not only strengthen its foothold in this market, the company notes, but also enable it to provide stronger direct support for business partners and customers, and to reach out to more local manufacturing, retail, logistics and health-care companies, as well as related government agencies in the market that can benefit from AIDC solutions.

"Over the past couple of years, we have been able to build a robust network of business partners in the Philippines," said Katsutoshi Moriyuki, the president of SATO Philippines AIDC Solutions and SATO Philippines Auto-ID SP, in a prepared statement. "We believe that by establishing these two new companies, we can now offer customers and business partners timelier direct support and peace of mind, as well as solutions that are of greater value to them."

"The Philippines is an exciting place to be, and with the positive economic outlook of this country, we are certain that SATO can support businesses there," added Hayato Shindo, who heads the company's Asian division, in the prepared statement. "This expansion plan is one of the key drivers of SATO's growth strategy for Asia, and we look forward to not only better catering to the diverse AIDC needs in this country, but also contributing towards the country's economic growth."

Identiv, NXP Secure CES Attendees via Smart Event and Transportation Badges

Identiv recently partnered with NXP Semiconductors to provide RFID-enabled badges to all 170,000-plus attendees at CES 2017. The technology innovation conference was held last week in Las Vegas, Nev.

Identiv partnered with NXP to provide radio frequency identification inlays, individually inserted into each 2017 CES attendee badge, and designed exclusively for NXP's MIFARE DESFire EV2 platform. During the registration process, unique data was loaded using Identiv's RFID platform, enabling CES attendees to quickly and securely share contact details. Attendees were able to use their badges to gain access to events, ride the Las Vegas Monorail and utilize bike-sharing services. According to Identiv, the multi-application badge simplified transportation at CES, while improving attendees' experience during the event.

"Together with NXP, we are bringing fast, reliable and safe access and transportation to all attendees during the world's largest technology show," said Roger Hornstra, Identiv's VP of transponders sales, in a prepared statement. "We are also providing a glimpse into the future of smart transportation to over 170,000 CES attendees, representing 80 percent of the world's countries."

Identiv is an NXP MIFARE Premium Partner. Its RFID, Near Field Communication (NFC) and inlay solutions can be embedded in or attached to consumables, wearables and equipment. According to Identiv, RFID, NFC and inlays are the foundation of the Internet of Things market and address the emerging needs for securing the connected world.

One2Touch NFC Platform Provides Continuous Communications Capabilities

One2Touch, a provider of Near Field Communication (NFC)-powered continuous communication products, demonstrated its NFC platform for mobile accessories, toys and wearables at CES 2017, a technology innovation conference held last week in Las Vegas, Nev.

By leveraging the One2Touch NFC platform's tap-and-stay capability, the company reports, mobile accessories (keyboards, for instance), as well as toys, games and wearables, can be manufactured without a need for batteries or charging. This, according to the company, enables the integration of personal smart devices to a user's physical world.

For example, Samsung demonstrated a Star Wars-themed game at the event featuring figurines of Yoda, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Users could interact with the game via proximity sensors in fabrics, or they could use a LEGO gaming portal (by transferring the physical figurines into the game) or a LEGO sensor hub (by interacting with the game through a color sensor, a rotation senor and push buttons on a LEGO vehicle).

"At One2Touch, our vision is to push the boundaries of NFC technology and enable consumers to use NFC in their everyday lives to do so much more than mobile payments," said Nils Knagenhjelm, One2Touch's VP of strategic alliances, in a prepared statement. "With the exploding Internet of Things market, we're excited about the potential of NFC's ability to simply and seamlessly connect and communicate as long as the consumer wants, making billions of devices and accessories smarter..."

One2Touch has created an NFC-based technology platform engineered for secure and continuous communications between main or hub devices and accessories. Based on power harvesting and One2Touch's protocol stack for continuous communication, mobile devices and accessories can both connect and communicate via NFC.

Xiamen Intros Rubber Tire Tag

Kimeery (Xiamen) Intelligent Technology Co. has announced the release of its latest RFID tag, model K-LT001. Measuring 95 millimeters by 35 millimeters by 2.7 millimeters (3.7 inches by 1.4 inches by 0.1 inch) and weighing 6.6 grams (0.2 ounce), the rubber Tire Tag operates in the frequency range of 902 to 928 MHz and is compliant with the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C RFID standards.

Xiamen's K-LT001 Tire Tag

The patented Tire Tag contains an Impinj Monza 4QT chip, 128 bits of Electronic Product Code (EPC) memory and 512 bits of user memory. According to the company, the tag has a data-retention time of 50 years and can be erased and written to 100,000 times.

The Tire Tag offers a read distance of up to 6 meters (19.7 feet), depending on the environment and reader configuration. It can operate in temperatures ranging from -40 degrees to +150 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees to +302 degrees Fahrenheit), Xiamen reports.

Xiamen says its new tag meets the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (ROHS) directive for environmental protection. It can be custom-printed with a company's logo, the company notes, and is suitable for use in tire and automobile factories, as well as for vehicle management.