RFID News Roundup

By Beth Bacheldor

MEPS Real-Time intros Intelliguard Linked Visibility Inventory System ••• Invengo acquires 10 percent stake in SML ••• Tests show Fujitsu UHF RFID linen tags are suitable for use in MRI systems ••• Vizinex RFID and Brady SmartID release aerospace tags ••• UAB Medicine to adopt Connexient's indoor wayfinding solution ••• NIST seeks comments on lightweight cryptography draft report.

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The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: MEPS Real-Time; Invengo, SML; Fujitsu Frontech North America; Vizinex RFID, Brady SmartID; UAB Medicine, Connexient; and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

MEPS Real-Time Intros Intelliguard Linked Visibility Inventory System

MEPS Real-Time, a provider of RFID solutions for pharmacy automation and inventory management, is now offering the Intelliguard Linked Visibility Inventory System (LVIS), a medication inventory optimization solution specifically designed with anesthesia workflows in mind. The system is designed to provide real-time visibility into inventory usage in the operating room, the company reports, and to assure anesthesia teams that every OR is fully stocked, with nothing missing, expired or recalled. LVIS features an RFID-enabled drug-management system that is deployed in the OR to track the anesthesia drugs used during a surgical procedure.

LVIS is an extension of the Intelliguard Kit and Tray Management System, an RFID-based drug-management solution that employs EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) passive RFID tags and Impinj readers. These include a tabletop reader that hospital pharmacists can use to commission a tag attached to each drug’s packaging, as well as RFID-enabled drug-dispensing cabinets and bedside patient trays, to automate medication inventory management and replenishment (see MEPS Real-Time Updates System for Pharmacy Automation, Inventory Management). LVIS is designed to provide a hospital’s pharmacy with real-time inventory visibility regarding the medications dispensed in each operating room.

LVIS utilizes small RFID tags (made with Impinj Monza chips) to track each drug vial, syringe, bag, tube, ampoule or other container in anesthesia medication kits and trays. Using the Intelliguard RFID Encoding Workstation, pharmacy technicians can utilize a simple, patent-pending process to associate an RFID tag’s unique serial number with a medication’s details in a local database, including the drug’s name, National Drug Code (NDC) number, lot number and expiration date. With a single encoding step at the pharmacy, this RFID tag data is used throughout LVIS. According to the company, the system also features an RFID-enabled Intelliguard LVIS Station for secure medication storage and access within the operating room, and automatically relays utilization data to the pharmacy via a browser-based portal. In this way, the technology improves visibility into inventory, especially with regard to controlled substances. Drugs can be securely stored in each OR, MEPS Real-Time explains, and the RFID technology streamlines and simplifies access for anesthesiologists.

According to the company, when an anesthesiologist opens the LVIS station’s drawer, removes what is requires and then closes the drawer, inventory details are automatically relayed back to the pharmacy, thereby providing real-time information regarding inventory usage and availability. The process is designed not to disrupt anesthesia team workflows, and offers real-time alerts and notifications directly to the pharmacy throughout the day in the event that restocking is needed to support unexpected usage fluctuations while avoiding stock-outs. The Intelliguard LVIS Station is also designed to provide a non-intrusive footprint in the OR, as there is no monitor or screen that adds bulk and may distract from patient care, according to MEPS Real-Time.

In the background, inventory details for each LVIS station are relayed in real time to the Intelliguard Client Intelligence Portal, a notification and reporting software application that provides remote inventory status to pharmacy teams.

Invengo Acquires 10 Percent Stake in SML

Global RAIN RFID technology provider Invengo has announced that it has acquired a 10 percent stake in SML Holdings Ltd., a supply chain and retail technology solutions provider based in Hong Kong. Invengo says it has invested in SML to establish optimal synergy between the two companies in such areas as RFID products and solutions, as well as marketing and sales.

Combining Invengo’s RFID products and solution expertise with SML’s retail technology and global reach, Invengo reports, will strengthen the global leadership position of both companies in apparel inventory management solutions for the retail sector. Specifically, the two businesses will enhance their efforts to help retailers improve inventory accuracy, in-store experiences, omnichannel delivery models and supply chains.

SML has a presence in more than 30 countries and manufacturing facilities worldwide, and offers a variety of products and services that include product branding and labeling, RAIN RFID tag solutions, retail RFID software solutions and data-management services, in addition to anti-counterfeiting and product packaging design and engineering. Customers include Levi’s, American Eagle, Ann Taylor, Gap, Tesco, Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart and Adidas.

“We have admired SML for years as they built a world-class data management system to support the global expansion of their locally based service bureaus,” said Jiann Hsieh, Invengo International’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “Coupled with an excellent track record in on time delivery and price efficiency, an experienced and highly-valued management team and in-company know-how, we are in an excellent position to benefit in this fast-moving growth market.”

Tests Show Fujitsu UHF RFID Linen Tags Are Suitable for Use in MRI Systems

Fujitsu Frontech North America has announced that tests conducted by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test facility Magnetic Resonance Safety Testing Services (MRSTS) on several of its ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID linen tags show that they are acceptable for use in association with all types of MRI systems operating at 1.5 Tesla and 3 Tesla.

Tests were performed on Fujitsu’s WT-A53x x and WT-A52x families of UHF RFID linen tags. Using state-of-the-art MRI testing facilities, the company reports, MRSTS was able to characterize both the effects of worst-case MRI exposures and possible MRI-related issues, such as magnetic field interactions, heating and artifacts (imaging errors) using its sophisticated techniques. Based on the results, MRSTS recommended the labeling “MR Conditional” for 1.5T and 3.0T MRIs—the highest rating that can be applied for an RFID device, according to Fujitsu. The results of these tests conducted on the Fujitsu tags have been posted at MRISafety.com .

Fujitsu’s WT-A533tag

MRSTS is owned and operated by Frank G. Shellock, an adjunct clinical professor of radiology and medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. “We were very impressed with the Fujitsu linen RFID tag. The construction of the tag and selection of internal components make it ideal for use in hospital garments and linens used in and around MRI systems,” Shellock, said in a prepared statement. “We were also surprised by the relatively small image artifact generated by the tag. The measured maximum image artifact of 2 millimeters under worst case MRI conditions will substantially reduce the impact on the diagnostic use of MRI.”

The WT-A533 is a rugged tag designed for use in a multitude of applications, according to Fujitsu, including health-care garments, scrubs and flat linens. The tag is designed to withstand industrial laundry applications and can survive hundreds of washings under very harsh washing conditions. Confirmation by independent testing performed by MRSTS expands the product’s usability to include sheets and gowns that are actually present inside of the MRI equipment, the company notes.

Vizinex RFID and Brady SmartID Release Aerospace Tags

RFID tag maker Vizinex RFID and Brady SmartID, a provider of solutions for tracking assets and aircraft parts, have announced new RFID tags designed for the aerospace industry. The new Rigid RFID series of tags features 2 kilobits of user memory and meet the ATA Spec-2000 CH 9 Rev 2016.1 requirements for commercial aircraft, according to the two companies.

The portfolio includes the Stik and the Nickl. Measuring 36.4 millimeters by 7.0 millimeters by 4.4 millimeters (1.4 inches by 0.3 inch by 0.2 inch), the Stik is a mount-on-metal tag with a slim profile and an average read range of 2.35 meters (7.7 feet). The Nickl is a mount-on-metal tag designed for smaller parts that measures 14.0 millimeters by 14.0 millimeters by 5.8 millimeters (0.6 inch by 0.6 inch by 0.2 inch) and has an average read range of 1.5 meters (4.9 feet). The companies have declined to identify the RFID chip used in either model. Brady SmartID will be selling the tags.

UAB Medicine to Adopt Connexient’s Indoor Wayfinding Solution

UAB Medicine, the University of Alabama at Birmingham‘s academic health center and health system, has announced plans to use Connexient‘s MediNav Navigator Edition 2.0 wayfinding system for UAB Hospital and its Kirklin Clinic. MediNav provides indoor maps, as well as indoor navigation and location-based services, Connexient says. The solution utilizes Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons, supplied by a variety of providers, that work in conjunction with a mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

The system is designed to function as an indoor GPS for patients, visitors and personnel, Connexient reports. By helping visitors find their way through the facilities, the company explains, the system can improve the overall patient experience in order to increase customer satisfaction, help reduce missed or late appointments, and improve operational efficiency.

Features include turn-by-turn indoor navigation with voice prompts, off-route notification, visual landmark references and more. These features navigate users to the best parking location, based on their appointment location inside the facility; records their car’s location for easy return when they are finished; directs visitors to vital information; and guides users across all the challenges of a campus or networks of facilities. MediNav also features mobile application software development kits and web-based application programming interfaces (APIs) to enable the integration of maps and navigation into existing mobile and web applications.

Deployment of the wayfinding system at UAB Medicine is currently under way. Due to the size and complexity of the college’s campus, Connexient notes, the technology is not expected to be fully operational until next summer.

“As one of the largest academic medical centers in the nation, UAB Medicine’s Birmingham campus comprises over 4 million square feet of buildings, plus multiple parking facilities,” said Reid Jones, UAB Medicine’s COO, in a prepared statement. “Connexient’s all-screens solution and turn-by-turn blue-dot mobile navigation will be a valuable resource for our patients, visitors and staff to safely and easily find their way on our large campus. We also see many future opportunities to improve operational efficiency, campus safety and more by integrating the MediNav SDK and Web APIs with other enterprise applications.”

NIST Seeks Comments on Lightweight Cryptography Draft Report

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been carrying out a project focused on learning more about the issues involved in implementing lightweight cryptography for small computing devices that have limited resources, and developing a strategy for the standardization of lightweight cryptographic algorithms. In August 2016, it issued a report, Draft NISTIR 8114, that provides an overview of the lightweight cryptography project at NIST, and also describes plans for the standardization of lightweight cryptographic algorithms.

NIST-approved cryptographic standards were designed to perform well using general-purpose computers, according to the standards agency, and may not be acceptable for small computing devices that have limited resources. The report identifies a number of systems that leverage highly constrained devices, such as automotive systems, sensor networks, distributed control systems and smart grids. Security and privacy can be critical, but the majority of modern cryptographic algorithms were designed for desktop and server environments.

While current NIST-approved algorithms can be engineered to fit into the limited resources of constrained environments, the report explains, their performance may be unacceptable. The report provides an overview of lightweight cryptography, summarizes the findings of NIST’s lightweight cryptography project and outlines NIST’s plans for the standardization of lightweight cryptographic algorithms.

According to the report, NIST has decided to create a portfolio of lightweight cryptographic algorithms through an open process similar to the selection of block cipher modes of operation. Algorithms will be recommended for use only in the context of profiles, which describe physical, performance and security characteristics. These profiles are intended to capture cryptographic algorithm requirements imposed by devices and applications for which lightweight cryptography is needed. NIST will develop profiles based on community responses to questions (included in this report) regarding application and device requirements for lightweight cryptography.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is seeking comments on the draft report. Comments are due no later than Oct. 31, and must be emailed to lightweight-crypto@nist.gov (subject: “Comments on Draft NISTIR 8114”).