RFID News Roundup

By Beth Bacheldor

George Mason University chooses HID Global ID card solution ••• William Frick & Co. unveils UHF RFID tags with two dual-record memory ••• PLI, Smartrac, NXP join forces to provide secure RFID cards to hospitality market ••• TSA, Delta Air Lines test RFID to speed up screening process ••• Impinj releases IoT Connector software for SAP's Hybris Commerce ••• MTI Wireless Edge announces two new RFID antennas.

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: George Mason University, HID Global; William Frick & Co; Plasticard-Locktech International, Smartrac, NXP Semiconductors; the Transportation Security Administration, Delta Air Lines; Impinj, SAP; and
MTI Wireless Edge.

George Mason University Chooses HID Global ID Card Solution

HID Global has announced that George Mason University has chosen several of its secure identity solutions to improve campus security, make its end-to-end card-issuance capabilities more efficient and connect card holders to new services and departments on campus. Specifically, the university is using a comprehensive "one card" solution to upgrade its Mason ID card to a more secure, flexible student ID system that includes RFID technology.

The solutions, according to HID Global, are designed to provide the university with a strategic migration path from legacy magnetic stripe (magstripe) cards to new contactless technology that offers security and privacy protection for its campus, students and staff. The new Mason ID card enables the school to meet the growing demands of its campus, the company reports, by providing a single ID that can be used to securely connect users with multiple applications, services and departments.

The system includes HID Global multiClass SE card readers, as well as ASSA ABLOY Sargent Passport locks with embedded iClass SE technology, and Persona Campus Software. According to HID Global, the readers and locks feature built-in encryption for additional security and allow the university to use both legacy magstripe and new RFID cards simultaneously, thereby enabling a smooth technology migration over a longer period of time.

HID Global's Seos smart cards offer advanced security and interoperability between the new locks and readers, the company reports, while enabling multiple applications. The university deployed the firm's Omnikey desktop readers to extend the value of the Seos card by connecting it to multiple services, such as library check-out and cashless payment for meals in the cafeteria.

Finally, the university installed HID Global's Fargo DTC4500e ID card printers and encoders and Asure ID card-personalization software in its campus card office. The new Mason ID cards are personalized, with each card containing student information printed on it, and encoded and programmed in a single, inline issuance process. Issuance time has been reduced, data entry mistakes have been eliminated and the new ID cards are now printed with more durable lamination, HID Global notes.

George Mason University has installed approximately 3,500 HID Global readers and ASSA ABLOY locks, and has issued more than 12,000 Mason ID cards to incoming freshmen to date. The school expects to complete its card migration by 2017.

As the commonwealth of Virginia's largest public university, George Mason's campus has more than 30,000 students, as well as nearly 5,000 facility members and 2,000 contractors, all of whom require a Mason ID card to access facilities, resources and services. For nearly a decade, HID Global explains, the university has issued magstripe ID cards that rely on older security technology that lacked the cryptographic capabilities of smart cards, making them susceptible to cloning and counterfeiting. Additionally, the company says, these cards wore out quickly and cost the school time and money to replace.

William Frick & Co. Unveils UHF RFID Tags With Dual-Record Memory

William Frick & Co., a manufacturer of specialty identification products, such as RFID tags, bar-code labels, signs and utility markers, has announced a new passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID with dual-record memory. The dual-record format allows data to be stored in two distinct sections: one for saving permanent information, such as the tag's birth record and serial data, and the other for storing rewritable information, such as maintenance records and chain of custody. Both new tags support the ISO 18000-6C and EPC Gen 2 specifications.

The Dual-Record RFID Life Vest Label is designed to help reduce inspection times from hours to mere minutes, and can be used for daily presence checking and expiration date inspections of airline life vests. It is also suitable for monitoring safety and compliance, tracking high-value assets, and warehouse and logistics management.

Frick's Dual Record Life Vest Label

The label measures 2 inches by 4 inches and offers a read range of more than 10 feet—which, the company says, is an optimal distance for inspecting life vests. The label features up to 512 bits of Electronic Product Code (EPC) memory and 1500 bits of user memory, and is tested to comply with the SAE AS5678 standards for flyable parts. What's more, it can be customized with corporate information, graphics, bar codes and more.

The AT04-2K Dual-Record Metal Mount RFID Tag is suitable for use in the aerospace and aviation industries, William & Frick Co. reports, to track aircraft seats, galley carts and other cabin equipment. Other applications include asset management, equipment and facility management, control board tracking and vehicle management.

The tag features 496 bits of EPC memory and 1536 bits of user memory, offers a 10-foot read range on metal, and measures 3.74 inches by 0.98 inch by 0.59 inch (95 millimeters by 25 millimeters by 3.7 millimeters). It resists water, solvents and abrasion, and is designed to withstand harsh outdoor environments. The tag can be customized by laser-etching or labeling it with corporate information, 1D and 2D bar codes, human-readable information, logos and more.

PLI, Smartrac, NXP Join Forces to Provide Secure RFID Cards to Hospitality Market

Plasticard-Locktech International (PLI), a manufacturer of hotel keycards, has signed a large-scale and long-term supply agreement with Smartrac that will also feature NXP Semiconductors' Mifare ICs. For Smartrac, the companies report, the agreement means a breakthrough in the global hospitality, leisure and entertainment market, while PLI and its customers will benefit from improved product capability, quality and security. A secure, contactless infrastructure allows card usage for multiple applications. Just a single card, for example, can be used to open doors, make payments, earn loyalty points or rent a bike.

Beginning next month, Smartrac plans to start delivering tens of millions of RFID products to PLI for use during the next several years. The scope of supply includes genuine, secure Smartrac Prelam inlays—which combine NXP's Mifare chips and Smartrac's antenna technology—for contactless access cards, wearables, and gift and loyalty cards. With Smartrac inlays using NXP's Mifare ICs, PLI will be able to provide a gapless proof of authenticity and origin for its contactless cards and products, according to Smartrac. The addition of RFID will provide PLI's customers with improved credential quality, security and reliability, the companies note, without harming Smartrac's intellectual property rights.

NXP's Mifare ICs and Smartrac's Prelam inlays are fully compliant with the EAL4+ Common Criteria and ISO standards.

While Smartrac and PLI are not disclosing details, the supply agreement is for some of the highest volumes in Smartrac's history.

TSA, Delta Air Lines Test RFID to Speed Up Screening Process

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Delta Air Lines are testing the use of automation and RFID in two newly designed security lanes at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The redesign required a three-week closure that reportedly caused longer-than-normal wait times for passengers moving through TSA checkpoints, but the new system is designed to ease bottlenecks in the security screening process.

The TSA, working with the airport and Delta Air Lines, installed and calibrated new automated security screening lane equipment and is part of a collaborative initiative among the three to develop long-term innovative solutions to enhance security effectiveness with reasonable checkpoint wait times for passengers.

According to articles published in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the two newly designed lanes are modeled after systems used at London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol airports. The system works in conjunction with RFID tags that have been attached to the bins into which airplane passengers place liquids, laptops or other items for the security system to scan. Each lane has five stations at which five different passengers can load bins simultaneously, rather than single lanes that require each passenger to wait for his or her turn before loading a bin. Once the bin is loaded, the traveler pushes it onto the automated conveyor system, which shuttles the bin to the X-ray machine. A lower-level conveyor system transports bins back to the beginning of the lane, eliminating the need for TSA agents to manually carry them back.

If a suspicious item turns up during X-ray screening, the bin is automatically routed to a separate conveyor via the bin's RFID tag. In that way, a TSA officer can then check the items within the bin.

Impinj Announces IoT Connector Software for SAP's Hybris Commerce

Impinj has introduced its IoT Connector for SAP's Hybris Commerce solution. The IoT Connector is designed to integrate EPC Gen 2 RFID infrastructure to Hybris Commerce software so that accurate, real-time inventory data can be shared with omnichannel systems. According to Impinj, this data can help retailers make better inventory and supply chain decisions that result in fewer markdowns, reduced safety stock and improved shopper experiences, both online and in-store.

Hybris Commerce provides retailers with omnichannel customer engagement and commerce solutions. The integration of RFID data into Hybris Commerce, Impinj explains, enabling an Internet of Things system that lets retailers know where every item is located at any given time.

Specifically, the company reports, the IoT Connector helps retailers improve online and in-store fulfillment, make better order-routing decisions, sell inventory down to the last item and reduce markdowns.

Retailers can download the Impinj IoT Connector for SAP Hybris Commerce at the Hybris Extend Marketplace.

MTI Wireless Edge Announces Two New RFID Antennas

MTI Wireless Edge has announced the development of two new antennas, one in the form of mat designed for race-timing applications, entry control and gates, and the other a flush-mounted antenna suitable for indoor applications. Both operate in the 902 to 928 MHz frequency range.

The Mat Antenna measures 742 millimeters (29.2 inches) in length, 550 millimeters (21.7 inches) in width and 22 millimeters (0.9 inch) in thickness. It has a minimum 2-meter (6.6-foot) read range and is IP-67 rated (signifying it as dustproof and waterproof).

The Flush Mounted 9dBic antenna, suitable for indoor applications, utilizes a 150-millimeter (5.9-inch) cable with an SMA connector to allow for a side connection, for applications for which a back connection is not possible. It measures 305 millimeters (12 inches) in length and width and 25 millimeters (1 inch) in thickness.

The Flush Mounted 9dBic antenna is available now. The Mat Antenna has been successfully prototyped and tested, and a manufacturing model is currently under development, according to Reuven Drori, MIT Wireless Edge's RFID sales and marketing director.