RFID News Roundup

By Beth Bacheldor

View Technologies announces new smart antenna for smaller locations ••• Mojix expands into Latin American markets ••• Bell Mobility offers BeWhere beacon-based RTLS to Canadian market ••• S.C.'s Pour Taproom installs RFID-enabled beer taps ••• Halton Healthcare deploys Stanley Healthcare's AeroScout RTLS.

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The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
View Technologies;
Mojix;
BeWhere, Bell Mobility;
Pour Taproom;
Halton Healthcare, and Stanley Healthcare.

View Technologies Announces New Smart Antenna for Smaller Locations

View Technologies, a joint venture formed in 2014 by Stanley Black & Decker and RF Controls, has announced a new smart antenna designed for installation in smaller locations, such as retail storefronts or any other site containing ceilings as low as 8 feet. The Echo 405, expected to be made commercially available later this year, is capable of shifting between circular, vertical and horizontal polarization, the company reports, making it possible to penetrate dense environments more effectively, such as locations where multiple pieces of merchandise may be stacked or bunched together, thereby substantially increasing its read rate.

The Echo 405 will join View Technologies’ long-range RFID antennas, the Echo 300 and Echo 302, which the firm commercially released in September 2015 (see View Technologies Launches Long-Range RTLS for Passive UHF Tags) The Echo 300 has a four-by-eight array of antennas, for a total of 32 elements. Its read range extends 150 feet, with an accuracy of 3 feet or more. The Echo 300 measures 35.6 inches in length, 68 inches in width and 6 inches in depth, and weighs 81 pounds. According to View Technologies, it is best suited for ceiling heights of 30 feet or more.

The Echo 302 features a four-by-four array of antennas comprising 16 elements, with a read range of up to 75 feet, and is best suited for ceiling heights of less than 30 feet, the company reports. This model is approximately 35.6 inches in length and width and 6 inches in thickness, and weighs 25 pounds.

View Technologies offers a real-time location system (RTLS) known as inView, consisting of Echo smart antennas designed by RF Controls and manufactured by Stanley Black and Decker, as well as RF Controls’ RFC-6100XR RFID reader and View Technologies’ inView software. All View Technologies antennas employ steerable phased-array technology to create a cone-shaped read zone, while related software can create zones within the antenna’s range to meet a customer’s needs, down to less than 1 foot in granularity. The inView system lets companies locate their RFID-tagged items in real time, View Technologies explains, as well as monitor when they are moved and in what direction. They can then collect analytics based on that data, view it in real time or receive alerts when specific events occur, such as an item being moved through a doorway.

The Echo 300 and 302 smart antennas and the inView Software Platform were named as finalists in the Best New Product category for this year’s RFID Journal Awards. A team of judges will review all finalist exhibits and determine the winner at RFID Journal LIVE! 2016, to be held at the Orange County Convention Center, in Orlando, Fla., on May 3-5. View Technologies will offer a brief presentation on the inView Software Platform at the event, during the award sessions taking place on May 4 from 3:50 to 4:30 p.m. In addition, the company will provide demonstrations of the inView platform and the Echo 405 antenna at its booth (#125).

Mojix Expands into Latin American Markets

Mojix, a provider of wide-area RFID systems and Internet of Things platform solutions, has announced that it is expanding its global sales operations into Latin America to meet strong regional market demand. Building on its existing engineering operations, Mojix reports, the company now has more than 150 services and solution engineers based in South America, and plans to continue investing in the resources required to serve the unique needs of each territory, including sales, marketing and professional services.

Mojix plans to establish strategic alliances with key Latin American partners in order to meet the fast-growing territory needs for real-time RFID tracking solutions combined with IoT and big data platform solutions. The company indicates that its expansion follows last year’s growth in the European, Middle Eastern and Asian markets.

“The demand for RFID solutions in Latin America has been steadily increasing, and as a leading provider with a strong track record worldwide, we aim to be part of this growth by contributing high-quality, world-class services,” said Gustavo Rivera, Mojix’s managing director, in a prepared statement. “We invite key system integrators with presence in Latin America to join us in this process.”

Mojix will showcase its STAR wide-area RFID systems and ViZix real-time IoT platform solutions at RFID Journal LIVE! 2016, to be held in Orlando, Fla., on May 3-5, 2016. In its booth (#400), Mojix will demonstrate solutions for retail, oil and gas, manufacturing, and health-care applications to Latin American prospect systems integrators and partners.

Bell Mobility Offers BeWhere Beacon-based RTLS to Canadian Market

BeWhere and Bell Mobility have partnered to offer BeWhere’s Bluetooth beacons and asset-management tracking solutions to business customers across Canada.

BeWhere’s solution uses Bluetooth beacons to provide real-time information regarding equipment, goods or tools in transit, or at facilities, at a level of operational visibility for customers in such sectors as emergency services, transportation, construction and utilities. The system complements existing automated vehicle location (AVL) solutions available from Bell, the company reports, by leveraging smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi routers or telematics products to transmit data to a mobile application or an organization’s existing software via Bell’s broadband wireless network.

According to BeWhere its Bluetooth beacons feature a battery life of two to five years and a read range of up to 250 meters (820.2 feet), offering an alternative to traditional RFID solutions and enabling customers to cost-effectively tag, track and manage movable assets in a variety of uses. This includes managing high-value equipment or inventory in ambulances, service fleets, utility vehicles, armored cars or other vehicles; tracking the storage and shipment of pallets and goods within warehouses through to final delivery; monitoring equipment or individuals on job sites, such as mining or construction, and automatically logging trash containers serviced by waste-management vehicles.

As part of its channel strategy, BeWhere says it will partner with other globally recognized carriers to drive new business.

S.C.’s Pour Taproom Installs RFID-enabled Beer Taps

Pour Taproom, a bar that features a tasting taproom enabling patrons to self-pour and sample craft beers, cider and wine before buying a full glass, is employing RFID to allow customers to serve themselves. The company opened its first establishment in Asheville, N.C., about a year and a half ago, and recently opened a second location in Greenville, S.C.

Pour Taproom utilizes a 1K high-frequency Near Field Communication (NFC) passive RFID inlay in a bracelet that a customer wears and is connected to that person’s credit card, says Nate Tomforde, Pour Taproom’s general manager, who co-founded the establishment with his brother, David Early. The establishments has digital taps, and customers can try any beer or wine simply by tapping their RFID-enabled bracelet to the tap’s RFID reader.

“We use the RFID readers to control a valve that opens the beer lines to then monitor the liquid ounces that pass through a flow meter,” Tomforde explains. The flow meters can measure how much a customer has poured, down to a tenth of an ounce. The system can also measure how much each customer is drinking, in order to ensure that none are over-served.

Halton Healthcare Deploys Stanley Healthcare’s AeroScout RTLS

Stanley Healthcare, a provider of visibility solutions and analytics for the health-care industry, has announced that Halton Healthcare, in Ontario, has deployed multiple solutions of its AeroScout real-time location system (RTLS) platform at its new location, Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital.

The hospital is employing the AeroScout solution for a range of security, safety and operational efficiency applications. The facility is tracking a range of equipment in real time, including IV pumps, mobile diagnostic equipment and patient-handling equipment; monitoring refrigerators and freezers in the laboratory, pharmacy, blood bank and food services departments, to ensure that materials are stored within the prescribed temperature range; providing hospital-wide security for newborn infants to protect them against the risk of abduction; and offering individual protection for adult and pediatric patients at risk of flight, as well as personal protection for staff members to enable them to call for help for themselves or others in the event of an emergency.

All of these solutions, the company explains, use Stanley Healthcare’s RTLS technology, which leverages the hospital’s Wi-Fi network to provide real-time updates regarding the statuses and locations of patients, caregivers and equipment throughout the hospital. The AeroScout RTLS solution utilizes battery-powered RFID tags that transmit unique ID numbers via the Wi-Fi protocol.

In addition to Stanley Healthcare’s solutions, Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital incorporates a range of technological innovations, Stanley Healthcare notes, including a newly designed emergency department for improved efficiency and enhanced infection control, in addition to automated systems for laboratory testing and medication management.