RFID News Roundup

By Beth Bacheldor

CDO Technologies' RoadTag hits Denver streets ••• Cellotape, Smartrac and Thinaire team up on NFC-enabled magazine cover ••• Tyco Retail Solutions announces Sensormatic Synergy Series of security pedestals ••• Checkpoint Systems announces RF/RFID antenna for retailers ••• Eventbrite extends self-service ticketing platform via RFID.

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
CDO Technologies;
Cellotape Smart Products, Smartrac, Thinaire;
Tyco Retail Solutions;
Checkpoint Systems; and
Eventbrite.

CDO Technologies' RoadTag Hits Denver Streets

CDO Technologies has announced that the city and county of Denver, Colo., has purchased its rugged RFID-enabled RoadTag solution to track information on street cuts—openings in roads that are typically made by utility companies to repair cables and pipes underground—on more than 6,100 lane-miles of roadway.

The ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) passive RFID tags, compliant with the EPC Gen 2 and ISO/IEC 18000-6C specifications, can be programmed with specific information about a street cut—such as the contractor name and permit number—and placed beneath the final layer of pavement. If a defect occurs in a patched street cut, CDO Technologies reports, engineers using an off-the-shelf, handheld device running CDO's RoadTag software can access the information encoded to the embedded tag and take immediate action. The implementation includes an Alien Technology ALR-9650 reader for programming tags, the Zebra Technologies MC-9190-Z handheld for reading tags in the field, Technologies ROI (TROI) embeddable tags for placement in patched pavement, and CDO's RoadTag handheld and desktop software, according to Robert Zielinski, CDO Technologies' director of commercial marketing.

During the next few months, CDO Technologies says, Denver's Department of Public Works will evaluate the technology, adjust business processes, communicate with contractors, and calculate the total expected savings. With approximately 8,000 street-cut permits issued annually, the department expects the RoadTag solution to play an important role in the city's efforts to better serve constituents, the firm adds.

RoadTag was born two years ago, in response to a need by city engineers in Dayton, Ohio, to access real-time information regarding street cuts while they were on the road (see RFID Speeds Up Roadway Repairs). Thanks to the RFID solution, CDO reports, Dayton saved $60,000 in labor that was repurposed due to efficiencies in the first year of implementation.

Cellotape, Smartrac and Thinaire Team Up on NFC-enabled Magazine Cover

Cellotape Smart Products, Smartrac and Thinaire recently partnered on a project to RFID-enable the cover of Packaging Digest's summer issue. A Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID label was affixed to the magazine's cover, and when readers tapped the label with their NFC-enabled smartphones, they were directed to participate in the NFC Challenge, a short, online survey about NFC technology. The initiative's goal, according to the companies, was to showcase how live product packaging might work, and to answer the question, "What does NFC mean to you?"

For the label, Smartrac provided the RFID inlays—specifically, the 25-millimeter Circus NFC inlay made with an NTAG203 chip from NXP Semiconductors. Cellotape Smart Products converted the inlays into adhesive labels, which it printed, and provided them to the magazine on rolls. Thinaire provided the encoding data and managed the back-end platform that tracked all interactions and relevant data. To date, results from the survey have not been shared, though they are expected soon, according to a spokeswoman with Cellotape Smart Products.

Packaging Digest's RFID-enabled cover

"Packaging Digest's use of an NFC-enabled smart magazine cover is a great way to create a frictionless one-on-one connection with their readers, showcasing cutting edge NFC technologies," said Tim Daly, Cellotape Smart Products' president, in a prepared statement. "As more consumers become aware of this powerful technology, and as global brands continue to offer additional NFC engagement opportunities in their marketing and product packaging, NFC will quickly become mainstream; transcending its use as the global standard for contactless payments."

The NFC Challenge will continue to poll and survey Packaging Digest's readers through the end of October. The magazine will offer prizes as an incentive to participate.

Tyco Retail Solutions Announces Sensormatic Synergy Series of Security Pedestals

Tyco Retail Solutions has announced the availability of its Sensormatic Synergy Series, a scalable portfolio of pedestals to provide retailers with storefront visibility so they can better understand when, which and how many items are stolen. The series includes extensible and modular acousto-magnetic (AM) and RFID detection systems that leverage multiple technologies and can integrate video-capture. This, the company explains, helps retailers enhance loss-prevention efforts, optimize store performance, identify trends in merchandise loss and shoplifting events, and conduct post-event forensic analysis.

The Sensormatic Synergy Series

The Sensormatic Synergy Series offers a variety of options and accessories, and the portfolio of pedestals can be easily integrated or retrofitted with RFID readers. The series helps maximize retailers' electronic article surveillance (EAS) investments by providing a clear migration path to RFID technology, according to Tyco Retail Solutions, and by gathering valuable shopper, inventory and EAS intelligence to drive better store performance. The pedestals support different technologies, including AM, RFID, video and traffic, which feed critical and actionable data to Tyco's TrueVUE reporting platform. The product line's data-intelligence capabilities offer retailers a building block to future Internet of Things (IoT) applications, the company notes.

Specifically, the Sensormatic Synergy Series provides anti-theft protection in high-noise environments, video verification of EAS alarm events via integration with surveillance cameras, an add-on mounted camera for high-quality, close-up images during alarm events, enhanced jammer and metal-foil detection to combat organized retail crime, and remote EAS device management and monitoring. According to Tyco Retail Solutions, the pedestals' interconnectivity of EAS, traffic and inventory intelligence is designed to help retailers maximize valuable floor-selling space; track customer visits; increase conversion rates leveraging integrated traffic sensors; enhance EAS value with modular, connected, RFID-ready systems; effectively manage EAS system power; and save up to 90 percent when no customer traffic is present, without performance degradation.

Checkpoint Systems Announces RF/RFID Antenna for Retailers

Checkpoint Systems has announced its Evolve MV E10 2.0 antenna, which comes in RF electronic article surveillance (EAS), RFID and dual-mode (RF/RFID) versions to meet retailers' specific needs. The antenna supports the ISO 18000-6C and EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID specifications.

According to Checkpoint Systems, the E10 2.0 features a customizable design so retailers can more easily adapt to new business demands and investments. For example, by allowing retailers to invest in RFID at a later point via an RFID upgrade kit, the E10 2.0 enables them to use their existing RF-based EAS solutions today, and to then use RFID when the time is right for their businesses. In dual mode, the company says, only a single tag is required for both inventory management and loss prevention.

The RFID functionality of E10 2.0 will help loss-prevention managers better understand what is potentially stolen, Checkpoint reports, and enable store associates to improve stock management by having the correct product on hand at the right time. Checkpoint's data analytics for the E10 2.0 is designed to help merchandising and operations personnel better understand store traffic, and to ensure that store associates leverage RF/RFID investments appropriately, comply with store shoplifting policies and have systems always turned on and operating properly. Visitor-counting technology is embedded in the new system to help retailers maximize the potential of their sales floor space, calculate shopper conversion rates and improve staffing allocations.

In addition, when used in RF or RF/RFID mode, E10 2.0 can be integrated with Checkpoint's recently announced Evolve-Store app for Android smartphones and tablets that supports real-time EAS and organized retail crime (ORC) event management.

The antenna can be used as a see-through acrylic design, or a store can instantly change it to an advertisement panel for its products, simply by inserting graphic panels. Advertising panels serve as a low-cost means to promote in-store campaigns or the brand itself. Checkpoint offers full-color textile panels that retailers can use to easily modify the E10 2.0, thereby improving the antenna's appearance, making a store's entrance much more appealing, the company reports. Retailers can further customize the antenna by ordering full-color graphic prints from Checkpoint that can be applied to the antenna base plates and RFID elements, in order to create a unique, branded antenna solution. Some antenna areas are also available in color options, to meet a store's overall design scheme, and the side of the antenna can be fully illuminated to create a high-impact visual effect.

Eventbrite Extends Self-Service Ticketing Platform Via RFID

Eventbrite has announced that it has added RFID technology to its self-service ticketing platform designed to help large, multi-day festivals and events streamline entry-management operations.

Eventbrite supports hundreds of events every year and has scanned 8 million bar codes in 2015 so far via Eventbrite Neon, its mobile box office app for iOS devices. The addition of the RFID technology is the result of the company's acquisition of Scintilla Technologies, an entry-management RFID hardware and software firm based in Montreal.

The RFID tags and readers used with Eventbrite's platform are based on a combination of industry protocols and Eventbrite proprietary technology, according to an Eventbrite spokesperson. Key features and functionality of Eventbrite's RFID-enabled platform include access control that is fully operational when offline, since encrypted data is written to each individual wristband and entry portal and RFID chips can be read and updated with access changes at any time, even during network outages.

The platform offers the ability to rapidly assign wristbands to attendees with Eventbrite Neon, using a single RFID-enabled handheld. The company's lightweight, flexible portals allow for rapid, real-time addition, removal and re-configuration of entry gates, and self-service fulfillment tracking and order management tools for attendees at Eventbrite.com reduce the customer support load on organizer personnel, both pre-event and onsite.

In addition, the solution includes a wristband-activity dashboard, available via the Web and the Eventbrite Neon app, that includes real-time insights to inform onsite operational changes and customized post-event reporting for analysis of all access points and cashless transactions.

"The powerful combination of Scintilla's hardware and team with Eventbrite's world-class software, entry management and field operations capabilities will allow us to deliver the most reliable, robust and flexible solution in the market," said Laurent Sellier, Eventbrite's VP of product, in a prepared statement. "We're excited to be building a complete end-to-end solution that will reduce the complexity and risk currently preventing large events and festivals from realizing the benefits of RFID technology. We will continue to innovate on behalf of the customer to build solutions that delight the consumer."