RFID News Roundup

By Beth Bacheldor

Xerafy, C-Logistics and Holland 1916 unveil rugged RFID tag for oil and gas; Mobile Aspects receives patent for iRIScope, uses Feig readers; Scanbuy creates NFC-enabled giant baseball cards for Topps; Techs4Biz intros smartphone app for field-service management with RFID functionality; Omni-ID adds new tag to suite of products for industrial logistics applications; Israel's Herzilya Medical Center improves inventory management via LogiTag's SmartCabinet; Flomio intros NFC antenna extender for mobile devices.

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The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: Xerafy, C-Logistics, Holland 1916; Mobile Aspects, Feig Electronics; Scanbuy, Topps; Techs4Biz; Omni-ID; LogiTag Systems; and Flomio.

Xerafy, C-Logistics and Holland 1916 Unveil Rugged RFID Tag for Oil and Gas

Xerafy’s Versa Trak tag (left) and Holland 1916’s plastic housing

Xerafy and Holland 1916 have announced that they have teamed up with C-Logistics to offer a new ruggedized RFID tag for metal slings and rigging equipment. The sling tag is designed for logistics and asset-tracking applications in the oil and gas industry, the companies report. The ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) ISO 18000-6 and EPC Gen 2-compliant solution combines a Xerafy Versa Trak small-form factor on-metal RFID tag, which is an ultra-high-molecular-weight (UHMW) plastic housing from Holland 1916. The Versa Trak tag measures 1.97 inches by 0.67 inch by 0.20 inch (50 millimeters by 17 millimeters by 5 millimeters) and has a read range of 23 feet (7 meters) on metal, and 11 feet (3.5 meters) off metal, according to the companies, and the Holland 1916 housing is extremely resistant to shock and abrasion. The solution, the firms add, is also intrinsically safe—an important concern in the oil and gas industry. The tags can be used to provide real-time tracking and visibility into the lifecycle, inspections and maintenance of all slings, rigging and other assets used in the oil and gas industry, and the information culled from the tags is uploaded to C-Logistics’ Triton software for the purposes of supply chain and inventory management. “C-Logistics intends to continue to provide safe and accurate logistics services to the oil and gas industry, through the incorporation of new technologies,” said Dane Vizier, C-Logistics’ general manager, in a prepared statement. “Deploying these new RFID tags will allow us to enhance the abilities of our Triton software system. Our clients and their vendors will benefit from the increased automation, accuracy and safety compliance.” The three companies report that they worked together closely to ensure the solution’s performance and affordability. “Xerafy, C-Logistics and Holland 1916 worked diligently to ensure that the new sling tags would not only be reliable and accurate, but also cost-effective,” said Dennis Khoo, Xerafy CEO’s, in the prepared statement. Testing on the solution was completed during the first quarter, and C-Logistics plans to roll out the new tags to its customers later this year.

Mobile Aspects Receives Patent for iRIScope, Uses Feig Readers

Mobile Aspects’ iRIScope

Mobile Aspects recently announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had awarded it a patent for its iRIScope RFID-enabled system for tracking endoscopes. Unveiled in October 2008 (see RFID News Roundup: Mobile Aspects Develops RFID-enabled Cabinet for Endoscopes), the smart cabinet is designed to prevent the spread of infection by monitoring the process of sterilizing endoscopes, and to improve inventory management by tracking and time-stamping an endoscope’s movements from storage to use, and then to reprocessing and back into storage. The iRIScope cabinet features an RFID reader provided by Feig Electronics. A washable 13.56 MHz passive high-frequency (HF) RFID tag, compliant with the ISO 15693 standard, is affixed to each endoscope, which is then hung within the iRIScope cabinet. A medical worker scans his or her ID badge and a patient’s bar-coded ID number (typically affixed to the patient chart) in order to unlock the cabinet, record the patient for which the scope will be used, and then remove a scope. The Feig RFID readers in the cabinet identify which scope was removed, while the software time-stamps and electronically documents that removal, along with which procedure it is being used for and who took it. During cleaning and reprocessing, following the procedure, the iRIScope system time-stamps and electronically documents each movement associated with the reprocessing. Once the entire reprocessing stage is finished, the scope’s usage cycle is complete and is again hung to dry within the iRIScope cabinet, where the built-in interrogators record its return. Feig Electronics has also announced the release of its second EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) contactless reader solution. According to Feig Electronics, the new OBID myAXXESS addOn model supports the EMV global standard for credit and debit payment cards based on chip-card technology, overseen by EMVCo, and is designed to be easily retrofitted into existing payment terminals. It features a two-piece design that requires only that small holes be drilled in the payment terminal for a cable connection, between the internally mounted reader and the externally mounted reader antenna, as well as four attachment holes for the unit. The OBID myAXXESS addOn can be utilized in any contactless-payment application, the company notes. It also can be used with Feig Electronics’ FlatOne patent-pending design that, according to Feig, enables the reader to be mounted flush against metal vending machines or metal-skinned payment terminals and still achieve full EMVCo Level 1 performance targets for read distance.

Scanbuy Creates NFC-enabled Giant Baseball Cards for Topps
Scanbuy, a mobile engagement solutions provider, has announced that it has created giant baseball cards with embedded Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID tags, and featuring QR codes, for The Topps Co. (Topps). The cards were used at the MLB All-Star FanFest event, recently held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, in Manhattan. Five giant-sized baseball cards featuring such Major League Baseball All-Stars as David Wright, Mike Trout and Mariano Rivera were positioned in the Topps booth, as well as in other key areas and around the show floor, where fans were able to easily access the cards to enable quick scans, according to Mike Wehrs, Scanbuy’s CEO and president. By scanning the cards with an NFC-enabled smartphone or a phone running a QR bar-code scanner application (such as Scanbuy’s ScanLife Mobile app), fans were entered into a chance to win prizes that included card sets, Topps’ new Big League Minis and other memorabilia. According to Wehrs, the NFC chip used on the cards is Smartrac‘s BullsEye 13.56 MHz passive RFID tag containing NXP Semiconductors‘ NTAG203 chips. Topps is considering implementing this technology and incorporating it within some of its regular sports cards products, Wehrs says, adding that such brands as Coca-Cola, Staples and Hewlett-Packard currently employ the ScanLife Mobile Engagement Platform to enhance customer engagement, increase sales, extend advertising and marketing campaigns, and to develop greater loyalty among mobile consumers.

Techs4Biz Intros Smartphone App for Field-Service Management With RFID Functionality
Techs4Biz, a provider of software products for managing field activities, has announced a new version of its software that turns mobile devices into business tools for collecting data in the field. The Pervidi 6.0 update enables users to leverage high-frequency (HF) RFID tags supporting the ISO 15963 standard with the Near Field Communication (NFC) capability of their Samsung devices, as well as the bar-code and camera functions on their devices, according to Eitan Shibi, Techs4Biz’s CTO. For example, the smartphone can be used to track and manage any type of inspection, audit and site survey, including custom checklists, exceptions and code references. Techs4Biz has many customers currently utilizing earlier versions of Pervidi with older PDAs and low-low frequency (LF) RFID technology to manage field services on oil rigs, in mines and at utility companies, Shibi reports. “Pervidi 6.0 was just launched,” he states, “and we expect to migrate numerous customers from older PDA devices into Android smartphones in the upcoming months.” Integrating RFID, bar codes and camera functions within Pervidi, Shibi says, is the next step in the evolution of the mobile workforce. By using Samsung smartphones running Pervidi 6.0, he explains, field staff no longer need to carry bulky or expensive hardware in order to read RFID tags or scan bar codes. This enhancement, Shibi says, represents a significant shift in commercial applications in which the use of Samsung smartphones is expanded into a variety of business processes. The new version supports an offline mode, in which the Pervidi mobile application is used without any need for internet connectivity. Data is subsequently wirelessly synched with the server after field personnel have concluded their inspections and data-collection efforts, which is significantly faster and more efficient than connecting live with the server, according to the company. In addition, the software enables customers to utilize their own checklists, or to select checklists from Techs4Biz’s checklists and standards library. Pervidi is sold globally and supports seven languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Swedish. It is offered both as a cloud-based solution (SaaS) and as an in-house implementation. Pervidi 6.0 is expected to be made available early next month.

Omni-ID Adds New Tag to Suite of Products for Industrial Logistics Applications

Omni-ID’s Exo 800

Omni-ID has added a new tag to its family of Omni-ID Exo products specially designed for logistics industry applications. The Exo 800 tag, which joins the company’s existing Exo 600 and Exo 750 models, leverages Impinj‘s Monza 4QT chip, is suited to returnable transport item (RTI) applications, and features a low profile form factor, allowing for an easy fit and attachment to confined areas typically found in logistics applications, the company reports. The tag measures 4.33 inches by 0.98 inch by 0.51 inch, supports the EPC Gen 2 protocol and features a long read range of up to 8 meters (26 feet), according to Omni-ID. The tag also features a slightly recessed area, allowing for service bureau printing or labeling without interference.

Israel’s Herzilya Medical Center Improves Inventory Management Via LogiTag’s SmartCabinet
The Herzilya Medical Center (HMC), a private Israeli hospital specializing in advanced therapeutic services, has managed to reduce its inventory by 40 percent and eliminate all expired stock within its catheterization lab, according to LogiTag Systems, which produces the SmartCabinet RFID-enabled solution that HMC is using. With the LogiTag solution, 13.56 MHz passive RFID tags compliant with the ISO 15693 standard are attached to medical supplies. The SmartCabinet’s built-in RFID reader, designed and manufactured by LogiTag, then captures when products enter and leave its shelves, and provides access to authorized employees. The SmartCabinet automatically creates a digital record of which items have been removed, as well as by whom. This provides HMC with precise, real-time inventory-management capabilities, allowing its staff to have an accurate view of inventory levels and usage at all time, LogiTag reports. “We are extremely pleased with LogiTag’s SmartCabinet solution, already installed in our hospital for nearly two years,” said Doron Karmi, HMC’s chief technology of operations officer, in a prepared statement. “The problem originated while producing our annual reports, as we were consumed by destructive and expensive disputes with our inventory suppliers. Each side couldn’t be sure how much stock was consumed during the past year as our manual system was exposed to paperwork mistakes, shelving problems, expired products and other human errors. Once the SmartCabinet entered the Cath-labs, all of these difficulties were completely eliminated right from the first month. Given these positive results, we are currently considering having the SmartCabinet placed in other facilities including the eye-clinics and operating rooms.” LogiTag’s technologies are currently being utilized in other hospitals as well. Acute-care facility New York Hospital Queens, located in the Flushing section of New York City, is employing LogiTag’s SmartCabinets and other products to automate the management of medical devices and consumables (see New York Hospital Queens Tests RFID Inventory System).

Flomio Intros NFC Antenna Extender for Mobile Devices

Flomio’s NFC Band-Aid and Antenna

Flomio, a Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID technology startup, is now offering an antenna extender for RFID-enabled smartphones and tablets. According to Flomio, the NFC Band-Aid is a sticker that can be affixed to NFC-enabled handhelds so that they will be able to scan NFC tags from the backside, as well as from the antenna extender surface. It comes with one antenna extender, the company reports, and can stretch the mobile device’s NFC reach by as much as 3 feet. The company says the solution can be used for digital signage, point of sale and other applications. The product has been tuned for Samsung‘s Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 devices, Flomio reports, but it can also work with Microsoft WindowsPhone and BlackBerry NFC devices. The Band-Aid is installed by peeling the wax paper from its adhesive face and placing that adhesive face onto the mobile device so that it aligns with and sits behind the device’s NFC antenna. The antenna extender is then plugged into the Band-Aid’s exposed connector. In February 2013, Flomio launched a service in which it manufactures figurines and other three-dimensional plastic objects containing embedded RFID tags, for applications that include marketing and gaming (see Flomio Brings NFC RFID to 3D Objects). And in October 2012, the company announced the FloJack, a small NFC reader that plugs into newer Apple mobile phones and iPod Touches, as well as iPad and Android devices (see NFC App Developer Flomio Looks to Kickstart Its NFC Reader for Apple Devices).