RFID News Roundup

By Bob Violino

RedPrairie and Lowry offer compliance package; Zebra releases two multiprotocol readers; X-ident to produce smart tickets; new industry groups in India, France.

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The following are news announcements made during the week of Nov. 8.

RedPrairie and Lowry Offer Compliance Package

Waukesha, Wis.-based maker of supply chain execution software RedPrairie announced this week that it has integrated its RFID middleware, RFID Igniter, with the Paragon PLS-430 Encode & Apply, an automatic labeling system made by Brighton, Mich.-based Lowry Computer Products. The integration was achieved by RedPrairie and Lowry developers linking the software in the two systems to provide two-way information checks, with alerts, on EPC numbering, label functionality and correct placement of the tag. This ensures that labels are working, that they appear correctly in the database, and that they are placed in the optimal position on the product. The integrated package was designed for companies that need to ramp up a slap-and-ship RFID tagging system, where RFID tags are encoded and placed on items just before they are shipped, in order to meet mandates by Wal-Mart and other retailers, and the Department of Defense beginning in January. The RFID Igniter middleware also creates and transmits advance shipment notices (ASNs) and includes visibility software to provide a top down view of all products being testing or shipped, and graphical performance measurement software to analyze results. The package is sold through RedPrairie with installation and support services from RedPrairie and Lowry professionals across the country. Pricing is quoted upon request.

Zebra Releases Two Multiprotocol Readers

Vernon Hills, Ill.-based provider of bar code and RFID label printers Zebra Technologies released this week two new UHF multiprotocol printer-encoders, the Zebra R110Xi and the Zebra R170Xi. Both printer-encoders are embedded with ThingMagic’s Mercury4e RFID reader module (see Zebra Licenses ThingMagic Reader), which supports all tags based on EPC Class 1 and 0 protocols, as well as Symbols’ EPC Class 0+, ISO 18000-6B and Philips’ UCODE 1.19. The reader’s software architecture also allows software upgrades by downloading the standard upgrades directly from the Internet to the printer/encoders, rather than having to physically update the units with firmware change that would require taking the printer/encoder offline for upgrading. This process will streamline upgrading the units to the Gen 2 EPCglobal specification once it becomes standardized. The R110Xi and R170Xi printer-encoders work with label sizes in 4-inch and 6-inch print widths. They also support XML encoding for integration into enterprise systems, automatic inlay position calibration for smart label formatting, adjustable transponder placement, and multiple power levels for encoding small labels.

X-ident to Produce Smart Tickets

German manufacturer of smart labels, tickets and tags X-ident Technology has won a contract from the British systems integrator Fortress GB to deliver 50,000 preprinted tickets embedded with 13.56 MHz Mifare RFID tags from Philips for the Madejski Stadium, home of the Reading football club. The tickets are flexible plastic and are to be used for entrance to the stadium and will be read using contactless readers produced by a firm called Boca. The ticket technology has been proven at the English Club, Manchester City, where 50,000 X-ident tickets are currently in use. Fortress GB is overseeing the project and working with payment partners and handling the issuance of the cards.

New Industry Groups in India, France

The RFID Association of India (RFIDAI), a nonprofit association of RFID industry representatives in India, and IN-Club, a nonprofit association founded in France by RFID tag and reader manufacturer INSIDE Contactless, were announced this week. RFIDAI’s mission is to promote responsible adoption of RFID technology, standards and applications in industry, government and academia in India and to advance India as an important part of the global RFID market. The group supports the evolving EPCglobal and ISO standards. The association’s founding president is Bimal Sareen, who is also the founder and CEO of Avaana, a New Dehli-based systems integrator. IN-Club was founded to promote contactless solutions worldwide with the banking, identification, mass transit and telecom industries, and to ensure interoperability between devices and services. IN-Club’s major objectives are to provide opportunities and channels through which organizations and individuals in the smart card industry can meet, interact and form business partnerships. Membership to either group is available today.

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