RFID News Roundup

By Bob Violino

Avery Dennison widens printer availability; Infineon and SAP create integration tool; Sato printers pass interoperability tests; SkyeTek introduces multiprotocol reader; Weber offers smart label service; Sirit to help track traffic in Florida; association reports on smart cards for access.

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The following are news announcements made during the week of Oct. 11.

Avery Dennison Widens Printer Availability

Avery Dennison Printer Systems, a division of Avery Dennison Retail Information Services, announced this week that its 64-05 RFID high-speed label printer, which was introduced to the apparel and retail industry in May, is now available to makers of industrial and consumer goods. The printer is capable of speeds ranging from 12 to 16 inches per second, includes a tag verification capability and direct thermal or thermal transfer printing options. Data and graphics are printed at a 305 dots-per-inch resolution. The printer includes an Applied Wireless Identifications (AWID) reader, but the 64-05 design accommodates retrofitting with a reader other than the AWID. The company says that because the 64-05 prints labels at the same rate as most standard bar code printers, users will be able to print RFID labels without slowing current printing and associated packaging operations. The printer sells for $5,995.

Infineon and SAP Create Integration Tool

Software company SAP and chip maker Infineon announced last week an RFID integration tool that will allow companies to connect and manage heterogeneous RFID hardware and RFID software components. The system is based on SAP’s NetWeaver software platform, which can support auto-identification and generate reports using EPC data, and Infineon’s RFID You-R Open middleware, which Infineon says supports all types of RFID hardware and includes a device interface for all RFID readers and RFID printer-encoders. The German companies say the platform, which is available now, can manage a full range of RFID implementations. Pricing information was not released but pilot implementations for retailers as well as manufacturing, aerospace and high-tech companies are available.

Sato Printers Pass Interoperability Tests

Sato America, a maker of RFID printing products, participated in EPCglobal’s hardware interoperability testing, which evaluated the interoperability of Sato’s CL408e and M8485Se printer-encoders with Alien Technology’s Class 1 Omega Squiggle tags. Both Sato devices passed the mandatory EPC Global Interoperability tests, which show that they can write to a tag and can write several tags with consecutive serial numbers. The printer-encoders also passed optional testing scenarios, such as being able to erase, lock or kill a tag. MET Labs, EPCglobal’s hardware testing partner, performed the tests during August 3-5 in a controlled environment in its Baltimore facility. Complete hardware interoperability test results are available at www.epcglobalinc.org/interoperability.

SkyeTek Introduces Multiprotocol Reader

Boulder, Colorado-based RFID reader manufacturer SkyeTek says it has developed a small (roughly 3 inches by 2 inches) multiprotocol reader module called the SkyeRead M3 that can read and write to all ISO and EPC tags across the UHF spectrum (860 to 960 MHz) on the market. The reader module, which SkyeTek calls the smallest of its kind on the market, can be embedded into mobile and stationary devices such as label printers and handheld computers. The SkyeRead M3 will be available on an OEM basis beginning November 15 for $799.

Weber Offers Smart Label Service

Weber Marking Systems, an Arlington Heights, Illinois-based maker of labeling and coding products, announced an RFID service bureau. The company says manufacturers under EPC RFID compliance mandates from retailers or the Department of Defense but are not prepared to encode labels at their own facilities could use this service, which encodes and imprints pressure-sensitive UHF RFID Class 1 and Class 0+ smart labels. The service also offers verification to ensure the smart labels are readable. Labels are available with text, bar codes and graphics using direct thermal or thermal transfer printing processes. Weber Marking System also offers third-party EPC UHF Class 1 and Class 0+ smart labels that it will encode and print for customers who do not provide their own tags.

Sirit to Help Track Traffic in Florida

Sirit, an Ontario, Canada-based RFID hardware provider, has secured a CDN$1 million subcontract with a Florida transportation agency conducting a traffic research project. The contract is for Sirit’s Traffic Management Systems (TMS) product, designed to monitor commuting times and traffic patterns. The system uses RFID readers at multiple points along designated intervals of a toll highway or freeway and connects those points, by wire or wirelessly, to a central host. By reading tollway transponders issued to drivers through an Orange County tollway agency, Sirit’s TMS can provide in real-time estimates of travel time between reader points and the amount traffic flowing between reader points, accumulating valuable data for traffic management or safety engineering. In addition, driving time estimates can be made immediately available to commuters through automated traffic service hotlines. None of the car owner’s ID and payment info that the tollway agency links to the transponder information will be associated with the data collected by the TMS. This marks Sirit’s first Florida contract.

Association Reports on Smart Cards for Access

The Smart Card Alliance, a nonprofit multi-industry association, based in Princeton, N.J., working to accelerate the acceptance of smart card technology, has released a report, “Logical Access Security: The Role of Smart Cards in Strong Authentication,” covering current issues surrounding secure information systems access, alternate approaches for authentication and key business considerations for investing in and implementing new technology for strong authentication. Strong authentication refers to the use of two or three factors for access control, as opposed to a single factor, such as a password. The report includes profiles of large organizations, such as Boeing and the Department of Defense, that use smart cards for information systems access. The association’s Secure ID Task Force, and individuals from 22 member organizations, including IBM and VeriSign, collaborated on the white paper. The report is available free to members and for $145 to nonmembers through the Smart Card Alliance Web site: www.smartcardalliance.org. The report will be discussed at the group’s annual conference, October 18-20, in San Francisco.

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