RFID News Roundup

By Bob Violino

Conference focuses on IP issues; Dutch transit system goes RFID; RedPrairie teams with SAMSys; SkyeTek extends HF read range.

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The following are news announcements made during the week of Aug. 2.

Conference Focuses on IP Issues

Patents and intellectual property issues have been thrust to the fore by Intermec's patent infringement suit against Matrics. A conference this fall will address patent issues in the RFID industry. The RFID-IP Conference 2004 will be held in San Francisco from Oct. 5 to 7, and is being organized by RFID-IT Conferences, a new company set up by Patrick Reilly, founder and CEO of the nonprofit IP Society. The conference features workshops on IP issues and speakers focused on IP strategies, dispute resolution and other topics. It is aimed at strategists for RFID vendors as well as end users interested in understanding IP issues in the RFID market.

Dutch Transit System Goes RFID

The Netherlands will be one of the first countries in the world to have a full RFID payment system throughout its entire public transportation network. The Dutch e-ticketing project involves a consortium of the five largest transit operators in the country and covers trains, subways, buses, boats and trams. ASK, a French manufacturer of RFID smart cards, has been selected to supply the RFID smart cards and tickets. The cards will use Philips' Mifare 4K chip, which conforms to the ISO 14443A smart card standard. The rollout will begin in Rotterdam in the fourth quarter and be extended to other cities in 2005. The system is expected to be completely deployed by 2006.

RedPrairie Teams with SAMSys

RedPrairie, a Waukesha, Wis.-based provider of supply chain execution software, has established a value-added reseller partnership with SAMSys Technologies. Under the agreement, RedPrairie will offer SAMSys' line of RFID reader and antenna systems as part of RedPrairie's RFID middleware and end-to-end RFID solutions. A Richmond Hill, Ontario-based provider of RFID hardware and consulting services, SAMSys designs and manufactures multifrequency, multiprotocol UHF readers that can be configured for use in different regions around the world. SAMSys' reader technologies will be integrated with RedPrairie's RFID middleware solutions to enable customers to achieve EPC compliance for the U.S. Department of Defense, Wal-Mart and other retailers requiring RFID tagging.

SkyeTek Extends HF Read Range

SkyeTek, a Boulder, Colo.-based provider of high-frequency (13.56 MHz) RFID technology, says it has developed an HF antenna amplifier for its SkyeRead family of 13.56 MHz RFID readers. The antenna amplifier provides twice the normal read range—about three feet (1 meter)—of HF readers and is intended for such applications as scanning individual items with a hand-held reader. This antenna amplifier plugs into the SkyeRead M1. The amplifier consumes only 350 mA of power and generates up to 1 watt of RF power, depending on the antenna configuration. General availability is scheduled for late October 2004.