RFID News Roundup

By Bob Violino

Korea opens UHF spectrum for RFID; pharmaceutical RFID lab showcases anticounterfeiting technology; Intermec offers new RFID label printer; Tagsys triples RFID production capacity; free RFID market research; new multiprotocol 13.56 MHz reader.

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The following are news announcements made during the week of July 26.

Korea Opens UHF Spectrum for RFID

The South Korea’s Ministry of Information and Communication says that it will allow RFID systems to operate in the 908.5 MHz to 914 MHz band. The ministry did not say when the change would be effective, but the move would pave the way for Korea’s high-technology companies to develop RFID systems that are compatible with those in the United States, which allocates 902 MHz to 928 MHz for RFID, and other regions. The Korean Herald reports that the government of Korea has agreed to form an international working group with Japan and China to share advancements in information technology and adopt regional standards for technologies, including RFID. Korea leaders see RFID as a future growth engine in the nation’s IT sector. Last year, the Korean government said that it would invest 162 billion won (US$138 million) through 2010 to support development and commercialization of RFID technologies.

Capgemini Opens Pharmaceutical RFID Lab

Capgemini has created the Pharmaceutical RFID Global Center of Excellence in Cambridge, Mass., to showcase technologies that can help reduce counterfeiting. The Paris-based IT and business consulting firm has teamed with SupplyScape, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of RFID applications, to fight product counterfeiting and diversion and to create “an open, secure development environment to test anticounterfeiting RFID pilots.” Capgemini hopes that pharmaceutical companies will use the lab’s staff to run pilots of their drug pedigree authentication programs. Other Capgemini partners providing technology for the RFID Global Center of Excellence include Sun Microsystems and ADT Security Systems, a division of Tyco Fire & Security.

Intermec Offers New RFID Label Printer

Intermec Technologies, an Everett, Wash.-based provider of UHF RFID systems, has RFID-enabled its EasyCoder PM4i bar code label printer. The printer can now write to Intermec’s UHF tags. Intermec says that companies that purchase PM4i printers between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2004, can get a free upgrade that will make the printer compliant with the next-generation Electronic Product Code standard when it is finalized later in the year. The offer is open to North American printer customers who select a three-year Intermec Medallion Service agreement with their EasyCoder PM4i printer purchase. Companies that purchase printers under the free RFID upgrade program will also receive a 10 percent discount on any Intermec Smart Label media and a 5 percent discount on any standard labels for orders placed at the time of upgrade.

Tagsys Triples RFID Production Capacity

French RFID systems provider Tagsys says it has acquired a new RFID tag assembly machine that will increase its tag production capacity by more than 300 percent to 60 million units per year. Tagsys provides mainly high-frequency (13.56 MHz) tags and readers, but says the new assembly machine will be able to produce both high-frequency and ultra-high frequency tags. The company says there is a growing market for RFID products for product authentication, as well as for its traditional laundry, clothing rental and smart card markets. The new assembly machine will come online in August.

Free RFID Market Research

Incucomm, a Dallas-based research and consulting firm, says it will provide its recent RFID market research at no cost. The short report predicts the rate of adoption for the period 2005 to 2007. The focus is on RFID systems based on the Electronic Product Code specification, but the report also covers other types of RFID systems. It can be downloaded from the Incucomm Web site, after obtaining a password. A password will be provided to those who send an e-mail to
info@incucomm.com, requesting one.

New Multiprotocol 13.56 MHz Reader

Cross Point, a Dutch RFID systems provider, has introduced a multiprotocol RFID reader. The XM13.56 can read from and write to 13.56 MHz tags based on the ISO 14443-A and ISO 15693 standards. Cross Point says the reader was designed for applications pertaining to access control, electronic payments and security. The company did not release pricing or information on availability.