RFID News Roundup

By Bob Violino

New low-cost ISO 15693-compliant chip; partners offer RFID design, testing and deployment; Intermec provides RFID migration strategy; new, faster chips for smart card readers.

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The following are news announcements made during the week of May 3.

Partners Offer Design, Testing and Deployment

Traxus Technologies, a McLean, Va.-based RFID design and implementation company, is partnering with electronic security systems integrator ISR Solutions of Chantilly, Va., to offer combined RFID design, implementation and testing to their customers. Traxus will take the lead in the design and integration of RFID systems, as well as in connecting those systems into existing enterprise applications, and ISR Solutions will deploy RFID systems in the field. Each company says it will bring in the other when needed, but under the partnership agreement, customers will have to deal with only one lead company throughout the development, installation and testing of RFID systems.

New Low-Cost ISO 15693-Compliant Chip

STMicroelectronics, a Geneva, Switzerland-based chip maker, has introduced a new low-cost RFID microchip based on the ISO 15693 standard for 13.56 MHz transponders. The chip comes with a 64-bit read-only serial number that is written into memory at the fabrication plant. It has another 56 bits of memory that users can write to one time. STMicro says transponders created using the chip get 1.5 meters (about 4.5 feet) of read range, making them suitable for track-and-trace and long-range access control applications. Samples of the LRI64are available now, and volume production is expected to begin by the end of this month. The chips (not assembled transponders) cost 10 cents each for orders of 1 million or more.

Intermec Provides RFID Migration Strategy

Intermec Technologies, an Everett, Wash.-based provider of RFID systems, unveiled an RFID migration strategy to help its large customer base meet evolving RFID requirements. As standards develop, Intermec says it will provide customers with current Intermec RFID tags and readers that end users can write EPC numbers to, with the assurance that they can meet final RFID requirements from retailers and the U.S. Department of Defense through field upgrades and by downloading new firmware for Intermec readers. Intermec is one of 13 vendors supporting a proposed standard for the second-generation EPC UHF protocol (see 13 Vendors Submit EPC Proposal).

New, Faster Chips for Smart Card Readers

Omnikey, a Wiesbaden-Germany maker of smart card readers, has introduced a new line of chipsets (a collection of integrated circuits designed to be used together), which it says will allow original equipment manufacturers to create faster smart card readers. Developed in collaboration with the chip manufacturer Atmel, the new line of “Smart@” reader chipsets include Smart@Key, a single chip for USB keyboard readers; Smart@Link, a chipset designed for standalone USB smart card readers; and Smart@Bus, a chipset for smart card readers in the form of a PC Card (PCMCIA) for connecting to a notebook or PDA.

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