RFID News Roundup

By Admin

RFID to support cancer awareness, document Guinness record; Intelligent InSites expands RTLS with RF Code's RFID technology, partners with Secure Care Products; Xterprise releases footwear version of its Clarity Mobile software; NFC-enabled PatientID+ solution aims to streamline patient registration, authentication and payment; TraceTracker announces mobile asset-tracking application; TransCore intros new solution for monitoring traffic and driver safety.

The following are news announcements made during the past week.

RFID to Support Cancer Awareness, Document Guinness Record

UPM RFID's ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) Belt tags, which support the EPC Gen 2 RFID standard, will become part of an effort to break a Guinness World Record. This Saturday, Oct. 22, several thousand Florida citizens will seek to form the world's largest human-awareness ribbon in Polk City, Fla., with the goal of breaking Guinness' record for this category of 3,952 individuals. Organized by local activist Chris Hazelwood and a committee of more than 30 corporate sponsors and cancer survivors, the Big Pink Ribbon event seeks to boost cancer awareness. As many as 5,000 individuals will wear pink T-shirts and custom pink lanyards outfitted with Belt passive tags as they walk onto the tarmac at aviation attraction Fantasy of Flight. The tags will be used to accurately count and document the number of people within the ribbon. The University of South Florida (USF) Polytechnic and RFID solutions provider Borda Technology developed custom software to compile and process each tag's unique ID number, and have been testing the software, as well as RFID readers and tags. According to UPM RFID, the use of RFID and two other mechanisms will provide foolproof counting with built-in redundancies—essential to establishing a new Guinness record. Participants will assemble in groups of 50, and will be counted by their team captains. Next, participants will pass under an RFID entrance reader portal with four downward-pointing antennas wired to a PC; the reader will capture participant data and transmit that information to a custom asset-tracking software program, designed by USF Polytechnic and Borda Technology. Finally, two volunteers equipped with clickers will count each individual on his or her assigned side as the participants walk single-file onto the tarmac in order to stand in formation. "The RFID system is wonderful and will immediately alert us if we have set the new world record for largest human-awareness ribbon," Hazelwood said in a prepared statement.

Intelligent InSites Expands RTLS With RF Code's RFID Technology, Partners With Secure Care Products

Intelligent InSites, a provider of enterprise real-time location system (RTLS) software for hospitals, has announced the integration of RF Code's RFID readers and active RFID asset, sensor and patient/staff tags into its suite of enterprise RFID and RTLS solutions for health care. The InSites Enterprise Visibility Platform culls information collected from various automatic-identification technologies—such as RF Code's 433 MHz RFID technology—to help hospitals visualize the location and status of assets, track equipment-utilization rates, and generate rules-based notifications and alerts. The software is designed, among other things, to help users increase productivity and more efficiently deploy resources. Intelligent InSites' RTLS software integrates directly with RF Code's RFID readers to gather real-time location and condition data, the company reports, then employs the sophisticated InSites workflow engine to enable the intelligent automation of health-care systems and processes. Intelligent InSites has also announced a partnership with Secure Care Products, which will leverage the InSites solution to expand its portfolio of health-care solutions. Secure Care currently provides infant-security solutions for hospitals, as well as wandering resident protection systems for senior-care facilities, and has more than 6,000 health-care customers. According to Marcus Ruark, Intelligent InSites' VP of marketing, many of these customers seek to expand their use of RTLS technology. In particular, he says, hospitals are looking to utilize RTLS and RFID solutions to become more efficient and improve patient safety and satisfaction, by optimizing the management of their medical equipment and transforming their patient-flow processes. Furthermore, he adds, Secure Care's senior-care clients want to leverage RTLS and RFID to improve the resident experience, thereby increasing resident, staff and family satisfaction. "Secure Care selected Intelligent InSites because of our enterprise-class asset-management and patient-flow applications, combined with our true enterprise RTLS platform," Ruark states. "Our solution is designed to work with any RTLS or RFID technology, providing our partners and our customers with a future-proof platform for long-term, enterprise-wide RTLS/RFID success." Secure Care's expanded solution will incorporate the Intelligent InSites platform, thereby enabling Secure Care's customers to achieve cost savings associated with optimized asset management, as well as the capacity-management benefits of optimized patient flow. "Specifically, regarding asset management, the expanded Secure Care solution will lead to right-sized equipment inventories, reduced procurement, decreased rental expenses, reduced equipment shrinkage, and an improvement in patient satisfaction," Ruark says, adding that patient satisfaction may be the most important benefit, since it can lead to decreased time spent tracking equipment, while also increasing nurses' availability at patients' bedsides. Regarding patient flow, Ruark says, Secure Care's customers will be able to use RTLS or RFID technologies to focus on reducing their length of stay (LOS), decreasing the number of left-without-treatment (LWT) incidents, improving on-time starts within a hospital's OR, and further improving patient-satisfaction scores.

Xterprise Releases Footwear Version of Its Clarity Mobile Software

RFID software company Xterprise has announced a new configuration of its Clarity Mobile product, targeting the footwear-retail market. This specific configuration addresses a problem that footwear retailers face every day, the company reports—namely, having to make sure that display inventory remains accurate and complete, so that customers can pick out whatever they are interested in buying, thereby potentially leading to new sales. The solution is based on Clarity Mobile, a mobile version of the firm's existing Clarity software platform, on which vertical applications can be built for the purpose of item-level RFID tracking (see Xterprise Releases Mobile RFID Package for Item-Level Tracking). The footwear version of Clarity Mobile is configured to specifically support the maintenance and operation of footwear displays—which Dean Frew, Xterprise's president and CEO, says is different than a general inventory business case. For example, a footwear retailer's sales associates and inventory staff typically set up floor displays every day, which requires a great deal of labor and can be prone to errors. As the day passes, the displays sometimes degrade, and continually having to fix them is a manual, error-prone and labor-intensive process. Using Clarity Mobile, a footwear retailer can perform inventory counts using a handheld RFID terminal in a matter of minutes, enabling it to check the display inventory multiple times a day if necessary. Those periodic inventories can be compared with reports viewed on the handheld terminal, or via the Web report, and the associates can see what is missing from the floor (using the mobile terminal's "Geiger counter" function), and then replace those items. "We also provide history reporting that enables a corporate office to look at trends and performance for each store," Frew says. "The store managers or corporate have the ability to set and customize the store display inventory template for each store." The goal, he explains, is to make sure that display inventory remains accurate and complete. The new version also provides the ability to search for and locate misplaced inventory. With this application, a retailer can conduct a highly accurate floor-display inventory count in only a few minutes, as opposed to the hours required for the traditional, manual method. Clarity Mobile leverages Microsoft's Azure cloud technology; customers need only provide wireless connectively for the RFID terminals within a store—no servers are required.

NFC-enabled PatientID+ Solution Aims to Streamline Patient Registration, Authentication and Payment

An alliance of vendors—The CliniCard, a provider of point-of-sale solutions for the health-care sector; Health Portal Solutions, a supplier of health-data-management solutions; and Near Field Communication (NFC) company Merchant360—have developed a new solution aimed at streamlining the registration, authentication and payment experience for patients and health-care providers. Merchant360 sells its NFC products to others to rebrand or cobrand, and provides customization, development, integration and custom development services to create differentiated solutions for each client, according to Steve McRae, Merchant360's CEO. The company also provides such services as transaction switching, identity verification, loyalty processing and payments processing. The solution, known as PatientID+, allows health-care providers to verify identity, screen for eligibility and process payment. Identity, benefit and payment information can be shared via a mobile contactless tag or in a patient's mobile phone equipped with NFC technology. The solution includes the PatientID+ Card, which can be a standard insurance-benefits card, in card format equipped with an NFC tag, or as an NFC tag for a mobile phone. That covers patient identification for authentication and validation, for use in identifying that individual. The PatientID+ Card can be used to authorize records access and handle insurance claims, and can also be tied to forms of electronic payment. Included in the solution is a payment terminal equipped with NFC capability and a Web-based portal that administrators and health-care workers can access for tracking and reporting, as well as eligibility and claims processing tracking. "The goal is to get rid of those forms we all dislike to fill out when we get to the doctor's office," McRae said in the statement, "thereby speeding up the process, making it more convenient for the patient and increasing data accuracy. Having one solution that can act as my insurance card, my identity across multiple systems, and payment card is bound to cut costs and improve service." The PatientID+ solution is currently available for customization, McRae says, and Merchant360 is now in the process of customizing the system for The CliniCard and Health Portal Solutions, both of which plan to make the solution commercially available to their customers in January 2012.

TraceTracker Announces New Mobile Asset-Tracking Application

TraceTracker, a provider of product-traceability, asset-tracking and business-intelligence solutions, headquartered in Oslo, Norway, has announced a new mobile application for its TraceTracker Asset tracking solution, which leverages RFID technology. The TraceTracker Asset software is designed for use by construction or warehouse companies in keeping tabs on inventory and assets. The assets are tagged, and the tag data is input into TraceTracker Asset, after which the software then provides such capabilities as search functions based on name, number, location or status that can be leveraged across numerous projects. The software also enables the viewing of large maps of tool locations, with drill-down features for details; equipment histories; project inventories; special reports, such as equipment utilization; and alarming mechanisms, in the event that tagged tools are removed from project sites. The new TraceTracker Asset Mobile system—the mobile supplement to TraceTracker Asset—is focused on work processes within the field. It currently runs on small, mobile Tertium Technology Blueberry RFID readers, designed to interrogate EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags (though both TraceTracker Asset and TraceTracker Asset Mobile work with a variety of RFID equipment and solutions), and is integrated with TraceTracker Asset. Each piece of equipment is marked with a 2-D bar code or RFID tag that can be read using a person's mobile phone camera, or a small RFID reader that communicates with the phone via Bluetooth. The application then accesses TraceTracker Asset Mobile via the Internet, in order to access information regarding the equipment, along with its status and location. The user can flag assets to make them available for other sites, or search for specific types of available equipment across an entire company. TraceTracker Asset is presently being utilized by Norwegian construction firm Grunnarbeid, as part of a solution to track its tools as they are transported to—and stored at—construction sites (see Grunnarbeid Begins Full-scale Rollout of Tool-Tracking System).

TransCore Intros New Solution for Tolls and Monitoring Traffic and Driver Safety

TransCore has introduced a new product—the Real-time Onboard Vehicle Reporting (ROVR) system—that combines GPS navigation and GSM wireless technology with each automobile's unique vehicle identification number (VIN). The technology is aimed at powering a new generation of infrastructure-free toll solutions, the company reports. The ROVR system also includes an optional driver-safety monitoring feature that, according to TransCore, has been shown to dramatically reduce the number of accidents, improve fuel economy and decrease the amount of greenhouse gases. There are two tag models: the ROVR and the ROVR3. The ROVR3 tag plugs into a vehicle's onboard diagnostic (OBD) port, located under the dashboard, to access the VIN, while the ROVR tag is designed for use in fleet vehicles without an OBD port. The OBD port is located near the steering column of every car built since 1996, TransCore reports, and installation takes only seconds to complete. A GPS device inside the ROVR and ROVR3 tags logs the vehicle's location as it traverses a given road. The tags' built-in GSM cellular technology wirelessly transmits both vehicle position and ID information to an online, cloud-based system, managed by TransCore, which then automatically and wirelessly processes the transaction with the tolling system. For the technology, TransCore notes, it developed new algorithms designed to deliver high accuracy while using minimum bandwidth for both infrastructure-less toll plazas and high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane systems. Side-by-side test results at highway speeds using a ROVR device showed transactional performance identical to that of conventional transponder-based systems, the firm reports. The ROVR solution can be deployed in just weeks or months, and at little to no cost to the transportation agency. According to TransCore, the ROVR technology can eliminate the need for toll structures. "The multi-application nature of ROVR can not only deliver congestion management benefits much sooner than conventional approaches but provides a critical tool to help save lives and reduce greenhouse gases," said Kelly Gravelle, TransCore's CTO, in a prepared statement. The optional driver scorecard is ideal for commercial vehicle fleets, parents of teen drivers, state motor-vehicle departments or driver-education schools that require performance data or asset-location devices. While most people consider themselves to be above-average drivers, TransCore says, objective data can help improve driving patterns. Measuring certain driving characteristics—such as excessive idling, hard braking, rapid acceleration or speeding—has been shown to effectively quantify driver performance and risk. With the driver scorecard option, a scorecard is e-mailed to the motorist each week, highlighting important aspects of that person's driving behavior compared to others, and to the previous four weeks. No vehicle-tracking data is exposed, the company notes, thereby eliminating any potential "Big Brother" concerns, while keeping the focus on safety and fuel economy.