RFID News Roundup

By Admin

Confidex's RFID Windshield Label receives interoperability certifications from OmniAir Consortium; Singapore hospital implements RFID solution to match babies with mothers; Redpine Signals intros wireless M2MCombo chip for Internet of Things; MP Antenna announces multi-polarized MIMO 2.4 GHz, 5.8 GHz Wi-Fi antennas; 2.1 billion contactless credentials expected to ship for transportation and ticketing market in 2018; Avery Dennison reports uptick in RFID sales during fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 financials.

The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Confidex's RFID Windshield Label Receives Interoperability Certifications from OmniAir Consortium

Confidex, a supplier of specialty RFID tags, has announced that its 6C RFID Windshield Label has been certified by OmniAir Certification Services (OCS), the test affiliate of the OmniAir Consortium. Both the consortium and OCS are nonprofit standards organizations working to advance the deployment of interoperable advanced transportation technologies, and to oversee testing and certification services for ISO 18000-6C (EPC Gen 2) RFID passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags and readers for toll-collection applications (see Efforts to Aid Adoption of ISO 18000-6C RFID for Toll Collection Move Forward). According to Confidex, the OCS certification positions the company as a certified, high-quality, high-volume RFID tag provider, and validates that the labels will interoperate with similarly certified products. The OCS certification program ensures tolling tag and reader interoperability across different equipment vendors and toll facilities. The program includes testing for baseline and applied interoperability. The Confidex Windshield Label, designed for toll collection, can be attached inside a vehicle windscreen, the company reports, and can be read automatically from a distance of several meters away, even on a vehicle traveling at high speeds. The label can be customized with surface printing, security markings or special programming. Confidex partnered with RFID IC and reader provider Impinj, and incorporated Impinj's Monza 4E chip into the Windshield Label. The labels are already in use in various toll-collection systems, including in Maharashtra, India. For the Maharashtra deployment, Confidex customized its 6C RFID Windshield Labels to provide automatic identification of heavy-goods vehicles and instant access to vehicle data at state border crossings (see RFID News Roundup: India's State of Maharashtra Adopts Confidex RFID Technology for Border Checkpoints). In total, the firm reports, Confidex has supplied 350 million contactless tickets to date, to more than 30 nations worldwide.

Singapore Hospital Implements RFID Solution to Match Babies With Mothers

Thomson Medical Centre, a private hospital in Singapore specializing in gynecology and in vitro fertilization, has implemented an RFID-enabled system designed to protect newborns delivered at that facility. The hospital is employing Cadi Scientific's Cadi SmartSense Infant Safety Solution (Gen II), which utilizes active ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags designed to ensure that the correct baby is matched with the right mother at all times during their stay at the hospital following childbirth. With the Cadi system, a mother and her baby are fitted with prematched tags upon their arrival at the maternity ward, according to Cadi Scientific and the hospital. Hypoallergenic straps are utilized to attach one of the tags to the mother's wrist, and the other to the baby's ankle. When an infant is presented a mother, the mother's tag will automatically display a green light and play a tune, provided that both tags match. If they do not match, a red light will flash on the mother's tag and a warning beep will sound to alert the mother and the ward nurse. The child's tag is tamper-proof, and an alert will sound if an unauthorized individual attempts to remove it. The baby's tag also has a skin-detection feature, by which an alert will sound should the tag become loose; this is an important feature, according to Cadi Scientific and the hospital, since newborns often lose weight during the first few days post-birth. Parents can also press a button on the mother's tag at any time, in order to check if the baby's tag matches. This "on-demand" feature helps alleviate parents' anxiety, since they can verify if they have the correct baby at any given time. Thomson Medical Center is the first maternity hospital in Singapore to implement a tagging system incorporating such a feature. Other health-care facilities in the Asia-Pacific region use the Cadi Scientific solution, including the Prince Court Medical Center, in Kuala Lumpur (see Malaysia's Prince Court Medical Center Adopts RFID). In addition, the solution deployed at Thomson Medical Centre enables the hospital staff to track the locations of every mother and baby in real time, via the Cadi SmartSense software and a computer screen installed within all nurseries that shows the real-time location of all mother-and-baby paired tags, as well as each mother's particulars and bed number. The computer will issue an alarm in the event of a mother-baby mismatch, or upon the unauthorized removal of or tampering with a baby tag.

Redpine Signals Intros Wireless M2MCombo Chip for Internet of Things

Redpine Signals, a developer of ultra-low-power and high-performance multi-standard wireless chipsets and systems, has announced the availability of its RS9113 M2MCombo chip that integrates dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, ZigBee and dual-mode BT 4.0 wireless connectivity. According to the company, the device is suitable for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications applications. The RS9113 M2MCombo chip is a fully self-contained solution that does not require any part of the protocols to run on a host processor, the firm reports. As a convergence device, the RS9113 chip maintains connections on some or all interfaces—Wi-Fi, BT 2.1+EDR, BT 3.0, BT 4.0 and ZigBee—presenting virtually simultaneous multi-protocol connectivity. For example, a gateway device implemented with the chip could communicate with a medical sensor with single-mode BT 4.0 connectivity, a smartphone with BT 4.0/Wi-Fi connectivity, or a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) device with ZigBee connectivity, without the need for multiple modules from various vendors. "Our experience with thousands of customers in the growing wireless M2M space over the past decade has shown us that they need a way to hurdle the barriers of multiple protocols in order to accelerate product time to market, and therefore drive The Internet of Things market," said Venkat Mattela, Redpine's CEO, in a prepared statement. "Our M2MCombo solution not only provides an outstanding customer value for cost but also speeds up the product lifecycle by removing challenges involved in wireless co-existence issues." The RS9113 chip is available now as a sample, with multiple form-factor-certified modules based on the chip expected to be made available during the second quarter of this year. Redpine also provides a complete reference design and development environment for creating applications using the new chip, as well as a development kit with a USB interface.

MP Antenna Announces Multi-Polarized MIMO 2.4 GHz, 5.8 GHz Wi-Fi Antennas

MP Antenna, a manufacturer of advanced Multi-Polarized antennas, has announced the availability of its new 2X and 3X line of multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) antennas designed for indoor wireless communications. The new line, which Adam Doskocil, MP Antenna's president, says is suitable for numerous Wi-Fi-based RFID systems and applications, provide hemispheric patterning and continuous wideband performance for a variety of frequencies (2.4 GHz, 4.9 GHz, 5.8 GHz and dual-band). The Multi-Polarized MIMO antennas are available with two or three separate antenna feeds in a single radome, and feature an integrated ground plane, low-loss cables and high-quality connectors for maximum system performance. One major benefit of multiple-input-multiple-output systems, Doskocil explains, is the increased spatial diversity between antenna feeds, a design that helps to overcome fading, interference and multi-path. The number of smartphones and tablets connecting to Wi-Fi networks is growing, he says, and not all access points are capable of adjusting signal polarization based on a client's location and orientation. His company's MIMO antennas are unique, he claims, in that they not only offer diversity between feeds, but are designed with patented multi-element radiators that provide each separate feed with its own spatial and polarization diversity, in order to further improve bandwidth efficiency and system reliability. The antenna's radome, composed of a UV-stable polymer, measures 4.5 inches (115 millimeters) in diameter and less than 2.5 inches (64 millimeters) in height. All cabling feeds through a single 0.75-inch (19-millimeter) stud that can be easily mounted to ceiling tiles and brackets, according to the company; custom configurations are also available.

2.1 Billion Contactless Credentials Expected to Ship for Transportation and Ticketing Market in 2018

ABI Research forecasts that 2.1 billion contactless credentials—which includes smart cards and limited-use RFID-enabled cards—will be shipped into the transportation and ticketing market in 2018. The forecast is part of the company's newly released "Transportation Ticketing Technologies" market data, which includes coverage of smart cards, secure ICs and RFID, and provides detailed shipment splits by region, product type (Mifare, Calypso, CiPurse and others), with variants further broken down into IC type (memory, microcontroller and limited-use RFID). According to Phil Sealy, a research analyst at ABI Research, a little more than 1 billion contactless credentials are anticipated to ship by year's end. The market data indicates that NXP Semiconductors' Mifare solutions dominate the worldwide market, accounting for just over 80 percent of all contactless ticketing credentials deployed last year. Although ABI Research expects Mifare to remain the top solution of choice, new standards coming to market—including CiPurse, defined by the Open Standard for Public Transport (OSPT) Alliance—as well as a fast-growing "others" category, will reduce Mifare's share to a forecasted 69 percent by 2018. While Asia is presently on track to become the region with the greatest number of contactless credentials in use, Sealy says, the region with the fastest growing market is the Middle East. Overall shipment growth is forecast to maintain double-digit, year-over-year growth rates during the next five years; shipments of memory-based smart cards are falling, however, having already decreased by 4 percent between 2012 and 2013. Sealy says the demise of the memory card market is expected to occur, though it is happening a little sooner than initially predicted. Transport authorities, he adds, are pressing hard to adopt higher-end applications and migrate to next-generation credentials offering improved security and a platform enabling multi-application functionality.

Avery Dennison Reports Uptick in RFID Sales During Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2012 Financials

In its preliminary, unaudited fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results, Avery Dennison has announced net sales for 2012 of approximately $6.3 billion—essentially flat growth compared to the prior year, the company reports. Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2012 rose slightly, with an approximate 0.5 percent growth, up to $1.53 billion. But the firm fared much better in its Retail Branding and Information Solutions (RBIS) segment, which now includes all of Avery Dennison's RFID business (previously reported in other specialty converting businesses). Sales increased by approximately 10 percent compared with those of the prior year. This growth, according to the company, was driven by increased demand from U.S. and European retailers and brands, including accelerating RFID adoption. In a prepared statement, Dean Scarborough, Avery Dennison's chairman, president and CEO, said, "Avery Dennison delivered strong earnings improvement in 2012. Both Pressure-sensitive Materials and Retail Branding and Information Solutions delivered solid sales growth and expanded margins."