RFID News Roundup

By Admin

Xerafy Intros New Read-on-Metal RFID Label; Pennsylvania medical center adds RFID for parking management; Smartrac reaches one-billion milestone of providing RFID inlays, Prelams with wire-embedding technology; Insignia Hospitality Group's hotels install RFID locks; Awarepoint acquires new clients, deployments; Bosch Group, University of St. Gallen partner on R&D for the Internet of Things.


The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Xerafy Intros New Read-on-Metal RFID Label

Industrial RFID tag supplier Xerafy has unveiled its Titanium Metal Skin, a small, thin on-metal RFID label that the company says it developed for very cost-sensitive asset-management applications. The Titanium Metal Skin label complies with the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C standards for passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags, and measures 1.77 inches by 0.22 inch by 0.03 inch (45 millimeters by 5.6 millimeters by 0.8 millimeter). It is small and flexible enough for use on smart phones, tablet computers and other low-profile assets requiring accurate, secure identification, according to Xerafy, and is engineered to work well when applied to foil packaging, such as on pharmaceutical bottles or cosmetics. The Titanium Metal Skin is made with the Impinj Monza 5 chip, offering a serialized 48-bit tag ID and 128 bits of user memory, and can be printed with a bar code or human-readable text. Engineered for cost-effective asset tracking, inventory management, product authentication and other applications, the label provides a read range of up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) on metal and supports the U.S. and EU UHF frequency bands, Xerafy reports. The patent-pending Metal Skin technology employs materials and form factors enabling RFID tags to be applied to any type of metal assets, the company adds, and the labels typically cost approximately half the price of traditional on-metal tags.

Hong Kong RFID Announces Two Sensor Tags for Environmental Control, Hazard Prevention

Hong Kong RFID Ltd., an RFID hardware manufacturer, distributor and consultancy firm in Hong Kong and the South China Region, has added two active sensor tags—models Moist HKRAT-HT01 and Extreme HKRAT-PT02—to its Tempcorder 2.4 GHz active RFID tag family. The two new tags’ added functionalities, design and flexibility for temperature monitoring makes them suitable for applications in environmental control and hazard prevention, according to the company. They can be used as monitoring and control devices for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning applications, greenhouses, warehouses, libraries, and railway stations, as well as for hazards prevention. Both the Moist Tag and Extreme Tag are suitable for applications in which the exact measurement of humidity and temperature is of decisive importance, according to Hong Kong RFID, yet for which the location is unreachable or dangerous for humans. The Moist Tag is specially designed to be equipped with an accurate humidity sensor of up to 1 percent resolution and wireless functionality, the company reports. It can measure humidity ranges from 0 to 100 percent, and transmit humidity data, along with the tag ID, to an active RFID reader. Those measurements can then be shared with a central server that provides accurate and timely data for strict environmental control and monitoring applications, the firm explains. The Extreme Tag is equipped with an external probe and can measure temperatures ranging from -200 degrees to +500 degrees Celsius (-328 degrees to +932 degrees Fahrenheit). The tag is designed so the probe can be placed in contact with objects that are extremely hot, while its body remains at another location that is of less extreme temperature, in order to better ensure accurate measurements and safety, the company reports. In addition, the tag can be set so that an alarm can be triggered as a warning in the event that the temperature at a particular location reaches an unusual level, so that immediate actions can be taken to prevent the occurrence of dangerous hazards.

Pennsylvania Medical Center Adds RFID for Parking Management

TagMaster North America (TagMaster NA) has announced that its RFID-enabled automatic vehicle identification (AVI) system was installed at the Lankenau Medical Center as part of a half-billion-dollar expansion on the campus in Wynnewood, Penn. The expansion included revamping laboratories, refurbishing the medical center, building a new pavilion and adding additional parking onsite. TagMaster NA has provided 20 TagMaster LR-6 Pro long-range RFID readers, which have been installed over 10 entry lanes and 10 exit lanes, thereby allowing for contract parkers to enter and exit the garages hands-free using the read-only 2.45 GHz RFID-tag S1255 MarkTag Classic RFID tags. The TagMaster system eliminates delays caused by congestion and reduces carbon emissions in parking garages, since drivers need not insert an access card or code, or lower the vehicle’s window upon entry or exit, the company reports. According to TagMaster NA, the RFID technology was integrated with Scheidt & Bachmann‘s entervo.com2 parking-management system, with seven Pay Stations and automated express exit lanes for the reliable accounting of hourly parkers. The combined Scheidt & Bachmann and TagMaster solution was installed, TagMaster NA notes, to replace an outdated system previously used by the Lankenau Medical Center.

Smartrac Reaches One-Billion Milestone of Providing RFID Inlays, Prelams With Wire-embedding Technology

Smartrac, an RFID inlay supplier headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, has announced that it has produced and supplied more than one billion RFID inlays and Prelam products manufactured with its patented wire-embedding technology for contactless antennas. Smartrac’s Composite Prelam products are composed of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and are manufactured with the firm’s wire-embedding technology. According to the company, the proprietary integrated shielding material allows the tag to function normally, even when mounted on mobile telephone batteries, metallic housings and other conductive materials. What’s more, the company reports, card manufacturers and players in the high-security printing industry consider wire-embedding technology the de-facto standard for products that must fulfill high-quality, reliability and durability requirements. That, the company explains, is because the wire-embedding technology ensures a very reliable connection between the antenna and IC—even if bent—thus making it more durable. RFID inlays and Prelam products employing wire-embedding technology are employed for the production of high-security documents, such as e-passports, RFID-based national ID cards and permanent resident cards. Smartrac’s wire-embedding products are also utilized in the contactless-payment industry, for automated fare collection, loyalty programs and multi-application cards. Wire-embedded technology is typically used for high-frequency (HF) passive tags, but can also be utilized for low-frequency (LF) passive tags. In contrast, coil-binding technologies are typically employed for LF antennas, while etching technologies are more often used in ultrahigh-frequency passive transponders, according to Smartrac. Printing technologies, the company adds—which are typically more expensive—are not ideal for ID or payment cards due to the cost.

Insignia Hospitality Group’s Hotels Install RFID Locks

Insignia Hospitality Group, based in Midland, Texas, and an operator of 12 hotels (Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Springhill Suites, Residence Inn brands by Marriott, and Hilton’s Hampton Inn & Suites), has announced that it is using ILCO 790 RFID locks, supplied by Kaba, at its new hotels. Insignia also reports that it plans to retrofit existing properties with these locks going forward. “When we develop a new property, we look ahead to the equipment we believe our brands will adopt in the future,” said Darpan Bhakta, Insignia’s president, in a prepared statement. “ILCO RFID locks cost about the same as mag-stripe units and always work. RFID technology eliminated the problem of erased keys. It is more than reliable and secure; it is the future of door-lock technology.” Kaba’s ILCO 790 RFID locking system utilizes contactless technology to provide hotel guests with easy room access, and leverages NXP Semiconductors‘ Mifare Mini RFID chips as cost-effective guest keycards. The Mifare Mini chip, which operates at 13.56 MHz in accordance with the ISO 14443A standard, is designed for applications requiring less than the Mifare Classic 1k chip’s 1 kilobyte of memory, while offering the same security features and file structure. The Mifare Mini chip can hold 320 bytes of memory.

Awarepoint Acquires New Clients and Deployments

Real-time location system (RTLS) provider Awarepoint has announced that it has achieved strong growth during the third quarter of 2012, with new client contracts and deployments on the upswing. During the three-month period ending on Sept. 30, the company indicates that it has added more than 20 million square feet of coverage across 32 sites and more than 82,000 newly deployed RTLS tags, representing a 226 percent deployment growth year over year. Awarepoint’s solution includes ZigBee-based RTLS hardware, application software (offered in the form of software-as-a-service), and maintenance, management and consulting services. Clients have deployed Awarepoint’s patented technology and software platforms in the areas of asset management and tracking, rental reduction, temperature monitoring, hand hygiene, emergency service, perioperative departmental workflow and throughput, enterprise patient tracking and workflow automation. Among the new contracts is the Yale New Haven Health System, in New Haven, Conn., which handles approximately 132,000 emergency department (ED) visits annually. Yale New Haven has installed AwarePoint’s awareED module and wearable tags to track patients’ locations within the ED. In addition to automating the clinical documentation process by feeding RTLS location data and time stamps into its Eclipsys and Allscripts electronic health record (EHR) systems, the facility plans to analyze admit-to-discharge timeframes, which has become an important metric in determining reimbursements, according to Awarepoint. AwareED supports Meaningful Use Stage 2 metrics for emergency department throughput, including median arrival to departure time for admitted patients and discharged patients, as well as admit decision time. (The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently published a final rule specifying the Stage 2 criteria that health professionals and hospitals must meet in order to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs.) Another of AwarePoint’s recently completed deployments took place at the Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, located in Milwaukee, Wis. The facility is now live on Awarepoint’s RTLS platform, known as the aware360°Suite, and has the latest version of awareAssets for tracking and locating mobile medical equipment. A customer since 2009, Aurora has tagged 3,100 infusion pumps to track their utilization, which has allowed it to decrease capital purchases and nearly eliminate rentals, resulting in a total one-time savings in excess of $2 million, Awarepoint reports, with additional ongoing service reduction savings as well. Pump utilization increased by 60 percent during the first two months alone, and pump losses (also called “shrinkage,” due to misplacement and/or theft) were reduced from 14.2 percent to 0 percent, the company adds. Another recent deployment is at New York—Presbyterian Hospital and the Columbia University Medical Center, in New York City, where Awarepoint’s awareSurgical solution is being used to optimize central sterile processing workflow, by ensuring that case carts are prepped for surgery on time.

Bosch Group, University of St. Gallen Partner on R&D for the Internet of Things

The Bosch Group, a global supplier of technology and services, has partnered with Switzerland’s University of St. Gallen (HSG) on an innovation lab—the Bosch Internet of Things & Services Lab—which is working to discover and test business models for the Internet of Things & Services (IoTS), and to develop Internet-based products and services, made possible through a variety of technologies, including RFID. Five graduate students are currently working under the direction of Dr. Markus Weinberger, at the innovation lab’s research facility on the university campus, Bosch reports. By next year, it is expected that there will be 10 HSG and Bosch employees working at the facility. Bosch expects that the Internet of Things & Services will revolutionize great swaths of the economy during the coming years, and offer a big potential for growth. The company expects that the work carried out at St. Gallen will help it realize this potential. One major area of research is networked mobility. Bosch Software Innovations GmbH, the Bosch Group’s software and systems unit, will provide operational support to the initiative. Bosch Software Innovations already uses a software platform as infrastructure for electric vehicles in Singapore, and is now expanding the platform in stages, including leveraging networked mobility, or eMobility, to help drivers find vacant parking spaces. At the innovation lab, researchers Paul Rigger and Thomas von Bomhard are involved with a project to use bicycles as mobile advertising spaces. Displays mounted on the sides of bicycles can be controlled via the Internet, thereby making it possible, for instance, to change an advertising display to a message especially relevant for a particular neighborhood as the cyclist rides into that area. Another researcher, Kristina Flüchter, is investigating the commercial and technical requirements for running a fleet of e-bikes. Flüchter is working on the assumption that the organizations that run hotels, leisure facilities, transport services and so forth, in tourism regions, might be interested in jointly operating an e-bike scheme. Another major area of study is the smart networking of buildings, and researchers can draw on the expertise of a range of Bosch business areas, including Bosch Solar Energy (for energy supply), Bosch Thermotechnology (for heating and heat pumps), Bosch Security Systems (for data protection and access control), Bosch Healthcare (for telemedicine and emergency call systems), Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte (for household appliances), Bosch Software Innovations, and Bosch Energy and Building Systems (for energy management). Researcher Dominic Wörner is working on a smart heating-control system whose features include the ability to process weather forecasts from the Internet. In addition, researcher Markus Köhler is working on the networking of buildings. Both are looking into the question of how to actively involve the owners or users of a building in utilizing important resources, such as electricity and water, more sparingly. The lab is making use of a unique combination of scientific research, practical applications, business administration and technology management. HSG’s technology-management department is currently collaborating with 50 companies on topics related to the Internet of Things & Services.