RFID News Roundup

By Rich Handley

ImageFIRST uses UHF RFID to manage client's linen inventory ••• SuperCom secures contract to deploy electronic monitoring suite in Idaho ••• Positive Proximity expands RFID, wearable beacon offerings ••• NetObjex demos IoT smart parking solution with cryptocurrency payment ••• Kerlink helps Proximus expand, densify LoRaWAN IoT network in Belgium.

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
ImageFIRST Healthcare Laundry Specialists;
SuperCom;
Positive Proximity;
NetObjex, PNI Sensor Corp.;
Kerlink, and Proximus.

Health-Care Facility Manages Linen Inventory

At a large New Jersey health system, ImageFIRST Healthcare Laundry Specialists recently used ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID technology to help a customer manage its linen inventory. A nationwide health-care laundry and linen service, ImageFIRST services medical facilities from San Francisco, Calif., to New Jersey, by providing them with linens, scrubs, patient gowns and more. Recently, ImageFIRST indicates, one of its customers—the breast center of a New Jersey health system—realized that some of its inventory was ending up missing.

ImageFIRST supplies the customer with its Comfort Care robes, which feature soft fabric. The robes proved so popular with staff members and patients, the company explains, that other departments of the health system were borrowing them without the breast center or ImageFIRST knowing. This made managing inventory difficult.

To find the missing robes and control the customer's inventory, ImageFIRST leveraged UHF RFID technology. ImageFIRST embeds each Comfort Care robe with an RFID chip, and associates use in-field handheld garment scanners to read the chips. Jay Blumenfeld, the breast center's dedicated ImageFIRST representative, uses such a scanner to scan clean robes, as well as scan and retrieve soiled gowns. According to the company, the technology allows him to keep a detailed, accurate inventory for the customer.

Blumenfeld visited the main hospital's soil room (which ImageFIRST does not normally visit) in order to scan linens, ImageFIRST reports. The scanner allowed him to locate missing robes without having to dig through soiled linens, and to return them to the customer.

"The use of the UHF RFID technology and in-field scanners helps us partner with clients to solve preventable issues and better manage their garment inventory to control their costs," said Gary Stephens, ImageFIRST's service director in northern New Jersey, in a prepared statement.

SuperCom Secures Contract to Deploy Electronic Monitoring Suite in Idaho

SuperCom, a global provider of secure solutions for the e-government, public-safety, health-care and finance sectors, offers an all-in-one RFID and mobile technology and product suite. The company has announced that it has secured a contract to provide its PureSecurity Electronic Monitoring (EM) suite of GPS and home-detention offender-tracking and monitoring in Idaho.

Idaho is the latest state added to SuperCom's expanding U.S. footprint, after it recently announced contracts in Tennessee, Georgia and Kentucky. The Idaho contract and subsequent deployment is being conducted through a partnership with a local offender-monitoring company that offers professional services integrated with SuperCom's technology.

"We're pleased to open the year with another new project deployment, continuing our recent momentum of wins in multiple locations around the world," said Ordan Trabelsi, the president of SuperCom Americas, in a prepared statement. "Our entrance into Idaho marks not just our ninth EM project currently in deployment, but also our fourth new U.S. deployment in the last two months."

SuperCom's PureSecurity Suite is an electronic monitoring and tracking platform that contains a set of features including smartphone integration, secure communication, security, anti-tamper mechanisms, fingerprint biometrics, voice communication and touchscreens. The system also features an extended battery life.

Positive Proximity Expands RFID, Wearable Beacon Offerings

Positive Proximity has begun offering RFID and wearable beacon integration. The project began three years ago as an effort to make check-in and attendance-tracking options available for small and mid-sized meetings, and has since grown into a toolbox of options that provide ease, accurate data and check-in processes for events.

"Our focus has been on affordability and ease of use," said Drew Sathern, Positive Proximity's president, in a prepared statement. "That continues to be critically important to our mission, but now, after years of being in the trenches with our clients, we are seeing the need for full-service event check-in and attendance tracking being just as important to them. We have the capability to offer it through many channels including location-aware beacon technology, RFID, hardware-based scanning and on-site support, and now we're opening the doors to the full potential of Positive Proximity."

The company also aims to provide more reliable badge printing and configuring capabilities, Sathern explained. "This is something that tends to slow the process down time and again," he added in the prepared statement. "We began experimenting with one aspect of RFID and our efforts snowballed." The company then worked to address various obstacles that typically impede registration and tracking analytics.

"The key for us is integration," Sathern added in the statement. "Expanding services to include registration hardware, labor and onsite support has enabled Positive Proximity to harness location-aware technology for exhibit floor analytics, lead retrieval, and custom RFID solutions for exhibitors"

NetObjex Demos IoT Smart Parking Solution With Cryptocurrency Payment

NetObjex, an Internet of Things (IoT)-blockchain platform company in Irvine, Calif., recently demonstrated a smart parking payment solution using the IOTA decentralized network and cryptocurrency. The firm presented the system at the IOT Developer's Forum, organized by Advantech, a manufacturer of Internet of Things LoRa solutions. Also participating in the event was PNI Sensor Corp., of Santa Rosa, Calif., which focuses on precision location, motion tracking and the fusion of sensor systems into real-world applications.

The demonstration showcased the ability for automobiles to autonomously pay for parking through the integration of crypto wallets. The solution utilized PNI's PlacePod smart parking sensors for accurate, real-time vehicle detention and the location of available parking spaces. Communications between PlacePod sensors and the cloud leveraged Advantech's M2.COM standardized LoRa IoT Sensor Node WISE-1510 and LoRa IoT Gateway WISE-3610.

In addition, car-to-parking-meter communications utilized Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, with digital short-range communication (DSRC) versions planned in the future. Completing this architecture was the use of the IOTA decentralized network by the NetObjex platform as a distributed ledger for enabling device discovery, authentication, communication and transactions.

"The smart parking solution is a practical demonstration of the NetObjex platform in bringing together state-of-the-art capabilities in the form of IoT sensor technology, LoRa communications, decentralized networks and cryptocurrency," said Raghu Bala, NetObjex's CEO, in a prepared statement. "Our partnership with Advantech, PNI and IOTA augurs exciting possibilities ahead."

"PNI was excited to partner with Advantech and NetObjex to highlight some of the advancements in smart parking technology," stated Robin Stoecker, PNI's director of marketing, "and how developers can leverage real-time parking data from our PlacePod smart parking solution to improve other services such as mobile payment."

Kerlink Helps Proximus Expand, Densify LoRaWAN IoT Network in Belgium

Kerlink, a provider of network solutions dedicated to the Internet of Things (IoT), has announced that it will supply Proximus, a provider of telephony, Internet, television and network-based ICT services in Belgium, with 800 stations for Proximus's long-range wide-area network (LoRaWAN) IoT network in that country.

This network densification with geolocation-ready Kerlink Wirnet iBTS Standard stations follows Proximus's deployment of a LoRaWAN IoT network in 2015 with 130 Kerlink Wirnet Stations, and Wirnet iBTS Standard reference. When the additional rollout is completed by year's end, the company reports, the network will have more than 1,000 Kerlink Wirnet units in the field.

Targeting public network operators, Wirnet iBTS Standard and Wirnet iBTS Compact stations are deployed outdoors and provide carrier-grade versatile, long-range, two-way and geolocation-ready connectivity. Kerlink's customers worldwide have deployed several thousand of these stations for IoT dedicated networks to date.

"In addition to its increasing deployment to power new networks in Europe, South Asia and South America, the Wirnet product range readily supports cell densification and enhanced service, like geolocation or native security for remote management of gateways," said Yann Bauduin, Kerlink's director of sales for operators, in a prepared statement. "Wirnet iBTS Standard stations' modularity offers increased coverage through cell densification by simply adding an extra LoRaWAN module. Its geolocation-ready design also enables a fast ramp up to deploy innovative location-based services, natively localizing each end device through the network."

"Launching a cell-densification project in a short time after starting the deployment of our LoRaWAN network in Belgium is testimony to the positive reception and increasing use of the network by our customers," said Alex Thomas, Proximus's IoT program manager, in the prepared statement. "We tested Kerlink's Wirnet stations before deployment, and they demonstrated that they fully meet the expectations of users, backed by the Kerlink team's constant customer support and confirmed expertise."

"This new IoT network has already stimulated innovations and opened the door to new business models," added Joke Tisaun, Proximus's IoT product manager, in the statement. "This is the case for some interesting applications we support today, like measuring the fullness of glass containers in order to optimize pick-up routes and enhance customer experience. In addition, we launched a project with the biggest gas supplier in Belgium, where we will monitor the gas tanks of people in their homes, to improve the service they can offer to their end-customers."