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RFID News Roundup

Terso Solutions launches new RFID-enabled freezer; Omni Dallas Hotel tags RFID for uniform tracking; UPM RFID opens online store for its partners to sell NFC tags; NXP intros NFC-enabled reader IC supporting all 13.56 MHz protocols; Austriamicrosystems announces standalone NFC MicroSD; HID Global, Sony unveil NFC-enabled contactless smart-card reader platform for laptop and mobile device market.

Nov. 17, 2011—The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Terso Solutions Launches New RFID-Enabled Freezer
Terso Solutions a Madison, Wisc., RFID solutions provider for the health-care industry, has announced that it has expanded its line of RFID-enabled enclosures with the addition of its Ultra Low Temperature (ULT) freezer. The new freezer—which, the company says, optimizes the use of freezer space, reduces manual processes related to inventory tracking, lowers maintenance costs, and protects high-value products, such as tissue, biosamples, genetic material and reagents—is designed for use by research labs, health-care providers, manufacturers, distributors and forensic facilities. The new freezer has an embedded Impinj Speedway reader, and contains 14.9 cubic feet of storage space. It can store products down to -86 degrees Celsius (-122 degrees Fahrenheit). An EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tag is attached to each item, and the reader captures inventory transactions at the item level by user. The freezer also monitors temperature and expiration dates, and can trigger alarms when its doors are left open. According to Joe Pleshek, Terso Solutions' CEO, the success of the company's -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) RFID-enabled freezer launched in 2010 (see RFID News Roundup: Terso Intros Larger RFID-enabled Freezer for Health Care) led customers to request a solution for managing their biosample and tissue inventory, which needs to be stored between -50 degrees and -86 degrees Celsius (-58 degrees and -122 degrees Fahrenheit). "Our integrated RFID solution can reduce the time spent opening doors to search for product, and eliminate manual inventory cycle counts," Pleshek said in a prepared statement. "The new ULT freezer not only eliminates manual processes, but ensures that all items stored inside are fresh and free of degradation due to age, temperature, or improper storage."

Omni Dallas Hotel Tags RFID for Uniform Tracking
Omni Dallas Hotel, a new convention-center hotel operated by Omni Hotels & Resorts, is employing InvoTech Systems' GIMS ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID uniform inventory solution. InvoTech, a California uniform and linen efficiency technology firm, is providing the GIMS software and all related equipment, including Impinj's Speedway Revolution UHF RFID reader, Motorola's AN720 and AN480 antennas and Fujitsu's UHF RFID laundry tags. The hotel's uniform company tagged approximately 6,000 uniforms—valued at $150,000—with the RFID laundry tags before they were shipped to the property for use. GIMS, InvoTech Systems reports, will be used to automatically track the hotel's custom-designed uniforms from the moment of purchase. The laundry tags are fitted in pouches sewn into the garments, and are read as the uniforms pass by the specialized antennas. In addition, GIMS software monitors the aging of the uniform inventory, providing accurate information to forecast uniform purchases. InvoTech's GIMS solution is also in use at other hotels and resorts, including the Fallsview Casino Resort, in Niagara Falls, Canada, which is using RFID to track up to 40,000 garments assigned to staff members (see Resort Uses RFID to Track Uniforms).

UPM RFID Opens Online Store for Its Partners to Sell NFC Tags
UPM RFID continues to build out its online sales channel with a new Web site designed to be a global resource for online Near Field Communication (NFC) tag users. According to UPM RFID, the site, NFCtags.com, has been created in cooperation with a number of partners in the NFC business. The site is primarily for application developers and advertisers, the company reports, but is also a knowledge base for consumers searching for NFC-related information, products and suppliers. "UPM RFID's loyal and ambitious NFC partners needed greater visibility for their NFC tags, applications and solutions, and together we decided to invest in a high online presence to make these tags effortlessly available worldwide," said Mikko Nikkanen, UPM RFID's business development director, in a prepared statement, adding that his firm has signed dozens of NFCtags.com partners, with more expected. The online stores partnering with NFCtags.com provide UPM RFID's NFC inlays as custom-printed, encoded and converted products, as well as blank inlays. Tags are available in smaller sampling volumes, as well as for large-scale rollouts. In addition, the site offers a technology overview, product information, related links and downloadable applications for NFC phones and devices. Last month, UPM RFID, in partnership with digital agency Bolser announced the NFC-Hub.com online store to sell UPM RFID's NFC inlays (see RFID News Roundup: UPM RFID Peddles NFC Inlays Via NFC-Hub.com, Intros NFC App With Hansaprint). NFC-Hub.com is an online service in the United Kingdom, developed by Bolser and commissioned by Nokia. The online store provides ready-to-use customized products with integrated NFC tags and a custom-made campaign service, built with a back-end system to host open NFC campaigns.


NXP Intros NFC-Enabled Reader IC Supporting All 13.56 MHz Protocols
NXP Semiconductors has announced a new proximity contactless reader IC, the CLRC663, that, according to the company, supports all 13.56 MHz RFID protocols, including Near Field Communication (NFC), a high RF output power and patented low-power card detection technology. The reader IC is designed for use in a variety of infrastructure use cases, NXP reports, such as banking, government, transport and mobile payment. The read-write device complies with all 13.56 MHz RFID tag standards, the company indicates—ISO 14443 A/B, ISO 15693, ISO 18000-3 Mode 3 and FeliCa—as well as NFC initiator mode in peer-to-peer communication, and is compatible with all established smart-card, smart-tag and smart-label technologies, including NFC Forum tag types and Mifare products. The new low-power card-detection feature is designed to improve power efficiency, by enabling the reader terminal's microcontroller to enter sleep mode while still polling for cards. According to NXP, the reader IC can be configured for a particular polling pattern (polling frequency, length and so forth). When the terminal's microcontroller goes into to sleep mode (and thus consumes only very low standby power), the CLRC663's logic will execute the polling autonomously. The logic awakens the microcontroller in case a card is presented close to the reader antenna. The physical principle used for this feature can be compared with the de-tuning of the reader antenna caused by an approaching card antenna. The CLR663 supports higher baud rates of up to 848 kilobits for high-speed transactions, paired with the ability to handle long application protocol data units (APDUs). What's more, it supports direct connection to a security account manager (SAM) for security applications, among other features. The CLRC663 is now available in volume production.

Austriamicrosystems Announces Standalone NFC MicroSD
Austriamicrosystems has announced that it has demonstrated a solution enabling Near Field Communication (NFC) data transfer on removable secure elements using a micro-antenna design. The solution was developed in cooperation with Infineon Technologies, a provider of ICs for chip cards. The demonstrated solution, according to Austriamicrosystems, will speed up the deployment and acceptance of standalone NFC solutions based on ultra-small form factors, such as microSD—a format for removable flash memory cards, used primarily in mobile telephones, but also in handheld GPS devices, portable media players, digital audio players and expandable USB flash memory drives, as well as for Nintendo DS flashcards. Austriamicrosystems and Infineon leveraged their respective expertise to design solutions that combine an Infineon security contactless microcontroller with Austriamicrosystems' AS3922 RFID front-end chip. According to Austriamicrosystems, the AS3922, resulting from the cooperation, supports an antenna booster technology to overcome the lack of reliability of the existing NFC microSD. Existing solutions operate only in a very limited number of phones, the company notes, and over a very short distance. The NFC microSD solution is integrated with the micro-antenna included in the ultra-small form factor, and Austriamicrosystems says there is no other design approach currently on the market that allows for reliable contactless payment fully enclosed within the microSD. The AS3922 could be sold to consumers, who would purchase the microSD from banks or other institutions as a credit- or payment-card option. The solution could also be sold through mobile operators as a version of a subscriber identity module (SIM) card. Austriamicrosystems indicates that commercial solutions could be available by year's end.

HID Global, Sony Unveil NFC-Enabled Contactless Smart-Card Reader Platform for Laptop and Mobile Device Market
HID Global and Sony Corp. have announced a jointly developed contactless smart-card reader platform that can be embedded into laptops and other mobile devices, thereby enabling secure access-control capabilities and Near Field Communication (NFC) functionality. The platform holds a secure element that stores cryptographic keys that secure the authenticity and integrity of user credentials. It supports Sony's FeliCa technology, HID Global's iClass and iClass SE credentials, Mifare DESFire EV1 credentials, and other broadly adopted technologies supporting the ISO 14443 Type A/B contactless smart-card standard, using the T=CL contactless transmission protocol. The solution supports the industry-standard PC/SC Version 2.0 specification for the programming interfaces between PC applications, the operating system and smart cards. According to the companies, the platform will support the proximity features of the next major release of the Microsoft Windows operating system, which is expected to enable communication between NFC tags and devices (mobile phones or computers) using a tap gesture (see NFC Companies Prepare for Windows 8), as well as the Android operating system for tablet products. The reader platform has been provided to the NFC Forum's Certification Program (see RFID News Roundup: NFC Forum Launches Certification Program, Publishes Four Specs) as a reference sample to assist in the validation of the Digital Protocol test tools, HID Global reports, and will also be submitted for certification. The two companies have released a reference design for the jointly developed embedded NFC module, and will also provide developer support to minimize product development requirements, and speed time-to-market schedules for PC original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). According to Sony and HID Global, the NFC reader platform is the result of a strategic partnership that the two companies announced last year
Pub Time : 2011-11-21 10:47:40 >> News list
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