InkSure Technologies Inc. (www.inksure.com) is moving forward with a “chipless” label technology for low-cost RFID applications and plans to have its chipless RFID tags available for field testing in the first half of 2007. The company is also in the process of launching Triple Play and the ultrasmall, lightweight PocketSure reader. Triple Play combines overt and covert security features with InkSure's covert machine-readable authentication technology to provide a multilayered authentication solution for combating counterfeiters.
IBM (www.ibm.com) has launched an online resource to help RFID software developers create solutions linking RFID data to enterprise applications. Part of IBM's alphaWorks (www.alphaworks.ibm.com), the informational web site features free access to introductory and advanced information on developing RFID applications, as well as to IBM's new RFID Integrated Solution Enablement (RISE) software application and two other development kits released last year: the RFID Device Development Kit (DDK) and the Application Level Events (ALE) preview for RFID. All three software applications can help cut costs and speed the overall implementation of RFID systems. To download the free tools, developers must register at IBM's web site.
ThingMagic and SATO America
RFID technology developer ThingMagic (www.thingmagic.com) has partnered with SATO America (www.satoamerica.com), a provider of bar-code printing, labeling and RFID solutions. Under the partnership terms, ThingMagic will become a SATO America Preferred RFID Partner and begin providing the company its Mercury4e embedded UHF RFID readers. In turn, SATO America will use the interrogators in the United States with its CL408e/CL412e RFID tabletop printers and M8485Se RFID OEM print engine. SATO RFID printer-encoders read, write and print smart labels with visual images, text and bar codes on the label surface. They also read and encode the transponder embedded in the label. ThingMagic's Mercury 4e reader is credit card-sized, supports two antennas and is designed to read passive UHF tags complying with a variety of standards, including EPC Gen 2.
TransCore (www.transcore.com), a manufacturer of transportation-based RFID products, has completed its acquisition of IntelliTrans (www.intellitrans.com). It will combine IntelliTrans' in-transit visibility, maintenance, repair, yard and inventory management service offerings with its TransCore RFID and satellite communications products. This combination is intended to provide seamless integration for rail, truck, container, barge and intermodal applications. IntelliTrans will still be based in Atlanta.
The Australian telecom provider Telstra (www.telstra.com) is conducting two RFID trials. In one trial, the company has added EPC Gen 2 tags to the packaging of mobile phones, satellite TV receivers, routers for its broadband services, and other products it sells at its stores The goal of this trial is to see if there is value in RFID item-level tagging within its operations and to showcase the technology to Australian businesses considering RFID implementation.
GAO RFID (www.gaorfid.com) has spun out from GAO Tek (formerly GAO Engineering). The company is focusing on providing RFID interrogators, tags, antenna, modules, sample packages, and evaluation kits, as well as other integrated solutions, to the RFID market.
Symbol Technologies and ODIN Technologies
Symbol Technologies (www.symbol.com) has been selected by ODIN Technologies (www.odintechnologies.com) to support its contract win with the United States' Defense Logistics Agency (DLA); the Department of Defense's (DoD) logistics combat support agency, which provides supplies and services to America's military forces worldwide. Under the contract, ODIN will deploy passive UHF RFID equipment throughout 26 Defense Distribution Centers globally by the end of 2007. Symbol's XR400 series of fixed readers and AN400 antennas will be used as part of a UHF RFID solution that will automatically indicate receipt of incoming RFID-tagged shipments from select DoD suppliers.
Unilever (www.unilever.com) is conducting an RFID trial on how well the proposed EPCglobal Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) standard works. As part of that project, Unilever is applying EPC Gen 2 tags to cases of its products. An EPCIS-based repository automatically facilitates two-way communications by sending and accepting XML-based data feeds of RFID information. As opposed to manually extracting RFID information for collaborative purposes, software applications and data repositories that incorporate the EPCIS standard will enable easy access to all RFID read information in one place. The Unilever EPCIS trial is expected to go on through the end of the year.
WJ Communications and Hitachi
WJ Communications (www.wj.com) has announced an OEM agreement with Hitachi America Ltd., (www.hitachi.com) to supply fixed readers for use with Hitachi's RFID µ-chip. This agreement stems from a development between Hitachi and WJ of a 2.45 GHz fixed reader, available through Hitachi America. The reader is a part of Hitachi's RFID solutions that address the need for high-reliability disposable RFID tags and low cost of ownership applications built upon well-established technologies and standards.