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RFID News For 9 February
[February 09, 2006]

RFID News For 9 February


TMCnet CRM Alert Columnist

Newsworthy announcements from the RFID industry:

QI Systems Inc., a developer and integrator of smart card payment, access control and tracking products, has announced that QI product engineers are now developing hardware and software components that support RFID-enabled contactless payment systems.

With RFID-enabled payment systems, small-value transactions can be completed using a payment card with a built-in microchip and wire-loop antenna using very-short-range (several inches) radio waves to securely transmit account information from the card to the merchant point-of-sale terminal.

There is no need for the merchant to swipe the card through a reader, so the cardholder always remains in control of the card.

MasterCard, Visa and American Express are actively promoting contactless-payment versions of their cards. The International Standards Organization has established an implementation specification enabling these credit-card leaders to share a common transmission protocol.

WJ Communications, Inc., a designer and supplier of RF products for the wireless infrastructure and RFID reader markets, has announced the availability of a firmware upgrade to support the EPCglobal Class 1 Generation 2 standard for its MPR series PCMCIA type II reader cards.

Generation 2 RFID technology provides better read range and performance and can be used anywhere, worldwide. The MPR series are designed for UHF Gen 2 functionality and are FCC certified.

"The Gen 2 firmware upgrade allows customers to begin using any of WJ's multi-protocol MPR series reader cards to read Gen 2 tags without hardware changes," said Chuck Lau, senior vice president and general manager for WJ Communications, adding that the firmware provides support for multiple inventory sessions, flexible tag filtering and inventory selection, writing to tag memory, control of lock and permalock functions, and "other Gen 2 capabilities."

Zebra Technologies Corporation has announced that sales and earnings for the fourth quarter of 2005 were at the top end of its forecasted range, with net sales for the three months ended December 31, 2005, at $179 million, compared with $175 million for the same period in 2004.

For the full year, net sales were $702 million, up from $663 million for 2004. Full-year net income was $111 million.

Edward Kaplan, Zebra's chairman and chief executive officer their RFID printer/encoders and complementary media for what he characterized as "sales growth in emerging and under-served regions, including China, Eastern Europe and Latin America."

Dublin-based report vendors Research & Markets is saying that while active RFID is "little reported… its use is growing rapidly. Several applications have been above $100 million and it is currently responsible for over 20 percent of all spend on RFID."

They have a new report -- natch -- determining that "the value of sales of active systems including the tags will now grow very rapidly from $0.55 billion in 2006 to $6.78 billion 2016."

David Sims is contributing editor for TMCnet. For more articles please visit David Sims' columnist page.

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