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   Technology StocksRFID, NFC and QR code Technologies

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From: Glenn Petersen6/22/2014 12:10:03 PM
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Next year banks, merchants and credit card companies will be adopting a chip-and-pin technology: Message 29592948

The "chips" are not RFID chips:

How are chip-and-PIN cards different from RFID credit cards?

RFID, or radio-frequency identification, cards are contactless. They have a chip and radio antenna that transmit account information, raising concerns (which people are still arguing about years after the cards were introduced) that criminals may use readers to skim consumer details. Chip-and-PIN cards work only when inserted into a merchant’s reader.

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From: Glenn Petersen7/10/2014 2:17:49 PM
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What Are Tiles?

Posted By RFID Journal, 07.10.2014

And are they considered RFID? —Name withheld


A Tile is a small, square device measuring 36 millimeters by 36 millimeters by 4.2 millimeters (1.4 inches by 1.4 inches by 0.2 inch) that uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to enable you to track personal items. You could, for example, put a Tile on your key chain. Then, if you couldn't find your keys, you could pull out your Apple iPhone (it won't work with Android devices) and find out whether you were getting closer or further from them. You could also activate a Tile to ring, so that it could locate an item by sound. Tile was created by a startup called Reveal Labs, which has raised more than $2 million via crowd-sourcing and preordering. The company is selling its Tiles for $19.95 apiece (see Who Says RFID Tags Pose a Privacy Risk or Are Too Costly?).

Is it radio frequency identification? Well, that depends on your definition of RFID. Some would say that because a Tile employs the BLE protocol, it is not RFID. But it uses RF energy and there is a unique ID in each Tile enabling you to find your keys, instead of, say, the remote control for your television. So by our definition, yes, it is RFID.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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From: Glenn Petersen7/31/2014 8:02:37 PM
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NFL players to wear shoulder pad RFIDs for on-field stats tracking

BY Billy Steele @wmsteele
July 31, 2014

The NBA isn't the only professional sports league in the States getting serious about accurate stats accounting. With some help from Zebra Technologies' location system, 17 NFL stadiums will use receivers and RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags inside player's shoulder pads to track movement. The setup provides real-time position data for each player, offering up precise info on acceleration, speed, routes and distance as part of the "Next Gen Stats" initiative for fans. Referees are getting the tags too, in case you've ever wanted more info on those fellas. "Zebra's tracking technology will help teams to evolve training, scouting and evaluation through increased knowledge of player performance, as well as provide ways for our teams and partners to enhance the fan experience," says NFL VP of Media Strategy Vishal Shah. The 15 venues that are hosting Thursday night games are getting outfitted, with Detroit and New Orleans added in to make sure each team gets tallied.

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From: Ahda7/31/2014 8:31:39 PM
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Would this tech include Zebra?

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To: Ahda who wrote (1642)7/31/2014 8:40:10 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
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"Zebra's tracking technology will help teams to evolve training, scouting and evaluation through increased knowledge of player performance, as well as provide ways for our teams and partners to enhance the fan experience," says NFL VP of Media Strategy Vishal Shah.

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From: Glenn Petersen8/28/2014 10:43:45 AM
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Our Sources Say the Next iPhone Will Include NFC Mobile Payments

By Christina Bonnington
08.28.14, 6:30 am

Platforms like Google Wallet, Isis, and Square have been around for years, while Apple has remained curiously silent on the mobile payments front. Well not anymore.

The company’s next iPhone will feature its own payment platform, sources familiar with the matter told WIRED. In fact, that platform will be one of the hallmark features of the device when it’s unveiled on September 9. We’re told the solution will involve NFC.

Apple is in the perfect position to launch its own mobile wallet. The Cupertino company has a vast trove of credit cards already on file thanks to iTunes (over 800 million, in fact), and a huge pool of potential users, thanks to the millions of iOS devices out there. And mounting evidence has indicated that the company is investing in such an endeavor.

Over the years, the company has filed a number of patents relating to an e-wallet platform. One, published this past January, detailed how dual wireless protocols like NFC and Bluetooth could be paired to complete a transaction while sensitive data is stored in a “secure element” in the device’s hardware. Another patent describes a payment system that’s location and context aware, offering the user various options (like rewards cards or coupons) when relevant.

On the business side, The Information previously reported that conversations between Apple and payment companies have heated up in recent months and that Apple’s solution will incorporate a “so-called secure element” in the phone where sensitive financial information would be stored. Apple has also made hires relating to “building a business around the hundreds of millions of credit cards it already has on file.”

While Apple’s exact implementation is still unclear at this point, we can still make some general idea of what it will look like. The company has made a huge push to get its Bluetooth LE-transmitting iBeacons into retailers across the country. And because Apple did not spend a great deal of time expounding on iBeacons at WWDC this year, it’s possible they could be a greater focus at Apple’s September media event—as a part of its mobile payment solution. Touch ID will also likely play a role in securing the platform, and it could make sense for Passbook, Apple’s hub for tickets and coupons, to get some level of integration with the service too. We’ll find out more on September 9th.

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From: Glenn Petersen9/14/2014 5:08:54 PM
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Long overdue:

New York City Adopts RFID Tags to Track First Responders

By: Amanda Vicinanzo, Contributing Editor
Homeland Security Today
09/13/2014 ( 4:38pm)

With the tragic events of September 11, 2001 in mind, the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) has achieved great success implementing a new technology using radio identification to coordinate its 14,000 firefighters and emergency responders.

"The events of 9-11-2001 revealed that FDNY did not have a reliable method to account for all members responding to an incident,” said FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Edward Baggott in a statement.

In response, David DeRieux of the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Space Systems—the Navy’s corporate laboratory—and Michael Manning of Manning RF, partnered with FDNY to invent a system to track firefighters who may be in danger through an active radio frequency identifier (RFID) tag carried by each firefighter.

"It's in a little sealed plastic—it looks like a little key fob, actually," said George Arthur, an NRL engineer who contributed to the project, in a press release. "They're positioned over the left breast, inside the bunker coat in a little Kevlar pocket that's sewn in there. And it just sends out a little ping every five seconds: here I am, here I am, here I am."

A radio receiver located in each of the response vehicles picks up on the pings and builds a table of identifiers. A program running on the mobile data terminal in the vehicle periodically quizzes the user on the information and then relays that information to the FDNY Operations Center in Brooklyn where a commercial modem projects the data onto a wall-sized display and archives the data.

“As soon as [the driver] turns the ignition on, this thing comes up,” DeRieux said. “When they get on the scene, everyone takes off, they all disappear. Then eventually they come back for a roll call situation, and the captain can tell instantly everyone is within so many feet of the truck.”

In developing the firefighter tracker system, the NRL worked closely with FDNY to garner feedback on the operational efficiency of the new system. The origin of the idea for the tracking system occurred through a chance meeting in 2002 when DeRieux recognized FDNY Battalion Chief Joe Pfiefer, the first chief to take command on 9/11.

"[Pfiefer] brings me into his office and he says, 'We've got a problem. We need a way to keep track of our firefighters. Worse yet, some firefighters, who become dazed and confused during an operation, may not make it out of the building, or they end up in the wrong area for roll call,” said DeRieux.

According to Arthur, FDNY requested a system that is “easy to use, reliable and cheap.” DeRieux turned to Manning, whose company already worked on RFID, for off-the-shelf hardware to keep costs low.

“The readers cost around $1,100 a piece in the quantities we buy them — that might come down a bit," Arthur said. "The tags cost about $20 a piece.”

Prior to the new system, each firefighter kept a paper “riding list” of personnel in his or her pocket and left a copy of the list in the vehicle when responding to an incident. However, September 11, 2001 demonstrated the need to keep an off-site record of personnel.

Arthur said NRL’s next step is to develop indoor tracking to track firefighters moving inside a building. "We have given them the piece that lets them track from the vehicle to the fire ground or the event," Arthur said. "If we could drop in a complementary piece, where we could track firefighters while they're in the building, which would save so many lives."

Earlier this year, the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) recognized NRL with its Excellence in Technology Transfer award for developing the firefighter tracking system and meeting a direct need at FDNY: the ability to know who is on the scene, where they are and whether they are safe.

“The active-RFID tracking system developed by the committed team at NRL is a stellar example of the ways technology transfer returns vitally important benefits to the nation,” said Dr. Rita Manak, NRL Office of Research and Technology Applications representative, in the FLC Awards 2014 publication. “It’s what we are here for; exactly this kind of collaboration. In this case, between a city that really understood the problem and had real-life experience and need, and our highly skilled and motivated technical staff.”

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From: Glenn Petersen10/8/2014 5:56:58 PM
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Food Tech Startup Pantry Labs Taps RFID for Smart Vending Machine

Martin LaMonica

Anybody who has searched for dinner in a vending machine at work or in a hospital knows how unappealing the typical choices of candy bars and snack foods can be. Using hyped-then-forgotten RFID technology, Pantry Labs has developed a smart refrigerator that makes fresh food available to consumers who can’t get to a restaurant or store.There are dozens of food delivery startups but Pantry Labs has a slightly different take on food and convenience. Its refrigerator is designed to give cafeterias in hospitals, corporate campuses, and universities a way to offer fresh food, whether it’s salads or sushi, in off hours.

“The idea is to be able to sell food unattended at locations where people live and work—to bring fresh food closer to the people,” says co-founder and vice president of engineering Tony Chen. In its first installations, the company found that the busiest times are between 8 PM and 6 AM at hospitals, hours during which cafeterias are closed. The company, which has raised $1.3 million and went through the Lemnos Labs hardware incubator, now has customers in the Bay Area and is looking to expand into other regions, Chen says.

Pantry Labs’ refrigerator is equipped with a tablet and a credit card reader on the front. After the consumer swipes a card, the door opens so the person can take an item out. Once the food is removed, it automatically debits the credit card. The cafeteria can also remotely check on what’s been sold.

The enabling technology is an RFID reader embedded inside Pantry Labs’s hardware. It’s made by Woburn, MA-based ThingMagic, a company founded by MIT grads, which was bought in 2010 by navigation company Trimble.

About ten years ago, many people thought that RFID technology would enable the Internet of things. Initially, the killer app for RFID was in tracking goods moving through the supply chain: the idea was that palettes could be monitored to deliver better data on where goods are and avoid theft. But after some large companies, including WalMart, scrapped their projects, the industry came to a crashing halt, says ThingMagic vice president of business development Bernd Schoner.

The technology hasn’t completely gone away. In fact, analysts project that billions of dollars worth of RFID tags will be shipped this year. Retail has emerged as one of the most active areas, says Schoner. Sales people scan shelves or racks at the end of the day to see what items, such as clothes, have sold.

But now that much of the tech industry is focused on connecting everyday devices, whether it’s thermostats or food in refrigerators, RFID could pick up again, at least for some uses. Items that have an RFID tag on them can only report their status once they are within a few meters of an RFID reader. By contrast, an item that has a battery-powered WiFi or Zigbee wireless chip embedded can communicate directly to the Internet or a central hub, such as WiFi router.

But adding a wireless card, which needs a power source, to low-cost items makes no sense. That’s why Schoner believes that RFID will see more interest. “Smaller, cheaper objects will probably end up using RFID because it means objects don’t need to be powered and you can afford to put an active tag on them,” he says.

In the case of Pantry Labs, it chose RFID because it’s relatively cheap—the tags that go on food only cost 15 cents. Chen sees the company as part of a wave of Silicon Valley companies trying to marry technology and food. “The vending machine industry hasn’t had any innovation in dozens of years. It’s time to disrupt this industry,” he says.

Martin LaMonica is a national correspondent for Xconomy covering energy and technology. You can reach him at or @mlamonica.

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From: Glenn Petersen10/9/2014 7:17:42 PM
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Alien Technology raises $35M to make RFID tags for the Internet of things

Dean Takahashi
October 9, 2014 5:00 AM

Alien Technology has raised $35 million in a new round of funding to expand productino of its radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and readers, which enable the Internet of things. The chip maker has also named Chris Chang as its new chief executive.

An RFID tag is like a super bar code with radio connectivity. RFID readers can wirelessly detect and track RFID-tagged products in the supply chain. RFID readers, tags, and chips provide an identification system that can track huge numbers of things, such as products in a supply chain or sensors in an oil refinery.

Alien raised a bunch of money in its previous life when it tried to manufacture its own chips — which were smaller than a pinhead — using a cool assembly system, dubbed “ fluidic self-assembly,” developed by John Smith, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, who founded Alien in 1994. As RFID infrastructure took shape in the supply chain, Alien pioneered many of the industry’s standards. And it tried to go public. The company sought to raise $120 million in 2006, but it later withdrew its initial public offering plans as market conditions turned sour.

Chang, a former executive at Marvell, told VentureBeat that the older technology was expensive and the volumes never reached levels that justified the company’s big manufacturing facility in Morgan Hill, Calif., in the far south of Silicon Valley. Alien shut that down and started using more traditional manufacturing partners.

Alien changed CEOs a couple of times and survived that crisis. It now has fewer than 100 employees, compared to more than 230 in 2010.

Chang said that the company is going through a revival now as actual orders for RFID tags and readers materialize. The resurgence has come with the popularity of the Internet of things — the vision of connecting billions of everyday objects to the Internet.

That has enabled Alien to attract new interest and investors. The newest investor is Shanghai Ruizhang Investment Co. Existing investors are also participating in the round. The new funding will allow the company to accelerate its development of new technologies

“The market hit bottom a couple of years ago, but it’s really good timing to talk about RFID again,” Chang said. “We are seeing UHF RFID applied in many industries, and users are seeing payback from investments. We’re entering an era of steady and high growth. This is what the management team and investors believe.”

“The Internet of things offers a huge chance for wealth creation. RFID gives identity to things, and so it is a natural part of the Internet of things. I see this as really good timing,” he said.

Alien is focused on readers, tags, and chips. Chang said the company wants to get the No. 1 market share on a global basis.

“The markets are maturing,” Chang said. “Everyone is now talking about IoT, and the end users are really seeing the benefits.”

“Alien was a key, founding father of the passive RFID Industry, authoring the Gen 1 Class 1 standard and serving as a key driver of the current Gen 2 standard. Alien is the only company in the industry that designs its own IC, Inlays, and Readers, and the company has been instrumental in the recent retail item-level adoption expansion,” said Ann Grackin of ChainLink Research, in a statement. “We expect the UHF market to grow over 28 percent a year over the next five years. The market needs laser focus and innovations that a company such as Alien can bring to the volume RFID market. With this kind of funding, explosive market adoption is suddenly within reach.”

Above: Alien Technology RFID Higgs 3 chip.

Image Credit: Alien Technology

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From: Glenn Petersen10/25/2014 4:54:07 PM
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Let the NFC wars begin:

CVS Stores Reportedly Disabling NFC to Shut Down Apple Pay and Google Wallet

by Eric Slivka
Saturday October 25, 2014 7:56 am PDT

Earlier this week, pharmacy chain Rite Aid shut down unofficial support for the Apple Pay and Google Wallet mobile payments systems, resulting in an outcry from users who have been testing out Apple's new system since its launch on Monday. Rite Aid was not an official Apple Pay partner, but the payments system generally works with existing near field communications (NFC) payment terminals anyway, and many users had had success using Apple Pay at Rite Aid stores early in the week.

It now appears that fellow major pharmacy chain CVS is following suit and as of today is shutting down the NFC functionality of its payment terminals entirely, a move presumably intended to thwart Apple Pay. Google Wallet services are obviously also being affected by the move.

Multiple reports on Twitter and the MacRumors forums have indicated that CVS has sent an email to its stores indicating that NFC support is to be turned off. It is still relatively early in the day in the U.S., but we are now starting to see reports of NFC indeed being turned off at CVS stores.

The reason behind Rite Aid's and CVS's moves to disable unofficial Apple Pay support in their stores is presumably related to their participation in Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a retailer group developing its own mobile payments system known as CurrentC. A claimed internal Rite Aid message shared with SlashGear supports this notion, instructing cashiers to explain to customers that Apple Pay is not supported but that MCX's solution will be available next year.

Rite Aid internal memo regarding Apple Pay

Rite Aid's and CVS's moves are also in stark contrast to competitor Walgreens, which has fully embraced Apple Pay and is one of Apple's launch partners for the service. With over 8,000 stores around the United States, Walgreens has been one of the most popular locations for those testing out Apple Pay over the first week of availability.

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