IBM Launches RFID Based ePedigree

IBM announced this week that it is launching an electronic pedigree system called ePedigree. The new system is part of IBM's Websphere RFID Information Center. The system uses radio-frequency identification, or RFID tags, to track medications through the supply chain until they reach consumers.

IBM's ePedigree RFID technology will assist the pharmaceutical industry in their battle to combat drug counterfeiting. The system creates electronic certificates of authenticity for each medication bottle and tracks the products from manufacturers and distributors to the end points of pharmacies and hospitals.

Pfizer currently employs RFID technology to track frequently counterfeited drugs such as Viagra. RFID technology is a vast improvement over earlier security measures such as holograms, which can be easily duplicated.

IBM's ePedigree will also allow companies to comply with new regulations such as California's law requiring that all medication distributed in the state have a complete life history attached. The California regulations are slated to go into effect in 2009.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a division of the Department of Commerce, has issued new guidelines for RFID security.

The NIST report focuses on RFID applications for asset management, tracking, matching, and process and supply chain control. Its list of recommended practices for ensuring the security and privacy of RFID systems includes:
• firewalls that separate RFID databases from an organization’s other databases and information technology (IT) systems;
• encryption of radio signals when feasible;
• authentication of approved users of RFID systems;
• shielding RFID tags or tag reading areas with metal screens or films to prevent unauthorized access;
• audit procedures, logging and time stamping to help in detecting security breaches; and
• tag disposal and recycling procedures that permanently disable or destroy sensitive data.

VeriChip Corporation , a provider of RFID systems for healthcare and patient-related needs, announced today it added 18 diabetic patients to its VeriMed Patient Identification System at an Atlanta Diabetes EXPO sponsored by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

At the Diabetes EXPO, physicians implanted VeriMed RFID microchips in conference attendees who signed up for the voluntary procedure. The VeriMed Patient Identification System, which utilizes an implantable RFID microchip in combination with a handheld RFID scanner and a secure patient database, provides immediate access to important health information for patients who arrive at an emergency department unable to communicate.

Scott R. Silverman, Chairman and CEO of VeriChip, commented, "We believe the VeriMed Patient Identification System is an essential health care solution for at-risk patients, including diabetics, who tend to present with various co-morbidities and medications, and are more frequently admitted to emergency departments. Since the inception of the VeriMed System, we always knew that the diabetic community was in need of a way to communicate their medical information better and more frequently. We will continue to focus on diabetics and to enhance our relationship further with the American Diabetes Association. The Atlanta Diabetes EXPO provides us direct access so we can continue to educate an important target audience."

Intel Corp. Tuesday unveiled a low-cost, compressed chip that the company says can cut the costs of buying and using radio frequency identification (RFID) readers.

The chip maker said the new Intel R1000 transceiver consolidates about 90 percent of the components in a typical RFID reader onto a single small chip.

The R1000 is 8mm by 8mm in size and can be implemented for a wide variety of applications, said Kerry Krause, Intel's director of marketing for RFID. He noted that the chip can be implanted on loading-dock doors, handheld devices, conveyer belts, forklifts and printers.

"It's quite versatile," said Krause. "It's highly integrated and flexible."

He said customers are designing it into a full range of RFID readers -- from handheld devices that require close proximity to the tags as well as in high-performance devices that can do reads over longer distances.

Krause noted that most RFID readers are large and complex, and require hundreds of separate components to send and receive radio signals to and from RFID tags.

To date, he said, the cost, complexity and manageability of the RFID readers have been obstacles to widespread adoption of the technology. Krause suggested that the small chip is easier to manage and costs less to run because it requires less energy than most of today's devices. The small size could also drive mass production, which would further cut costs, he said.

– Sun Microsystems is hosting a suite of RFID4U training courses in its one of its kind state of art RFID testing lab to help businesses unveil opportunities from this disruptive technology and take the next steps to harness the benefits of RFID technology. The courses available are Asset Tracking using RFID on April 17, 2007, RFID in Pharma on April 18, 2007 and CompTIA RFID+ boot camp on April 19-20, 2007.

These application oriented trainings and certification allow individuals to gain new skills quickly, enabling them to apply that knowledge in the workplace much more rapidly than before.
Training format offers lab-intensive, scenario-based sessions for experienced professionals in a learning environment built around scenarios and troubleshooting in hands-on labs and analysis of best practices.

Brian McGrane the RFID Business Development Manager for Sun’s APT/RFID Lab states that "We have seen increased market demand for environmental RFID tag testing and item level RFID testing. We are therefore offering specific vertical application workshops such as asset tracking and Pharma application workshops to meet this demand."

Sun's APT Lab for RFID and Sensors is the world's first to combine "industrial-strength" environmental stress testing with comprehensive interoperability and standards-compliance testing. Companies from around the world had used the earlier Dallas based Sun RFID Test Center to simulate thousands of RFID and sensor deployments to verify that multi-vendor solutions are interoperable and meet industry technical standards and mandates. Last year Sun had reorganized the RFID Test Center into its Colorado-based Sun APT lab to add the ability to test RFID and sensor solutions under adverse environmental conditions such as excessive heat and cold, shock, humidity, vibration, altitude and pressure.
Technology group Hitachi has developed a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip which is 64 times smaller than those currently on the market.

According to Pink Tentacle, the RFID powder-type chips are five microns thick and could be embedded in currency notes, paper identification documents and a host of other goods.

The technology was made possible through semiconductor miniaturisation applications where beams of electrons were utilised in order to write data on the tiny chips, which can store a serial number in order to act as identification.

Reports suggest that the miniature data storage products can hold an identification number of up to 38 digits and are most likely to be used as an anti-forgery device when they emerge onto the market within the next two to three years.

Hitachi already manufactures and sells the miniature Mu-chip, which the company claims is the smallest RFID circuit in the world and has the capability to trace and monitor goods as well as enhance security of goods in transit.

RFID systems, which typically comprise a tag with a microchip and antenna plus a reader emitting electromagnetic waves, require an integrated chip in order to modulate radio waves and enable them to be turned into digital data.
Radio frequency identification chips that keep track of pets and library books are being used in a whole new way.

A growing number of hospitals are using baby trackers called “baby Lo-Jack.”

From the very first few seconds of life, a newborn is the focus of attention.

During the following days, a parade of doctors, nurses and well-wishers will touch and hold a newborn. The last thing anyone wants is someone taking away this precious gift.

"I don't even want to imagine it. It's terrifying,” said one nurse.

Another nurse said, "We are always checking, checking, checking on the babies.”

Infant abduction is not a crime that happens very often, but it is something every parent and hospital should be prepared for.

One hospital administrator said, "There have been some abductions and that's why we have what we call baby Lo-Jack.”

Baby Lo-Jack is actually known as the HUGS Security System, which uses radio frequency microchips to keep track of newborns and children during their stay in the hospital.

At John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio, some hospital staff members said they see the system as a deterrent and want to get the word out.

"As soon as the baby is bathed we put (the device) on," said nurse Stacey Seit.

The HUGS tag placed on an infant’s ankle or wrist contains a microchip and an antenna.

"If anybody tries to get past this door here, in this hallway, the alarm goes off. The baby can't get past it," said Seit.
PanGo, The Enterprise Asset Tracking Solutions Company, announced the availability of its third-generation Wi-Fi-based active RFID tag, giving organizations new ability to identify and monitor the location of thousands of mobile assets, inventory and personnel at a significantly lower total cost of ownership.

Key new features of PanGo’s tag include an updated ergonomic form factor, battery life of over 5 years and integrated alert-button functionality. Additionally, the new tag is the first to be compatible with the Cisco Certified Extensions (CCX) Tag Protocol, a Wi-Fi communication mode that enables a higher level of location accuracy for Cisco 2700 Series Location Appliance customers and the ability for the tag to provide enhanced telemetry reporting.

“One of the primary challenges faced by customers adopting asset tracking solutions has been sourcing a long lasting tag at a reasonable cost,” said Michael McGuinness, president and CEO of PanGo. “Our third generation tag is the most advanced Wi-Fi-based RFID tag in the industry, supporting a wide spectrum of vertical market applications and capable of efficiently and cost effectively enabling precise location information needed by the applications that drive real business value.”

Markets including healthcare, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and government are increasingly leveraging real-time location and radio frequency identification systems to optimize their business processes and efficiencies. In all industries, PanGo customers will gain expanded ability to leverage the mobility features of their wireless local area networks (WLANs) to accurately locate tagged mobile assets, minimizing time-consuming and cost-prohibitive manual searches.

“PanGo has long been a champion of standards-based approaches to location-tracking – and that matters to customers because it helps to ensure future-proofed solutions while instantly extending investments in wireless networking infrastructures,” said Alan Cohen, senior director, mobility solutions, Cisco. “PanGo’s new Wi-Fi asset tracking tag makes location information readily available to an organization’s business processes while lowering the key barriers to entry – the combination generates a rapid and compelling ROI.”

Powered by Industry’s Most Advanced Chip
Advanced features of PanGo’s new tag give users unprecedented flexibility to optimize tag performance for every use-case. Customizable location reporting intervals and rules, detachment detection, remote configuration and management and enhanced security features make maintaining tagged assets easier than ever. The high availability of these features are made possible, in large part, by the first chip designed specifically for use in active RFID tags, from G2 Microsystems.

G2’s ultra-low-power, active RFID System-on-Chip enables companies to tap asset-tracking capabilities at an average 75 percent reduction in total cost of ownership over earlier solutions. Designing chips to seamlessly integrate location information based on Wi-Fi, active RFID technologies or passive RFID sensors, G2 is the first company to develop an integrated circuit architecture specifically for the demanding power requirements of active asset tracking tags.

“Effective battery life has long been a weak link for many RTLS systems,” said John Gloekler, president and CEO of G2 Microsystems. “We are pleased to partner with PanGo to turn this question mark into a non-issue, as this new tag represents a quantum leap in power efficiency and location information availability. It will surely represent a key catalyst for driving the continued, exponential growth of this market.”

The PanGo tag is a key component of PanGo’s enterprise asset tracking solution that includes the PanOS® location management platform and the PanGo Locator® asset tracking application. The new tag begins shipping in February.
The Taiwan government aims to boost private-sector investment in the local economy to new Taiwanese $1.07 trillion (US$30.56 billion) this year, with a focus on technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID).

If the government reaches its target, the figure would be 11.4 percent higher than the NT$927.6 billion in new private investment projects Taiwan attracted last year, the government said Saturday.

One focus the government highlighted in its report is on RFID technologies, including chip modules and Gen2 Tags, or ultra-high-frequency chips developed around the EPCglobal standard for second-generation EPC technology. EPCglobal is a non-profit group set up to maintain barcode standards and commercialize related technologies.

Taiwan made NT$814 million worth of RFID products last year, up 15.3 percent over 2005, the government said.
The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has fitted wasps with tiny radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to gather information on the insects’ behaviour.

Scientists fitted the insects with tags and placed sensors at the entrance of each nest to record their movements, in real time, as they entered and exited nests.

It allowed the team to discover that rather than just tending home colonies, worker wasps also entered other nests to help raise the young.

The team says it was inspired by the Oyster card, where London's transport users touch in and touch out of stations using RFID cards and readers. It believes RFID could be used to monitor other species’ behaviour.

The scientists tagged every female worker wasp, fitting a total of 422 tags, with readers placed at each of the 33 nests.
Intermec Inc. (NYSE:IN) announced that its RFID (radio frequency identification) technology is being used by the United States Social Security Administration to improve data collection accuracy and reduce labor costs. The SSA deployed Intermec RFID hardware in its Supply Chain Management program to fulfill more than 42,000 orders for forms, publications and other documents each year and ship 240,000 line items to SSA office locations worldwide.

Operating from an 80,000 square-foot supply building at SSA headquarters in Woodlawn, Md., the agency implemented a paperless warehouse management control system upgrade that integrates Intermec’s IP3, IP4 and 1555 portable RFID readers and PM4i printers with RFID software from Intermec Honours Partner System Concepts and warehouse management system software from Radio Beacon. The system tracks and validates each warehouse operation and incorporates workload scheduling software to optimize employee productivity and provide control over the inventory management processes.

“Initially, the SSA warehouse and supply chain operations were done manually and very labor intensive, which resulted in system inaccuracies and delays in getting product to our customers,” said SSA Project Manager Gary Orem. “The agency reaped significant benefits — including more production with less staff — from the previous Intermec automated data collection implementation, which continues to provide an annual savings of $1 million.”

“The latest upgrade to RFID technology is a significant part of the SSA’s strategy for continuous improvements in automating, securing and managing the agency’s accountable/sensitive assets,” said Orem. “The RFID industry has seen a consistent 39 percent savings in data collection labor and a five percent increase in data accuracy. With this upgrade we are expecting to see a 70 percent labor savings in our wall-to-wall inventories.”

About Intermec
Intermec Inc. (NYSE:IN) develops, manufactures and integrates technologies that identify, track and manage supply chain assets. Core technologies include RFID, mobile computing and data collection systems, bar code printers and label media. The company’s products and services are used by customers in many industries worldwide to improve the productivity, quality and responsiveness of business operations.

Intermec offers a complete RFID product suite including readers, printers, tags, labels and inlays supported by RFID implementation services to guarantee system performance, all from a single source.
Checkpoint Systems, Inc., a leading manufacturer and marketer of RF- and RFID-based solutions for identification, tracking, security and merchandising applications, announced its involvement in a series of UHF RFID technology trials supervised by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) task group 34 (TG34). Conducted at one of METRO Group's Distribution Centers near Hamm, Germany, the Varena trials were designed to improve RFID tag read performance in high-density reader environments and to validate the robustness of the RFID portal dock door solution in preparation for Metro's UHF rollout expansion plans scheduled for 2007.

Utilizing equipment from numerous RFID suppliers in Europe and North America, Checkpoint served as a hardware integrator for the trials. In this capacity, Checkpoint helped with the design work for the hardware solution and procurement, configuration and installation of the 36 RFID-enabled dock door portals which were used to validate successful simultaneous operation of multiple dock doors using a 4-channel synchronized approach under the ETSI 302 208 standard.

Pallets containing 62 individually tagged cases, largely containing RFID unfriendly materials (such as cans, liquids and metal lined items), were simultaneously transported at warehouse speeds through 36 adjacent loading dock doors. Some 4.5 million individual reads were recorded over the course of the trials.

Complying with the ETSI listen before talk (LBT) requirements, the tests achieved a 98.5 percent read rate simultaneously from multiple pallets as they were wheeled through the dock doors. As a result of the successful trial, Checkpoint and Metro are now closely collaborating on the next stage, planning for Metro's roll-out in 2007.
The tagging of items with radio frequency identification (RFID) will take off in 2007 to become the biggest market by value by 2016 as prices fall dramatically, according to a forecast by a market analyst.

RFID has long been touted as the future of logistics for all companies by allowing retailers and suppliers to track goods throughout the supply chain. Regulations on traceability and mandates from such giant retailers as Wal-Mart and Metro are slowing forcing processors to make investments in the technology at the pallet and case level. High prices for tags and systems has been the major barrier to item-level use.

Item-level tagging refers to the use of the technology with the smallest unit of saleable goods, such as luxury foods and drinks.

IDTechEx said its research indicates that item level tags and systems will be the world's largest RFID market by value from 2007 onwards. Item level RFID tagging will rocket to $13 billion in 2016 from $0.16 billion in 2006 for systems including tags.

In 2006, about 200 million items were RFID tagged around the world. The firm predicts that 550 billion items may be RFID tagged in 2016.

A new radio frequency identification (RFID) chip has been developed by Pliant and IBM that can not only track drug products through the supply chain but also identify when a product has been tampered with.

US-based leading packaging manufacturer Pliant has teamed up with IBM to develop the tamper detection technology on a pilot-scale. The technology combines plastic packaging film, circuitry and RFID tag to track down where in the supply chain a package has been interfered with.

The smart technology market is driven by the need for new clinical trial compliance and brand protection measures, with the demand for new developments within RFID used in pharmaceuticals creating a market valued at $18 million during 2005. And it will potentially reach to $464.8 million in 2012, according to a Frost & Sullivan report.

The tamper monitoring system works by combining stretch wrap - printed with conductive circuitry - and RFID technology. The combination of chip and stretch wrap functions as a powered circuit around the package. If tampered with, the RFID chip will cease to function effectively and allow users to track down the point of interference using a RFID portal system or by a hand held device.

Pliant Corporation and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Pliant has implemented an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) platform pilot program, designed by IBM consultants, to track shipments between the two technical centers and customer sites and detect tampering in its stretch-wrapping products. The RFID solution enables Pliant to use handheld devices to track products and identify potential tampering in real-time.

"The RFID system we’ve implemented provides us with a real-time view of our products’ security and location so we can ensure that we will meet our customers’ expectations," says Doug Lilac, Pliant’s Technical Director for Innovation. "The goal of this program is to commercialize practical and cost-effective bulk packaging solutions that incorporate RFID technology."

Pliant Corporation is a leading producer of value-added film and flexible packaging products for personal care, medical, food, industrial and agricultural markets. Based in Schaumburg, IL, Pliant operates 22 manufacturing and research and development facilities around the world and employs more than 3,000 people.

"IBM RFID asset tracking and inventory management allows Pliant to identify and manage in-transit goods in real-time, giving it unprecedented insight into its supply chain," said Sebastian Taylor, Global RFID Services Leader, IBM. "In addition to lowering costs and increasing productivity, RFID ensures that the right information is available at the right time to enable more strategic business decisions."

IBM Global Business Services consultants collaborated with Pliant to develop a comprehensive RFID technology roadmap, helping Pliant prepare and validate the RFID equipment in its labs.

Pliant’s IBM software and solution, which has been in place since December 2005, leverages IBM’s Data Collection Server software and WebSphere RFID Device Infrastructure. The software installed on Pliant’s network helped to create RFID labels which were printed and deployed on pallets and the pallets were tracked as they moved between the two Pliant technical centers in Newport News, Virginia and Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. IBM consultants worked with Pliant to create Web pages on a network database to track the content and movement history of each pallet so that its location was always known. A wireless handheld RFID reader loaded with the WebSphere RFID Device Infrastructure is used to scan the pallets within the plants to immediately look up pallet content information.

With the support provided by the IBM Global Business Services team, Pliant now has a proven product concept to access real-time tracking information for shipments between its two facilities. This setup allowed Pliant to download and monitor critical information which helped protect business-critical applications.

This announcement is another example of IBM’s push to advance the adoption of advanced telematics technologies -- sensors, actuators, RFID and other networked devices -- that link organizations and people for economic growth, improved healthcare and education, and enhanced security. IBM’s RFID solutions help pharmaceutical companies eliminate counterfeiting, enable shipping companies to track cargo around the world, and enable shopping to be more efficient for consumers.

3M Co. has won its first contract with the Mayo Clinic to provide radio-frequency identification (RFID) devices that will track patients' endoscopy tissue samples.

It marks 3M's first use of its fast-growing RFID technology in a hospital and its first product contract with Rochester-based Mayo.

The contract calls for 3M to provide RFID tracking tags and scanners for the 41 operating rooms where 20,000 endoscopy and colon procedures were performed last year, said Kathy Anderson, a Mayo spokeswoman. A five-month pilot program restricted the 3M equipment to five operating rooms and one lab. The technology tracked 1,800 tissue samples.

The RFID technology is expected to help Mayo cut paperwork and data-coding errors while freeing up nurses for more patient care. The terms of the deal, potentially lucrative long term, were not disclosed.

"The results of the pilot were compelling enough to both of us that we saw an interest to expand it and to continue to quantify those results," said Bob Anderson, director of 3M's Track and Trace Solutions unit. "We believe that there is interest to expand beyond the endoscopy practice, but it will depend on the specific results from a broader deployment in endoscopy."

A new radio frequency identification (RFID) tag for temperature-monitoring purposes has been developed for pharmaceutical products during transportation, where fluctuations in temperature can alert the logistics chain of impending disasters.

A subsidiary of global courier company DHL, German-based DHL Innovation Initiative has partnered up with IBM, Intel, Philips and SAP to develop a novel RFID sensor tag that monitors temperatures of pharmaceutical products in transit, without having to open the packaging. In addition, the sensor tag can be attached close to the product, not just on the inside of packaging as with other tags.

The sensor tag is a combination of a temperature sensor and RFID chip. It measures data, so that the logistics chain consisting of senders, recipients and inspectors will be able to check the condition of pharmaceuticals at any time during transportation. Temperature fluctuations outside of the pre-defined temperature range may have severe and costly effects on the lifespan of for example vaccines.

This was seen in 2006 when a shipment of almost 20,000 doses of Novartis’ flu vaccines was accidentally frozen, making the vaccines ineffective. The shipment was recalled together with another 500,000 doses, as a precaution.

The global demand for new developments within RFID used in pharmaceuticals earned $18 million during 2005 and will potentially reach to $464.8 million in 2012, according to a Frost & Sullivan report. The smart technology market is driven by the need for new clinical trial compliance-and brand protection measures.

Smart packaging is not yet widely used in the pharmaceutical industry, even though there is a buzz of activity in this field, as several companies are designing various new RFIDs and other smart packaging technologies.

The RFID sensor tag enables us to offer a new, sustainable perspective, not only for the pharmaceutical industry but for all industries looking for a solution to the sensitive logistical task of temperature-controlled transports”, said Keith Ulrich, head of technology and innovation management at DHL’s parent Deutsche Post World Net.