Archive for February, 2010

RFID drives patient experience at Disney Family Cancer Center

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

The highly anticipated opening of the new Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center occurred this month, and the high-tech hospital — and the RFID technology that powers the patient experience — is getting rave reviews.

RFID 24-7 initially reported on the hospital’s plans for using RFID technology in September.

Hospital executives deployed a comprehensive, integrated RFID solution that relies on ThingMagic’s Astra UHF RFID readers to relay information from low profile passive RFID tags on patient’s ID badges to centralized applications that retrieve patient information in order to enhance the patient experience. This information includes patient preferences to activate custom hospital room settings – music, lighting, temperature – and location data that are sent to staff phone displays, allowing clinicians to greet or locate patients quickly.

“I walked through these doors and I swear it was like angels singing. I’m not a really spiritual person, but this is so beautiful the way it puts you at ease by diverting your mind from your treatment and using nature to help you relax,” said Julie Stevens, Disney Family Cancer Center’s first patient. “When I was treated at the hospital, I would ignore the scary room. I would close my eyes and put my mind in another place. I don’t have to do that here. They take me to that place.”

ThingMagic Astra readers are deployed as part of an innovative solution composed of complementary RFID products including the Reva Tag Acquisition Processor (TAP) from Reva Systems. RFID tag data acquired by the ThingMagic readers are sent to the TAP to determine “location,” and then delivered upstream to a visibility application for viewing by the clinical staff. Data from these RFID subsystems are also provided to the security and environmental control systems of the hospital. This integrated solution provides a platform for expansion as the Disney Family Cancer Center explores future plans to use RFID to further enhance patient experiences and maximize the hospital’s operational efficiencies.

“Passive RFID technology has been proven to lower costs and improve efficiencies in a hospital setting, but the work done at the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center shows it can impact something even more important – patient well-being,” said Yael Maguire, co-founder and CTO of ThingMagic. “As new health facilities open around the world, the Disney Family Cancer Center will be a model to follow for its dedication to patients through the most innovative uses of RFID technology.”

Impinj unveils Monza® 4 family of tags; enhanced functionality to drive market

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

As the Winter Olympics unfold, athletes have elevated their performances to new levels, nearly re-defining their sport in the process. Lindsey Vonn turned to men’s skis to win the women’s downhill. Shaun White re-invented snowboarding with his Double McTwist 1260 en route to winning gold.

Impinj hopes to similarly raise the bar in the RFID sector with today’s introduction of the Monza 4 line of premium tag chips. The Monza 4 family is expected to speed RFID adoption by delivering a faster return on investment and operational improvements. Impinj vice president of marketing Kerry Krause says the Monza 4 line should account for 10-20 percent of sales by the end of the year. The popular Monza 3 tag, targeted at cost-sensitive applications that require only basic UHF Gen 2 functionality, will remain a major force in the Impinj portfolio.

“We will be building and selling Monza 3 for several years to come,” says Krause. “These new tag chips are premium products that represent incremental business for us and we believe they will also enable new applications.”

The Monza 4 family of chips is expected to be the go-to brand for industries that seek enhanced security standards, increased read and write reliability, and the greater memory offered by the new line, which includes four high-performance configurations: Monza 4D, 4E, 4U and 4QT. Each configuration addresses specific challenges for varied applications. 

“I view these as innovative steps in the marketplace,” says Mike Liard, research director for RFID at ABI Research. “I think the Monza 3 will still be their flagship product moving forward, but the Monza 4 family offers a new avenue for some additional customers and partners looking to enable new applications.”

 Check out today’s issue of RFID 24-7 for behind the scenes information on the Monza 4 product line.

RFID’s role in the U.S. pullout of Iraq

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Great story here from the Digital Video & Imagery Distribution System on the role that RFID technology is playing as the U.S. begins to withdraw equipment from Iraq in preparation for this summer’s withdrawal of U.S troops. Read the story here

More silly RFID legislation – this time from Virginia

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

It’s too bad that state legislators continue to waste their time and energy on legislation that prohibits the forced injection of RFID chips into humans. Wednesday’s Washington Post carried a story about legislation in Virginia that would prohibit unwanted injection of RFID tags. Seriously, do the pols in Virginia really think that’s going to happen?

Unfortunately they are not alone, as similar laws are on the books in California, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. It sends a strong message that lawmakers still do not understand the technology. Being forced to roll up your sleeve to have an RFID tag placed in your bicep is akin to being punched in the face or assaulted in some other way — which is a crime. Yet, the Washington Post covered the story in-depth. Here’s another link to an opinion piece I wrote about this very topic three years ago in DC Velocity magazine. I guess the situation has not improved.

RFID would have helped in Conn. power plant blast

Monday, February 8th, 2010

A full 24 hours after a deadly power plant explosion in Connecticut, media reports this morning indicated that emergency response personnel were still unsure if workers were missing in the rubble. Has there ever been a stronger case for the use of RFID and RTLS technology to track workers in dangerous environments like mining, construction and the utility sector?

Several RFID applications are available for tracking workers in the mining sector, where mining accidents can leave officials unsure of where miners are located in affected mines. If the construction workers at the Connecticut site were wearing RFID enabled badges, officials there would have known early on when all workers were accounted for, and would not need to risk sending rescue personnel on dangerous recovery missions. Some media accounts quoted officials as not knowing what workers were on duty at the site when the accident occurred.

Stay tuned to RFID 24-7 for more on people tracking and RFID later this week.

Ekahau offers money back guarantee; are 12-month interest-free payments next?

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Borrowing a sales tool that has enticed retailers and customers for decades, Ekahau is now offering a money back guarantee for businesses that install the company’s real-time location systems and are not satisfied with the solution’s performance.

The Ekahau Zero-Risk System Guarantee is available to all new customers. Prior to installation, Ekahau will conduct a site audit in order to develop a comprehensive performance report, which will serve as the basis of the system’s performance guarantee. Once the system is installed, a customer will have 30 days to review the system, ensuring that it performs as promised. Should the customer find any faults with the system, Ekahau will fix the problems at no cost or refund the cost of the system.

“When organizations are investigating the various RFID, RTLS and other location tracking technologies on the market today, small, localized pilots of those solutions often do not provide a clear picture of how the system would work when installed campuswide, or what cost overruns for additional infrastructure may arise,” said Tuomo Rutanen, senior vice president of worldwide marketing and business development at Ekahau. “Unlike other providers, Ekahau can offer customers peace of mind that the Ekahau RTLS solution will work as promised. We have the tools to predict the performance of the system before a single tag is deployed.”

Bairstow to afix HF RFID tags to entire product line

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Bairstow Lifting Products Co. is turning to RFID to help its customers better utilize asset tacking and inspection control features for its product line of rigging supplies and fall protection solutions. Starting this month, Bairstow will affix HF RFID tags to every product it manufacturers at its facility in Atlanta. Carey Hanson, sales manager at Bairstow, says his firm will consume about 25,000 tags during its first year of full tagging.

The solution leverages UPM Raflatac’s HF MiniTrack RFID tags and two customized, low-profile, small-format tags developed by Marnlen that affix to existing tags and Bairstow’s metal and non-metal rigging and fall protection solutions. Bairstow will pay about $6 for each metal tag, and about $2.50 per tag for the non-metal applications.

Bairstow won’t raise prices on its product line to cover costs, instead recognizing the value-add that RFID-enabled products will have for its customer base.

“The concept provides out customers really a means of tracking their products and makes the process of performing physical inspections paperless,” he says. “It’s a value-added feature for our product line.”

Customers can use handheld RFID readers to scan tags in the field, streamlining the certification process and eliminating the physical paperwork and human error associated with manual processes. They also can integrate data into their backend systems, improving asset tracking and equipment uptime.

“We were able to find a cost effective means of applying this tag so that most of the costs were absorbed by us,” says Hanson. “We were enhancing our product to better our customers, and they should see little to no increase in price. In terms of what the RFID world is used to seeing in terms of applying millions of labels, we’re small potatoes. But to the same degree, it’s a neat integration of technology into our products.”

Click here to view the full press release.