ENERGY/HVAC

Home Depot named EPA Energy Star partner of the year

BY Dan Berthiaume

Atlanta — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has named The Home Depot as a 2014 Energy Star Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence for its outstanding contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through promotion of energy-efficient products. The Home Depot, an Energy Star partner since 2001, will be honored for its leadership in its long-term commitment to energy efficiency through promotion of energy-efficient products that earn the Energy Star, the government-backed symbol of energy efficiency.

The Home Depot is receiving the Energy Star Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence recognition for engaging every aspect of its retail business, from increasing its Energy Star product assortment to marketing and promotions, to building consumer awareness of and demand for Energy Star. Through the sale of Energy Star products in 2013, The Home Depot helped its customers save nearly $770 million in annual utility costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 4.7 million metric tons.

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Vuzix, Vision Smarts partner on Smart Glasses app

BY Dan Berthiaume

Oxford, U.K. — Vuzix Corp., a U.K.-based supplier of video eyewear and smart glasses products, and Vision Smarts, a Belgian company that develops, distributes and supports software libraries for image recognition and real-time video analysis, have created a custom built-version of the “pic2shop” application specifically for use with the M100 Smart Glasses.

Designed for scanning QR codes, EAN and UPC barcodes, the customized M100 version now enables complete hands-free scanning, providing users with real-time data including product names, images and potentially vital shopping information when connected to the Internet via the M100 through Wi-Fi link or tethered to a smartphone.

Using a combination of user interface modifications and algorithms Vision Smarts created a pic2shop version that maximizes the use of the application by M100 wearers. With a new zoom function, users can correctly position the bar code in the line of sight of the M100 camera, meaning the software application can focus more on the barcode that any other surrounding image.

In addition, users see a red line across the barcode, similar to that of a barcode reading sensor on a purchase point, providing more accuracy to the code reader. Specialized algorithms enable users to scan 3cm-wide UPCs or 2cm-wide QR codes up to 50 cm away. N.B. The distance depends on the physical size of the codes. Larger codes will be readable from further away.

“The customized pic2shop application works perfectly with our M100 device,” said Paul Travers, president and CEO of Vuzix. “The adjustments that Vision Smarts have added have been developed following some extensive research into how the wearer of the M100 would use the device alongside the ‘pic2shop’ application in a natural manner. This is just one of the many forthcoming applications specifically developed for the M100 device and we look forward to announcing a ‘bank’ of useable applications for our users.”

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Checkpoint Systems releases new RFID label

BY Dan Berthiaume

Orlando, Fla. — Checkpoint Systems Inc. is releasing its new Zephyr 2 RFID label, which is certified by the University of Arkansas’ ARC Center for item-level tagging of all apparel categories in the U.S. and Europe. The Zephyr 2 RFID label design has an integrated UCode 7 chip from NXP Semiconductors, and comes with optimal read/write sensitivity for accurate counting and quicker encoding.

The Zephyr 2, offered with a label size of 54x34mm, has been optimized for performance with all of Checkpoint’s RFID solutions. It has received certification from the University of Arkansas’ ARC Center for Categories A (denim), B (polybagged apparel), C (boxed items) and D (hanging apparel) for use in North America, and Categories I (apparel) and K (apparel) for European apparel items. This will allow retailers to use the same tag globally across many categories.

“Major apparel retailers have expressed a strong interest in the capabilities that the Zephyr 2 offers, particularly those with broad apparel product lines with large-scale deployment needs,” said Umesh Cooduvalli, Checkpoint’s senior director, RFID consumables. “We’re excited that this product is already being used in RFID pilots and we look forward to scaling up supply for future deployments.”

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