Security in global commerce bolstered by affordable RFID-enabled container seals



    IPICO's IP-X(TM) RFID technology embeds each seal with a unique and
    permanent ID, user-definable memory and tamper detector to mitigate risks

    BURLINGTON, ON, March 28 /CNW/ - With billions of dollars of
international cargo moving through docks and airport terminals each year,
IPICO Inc. (TSX-V: RFD), a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and
supply-chain solutions supplier, the E.J. Brooks Company and Tenacent have
developed a passive RFID-enabled container seal that will help to
cost-effectively speed entry and shipment of goods within, as well as across,
borders, and to enhance security in ports around the world.
    The BIT Intermodal Electronic Container Seal, a multilayered solution to
track and verify a container's integrity, was concurrently launched today and
displayed at the 5th Intermodal Africa 2007 Conference and Exhibition in
Durban, South Africa's main port for the export of containerised cargo, as
well as the RFID World 2007 conference in Dallas, Texas.
    IPICO developed the Brooks-IPICO-Tenacent (BIT) seal through technical
collaboration with E J Brooks, the world's largest supplier of mechanical ISO
17712 compliant security seals and Tenacent, the holder of an international
patent for RFID enabled tamper evident seals. The BIT seal utilizes IPICO's
proprietary IP-X(TM) UHF RFID technology to verify the integrity of a shipping
container in the event of possible tampering and automates collection of
information on the security status of shipping containers at cross-border
points of control to provide an audit trail of events from the initial sealing
to the final destination.
    Post 9/11, various international initiatives were launched to work
towards secure global commerce, including the Customs-Trade Partnership
Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), the Container Security Initiative (CSI) and the
Secure Trade-lanes Initiative. Furthermore, the US Department for Homeland
Security and the European Union mandated detailed security protocols that
apply to the approximately 230 million containers that land in global ports
each year.

    Military Security at commercial prices

    The fiercely competitive nature of the global shipping industry makes it
economically impossible to commercially deploy the same technology standards
adopted by the US Department of Defence and similar groups. While the military
is prepared to pay more than $50 per container, the cost per container cycle
in the commercial shipping industry should not exceed a few dollars. IPICO and
its partners overcame this challenge by developing the multilayered BIT
security seal to both fit the budgets of commercial players and comply with
relevant international security standards.
    The RFID tag that gives the seal its intelligence is currently based on
the IP-X air-interface protocol. EPC Gen 2 compliant devices will be tested
during Q3 2007, and is expected to become available for commercial
applications during Q4 2007. For its intrinsic strength, the BIT seal utilises
an ISO17712 compliant mechanical bolt and locking insert supplied by E. J.
Brooks Company. The BIT seal will be the first passive RFID transponder device
to support both EPC Gen 2 and IP-X protocols on a single tag solution,
providing unequalled interoperability across multiple regulatory domains. The
IP-X protocol also has the unique capability to read tags at very high speeds
and to support the operation of large numbers of UHF RFID readers in the same
frequency band, which is essential for countries with limited spectrum
availability.

    Competitive differences

    The BIT seal offers the competitive advantage of various multilayered
security features built into a cost-effective design:

    
    -   Unique factory programmed tag ID provides each BIT seal with a
        distinct and unchangeable birth certificate, guaranteeing the
        integrity of a system based on this product.
    -   Built-in tamper evidence to ensure that any compromises to the
        mechanical integrity of the seal are immediately detected at the
        closest point of monitoring or control.
    -   Up to 1kbit user-definable memory in the BIT seal tag supports
        storage of digital signatures on the seal and links it with a
        PKI-based trust network for offline verification of the authenticity
        of seals - an essential feature in developing countries with limited
        communication infrastructure and an imperative for this concept to be
        globally acceptable.
    

    The BIT seal is also designed to seamlessly fit the shipping industry's
typical operational cycles. Manual completion of paper documentation can be
replaced with electronic scanning of the seal and container IDs, using a
handheld RFID scanner. If a high level of security is required, a digital
signature can be written onto the tag, using the unique private encryption key
of the shipper. The information representing the sealing event will be
automatically dispatched to a back-end system, and if necessary, to a trust
centre.
    Authorisation of dispatching a sealed container can be linked to the
right combination seal, container, truck and driver IDs. At an inspection
point, typically Customs and Border Control at a large port, the seal status
will be verified automatically using overhead readers at the entrance.
Authorisation to pass through or unload can again be linked to the expected
combination of seal, container, truck and driver IDs. A customs inspector can
use a scanner loaded with a set of matching public encryption keys to verify
the authenticity of seals and pick out seals that were replaced or not
properly signed. Should it be necessary to open and inspect a container, the
relevant customs authority can use an authorised seal to replace the initial
seal, and write its own digital signature onto the new one. And these
procedures neatly fit into the Green Lane / Red Lane concept envisaged by US
Customs to combine high levels of security with efficient cross-border
operations.

    Proof of concept

    To date, pre-production versions of the BIT seal have been successfully
tested and demonstrated to customs authorities and commercial players in
China, Pakistan, South Africa, Latin America, France and the US and it is
currently undergoing pilot trials in several of these countries.
    "In testing, end-users have commented on the BIT seal's ease of use,
versatility when being read in different scenarios, and low cost compared to
alternative solutions for fostering secure global commerce," says Gordon
Westwater, President, IPICO Inc.
    "The BIT seal has the potential to establish a worldwide standard for
secure electronic container seals," remarks Westwater. "This product will
enable global rollout of the container security technology envisaged post
9/11. It satisfies the requirements of customs and port authorities and also
fits the budgets of the commercial players that will eventually foot the
bill."
    As a company with a long history in the container security industry, E.J.
Brooks views this product release as a key step towards the convergence of
security and logistics visibility solutions. "As logistics and security needs
continue to merge, cross-border transportation and RFID security seals will be
addressed early in worldwide logistics plans, as the industry shifts
inexorably forward in its use of RFID for container security and tracking,"
says Andrew McNeice, Vice President, International Sales, EJ Brooks. "With its
technology partners, Brooks has been at the forefront of RFID security seal
engineering science since 1998," he adds.

    ABOUT IPICO INC.: IPICO is an RFID and global visible commerce
supply-chain solution supplier with operations in the USA, South Africa,
Europe, Asia and Australia. IPICO produces smart labels and tags based on the
IP-X(TM) communication protocol. IPICO's low interference readers comply with
regulatory requirements in major geographical regions, and allow for
multi-reader rollout in close proximity. IPICO's low cost RFID products excel
at long read range, fast multi-read anti-collision and high thru-beam
read-speeds of dynamic tag populations. Beyond vehicles and containers, these
products are used to optimize the management of items, people, animals and
processes within the logistic supply chain and other values chains. For more
information, visit, www.ipico.com.

    ABOUT E.J. Brooks: Founded in 1873, E.J.Brooks Company, an ISO 9001-2000
registered company, is the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of tamper
indicating security seals, locking devices, security tape and labels;
indicative high security padlocks; and self sealing bags. The company
headquartered in Livingston, N.J. has 14 operating units, including locations
in the USA, England, Mexico, China, Spain, Spain, Brazil, India and Singapore.
Brooks is the world leading provider of ISO 17712 compliant high security
intermodal bolts and cable seals and will be a major player in providing ISO
compliant high security electronic seals with both RFID and GPS related
solutions. Brooks addresses the following key distribution channels such as
transportation, retail, money handling, chemical, pharmaceuticals,
manufacturing and healthcare industries globally. Brooks has redefined the
concept of "Security Logistics" and is a major supplier of information and
future security trends to the logistics community around the world. Visit
Brooks and its subsidiaries online at www.ejbrooks.com or www.brookseals.com

    This news release contains certain forward-looking statements pertaining
to future anticipated projected plans, performance and developments, as well
as other statements relating to future operations and results. Any statements
in this news release that are not statements of historical fact may be
considered forward-looking statements. Written words such as "may," "will,"
"expect," "believe," "anticipate," "estimate," "intends," "goal," "objective,"
"seek," "attempt," or variations of these or similar words, identify
forward-looking statements. These statements by their nature are estimates of
future results only and involve substantial risks and uncertainties, including
those detailed from time to time. There can be no assurance that actual
results will not differ materially from expectations.





For further information:

For further information: For IPICO : Dr. Alwyn Hoffman, Executive Vice
President, IPICO, alwyn.hoffman@ipico.com, Tel. + 27 (12) 345 9520 or +27 (82)
851 6537; Geoffrey Morgan, Maverick PR, geoffreym@maverickpr.com, Tel. (416)
640-5525, ext 228; For E.J. Brooks Company: Andrew McNeice, Vice President
International Sales, EJ Brooks Company, andrew.mcneice@ejbrooks.com, Tel.
(908) 304-2927 or + 44 7768 69 54 38

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