RFID: software, readers, migration

Radio frequency identification (RFID) readers collect information from tags, and connecting software helps process information for use.

By Control Engineering Staff July 1, 2004

Radio frequency identification (RFID) readers collect information from tags, and connecting software helps process information for use. In addition, some companies are working to ensure present RFID investments migrate to new requirements, when details on standards are available and technologies catch up.

Software aids tracking : Apriso Corp . added functionality to its FlexNet software suite to provide enterprises with “the world’s first turnkey platform for integrating radio frequency ID (RFID) and electronic product code (EPC) capabilities directly into existing or new real-time operational processes.” For the first time, Apriso says, companies can generate actionable business information and adjust workflow processes by location, identification, or movement of any product or item tagged with RFID tags simply by describing the relevant process flows and desired RFID interfaces to an event-driven, operational execution platform. Benefits range from leaner, more accurate operational processes to entirely new business models.

Datalogic Minec 4x is a Microsoft Windows CE-based hand-held terminal for collecting data from bar code labels and RFID tags.

RFID and bar code labels : Datalogic offers Minec 4x, a Microsoft Windows CE based handheld terminal designed for professional data collection from bar code labels and RFID tags. The Minec 4x has a wide range of models to satisfy bar code data capture and challenging RFID applications. Program development is provided by Windows CE standard tools (in either Visual Basic or C++ languages), so that any solution can be quickly developed according to the end-user’s needs. Minec 4x supports the most common wireless data transfer technology (Wi-Fi) by an integrated standard WLAN IEEE 802.11b wireless compact flash card for real-time radio communication with the Host System. Models with a laser barcode reader can decode most commonly used 1D bar codes with very good reading performance, says the company, while the Minec 4x models equipped with a RFID HF-ISO module (13.56 MHz), can read/write RFID tags at an operating range of up to 10 cm. Migration : Intermec Technologies Corp . offers an RFID migration strategy to help customers meet evolving RFID requirements. Intermec develops, manufactures, and integrates wired and wireless automated data collection, RFID, mobile computing systems, bar-code printers, and label media. In 2004, while tags and labels conforming to final mandate requirements outlined by the leading retailers and the U.S. Department of Defense are in short supply, Intermec customers can begin pilots with current Intermec tag and readers that support EPC numbering of read/write technology. Then customers can switch to meet final requirements through field upgrades and software downloads. Low interference readers : iPico , a developer of RFID integrated circuits since the early 1990s, offers UHF, 2.45GHz and Dual Frequency RFID products, said to excel at low-cost, long-read range, fast multi-read anti-collision and high through-beam read-speeds of dynamic tag populations. iPico and manufacturers in Europe, Israel, Asia, and Australia produce smart labels and tags based on the iP-X communication protocol. iPico’s low interference readers comply with regulatory requirements in major geographical regions, and allow for multi-reader roll-out in close proximity. iPico Dimi middleware platform manages applications in large scale, distributed systems, while the Dimi data and connectivity architecture allows for effective device management, data switching and data security. AirGATE Technologies specializes in wireless data management technologies and applications and offers iPico technologies.

—Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief, Control Engineering, MHoske@cfemedia.com