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Pilots of CSL's Battery-Assisted Passive UHF RFID Card Underway
Several dozen sites, including a large U.S. retailer and a private school in India, are testing the company's tag, which offers a read range of up to 80 feet without obstructions, and about 15 feet when attached to a person's body.
Dec 12, 2012—Although there are a variety of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID solutions for passive proximity badges, access control and other ID cards carried by personnel or customers, adoption has been challenged by a drop in read range and reliability when the cards are in close proximity to the human body, according to Jerry Garrett, the managing director of Hong Kong RFID technology firm Convergence Systems Ltd. (CSL). Active tags, while offering a longer read range in the presence of a person's body, are expensive, and some models beacon constantly—a feature many users do not want in an ID card. Now, several dozen pilots are underway involving a new CSL product that aims to provide a longer read range with battery-assisted passive (BAP) UHF RFID tags that strikes a compromise between passive and active technologies. The new BAP CS9010 card, also known the BAP ID Card, contains a UHF RFID inlay compliant with the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6c standards. It comes with its own power source—a battery—which is activated only if the tag is scanned by a reader, in which case the card will use the battery power to boost the transmission, and the tag will then go to sleep.
The CS9010 card is being tested by systems integrators around the world, Garrett says, as well as by end users, including a large retailer in the United States and a private school in India.
CSL first announced a soft launch of the BAP ID Card at the RFID Journal LIVE! conference held in April 2012. Since then, companies have been trialing it for use in tracking the zones in which people—such as students, employees or customers with loyalty cards—are located. The card is also being tested for use in monitoring items that can be challenging to track via passive UHF tag, such as those containing a large amount of metal that would otherwise require metal-mount tags. The BAP ID Card became available commercially as of last month.
The CS9010 card measures 1.8 millimeters (0.07 inch) in thickness and is about the size of a credit card. It is intended to fit into a pocket, wallet or purse, the company reports, or to be worn as a badge or on a lanyard. The tag's read range is approximately 5 meters (16.4 feet) when held against a person's body, such as in a shirt pocket, but can exceed 25 meters (82 feet) in open space. These statistics apply when CSL's CS203 reader is used; however, Garrett says, any UHF RFID reader can interrogate the tags.
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