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U Grok It Releases UHF RFID Reader for Phones, Tablets

The Grokker enables small and midsize businesses to read tags via their Android or iOS smartphones or tablets, using an app created for the purpose of collecting, managing and viewing data about the tagged items being read.
By Claire Swedberg

According to Requist, another customer is an unnamed company that offers office-management applications for legal offices. In this case, the U Grok It customer is adding an RFID function to its app so that attorneys can use the Grokker to apply RFID tags to client files, and thus more easily locate them.

"We believe an open platform is good for the RFID industry," states Requist, who hopes her company's customers will develop their own apps in ways that will serve their own users.

Laura Sankey
Because the Grokker plugs into the audio port of a smartphone or tablet, instead of using a Bluetooth connection, its communication with the mobile device is secure, Requist says. This has especially appealed to government-based customers that want a very secure connection, she notes, adding that several hundred companies have tested the Grokker within the past 15 months.

The device, says Laura Sankey, U Grok It's sales and marketing VP, has a read rate of 1,500 tags per minute and a range of 2 to 3 meters (7 to10 feet). The rechargeable 1,800-milliamp battery can power the reader for two to three hours of continual use, Sankey reports, which typically accommodates a full day of sporadic use. The device requires approximately two hours to become fully recharged.

The company recommends UHF RFID tag suppliers based on a customer's particular needs, though it did not indicate which suppliers those might be. U Grok It does not sell tags, Requist says, and has not partnered with a specific tag manufacturer. She adds that her firm has been disappointed with some tag companies' comparative reluctance to accept orders from smaller businesses for tags in quantities of only hundreds or thousands. That reluctance may be shortsighted, she points out, since many of these customers buying tags in small quantities will go on to place very large orders in the future. What's more, the large number of small companies that will require the tags ultimately equates to a very large volume of tags ordered.

The current version of the Discover Grok app, shown here on an Android-based phone paired with the Grokker, is designed to demonstrate the reader's capabilities. Discover Grok 2.0, slated for release later this year, will allow data to be stored in the cloud.
Requist says U Grok It will begin selling its product in Europe later this fall, and that it is also in discussions with several customers in South America and the Middle East, though the Grokker has yet to win approval from national telecommunication regulators overseeing the use of UHF RFID readers within these regions.

"We have received FCC and Industry Canada (IC) approval," Sankey reports, so U Grok It units can now be shipped to those two nations. "We anticipate EU certification this fall, which will open the European market. We will continue to open additional markets as opportunities arise."

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