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Impinj Announces Commercial Availability of Its xArray UHF Reader

The device, now being offered by multiple solution providers, is designed to provide always-on inventory monitoring and real-time location data about tagged items, without the high cost of an active RFID system.
By Claire Swedberg

The new readers, priced at $3,300 apiece, are available through a subset of Impinj's reseller partners that have completed some Impinj training to become certified xArray channel partners. Many are already developing and offering solutions, including American RFID Solutions and InSync Software.

In addition, Impinj has formed what it calls select partnerships with several companies to further expedite the xArray reader's adoption. Nofilis, one of those select partners, has modified its CrossTalk software to leverage the data generated by an xArray device, according to Martin Dobler, the company's CTO, and is offering CrossTalk to Impinj-certified partners that may then incorporate the software into the xArray solutions they provide to their own customers. The goal is to enable these Impinj-certified partners to go to market with xArray more quickly, instead of having to develop their own software to support the new device.

Impinj's Craig Cotton
Nofilis is also offering what it calls the CrossTalk xArray Test Package. The test package, available free of charge, is designed for proof-of-concept deployments and consists of pre-configured CrossTalk software that companies can use in conjunction with one or multiple xArray readers to map tag locations in real time. What's more, the system can identify the direction in which tags are moving—for instance, through a portal.

Brand and retail marketing solutions firm inMotion released its latest content-management system (CMS) software platform, known as inMotion Ui7, in August 2014, which accommodates read data culled from xArray readers. InMotion provides software solutions that maximize theater, says Frederick Bleckmann, the company's VP of development. The RFID-, beacon- or other technology-based solutions "enable customers to explore products and brands," he says. The systems are used to bring visibility to brands regarding what consumers do around their displays, as well as provide content related to products on display. "Our long-term relationship with Impinj has grown to a partnership with the xArray. The focus is bringing RFID-based data to brands within the brick-and-mortar retail environment." Several of inMotion's customers are already using a total of 12 xArray devices, he notes.

Bleckmann says the gateway "is a more effective tool" than traditional UHF RFID readers "for less investment," because it doesn't require that antennas be mounted separately from the reader and then be adjusted to achieve the best read accuracy for that specific environment. Instead, he adds, an xArray gateway can be up and running without a great deal of time required for installation. According to Bleckmann, inMotion, Impinj, Creativesystems and UHF inlay manufacturer Smartrac will be demonstrating the xArray at this year's National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show convention, being held in January 2015.

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