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Identiv Offers NFC RFID Temperature-Tracking Solution
The system—consisting of the disposable uTrust Sense Temperature Tracker tag and an app for Android smartphones and tablets—is designed to serve as a low-cost data-logger.
Customers can purchase the uTrust Sense tags, which cost about $10 apiece for low-volume orders, but less for larger volumes. They can then store them for a period of time without draining the battery, Ardiley says, since the tags remain dormant until the first read activates them. Once a tag is activated via the uTrust Sense app, a user can configure that tag's settings, including how often it should take measurements (frequencies ranging from every five seconds to every nine hours are possible). The user can also configure the tag to transmit an alert based on preset thresholds of high and low temperatures.
The tag's battery life depends on how often those measurements are taken, but it is expected to last for the length of a shipment—typically, 30 to 90 days. If the battery dies before the user is finished using it, an NFC reader could still be employed to collect all sensor measurements stored up to the moment when the battery expired.
Individuals could then read the tag's temperature data at different points along the supply chain. A truck driver could read the data upon dropping off or picking up a product shipment at a distribution center, and a retail-store worker could do so at the receiving dock.
Montgomery says that one product manufacturer has been using tens of thousands of uTrust Sense tags, in conjunction with an app custom-developed by Identiv, to track temperature-sensitive goods that have a fairly short shelf life. He reports that several other companies that have expressed an interest in the technology as well, including some in the health-care market for tracking medical and pharmaceutical supplies. In addition, the uTrust Sense tag could be modified so that it could be worn against a person's skin, in order to monitor body temperature. In industrial environments, Ardiley says, the uTrust Sense tag can be used to oversee any temperature fluctuations within a room or building in which temperature controls are critical. "You can affix it to almost anything," he states.
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