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McDonald's, Other Companies Test TAG Sensors' RFID Temperature Loggers
The data logger—in the form of a passive RFID inlay and a battery-powered sensor embedded in an adhesive label—is designed to provide a low-cost method of tracking products' environmental conditions throughout the supply chain.
The data-logging label could also be printed with a user's company logo, and its RFID chip contains sufficient memory that other data could be written to it as well. Its battery has enough power to store up to 841 temperature readings throughout the course of up to 18 months. The labels are designed to be low enough in cost that they could be disposed of at the end of a product's transportation to the store and customer. However, Nygard adds, they could be reused.
Tag Sensors' label comes with an adhesive back and can be affixed to a box's interior or exterior. It could then be interrogated by a handheld reader with a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone; by a handheld that transmits data via a Wi-Fi, cellular or USB connection; or by fixed readers in portals or on desktops. The NFC version of Tag Sensors' label could also be read using an NFC-enabled smartphone running the TAG Sensors app. Each time a reader captures the label's temperature history, Nygard explains, that data is forwarded to TAG Sensors' Tag Management System (TMS) cloud-based software, where it is stored securely. The information cannot be changed by any outside party, he notes, thus ensuring the authenticity of any data that supply chain members or customers view there.
The TAG Sensors app, available for iOS or Android devices, can display data for users as well. For instance, if an individual is reading a tag when receiving goods at a warehouse, using a Bluetooth-enabled handheld reader in conjunction with a smartphone, he or she can view the temperature results immediately in the form of a graph, and thereby take corrective action if necessary. The phone's location data at the time that the tag is read will also be stored with the temperature data, creating a record of where the tags were interrogated, and thus where the tagged box may have been when an acceptable temperature level was exceeded, for example, as well as who was responsible for the problem.
"Our next step is to go global," Nygard states. The company is currently in discussions with several companies beyond Europe that may begin piloting the technology for tracking food, pharmaceuticals or vaccines. In addition, TAG Sensors is working with partners to offer its solution in Asia for frozen fish and seafood. The solution, known as TR49: 2016 Cold Chain Management of Frozen Fish and Seafood, collects and manages data related to the temperatures and locations of raw and minimally processed frozen seafood.
Users can either buy the solution outright, or lease the hardware and use the software as a service, paying a monthly or annual fee. They would need to purchase the data-logging labels themselves, and the price would vary according to volume and the rest of the infrastructure they require.
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