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PervasID Releases RFID Readers for RTLS, Portal Applications

The U.K. company's Space Ranger 9100 UHF reader can track the movements of tagged items within a coverage area as large as 4,500 square feet for zonal tracking.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 14, 2016

PervasID, a startup company founded by University of Cambridge researchers, has launched an ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID reader designed to provide read accuracy near 100 percent, and to allow the automatic monitoring of tags for the purpose of constant stock-control updates. The device can identify the locations of thousands of items within a store, stock room or warehouse, as well as determine a particular product's location within a meter or less.

The device, known as the Space Ranger 9100, is an overhead reader with four pairs of external ceiling-mounted antennas. It can cover 4,500 square feet in low-density read areas (where RFID-tagged items are not densely packed) or 450 square feet for high-density reads in which many tagged items are located within a small area and a user requires nearly 100 percent tag detection.

The Space Ranger 9100 reader has ports for four pairs of external ceiling-mounted antennas.
The company is also releasing an RFID portal known as the Gate Ranger 9100 that it claims can interrogate tags with high accuracy and detect the direction at which each tag moves through the portal. The device is intended for entrances, exits, loading areas and other strategic locations, says Sithamparanathan Sabesan, PervasID's CEO and one of the company's cofounders.

A major retailer has tested the solution, and is installing an earlier version of PervasID's readers within a 45,000-square-foot store. That deployment covers receiving, storage, sales and fitting-room areas, spanning two floors and more than 100,000 tagged items.

Last month, Cambridge University's commercial arm, Cambridge Enterprise, together with the University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund IV (managed by Parkwalk), Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) and an unnamed private company, have invested a combined total of £720,000 ($773,000) in the RFID company. CIC invests long-term capital into businesses in the Cambridge cluster, including PervasID, that have disruptive technologies and the potential to become significant players.

PervasID was established in 2011, Sabesan explains, after its founders developed an RFID reader that employs a distributed antenna system (DAS) consisting of an array of antennas that capture data IDs within the reader's zone (see UK Startup Company Launches "Wide-Area" EPC RFID Prototype System). By using the patented DAS technology, he says, PervasID's reader can transmit RF signals across wide beams that fill a zone and capture the presence of an RFID tag, with a read rate of nearly 100 percent.

Initially, the technology was developed by Sabesan and fellow university researchers Michael Crisp, Richard Penty and Ian White, for use in an airport system called The INtelligent Airport (TINA), to capture UHF RFID data, and to carry other wireless services that might be present at an airport (see UK Researchers Study Distributed Antenna System for Airports). However, the company then looked into other applications that could be in demand, after which it developed a prototype solution for such applications as tracking documents in office environments. The Space Ranger 9100 improves on PervasID's previous readers in several ways, Sabesan explains. Because of its effective read rate and longer range, he notes, the Space Ranger 9100 can be installed with 60 percent fewer readers in a given deployment, resulting in an approximately 70 percent lower installation cost.

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