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Alien Technology Unveils Reader and Gateway Device to Simplify RFID Deployments

With the ALR-F800-X, users can name their readers according to their location, automatically read tags conforming to all standards, and set perimeters for readers with Microsoft's Windows tools and the device's Emissary software layer.
By Claire Swedberg
May 04, 2017

Alien Technology has released a new ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID reader and gateway device aimed at easing the process of deploying radio frequency identification for small to midsized companies. The ALR-F800-X is a UHF RFID reader that also serves also as a gateway, capturing read data from as many as four other Alien readers, then interpreting that information and forwarding it to a server.

The new device comes with what the company has dubbed Emissary software, which enables users to create logical names for each reader, anntena and peripheral device in the ALR-F800-X's network, as well as logical names for the locations in which the hardware resides. For instance, they can name their readers. Instead of a reader being identified by a serial number, it can be designated Dock Door 4 or Conveyor 5, for example.

The ALR-F800-X device
The goal, says Neil Mitchell, Alien Technology's senior director of marketing, is to make deployments easier, lower in cost and more user-friendly. The ALR-F800-X is being introduced at RFID Journal LIVE! 2017, being held next week in Phoenix, Ariz., in booths #304 and 404.

Companies using or wishing to use RFID technology are often frustrated by the challenges of configuring and managing multiple readers, Mitchell says. Readers typically have numerical addresses that don't fit easily into the practical world of simply tracking what is moving through a particular portal or area. In fact, he estimates, six out of 10 midsized RFID deployments are delayed due to hardware installation and integration being overly complicated.

The ALR-F800-X is designed to make the deployment easier for Alien's partners (solution providers) and end users, Mitchell says. The device comes with a built-in ALR-F800 reader, as well as the Emissary software layer.

Already, Mitchell says, Alien readers all send a "heartbeat" signal via their Internet protocol, so that the software managing the devices knows they are there. The ALR-F800-X detects the same heartbeat and adds up to four readers to its network. The system also comes with a Microsoft Windows tool that users can employ to set up multiple reader workflows using built-in activities (the basic tasks) for their reader network.

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