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RFID Gets Easier Every Year

As I walked the exhibit hall at last week's RFID Journal LIVE! conference, it became clear that companies are responding to the need to make radio frequency identification systems simpler to deploy and use.
By Mark Roberti
Apr 19, 2018

I've been writing in this column for several years that radio frequency identification systems need to be easier to deploy and use. At last week's RFID Journal LIVE! 2018 conference and exhibition, held in Orlando, Fla., it was abundantly clear that the market is responding.

Several years ago, SML moved its Clarity software to the cloud to make deployments less complex, while Zebra Technologies introduced sleds that let users connect an ordinary smartphone so employees can then use a software interface with which they are comfortable (see Zebra's Sled Reader Enables UHF RFID Tag Reads Via Smartphone). And Impinj developed a software platform that enables companies to more easily use data from its readers (see With ItemSense, Impinj Aims to Simplify 'Always On' RFID Deployments). Now, many other firms are responding to companies' requests to make RFID systems easier to deploy and use.

Bluvision/HID Global won RFID Journal's Best New Product award this year for its Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacon system, which comes with tamper-evident beacons and sensor beacons (see RFID Journal Announces Winners of Its 12th Annual RFID Journal Awards). The solutions comes with small nodes that plug into ordinary power outlets, making it easy to deploy.

Another solution that impressed me was Infratab's Freshtime system. Place a Freshtime sensor in or on a box of produce, and it will monitor temperatures in real time. The system dynamically calculates—and communicates via the RFID tag—the number of days left before a product can no longer be sold, based on the temperatures to which it has been exposed. It doesn't get any easier than that (see Infratab Introduces Smartphone Sensor Tags for Monitoring Perishables).

A new reader from startup SensThys allows users to daisy-chain low-cost overhead readers, powering up to four units via a Cat5 Internet cable. One reader will send data to the next, and then the next, and back to the host system. This makes it easier to install readers overhead, and to cover an entire store without a complex installation, with only a single cable required for each device (see Startup SensThys Teams With Alien to Provide PoE+ RFID Mesh).

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