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Intermec Unveils Tag Reader-Writer; Celerant RFID-enables Its Retailer Software

At the National Retail Federation's annual trade show, Intermec debuts a new EPC Gen 2 tag interrogator, while Celerant Technology adds RFID to its retail management system.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 14, 2008Multiple vendors at this week's National Retail Federation (NRF) convention and expo in New York City are showcasing items and announcing new product offerings using RFID technology.

Intermec is unveiling its IP30 RFID interrogator in the form of an add-on handle for the company's mobile computers—a next generation to the IP4 portable RFID reader Intermec developed five years ago. According to Chris Johnston, Intermec's product strategist, the new mobile device, which reads and encodes tags compliant with the EPC Gen 2 passive UHF standard, is being piloted by food producers and will be commercially available at the end of March.

The interrogator offers greater flexibility than previous handheld interrogators, Johnston says. It plugs into Intermec CN3 or CK61 mobile computers, allowing it to be used with a variety of functions—either with GPS, wide area network (WAN), 802.11 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth systems in the case of the CN3; or with a bar-code scanner capable of reading bar codes from a distance of 6 inches up to 60 feet, in the case of the CK61.

The IP30 can link to either handheld computer model through a wireless Bluetooth connection or a USB port. The self-contained reader's antenna, smaller than that of its predecessor (the IP4), is linear rather than circular, providing a longer read range. Depending on the tag model, Johnston says, the IP30's read range is 12 or 14 feet. The RFID interrogator also includes five LEDs on its side that indicate whether the wireless function is working; whether the device has a connection with the host, is sending energy to an RFID tag or reading a tag; and whether the battery is charged.

According to Johnston, some popular uses of the system will involve case-to-pallet aggregation (with the bar-code capabilities), as well as produce growers employing GPS technology to locate the position of a read—in a field, for instance. It could also be used to track files or IT equipment, and to locate assets in rugged environments, such as train chassis in a rail yard.

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