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TI Enters Access Control Market

Texas Instruments plans to take on the leader in RFID access control with a new line of 13.56 MHz reader and card security systems.
Aug 01, 2002August 1, 2002 -- Texas Instruments plans to take on HID, the leader in the market for RFID access control systems. TI said today that is will introduce a new line of 13.56 MHz reader and card security systems for access control.

TI is a leader in RFID technology, but hasn't been a major player in the access control market. The company believes that the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 have fueled demand for a 13.56 MHz access control system. Most existing access control products use low-frequency (125 KHz) RFID. The company is betting that its expertise in 13.56 MHz RFID systems, brand recognition and competitively price product will give it an edge.

"We're going to offer some competition to HID, which basically dominates the marketplace today," says Bill Allen, eMarketing Manager, Texas Instruments RFid Systems. "We make the chips, the cards and the readers, so we have a turnkey solution."

TI believes there is an opportunity to sell a 13.56 MHz system because it offers several advantages over low-frequency systems. The faster data transfer rate means a tag with biometric data on it can communicate more quickly with a reader. TI doesn't offer a biometric solution, but believes companies will plug its readers into a biometric control panel for additional security.

TI's 13.56 MHz cards and readers are compliant with the ISO 15693 vicinity card standard, so companies can integrate equipment from other vendors without a problem. The system is also compatible with ISO 14443 A/B smart card standards. That means companies could combine access control and payment systems on one card. So employees could use the same badge to get into the building or to pay for lunch.

The card holds 2000 bits of data. The data is written and stored directly on the card, independent from a host system, so employees carry authorization codes with them. Other data, such as emergency medical histories, can also be stored on the tag. And the card has the capability of being programmable at the door, which means security can change or revoke access on a card remotely.

The new S-6400 series readers for access control offer a read range that is about 40 percent longer than 125 KHz systems, according to TI. The readers can pick up more than one tag at a time, and they are RS485 Weigand compliant.

TI says it will sell its system, which will be available in mid-September, for about the same cost as existing 125 KHz systems. "With 13.56 MHz, you get a number of capabilities above what 125 KHz can bring," says Allen. "So you get more features and functionality for the same cost."
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