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Tagsys Releases Gen2 Tags for Item Level

Item-level RFID solutions provider Tagsys today announced a new approach to item-level tagging using UHF Gen2 technology. Dubbed "The-Package-Is-The-Tag", the approach represents an expansion into UHF technology from what had historically been a strong HF focus at the company.
Feb 22, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

February 22, 2006—Item-level RFID solutions provider Tagsys today announced a new approach to item-level tagging using UHF Gen2 technology. Dubbed "The-Package-Is-The-Tag", the approach represents an expansion into UHF technology from what had historically been a strong HF focus at the company. RFID Update spoke with Alastair McArthur, Tagsys' chief technology officer, and John Jordon, president of worldwide field operations, about The-Package-Is-The-Tag.

According to Jordon, "What's important about this entire product is that it allows real economies of scale." These economies are achieved by what Tagsys says is a new approach to tag and inlay design. Every tag that is part of the new solution includes a UHF "kernel" tag. This small Gen2 tag is very small, measuring 12mm x 8mm, and fully functional, including chip and antenna. This kernel tag is common across all applications; customization begins with the optional addition of another, secondary antenna. This secondary antenna can be attached to a product that is already tagged with the kernel tag, thereby expanding its functionality according to the needs of a particular item-level application. The antenna can be incorporated into the packaging of the product, but is notably not physically attached to the kernel tag. "The kernel tag could be on one side of the label, and the secondary antenna could be on the other side," said Alastair. This is a key piece of the innovation: the kernel tag and secondary antenna together provide rich item-level capabilities, but by not attaching them, an expensive manufacturing step is skipped, and cost-savings are achieved.

The secondary antenna is custom-designed with Tagsys for the client's particular needs, be it pharma, luggage, postal packages, etc. Variables like read range, orientation, and sensitivity can all be addressed as necessary. For example, were a company's products to be distributed in Europe, where UHF is more challenging to work with due to tight regulations, a secondary antenna could be designed and added to accommodate the European environment. "The secondary tag is a customizing element," said Alastair.

The new tag technology is available only as part of an integrated offering that includes Tagsys providing implementation services as well. By providing an integrated, hardware-plus-services solution, says Johnson, "Tagsys distinguishes itself by ensuring [the deployment's success] across the board. We remove risk." This approach "resonates well with clients, especially in the pharma environment," according to Johnson. (Tagsys was a major contributor to Pfizer's highly-publicized Viagra deployment announced last month. See our story.)

For clients of the Tagsys offering, tag prices could be quite low, in the five- to eight-cent range per inlay. It is hard to say that these prices are officially the lowest industry inlay prices since they are only available as part of a wider service commitment with Tagsys. But by any standard, they are very, very low. According to Jordon, "You could have a fully functioning inlay product at five to ten cents very realistically." The inlays will be available for large-volume orders during the second half of the year.

The kernel tags use Impinj's Monza chip, which is currently enjoying dominance as the first and most mature Gen2 chip on the market. For its part, Impinj yesterday announced the release of new antenna designs that the company claims open the door for use of Gen2 technology in item-level applications. (See our story for more.) Between yesterday's announcement from Impinj and today's from Tagsys, item-level tagging will surely be a hot topic of conversation at next week's RFID World in Dallas and throughout 2006.

Read the announcement from Tagsys
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