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Intermec Releases Software That Targets Tags of Interest

The ARX reader system includes motion detection that pinpoints tags based on their movement. The company also plans to release a new higher-memory tag and a lower-cost reader.
By Claire Swedberg
Apr 16, 2010RFID interrogator manufacturer Intermec has released reader software that uses motion data to enable readers to differentiate between tags of interest and stray reads of motionless tags. It is one of three products targeted for release this year that Intermec unveiled at RFID Journal LIVE! 2010, held this week in Orlando, Fla. The reader software system, known as Advanced RFID Extensions (ARX) enables users to screen out reads of tags that may be located near a reader but not moving through a portal, such as a dock door. The company will also release a new fixed-position ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) interrogator known as the IF2 Network Reader, in the third quarter of 2010, as well as its IT36 Durable Asset Tag, in the fourth quarter.

The ARX system was developed at the request of end users who were seeking a solution that would enable RFID interrogators to differentiate between stray stationary tags in a crowded RFID environment (such as at a distribution center with tagged cartons or pallets stored near a reader) and those that are moving and need to be read, says Phyllis T. Turner-Brim, Intermec's director of RFID strategy and licensing. The ARX software solution is available on the Intermec IF61 fixed interrogators, which the company introduced into the market in 2007 (see Intermec Announces New Intelligent Reader), as well as the firm's forklift system, consisting of an IV7 vehicle-mounted RFID reader tethered to a CV60 vehicle-mounted computer. In the future, ARX could also be added as a feature to the IV7, in conjunction with a CV30 vehicle-mounted computer, if demand requires. (The company's handheld IP30 device does not support the ARX extensions, because motion-determination data is not applicable in a mobile reader.)

The ARX software determines whether a tag is in motion by using EPCglobal low-level reader protocol (LLRP) extensions to analyze data from Intermec's RFID readers. ARX utilizes information mined from the sequence of reads to discern whether a tag is moving, and thereby determine whether its data should then be forwarded to a company's back-end system.

"Intermec uses RSSI [return signal strength indicator] data, along with the phase angle of the received RF wave, which changes over time and can be used to compute a tag's speed," says Kurt Mensch, Intermec's RFID product manager. In fact, the system can alert a user not only whether a tag is in motion, but also whether it is near a reader, in a particular zone, or in a portal.

In 2007, Impinj released firmware supporting the LLRP protocol, and enabling its Speedway RFID EPC Gen 2 reader to send directionality signals to middleware, so users know not only which tags the interrogator has read, but also the direction in which tagged products are moving (see Impinj Announces High-Octane Firmware). And in 2008, Alien Technology released a direction-sensing upgrade for its interrogators (see Alien Software Adds Context to Tag Reads). Intermec's ARX differs from the Impinj and Alien systems, however, in that they derive data based on speed or direction information, while Intermec's reader also determines environmental conditions, including the signal's phase angle, prior to reporting that information to the server.

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