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Checkpoint Systems Offers RFID Security for Retail Stores

The company's RFID Overhead EAS Solution includes a reader that mounts on a ceiling above an exit, as well as software to send alerts and link read data to a store's back-end inventory records.
By Claire Swedberg
Jun 10, 2011Checkpoint Systems, a provider of electronic article surveillance (EAS) solutions, announced today that it is introducing a new anti-theft system in North America and Europe. The new solution employs passive radio frequency identification software from the company's OATSystems division, as well as passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID readers that utilize technology acquired when Checkpoint purchased California startup firm Wirama in 2009.

The new system, dubbed the RFID Overhead EAS Solution, features RFID interrogators installed on (or in) ceilings above doorways, to read RFID tags as they exit a store. Traditionally, EAS systems—and recently introduced RFID EAS solutions—have required the installation of antennas on both sides of a doorway, which can cause some degree of obstruction in the entrance and exit. However, says Per Levin, the president of Checkpoint System's Merchandise Visibility Solutions division, Checkpoint's reader, as well as its two separate antennas, are instead mounted overhead, where the device can capture an apparel label's unique ID number anywhere within a doorway up to 4 meters (13.1 feet) in width.

Checkpoint Systems' RFID Overhead EAS Solution

The system also includes Checkpoint's Merchandise Visibility software, built on OATSystems' OAT Foundation Suite to manage data related to RFID reads at the doorway, and to forward that information to a user's own management system.

The RFID Overhead EAS Solution is the latest of several systems provided by Checkpoint that employ RFID specifically for apparel stores, though it could also be suitable for other types of retailers as well. In September 2010, the company created its RFID-based inventory-visibility solution division (see Checkpoint Systems Creates RFID-centric 'Visibility' Division). In January of this year, the firm released an Electronic Product Code (EPC) numbering platform intended to simplify the process of using RFID labels at the item level (see Checkpoint Systems Launches EPC Numbering Service).

Checkpoint's Merchandise Visibility software enables retailers using the RFID tags to manage the supply chain from manufacturer to store, and to track which products have been moved from the back room to the sales floor by means of RFID interrogators installed at key locations, as well as handheld readers for conducting inventory counts. In addition, Checkpoint offers a point-of-sale (POS) system with which items could be placed on a desktop reader and rung up according to the unique ID numbers on the garment labels. Finally, the RFID Overhead EAS system would detect if a person failed to purchase an item (at which time an RFID label would normally have been removed), and trigger an alarm, as well as send an update to the user's inventory-management system, thereby indicating what had been removed from the store.

For example, if a tag were not disabled or removed from a garment (which, for a legitimate purchase, a sales clerk should do at the point of sale), that tag would also be read while passing through the exit. The overhead reader employs Checkpoint's Wirama Radar hardware and software to determine not only a tag's location, but also its direction of movement, by means of the device's multiple phased arrays of antennas.

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