Tags, Readers Compliant With the ISO 18000-3M3 Standard Expected Soon
With the new standard, RFID interrogators will be able to read a greater quantity of high-frequency passive tags simultaneously, and much more quickly, compared with most HF systems currently available.
The system provides two benefits to end users, Rutherford explains. First, companies already employing a UHF solution that wish to add HF functionality for some items can utilize the 18000-3M3 tags and readers, which will be compatible with the data standard used for EPC UHF tags, and data culled from the HF tag reads can thus be stored on the same software system as that collected from the UHF tag reads. Other advantages of using HF tags, he says, include a reading speed and read rate similar to those of UHF tags.
Optys has traditionally been a developer and manufacturer of power supply systems, Rutherford says, but its customers began requesting HF RFID solutions that would enable them to interrogate multiple tags within close proximity at high speeds. Over the past two years, the company offered custom RFID solutions to such end users, including Blockbuster's video vending machines with HF RFID readers, codeveloped with Blockbuster's supplier, Touch Automation. Optys also supplied the UHF RFID interrogator built into a version of Retailers Advantage's Multi-Lock Power Detacher (MLPD) for RFID-enabled electronic article surveillance (EAS) hard tags (see Apparel Retailers Test RFID-enhanced EAS Hard Tags). However, he says, the firm has also been working with NXP to develop a reader that would speak the UHF language—that is, one that would comply with EPCglobal's Tag Data Standard (TDS), but operate at 13.56 MHz (in other words, one using the ISO 18000-3M3 standard). Readers complying with the standard can read tags much faster than traditional HF readers—at a rate of up to about 700 tags per second. In December 2011, Optys released its OptRFID ILT reader, which is now being tested, along with reader prototypes by some of NXP's clients, says Kurt Bischof, the marketing manager for NXP's RFID core business.
UPM RFID is working to release inlays based on the Icode ILT chip supporting the new 3M3 protocol. The company reports that samples of the inlays will be made available in April 2012, with production slated to follow soon thereafter. Identive is producing a 3M3-based tag, known as the S6, as part of its Smartag IJ series of labels, with a 50-millimeter-by-50-millimeter (2-inch-by-2-inch) antenna for use with the Icode ILT chip for document tracking—which, at present, is only available in limited quantities.
"We delivered around 25,000 tags into a document-tracking project in Asia recently," says Michael Ganzera, the VP of business development and marketing within Identive's ID infrastructure and transponder division. Identive is also designing 3M3 tags to address the casino and gaming industry that could, for example, be attached to poker chips and have a round form factor. Those tags, Ganzera says, are likely to become available within the next two quarters. He expects that they would be readable using an ISO 180000-3M3 reader, with about 140 labels read simultaneously. Moreover, the company is developing a new reader module based on NXP's latest HF reader chip, the CLRC663 model, compliant with the ISO 18000-3M3 standard, for the second quarter of this year.
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