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Are There Any Recent Significant Developments in RFID Technology?

Posted By RFID Journal, 02.19.2015

Can you please cite a few breakthroughs?

—Name withheld


I guess that depends on whether you are referring to breakthroughs in the technology itself, or in its adoption.

As far as the technology is concerned, I think the introduction of beam-steerable antenna technology is a significant development. Mojix pioneered this area with its STAR phased-array antennas (see The Brightest Star). More recently, Impinj introduced the xArray (see Impinj Announces Commercial Availability of Its xArray UHF Reader). Since then, Tyco Retail Solutions and others have introduced beam-steerable antennas, which can be mounted on a wall or ceiling and indicate a tag's relative location within a read zone, as opposed to merely revealing that a tag is somewhere in the zone.

Another important development (which has yet to have an impact on the market) is the introduction of battery-free RFID sensors. Farsens, Smartrac and others have introduced products (see Farsens Unveils Development Platform for Battery-Free Wireless Sensors, Actuators and Smartrac Group, RFMicron to Develop Passive Sensor Tags). These hold the potential to provide sensory data at a very low cost.

There have been a lot of incremental improvements in all types of RFID systems—passive high-frequency (HF) and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF), as well as active systems. Taken as a whole, they make RFID more reliable and easier to deploy, which is one reason why adoption is accelerating.

As far as developments in the technology's adoption go, I think the fact that a major patent holder, Round Rock Research, has reached licensing deals with most passive UHF system providers is a big development (see Round Rock Completes Licensing Deals With Majority of RFID Vendors). This means that a former impediment to adoption has now been removed. I also think that each new major deployment is significant, since it takes the technology one step closer to the tipping point.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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