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Tagit-EAS, Truecount Work on Circumvention Resistant RFID Tag
The two companies plan to release the multifunction tag—which combines EPC RFID with EM-based electronic article surveillance—by mid-January, as well as software to manage data collected by both technologies.
Dec 04, 2012—Tagit-EAS and RFID company Truecount have teamed up to develop and market the Circumvention Resistant RFID (CRRFID) tag, which combines radio frequency identification and electronic article surveillance (EAS) technologies. The CRRFID tag will contain an EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID inlay and an electromagnetic (EM) EAS wire, resulting in a multifunction tag that will not only set off alerts at a store's exit in the event that an unpurchased item bearing that tag is removed, but also provide data regarding the product before taken. The tag can also be used to track inventory from the point of manufacture to the point of sale. The CRRFID system is presently in the prototype stage, but is expected to become commercially available by mid-January, in time for the National Retail Federation (NRF) Retail's Big Show 2013, taking place on Jan. 13-16 in New York. The two companies plan to demonstrate the product at the conference.
Nolan Wheeler, Tagit-EAS' CEO, says he conceived of the tag while considering RFID's shortcomings for loss prevention, as well as those inherent in existing EAS systems. Retailers have not typically utilized RFID tags for security purposes, because tag transmission can be blocked by a foil wrapper or a human hand. What's more, he says, RFID readers often pick up stray reads of tags that may not actually be leaving the store. Retailers are currently employing several different EAS technologies, Wheeler says, each of which has its own weaknesses. Certain types of EAS tags, including those that use radio frequency (RF) or acousto-magnetic (AM) technology, can be blocked using foil "booster bags," which some shoplifters bring to stores in order to be able to remove goods. In addition, if the EAS tags do emit a signal, they can only set off an alarm or trigger a camera, but not indicate details about which item is being removed.
The CRRFID tag is intended to incorporate two technologies traditionally built into separate tags, according to Zander Livingston, Truecount's CEO and cofounder. The EM EAS wire and the RFID inlay, he says, are attached to the single tag in such a way that neither technology interferes with the other.
The RFID EAS tags will be made available in both hard and soft versions. The tags can be attached to garments at the point of manufacture, and can be interrogated via readers throughout the supply chain, as well as at a store, for the purpose of inventory tracking, shipping verification and replenishment alerting. Once at the store, a tag can also be detected by a Tagit-EAS gate, which can activate an alarm (including one that is both visual and audible), or trigger door delays and the recording of video via closed-circuit television (CCTV). However, a store could also utilize the RFID functionality in order to gain information about the specific item being removed. In that case, a reader would need to be installed at the exit in addition to the Tagit-EAS gate.
In the current prototype of the CRRFID solution, Livingston says, the two different technologies—RFID and EAS—are managed independently. Truecount software captures each RFID read and can store the ID number of the object being removed, but it can also link that ID to information about the item, along with a timestamp indicating when the event occurred. The software has alerting features enabling it to, for instance, forward that information to authorized parties, or display it on a dashboard. The EAS system, on the other hand, does not display or store data about the specific item being removed.
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