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Impinj Is on the Move

The pioneering RFID company plans to switch to a larger headquarters in 2015, and to continue work at its lab and Retail Experience Center to further develop its xArray "Always On" UHF RFID reader, Monza chips and new Item Intelligence software.
By Claire Swedberg

"I'm pretty excited right now," Diorio says, when considering all of the possibilities ahead for UHF RFID. The xArray product, as well as the expected release of the company's Gen 2 V2 tag chips (featuring greater functionality than prior models) sometime in 2015, along with the Item Intelligence software platform now under development, will make RFID able to accomplish functions not previously available, he says.

Impinj's RFID chips based on the EPC Gen 2 V2 standard will also provide enhanced user memory, Diorio says, as well as enable the cryptographic authentication of tags to reduce counterfeiting. What's more, it will allow the ability to hide portions of data via an "untraceable" function.

Each snowboard at the REC has an RFID tag affixed to it. When one of the boards is placed in a rack under a video screen (shown at left), a Speedway reader and antenna captures its tag ID number tag and launches video content about that product.
Impinj is currently developing location-based software for use with the xArray reader. That new software, Diorio says—which will be known as Item Intelligence—will identity, locate and authenticate items (in other words, it will confirm that a product has an authorized RFID tag is and thus not a counterfeit). However, he adds, additional details will not be released until the product is launched.

The Item Intelligence software will, however, still require that a partner software firm use that location-based software to create its own full solution specific to its customers, which could be retailers, health-care companies, manufacturers or warehouses. The software will provide a consumable stream of meaningful item data, Diorio says, as opposed to a torrent of RFID data. It will also simplify device management and control, he adds, making it easier to develop and deploy solutions. In the meantime, existing systems used by customers of the xArray readers rely on software fully developed by Impinj's partners. The new Item Intelligence software is expected to become available during the second half of 2015.

Diorio also chairs the RAIN Alliance, which he expects will promote and certify passive UHF RFID technology, similar to the way in which the Wi-Fi Alliance promotes and certifies Wi-Fi products that meet accepted criteria. RAIN (the name plays on the term "cloud," referring to data stored and accessible via the Internet) was launched in April of this year by Impinj, Google, Intel and Smartrac (see Technology Companies Create RAIN to Promote EPC UHF RFID Adoption), and now has 58 member companies. It is beginning to organize working groups to educate users and other industry members, help foster the development of solutions, and create a network in which potential users can be matched with suitable technology providers.

Meanwhile, Pesavento says, Impinj's engineers are using the lab to improve and perfect user modes offered with the first xArray release. "We are currently developing more innovative user modes to tackle new and challenging RFID use cases that our customers bring to us," he states, "as well as other projects in the pipeline." These improvements will be offered as firmware updates, he reports, though he declines to specify what those new user modes and use cases might be.

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