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Century Link America Opens Doors for RFID Partners

The Chinese tag producer has launched a North American division to better meet the needs of systems integrators developing and ordering tags for customers' solutions, such as hybrid EAS-RFID systems for retailers.
By Claire Swedberg

Another common use of RFID is based on security at cash registers. For instance, a register can be locked until an RFID reader installed in or near the machine detects an associate's RFID-tagged ID badge, at which time the register will automatically unlock. When the worker walks away, the reader will no longer detect his or her badge's RFID tag, prompting the cash register to relock.

Consumer-based applications can include a tablet. In this case, if a shopper were to visit, for instance, a department store's shoe department, he could pick up a tablet that could be used to access data. He could then pick up a shoe that interested him, and an RFID reader linked to the tablet would detect that action and send an update to the software operating on the store's server, indicating which shoe was being looked at. The customer could then view display data about that shoe, provided by the software.

Century Link's CE36003 is an on-metal UHF tag designed for identifying assets, electrical appliances and metal shelves in warehouses.
Such a system could also provide information in a changing room if a customer took an item of clothing into that room along with a store's tablet. A reader mounted in the changing room would interrogate that garment's tag and forward data about the item, along with accessories that could go with it, to the tablet. The customer could also use the tablet to ask the sales staff to bring another size or color to the changing room.

With RFID use growing, Oliver predicts there will be a surge in the use of active 2.4 GHz RFID tags built into EAS tags. "It's more cost-effective for the retailer," he explains, since it provides location-based data. Using active RFID rather than passive tags would make that location-based data available without the cost of installing a multitude of antennas around a store or back room.

Century Link can also develop and provide active tags as needed, Leuzzi says, though they would be jointly developed for a particular customer's needs. "In fact, [our 2.4 GHz active tags] are already sold to the Chinese government and for use in city public asset control," he states.

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