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By Beth Bacheldor

Mojix Introduces STARflex RFID Reader

Mojix, a provider of wide-area ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 RFID and Internet of Things (IoT) platform software, has announced its STARflex RFID reader. The STARflex reader is based on the company's STAR RFID system architecture (see The Brightest Star), the company reports, and features a flexible new design optimized for cost-effective, easy-to-deploy solutions for enclosed environments, such as real-time inventory tracking in retail apparel, as well as patient-flow management in ambulatory health care.

STARflex is suitable for use in indoor RFID tracking applications in locations where reflections from metal shelves and fixtures obstructing the signal in line-of-sight (LOS) between the reader and tag can significantly reduce read rates, according to the company. STARflex uses antenna techniques designed for location tracking, Mojix says, is optimized for synthesizing waveforms in high-density tag environments, such as those found in retail stores, and uses a patented, distributed excitation architecture. This RFID technology, Mojix explains, assures reliable excitation and detection of all tags, wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling.

According to Mojix, its new reader can detect tag signals up to 100 times weaker than other RFID readers, and is suitable for any hands-free, real-time inventory- and location-tracking solution, such as Mojix's recently announced OmniSenseRF Inventory Service for retail. Unveiled in January 2016, OmniSenseRF is an end-to-end, always-on, inventory-management solution available to retailers on a monthly service basis (see Mojix Offers OmniSenseRF Inventory Service for Retailers). OmniSenseRF delivers Mojix's software and hardware as a service, and its benefits include painless software upgrades and maintenance, a pay-as-you-go model that reduces budget impact and eases financial planning, vendor-managed hardware, and integration with enterprise resource planning (ERP) software via a RESTful application programming interface (API). The solution also provides retailers with the ability to scale up an implementation seamlessly, Mojix reports, making it easier to plan and manage a chain-wide rollout.

The STARFlex reader, which measures approximately 13 inches by 7 inches by 2 inches, can be deployed as a substantially less expensive alternative to Mojix's STAR 3000 RFID reader (see Mojix Announces Availability of Its Next-Generation RFID System).

Like the STAR 3000 RFID reader, Mojix says, the STARflex can be used with Mojix's distributed excitation architecture (eNodes), which is a low-cost method of delivering very high performance over a large number of antennas. "But where the STAR was designed to be most economical for deployments of over 100 antennas," explains Jim Donaldson, a spokesperson for Mojix, "the STARflex is optimized for smaller deployments, like small-box retail, individual departments in department stores, or ambulatory surgical centers."

The STARflex can support 48 antennas with a few additional components. It supports up to 16 antennas without a Mojix eNode, but requires one eNode for each group of 16 additional antennas, for a total of two eNodes to support 48 antennas. The device requires only a single AC power connection and one network connection—enough for the real-time, overhead monitoring of a retail store measuring 3,000 to 6,000 square feet, depending on the requirements, Donaldson notes. In addition, Donaldson says, because it has a much higher sensitivity than a reader with an integrated antenna (at -100 dBm, up to 100 times more sensitive), it performs much better in environments containing a lot of reflective surfaces, such as metal shelves and fixtures.

The STARflex software architecture is optimized for simplicity and resilience, Mojix adds, in order to enable fast deployment of robust distributed systems. For tag data, STARflex features native support for the lightweight MQTT device protocol, developed for the IoT. To simplify and speed up integration, the reader features a RESTful interface for control and status. Users can implement business logic software directly on the reader using this RESTful interface, the company reports, or by utilizing the modern and ubiquitous node.js Web framework that enables the use of more than 200,000 open-source packages for easy integration with virtually any enterprise system.

The STARflex is available now.

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