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Ubisense Introduces AngleID to Provide Low-Cost, Real-Time Zone Location

The sensor, the company says, can be set up in 10 minutes and supports five configurable zones for monitoring the locations of objects fitted with Ubisense active tags.
By Claire Swedberg
May 11, 2016

Implementing a real-time location system (RTLS) within a factory or at another site typically requires the installation of a network of readers and software integrated with a user's own management software. This makes the installation daunting for companies that want a quick and inexpensive solution, especially if the issue they hope to resolve with the technology is small or isolated.

At last week's RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition, Ubisense, a U.K.-based global provider of location-based solutions, released AngleID, an RTLS product that can be installed within a matter of minutes, according to Jay Cadman, Ubisense's marketing director. The system, which can determine a tag's location within five configurable zones, was originally designed for use in industrial and manufacturing environments. The company reports that it exhibited at this year's LIVE! event in order to investigate other potential AngleID applications across logistics, retail and health care, and that it identified many new use cases and opportunities.

The AngleID sensor
Cadman says that his company's industrial and manufacturing customers had been requesting a simple, standalone solution that could quickly and accurately identify the locations of equipment, tools or other assets without the need for IT integration or cabled reader infrastructure.

AngleID, which works with Ubisense's Dimension4 active ultra-wideband (UWB) RFID tags, is intended to be a solution that a user with little technical know-how can install within only a few minutes, says Jon Heathcote, Ubisense's product manager for software solutions. The AngleID sensor (reader), powered via a Power-over-Ethernet connection, is intended to interface with a user's existing PLC or standalone computer. The tags and reader, which operate in the 6 to 8 GHz frequency band, offer approximately 10 times the read range of passive UHF RFID readers and tags, Heathcote says.

Jay Cadman
The Dimension4 Tool tag comes in the form of a head unit only—powered either by a tool itself, or via a battery with an average lifespan of five years. Ubisense's Minitag is smaller and offers a two-year battery life, while the battery in its Industrial tag can provide more than 10 years' worth of usage.

To configure and operate an AngleID sensor, a user connects the device to a Windows-based computer via an Ethernet cable, then simply uses the sensor software running on the computer to map out zones by clicking and dragging the edges of each zone to define its particular read area. The sensor offers a 150-foot read range. A single sensor can cover up to a 15,000-square-foot area, Cadman says, while additional sensors would increase read range or offer greater flexibility in cluttered environments.

The AngleID sensor has a phased array antenna that captures tags' transmission pulses. The device measures the angle from each tag to the reader (the angle accuracy is 1.5 degrees) and monitors the tag's entry and exit for up to five different zones. The reader uses a text-based TCP/IP protocol or open protocol to report this data to the computer, Cadman notes. In the future, Ubisense plans to add support for other protocols, such as Ethernet/IP and Profinet. "All this is performed on the reader itself," he states, "with no need for server-based middleware or processing."

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