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Startup SensThys Teams With Alien to Provide PoE+ RFID Mesh

The new readers, known under the brand names of Hydra and SensArray, are designed to be simple and low-cost devices, to create a network of readers in high volume for high read accuracy.
By Claire Swedberg

The devices can be networked in potentially unlimited numbers when it comes to the transmission of data, Major says, but can receive and share power with up to five readers, after which an additional PoE+ input or a 48-volt power supply would be required. The system comes with other functions as well, he notes. For instance, the devices can flash a visible light alert when prompted to do so from the software, thereby enabling users to view the specific device that requires maintenance.

Ultimately, Mitchell says, the new readers enable lower up-front installation costs and greater flexibility than standard UHF systems can provide. For example, if a user were to decide that he or she needed greater location granularity in a particular area, or if there were a large number of tag reads that required reader density, additional Hydras could be installed and simply plugged into the nearest Hydra's Ethernet port.

Neil Mitchell
Alien also offers a developer kit for those seeking to trial the solution. The kit includes a Hydra reader, an ALR-F800-X reader with Emissary software, an antenna and a four-port PoE switch.

The two companies are currently in beta rollouts. Several businesses that have been using the technology fall within the range of applications for which the product is designed: in warehouses, at dock doors, or for monitoring work-in-progress, retail stores or tag-commissioning stations.

Major and Mitchell have both declined to name the price of the readers, but claim that they will be less expensive than standard UHF RFID readers. In fact, they report, the devices will save users an average of $225 per read point as compared to traditional readers.

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