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RFID Gets Easier Every Year

As I walked the exhibit hall at last week's RFID Journal LIVE! conference, it became clear that companies are responding to the need to make radio frequency identification systems simpler to deploy and use.
By Mark Roberti

Seeonic introduced an untethered passive UHF reader. The unit can be deployed in a fixture at a store, or in an emergency vehicle or at some other remote location. It has a battery that can last for days, depending on how often you require the unit to wake up and read tags, and it can connect to a cell network to send data back to a host system.

On the tag side, there were numerous innovations. EM Microelecronic introduced a chip featuring sophisticated encryption technology, which is ideal for vehicle identification and other applications. Powercast, meanwhile, introduced a cool visual hangtag that lets you change the price and display it using e-paper.

Smartrac's Midas FlagTag is small and allows you to fold back part of the tag to attach it a metal surface. The part folded back acts as a ground plane for the tag, so even though the tag measures just 43 millimeters by 21 millimeters after folding, it can be read from a distance of 30 feet (10 meters) away (see Smartrac Showcases Industrial Internet of Things Solutions).

Avery Dennison introduced one of the most innovative tags at the show, allowing users to microwave the tag without worrying that it will overheat and burn the item in the microwave oven (see RFID Pilots Address Perishable Foods, Beauty Products). Some ingenious engineering was employed to dissipate the heat, but the idea is not to have a tag that communicates with a reader in the microwave device (something talked about many years ago), but to enable companies to tag food items without worrying that if a customer failed to remove the tag, he or she could create a hazard at home.

There were many other great new products at the event as well—these are just some of the ones I came across. But they indicate a clear path toward easier adoption of RFID systems.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog or the Editor's Note archive.

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