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RAIN RFID Alliance Releases Guideline for Simplified Reader Commands
The RAIN Communication Interface guideline provides a way for UHF RFID solution providers to build systems that can communicate with any make or model of reader and operate in multiple applications with different reader types, thus eliminating the need for APIs.
Oct 22, 2018—
The guideline was created by members of the RAIN RFID Alliance's Developers Workgroup after systems integrators asked for an easier way to control readers. RCI's profile command replaces the need for a reader to send a series of commands to identify a tag and then process that tag's response. Instead, the series of commands can be built into the single profile command. That function also eliminates the requirement for application programming interfaces (APIs) for each reader.
For end users and systems integrators, the challenge is to have a hardware-agnostic system that will operate with any make or model of UHF RFID reader. Traditionally, all reader manufacturers have provided their own proprietary command protocols and software APIs. For integrators, Halliday explains, that provides multiple challenges. "For example," he says, "when installing readers at loading docks, for internal track-and-trace, and handhelds," he says, the software of end users or integrators had to be programmed to control a variety of readers in a single deployment, and to accommodate additional readers as they were added.
"The same situation occurs when the integrator takes their software application and wants to re-use it for the next deployment," Halliday says, and that end user specifies a different reader than the one the system already supports. In each case, systems integrators would then have to develop a custom solution for a deployment's reader hardware, adding complexity and excess effort, and resulting in solutions that were more complex than they needed to be. In addition, inefficient and complex standard interfaces (or APIs) led the integrators to ignore some of the often-used features of the interfaces, and to ultimately develop their own reader interfaces, resulting in a lack of reader interoperability and support for all of the intended features.
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