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New RFID Readers Share Power, Easing Installation Complexity

SensThys is releasing five new reader devices designed to be networked together, with up to 90 watts of Power-over-Ethernet, that can be used to cover up to 100 read points with a single gateway and a PoE connection.
By Claire Swedberg

The SensX Extreme, another PoE device, is designed for use in rugged, outdoor or other extreme environments, including those that may not be permanent, such as in an agricultural or racing environment. The device has been developed to have an IP67 rating, with robust connectors, as well to withstand extreme conditions. "This is the first reader out there that's really capable of running outside in a place where you're exposed to the elements," Major states. "This product is designed to go there and do just fine."

The unit is also designed to be easily installed in temporary deployments, Major says, and can be deployed and put into use within a day. Other readers require a NEMA box to protect them from the elements, he notes, which requires additional configuration, such as routing power through that box and ensuring proper seals to protect the reader from the weather. That matters, he adds, since many agricultural or race-timing installations are temporary.

Jo Major
The Extreme system includes passive UHF RFID, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons and Bluetooth tags, and supports Wi-Fi, GPS and three sensors: an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a pressure sensor. It comes with support for four external antennas, but has no internal antenna. The SensArray readers all have the ability to forward data to other reader devices in a daisy-chain fashion. Because of the high-power functionality of the SensArray, Mitchell says, the power is also forwarded to each device. "Our readers can input and output power almost like it's data," he states.

One use case for the Extreme is the management of data at construction sites, at which a reader can identify where assets or workers are located. If the device is mounted in the cargo hold of a truck with antennas, for instance, it could temporarily follow a high-value payload. For that application, the SensX Extreme could identify not only what was in the vehicle and where that vehicle was located, but also such information as shock exposure. What's more, the device could be installed on construction scaffolding in order to identify which individuals or items were within the vicinity, of if someone was on the scaffolding, based on accelerometer measurements.

The system is currently being tested in the agriculture market, in which RFID-tagged sheep pass through a chute to be weighed. As the animals run across a weight scale, data is collected at the same time that each sheep's unique ID number is captured, thereby linking each weight measurement with a specific animal.

The SensArray One, One-Pro and Pro are three subset versions of the SensArray Enterprise readers. The One and the One-Pro feature 90-watt inputs and serve as entry-point reading or four-read point solutions, while the Pro serves as a gateway to power neighboring readers, like the Enterprise, but with fewer maximum read points. The SensArray Pro and Extreme are being released this month, while the One-Pro, One and Enterprise models are expected to be released on May 1. The company will also offer SensArray Kits that have been upgraded to include the new products.

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