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New Sled from Janam Brings UHF RFID Reading to Android-based Handhelds

The sled snaps into XT2 and XT2+ series mobile-computing devices so that users can have the flexibility of reading RFID tags, along with the existing functions of bar-code scanning, as well as HF RFID and NFC tag reads.
By Claire Swedberg
May 27, 2019

Several companies are testing a new product that offers the option of reading UHF RFID tags via handheld computers. Early this year, Janam Technologies released its UHF RFID sled that brings RFID functionality to its Android-based XT2 and XT2+ devices, thereby allowing customers to use a single mobile device to scan bar codes and read Near Field Communication (NFC) and high-frequency (HF) RFID tags, as well as use the new Bluetooth-connected sled to interrogate ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags. The new sled is intended to bring RFID to companies that traditionally utilize bar codes or NFC reads to identify products, assets or personnel on job sites.

The XT2 handheld computer was released several years ago, and the most recent iteration, an Android 6 version, is the XT2+, launched in mid-2018. The unit enables the capturing of a tag's ID number at a frequency of 13.56 MHz, complying with both the 15693 ISO (for HF) and ISO 14443 (for NFC) standards. It is also commonly used for bar-code scanning. With a cellular and Wi-Fi connection, the system allows businesses to store data regarding such scanning events.

Janam found that its customers were increasingly encountering RFID-tagged goods or felt they could benefit from introducing RFID to their processes. "We see a mature level of RFID available today, as well as an awareness of how to use it," says Doug Lloyd, Janam's VP of global sales. For that reason, the firm is taking advantage of a shift in technology, as UHF RFID tags proliferate in retail and other industries. While dedicated handheld UHF RFID readers are already available on the market, the company wanted to employ a solution that would give businesses the flexibility to utilize bar codes, NFC, or HF or UHF RFID without requiring a large financial investment.

Janam's Doug Lloyd
Janam's new sled snaps onto the company's XT2 and XT2+ rugged touch computers. It weighs less than 1 pound—which, the firm claims, makes it the lightest UHF RFID sled available in its class. The unit can perform tag writing and reading from a distance of more than 22 feet away. It comes with its own 3350-mAh battery, which is intended to power the device throughout a typical work shift.

The need to scan bar codes isn't expected to end any time soon, Lloyd says. "UHF RFID is an adjunct or complimentary technology," he states. "There will always be a need, in the near or long term, for bar-code technologies… While a lot of development has been done around UHF, there are still applications and logistics systems that continue to be dependent on the more traditional technology."

The XT2 is designed for flexibility, the company reports. The sled, which can be attached to any XT2 or XT2+ device and begin operating, is built to serve a variety of functions. A user, for instance, could utilize the device to scan bar codes, look up pricing on store shelves or conduct inventory-based tasks. He or she would now have the added feature of an RFID read of goods with a long range.

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