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Essex Electronics and HID Global to Offer RFID-Enabled Turnstiles

The two manufacturers have partnered to create the iRox-T RFID reading unit, which can be built directly into turnstile and access-control systems to make them seamless and less complex to install.
By Claire Swedberg

For instance, he adds, the 13.56 MHz systems require relatively close proximity reads and could demonstrate read-range problems in the presence of stainless steel. Therefore, HID and Essex built their solution to provide a more seamless approach. Essex is building the HID module into a plastic case with a custom antenna so it can be readily deployed into turnstiles. The resulting solution is intended to not only be easier to install but provide better read performance.

The system offers NFC and HF RFID functionality, and it also comes available in a BLE-enabled version. BLE provides a longer range and enables individuals to use their smartphone as an access device, even if the phone is stored in a pocket or purse. However, the long read range can cause challenges in locations containing multiple doors, or where large numbers of people could confuse the system (such as signaling the door to open when they aren't yet entering). HID's Twist and Go solution does address this issue, the company reports.

Mike Stanfill
With the iRox-T unit, turnstile companies will install the access-control system as part of their turnstile unit themselves. The electronics can be recessed or concealed within the turnstile infrastructure, Stanfill explains. He adds, "We offer WebEx training for channel partner or turnstile manufacturer technicians."

The turnstiles reader from Essex is part of HID's larger connected building strategy, Stanfill says, which could enable users to employ their badges or smartphones to gain access to a building and then receive approval to print a document at a printer. They could tap their phone or badge against a point-of-sale device in a lunch room, or at a snack counter or cooler.

They could also use the badge or phone to clock in and out of an office, and to access parking lots and charge electric cars. "We're involved with three major manufacturers of electric charging stations," Stanfill says, which are interested in building HID-enabled units in their devices. HID Global is already using the Connected Office technology at its facility in Austin, Texas.

In addition, Stanfill says, the RFID technology could be built into employee lockers and office furniture. In that way, offices could utilize RFID-enabled locks on desks, cabinets and drawers that would require an individual to tap a badge or phone in order to gain entrance to secure paperwork or his or her own personal effects.

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