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Identec Solutions Intros ISO 18000-7 Tags, Readers

The line of 433 MHz RFID hardware, initially developed for the U.S. Department of Defense, is now being marketed to logistics providers, international shippers, construction companies and product manufacturers.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 31, 2009Identec Solutions has released a new line of 433 MHz active tags and interrogators for the commercial market based on the ISO 18000-7 standard. The series, which the company had first developed for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), includes six different active tags, as well a handheld reader and several fixed models. The product line will provide an alternative to proprietary 433 MHz solutions that RFID tag users have been employing for tagging and tracking goods and containers as they move around the world. Identec expects its new tags will have a read range of 300 feet when employed with fixed interrogators, or approximately 150 feet with handheld readers. Some of the tags have sensors, as well as onboard memory options.

The series, says Peter Linke, Identec's executive VP of sales and marketing, was created for the DOD in summer 2008, enabling the company to be among those included in a three-year indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract awarded by the U.S. Army's Product Manager for Joint-Automatic Identification Technology (PM J-AIT) in December 2008 (see U.S. Defense Department Picks Four for RFID III).

Identec's i-Q310 CST (container security transponder) is one of six 18000-7 tags being introduced.
The DOD, which utilizes active RFID tags for containers of nearly all goods it ships overseas, had initially contracted its RFID products and integration from active RFID company Savi. In 2006, Savi offered its intellectual property (IP) licensing program for companies seeking to develop, manufacture and sell RFID tags and interrogators compliant with the ISO 18000-7 standard (see Savi Announces IP Licensing Program for Active RFID Tags), and the DOD opened the bidding process to other RFID vendors based on that now-open protocol.

The vendors chosen by PM J-AIT in 2008 were Savi, Northrop Grumman, Unisys and Systems & Processes Engineering Corporation (SPEC). Both SPEC and Unisys selected Identec as the designated provider of RFID hardware to fulfill any purchases resulting from that contract. According to Linke, the tags are designed to operate in challenging environments in which temperature extremes and dirt are commonplace. "One area Identec has always been very strong in," he says, "is harsh environments."

With the development of the tags for the Department of Defense, Identec saw an opportunity for this technology in other markets as well, and is now selling it to commercial end users, including logistics companies, international shippers, construction firms and product manufacturers. Businesses that ship products internationally will be the most common customers, Linke notes, because the 433 MHz frequency is accepted globally.

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