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ODIN Releases Gen2 Tag Benchmark

ODIN technologies today released the , the industry's first comprehensive analysis and performance report on Gen2 tags. RFID Update spoke with Bret Kinsella, ODIN's vice president of operations and marketing, about the key findings.
Jan 04, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

January 4, 2006—RFID solutions and deployment provider ODIN technologies of Dulles, Virginia, today released the RFID Gen 2 Tag Benchmark, the industry's first comprehensive analysis and performance report on Gen2 tags. RFID Update spoke with Bret Kinsella, ODIN's vice president of operations and marketing, about the key findings.

The most important observation yielded from ODIN's tests is that Gen2 technology performance is "certainly" better than Gen1. "Any company that is implementing RFID for the first time should be looking at Gen2," said Kinsella. Performance for short distances is generally comparable across the market for competing Gen2 tags (an improvement over earlier products), but at longer distances performance continues to vary considerably from one tag to the next. There is also a wide range of performance with respect to tag orientation and placement on radio frequency "unfriendly" materials like water and metal.

Kinsella noted that there are already more tags and manufacturers for Gen2 technology than for Gen1. The following eleven passive EPC Gen2 tags from seven manufacturers were included in the benchmark:

Manufacturer Tag (Inlay) Product
Alien Technology Squiggle
Avery Dennison AD-220
Impinj Banjo
UPM Rafsec Short Dipole
RF Identics Micro Wing
Mid Wing
Flex Wing
Symbol Trident
Texas Instruments TI Gen 2

The tags were subjected to twelve benchmarking tests, for which the report includes a master ranking of each. The tests were divided across five categories: minimum effective power, which indicates how efficient a tag is; distance, which gauges how well a tag performs at various distances from the reader antenna; orientation sensitivity, which measures how important the angle at which a tag is placed on a product is to performance; material dependence, which considers performance based on the material (RF-friendly and RF-unfriendly) of the tagged product; and modulation depth, a measure of how well a tag sends its signal back to the reader antenna. (It should be noted that the report tested inlays, not actual converted tags. This approach was taken to factor out the effect of the conversion process, which can introduce performance issues as it varies from label converter to label converter.)

As for the "winners" of ODIN's benchmarking, Kinsella was not specific. He did say that "Alien, Impinj, and RF Identics performed consistently well." But of the twelve tests conducted, six tags won one, suggesting that many of the products excelled in at least one area.

The 50-page RFID Gen 2 Tag Benchmark is sponsored by technology solutions provider and longtime ODIN partner Unisys. It sells on ODIN's website for $750 for a single user license or $1,500 for an enterprise license. In addition to the raw benchmarking data, the report includes sections on the physics of tag testing, how to develop a tag selection strategy, how to select a tag converter, Gen2 market developments, and predictions for 2006.

"Our intent first and foremost is to break through the marketing hype," said Kinsella referring to the benchmark. He sees it as a tool end-users can rely on to quickly arrive at a short list of possible tags to deploy for an RFID implementation. "No end-user should have to test eleven or twelve tags," he said. By comparing the benchmark's data with the end-user's particular environment and product, the end-user should be able to identify two or three tags that are potential candidates for its implementation, then test only those.

ODIN technologies has long emphasized its strict scientific approach to RFID implementation, and its Gen2 tag benchmark represents the latest in a growing series. Last year the company released benchmarks around Gen1 tags, fixed RFID readers, and handheld RFID readers.

Read the press release
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