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TAGSYS Announces Pre-Standard HF Gen2 Suite
TAGSYS introduced a new 13.56 MHz high frequency RFID reader and related services based on the EPCglobal HF Gen2 draft specification. TAGSYS says the products can be easily upgraded to support the forthcoming standard, which is expected to be finalized in early 2008.
Nov 13, 2007—This article was originally published by RFID Update.
November 13, 2007—TAGSYS yesterday announced a new suite of products based on the forthcoming EPCglobal High Frequency (HF) Gen2 standard (Note: TAGSYS refers to the standard as HF Version 2, or HF V2. EPCglobal refers to its draft standard as HF Generation 2).
The standard, which TAGSYS expects will be ratified in early 2008, is being developed to enable high-speed 13.56 MHz RFID technology that can support EPC numbers. Its development was motivated by pharmaceutical and other companies who want a reliable, high-speed HF technology to support item-level tagging applications, John Jordon of TAGSYS told RFID Update.
"Companies want very high read rates and accurate reads," he said. "Those that are more speed focused go with UHF technology. Those that are accuracy driven go with high frequency and realize there will be some speed limitations compared to UHF. The HF V2 standard delivers both speed and accuracy."
Yesterday TAGSYS announced its "Path to V2" program, including a pre-standard reader for HF Gen2 tags, collaboration with NXP Semiconductors to optimize HF Gen2 tags and provide performance emulation, and the Serialization Pilot Kit it developed with IBM. The materials are based on the pre-standard specification, and TAGSYS is offering customers free upgrades once the standard is complete. Standard products should be available within six months of ratification, Jordon said.
TAGSYS claims its new Medio L400 reader for HF Gen2 tags has 40 percent more read range and is up to six times faster than the company's current HF readers, and carries a lower list price. Jordon and product manager Maria Kaganov told RFID Update the reader is faster because of improvements in filtering and buffering technologies, increased performance from current-generation digital signal processors and other electronic components, and because the HF Gen2 standard was designed to provide high speed. A dual mode HF-UHF version is on the company's product roadmap.
The Medio L400 also supports self-diagnostic and remote management capabilities that represent a breakthrough for the company's RFID products, and are similar to the troubleshooting and management features IT administrators are accustomed to for computer and network equipment.
The Serialization Pilot Kit offered with IBM includes support services from the companies, 50,000 HF tags, and reader systems that can be upgraded to support the HF Gen2 standard. The kit is intended to give pharmaceutical manufacturers the resources they need to conduct serialization pilots while providing an upgrade path to expanded and next-generation systems.
TAGSYS and NXP, which are both represented on the EPCglobal working group that is responsible for the HF Gen2 standard, have developed working emulators that show how HF Gen2 tags and readers will perform. The emulators and other new products are being demonstrated at this week's RFID/Track & Trace Summit sponsored by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS).
TAGSYS' new initiatives are part of the company's ongoing efforts to shift RFID attention away from frequency and to what it terms "quality of service" (QoS) issues. "The point is to get people to where they understand how quality matters, and think 'Who cares about frequency?'" Jordon said.
TAGSYS offers both HF and UHF technology, but is much more heavily invested in HF technology. In March the company unveiled a program that guaranteed customers using its HF tags, readers and management software would get no more than four failures per million reads (see TAGSYS Guarantees Six Sigma RFID Performance). That program, and the HF Gen2 announcements, are intended to inspire confidence by pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors and potential users in other industries with item-level traceability needs.
Most item-level tagging programs announced lately use UHF technology (see examples here), but the optimal technology debate remains unresolved. The pharmaceutical market is a hotbed of activity, because various traceability and electronic pedigree requirements are creating conditions that could drive high-volume, widespread RFID adoption (see RFID Solution Announced for California e-Pedigree Reqs and RFID E-Pedigree's Potential to Improve Pharma for more background).
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