Mojix Announces Availability of Its Next-Generation RFID System

By Claire Swedberg

The Mojix STAR 3000 offers cloud-based applications, industry-specific solutions, smartphone compatibly and improved performance, the company reports.

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Mojix Inc. has announced the general availability of the next generation of its Space Time Array Reader (STAR) radio frequency identification technology, which reads passive EPC Gen 2 RFID tags over a longer distance than traditional EPC Gen 2 interrogators. The latest version, known as Mojix STAR 3000, offers two key new features: a cloud-based hosted server, enabling users to deploy a system at a lower cost by eliminating the need to acquire software, and functionality specific to each of the five vertical markets (retail, automotive, industrial manufacturing, logistics and warehousing, and oil and gas), including hardware form factors specific to each sector. Ramin Sadr, the company’s CEO and founder, says that compared with previous versions of the STAR system, Mojix 3000 offers a longer read range and greater read reliability—based, in part, on new antenna modifications and improved location-tracking functionality provided by new signal-processing algorithms for location estimation.

Mojix has also begun providing mobile client software for smartphones, so that its customers could utilize the handsets as Near Field Communication (NFC) readers or bar-code scanners to, for example, capture data at such remote locations as a farm or delivery point, and to then forward that information to a server.


Ramin Sadr

In 2008, the company launched the first version of its STAR system (see Mojix Takes Passive UHF RFID to a New Level), which won that year’s RFID Journal Award for Best in Show (see The Brightest Star). With the STAR 3000 system, Mojix says, its aim is to offer a solution that could be easy and inexpensive to deploy within numerous markets, and that could be installed enterprise-wide, with a shared network—in other words, tags could be tracked from farm to fork within supply chain environments, or from manufacturer to store shelf. Like its predecessors, the new Mojix 3000 system consists of the Mojix eNode, which acts as an exciter and includes four to 16 antennas that emit a signal to power passive EPC tags entering a coverage area. In response to an eNode’s signal, a tag transmits a signal that is then picked up by a Mojix STAR 3000 receiver—which, in turn, forwards that data to a master controller (a server blade running the Linux operating system). The master controller processes the information for use by a warehouse-management system or other back-office software, or on the cloud-based server. The cloud-based software can also issue alerts when necessary.

A single Mojix STAR 3000 receiver can read tags at a distance of up to 1,000 feet within an unobstructed environment. Multiple STAR 3000 systems—each consisting of a single receiver and as many as 512 eNodes—can be networked together, for a combined total of up to 65,536 eNodes, to provide a 1-million-square-foot area with location accuracy of approximately three feet, the company reports.

The STAR 3000 Master Controller (MCON) software supports what Sadr calls virtualization and cloud-hosting for customers needing to manage large STAR “constellations” across their supply chain, such as one system at a manufacturing site, another at a distribution center and another at retail locations. In virtual mode, the MCON software can be hosted in the cloud by various hosting-service providers, such as Amazon.com, or by a customer’s IT server. That, he says, means that MCON can run on any customer’s chosen platform or hosting service.

Mojix is currently designing its hardware specifically for each of its five vertical markets—for example, if a food-processing facility requires special coating to ruggedize the STAR readers. What’s more, Mojix has established partnerships with several systems-integration firms specializing in these vertical markets, so that those companies can provide installation and software support.

For mobile-phone functionality, Mojix offers an Android-based solution to link data with the back-end MCON software. The phones could be used to scan bar codes or, if they are NFC-enabled, to read unique identifiers encoded to NFC-compliant passive high-frequency (HF) RFID tags, and to forward that data to be stored or linked with other information in the MCON software.

Some of Mojix’s existing customers are already using the Mojix STAR 3000 system, the firm reports. Companies that have deployed the STAR system in the past include Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO), a marine transportation and logistics firm serving the oil and gas sector (see RFID Saves Oil Companies Time and Money); Lufthansa Technik (LHT), the airline’s maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) arm (see Lufthansa Expands RFID Use); Daimler (see Daimler Sees Potential Benefits of Using RFID to Track Quality-Control); and a number of consumer goods suppliers (see New RFID Technology Helps Kraft, P&G, Kimberly-Clark Go the Distance).