New RFID Module Aimed at Growing OEM Opportunity

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RFID reader module manufacturer SkyeTek announced new professional services to help OEMs design and integrate RFID readers into their products, and a new high-security 13.56 MHz reader module that can be optimized for product authentication, cashless payment or access control applications.

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This article was originally published by RFID Update.

August 23, 2007—SkyeTek announced a new high frequency (HF) reader module for applications that require strong security, plus a related development kit.

The company's new M4 HF SkyeModule is a 13.56 MHz reader module intended to be embedded in OEM readers or devices. Features in the module allow it to provide advanced security on common tags, saving users the cost of using more expensive, specialized high-security tags, SkyeTek CEO Rob Balgley told RFID Update.

The M4 HF SkyeModule is available in three separate firmware versions (which SkyeTek calls "personalities") that provide security and functionality for distinctly different applications:

  • The product authentication version conforms to the ISO 15693 standard, offers AES encryption and digital signatures, and supports tags from multiple manufacturers.
  • The contactless payment version supports MasterCard PayPass, Visa PayWave, American Express ExpressPay, and Discover Contactless Payments. It is compatible with parts 1, 2, and 3 of the ISO 14443A/B standard.
  • The access control version is also compliant with ISO 14443A/B parts 1 to 3. It can read MIFARE and other tags, including tags with DESFire encryption.

The modules measure 36mm by 39mm and are either 5mm or 11.3mm tall, depending on the configuration. SkyeTek also released a developer kit for the new reader module. It includes sample tags and firmware for all three versions plus development software and all necessary reader hardware.

SkyeTek produces RFID modules that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) integrate into their own handheld and fixed position RFID readers, or into other devices such as industrial controls or test equipment. Balgley said a diverse range of OEMs are interested in adding RFID reading capabilities to their products.

"About 80 percent of our revenue is coming from emerging applications, versus traditional supply chain and logistics," Balgley said. "RFID readers are being integrated into medical devices, test equipment, and industrial machinery, especially to make sure equipment is configured correctly or that the operator is using the correct supplies."

The development of application-focused modules and new integration resources will facilitate the embedded reader market, which is growing in volume and in the diversity of OEM devices. In recent months there have been announcements of embedded RFID reader solutions for blood bank cabinets and water jug dispensers (see Intel & Siemens Launch RFID Blood Bank in Malaysia and RFID Enables Innovation in Water Jug Distribution). Last year market research firm Venture Development Corporation (VDC) estimated that 9.4 percent of RFID reader sales were for integration in devices other than handheld or fixed-position RFID readers. However, the VDC estimate also included reader modules sold for integration into smart label printer/encoders (see RFID Reader Market Worth $1.18b in 2010).