RFID News Roundup

By Bob Violino

Symbol launches handheld, portal readers; Intermec announces new RFID reader; ADT readies Agile 2 RFID readers; Omron debuts EPC reader; Lab ID unveils tiny reader and tag.

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The following are news announcements made during the week of Sept. 27.

Symbol Launches Handheld, Portal Readers

Holtsville, N.Y.-based Symbol Technologies announced general availability of its MC9000-G handheld RFID reader and a new ruggedized portal reader developed by Matrics, which Symbol recently acquired. The handheld reader, first shown at the National Retail Federation Show in January, is a ruggedized handheld computer with a large screen and keypad, 802.11b (Wi-Fi) wireless LAN capability, an integrated bar code scanner and a built-in RFID reader and antenna. It operates at 915 MHz and is based on EPCglobal's Class 1 EPC specification. The list price for the unit is $4,845. The DC 400 portal consist of a multiprotocol UHF RFID reader with ports for four antennas in a ruggedized metal housing. The unit can be ordered with light indicators to show successful reads and a motion sensor to detect when an object has entered the read zone. The DC 400 is designed to be easy to install; it's bolted to the floor next to a dock door and connected to a power source and local area network. The list price for the DC 400 is $6,500 and it will be available from Nov. 1.

Intermec Announces New RFID Reader

Intermec Technologies, an Everett, Wash.-based provider of UHF RFID systems, has introduced a new UHF RFID reader that is designed to filter data, rather than passing it on to a server for filtering. The new IF5 is compliant with the new RFID standard for UHF readers established by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). Under the rules, UHF readers are restricted to 2 watts of output. The reader comes in a ruggedized industrial housing and can connect to a network via an RS-232 or Ethernet port or wirelessly using the 802.11g standard. The unit can run third-party software programs based on Linux and Java VM platforms. Intermec says the intelligence built into the readers lowers overall systems costs, since it eliminates the need for servers to filter data and reduces traffic on the corporate network. The list price for the unit is $3,450.

ADT Readies Agile 2 RFID Readers

ADT Security Services, a Boca Raton-based RFID systems and service provider that is part of Tyco Fire & Security, announced the general availability of its Sensormatic Agile 2 reader, which is based on the Mercury4 reader designed by ThingMagic. The Agile 2 has modules that allow customers to customize it for different applications and different geographic regions. The reader can, for instance, read both 13.56 MHz and UHF tags, or the 13.56 MHz reader module can be swapped for a second UHF module. Modules will be available for operations in Europe and Japan. The unit can read UHF tags that are based on EPC Class 1 and Class 0, ISO 18000-6B and Philips UCODE EPC 1.19. ADT did not disclose pricing.

Omron Debuts EPC Reader

Omron, a major Japanese RFID systems provider, has launched the V740 series EPC reader for UHF RFID systems in North America. The unit is based on the Mercury4 reader developed by ThingMagic. It supports both EPC Class 0 and Class 1 protocols and can be upgraded to read RFID tags based on EPCglobal's Gen 2 protocol, when that protocol is finalized. Omron is marketing the V740 series to retail and logistics companies, which require multiprotocol readers because they will be handling goods tagged by a variety of companies. The reader features an Intel IXP4XX network processor, which enables it to perform high-speed data processing. It runs on the Linux operating system and comes with a number of PC-like functions built in, enabling it to run several software applications simultaneously. The V740 supports standard network protocols, including DHCP, UDP/IP over Ethernet, 820.11x (Wi-Fi), HTTP and SNMP, and its network adaptability enables its software to be easily implemented from remote sites. Omron did not disclose pricing.

Lab ID Unveils Tiny Reader and Tag

Lab ID, a Bologna, Italy-based RFID systems provider, has introduced a new 13.56 MHz RFID tag and reader module that are smaller and size and consumer less power than conventional systems. The reader is 50 mm by 100 mm by 22mm, (2 inches by 4 inches by 1 inch). It is compatible with ISO15693, ISO 14443 A, ISO 14443 B standards, and it can read tags based on the Philips I-Code and Mifare specifications, as well as the 13.56 MHz Electronic Product Code protocol. The reader can be attached to an antenna that is just 10 cm in diameter, or 50 centimeters if more read range is required. The reader comes with three network interfaces: RS232, USB and I2C. Lab ID says it will add an Ethernet port when requested by customers. The new Micro Tag is 16 mm by 30 mm (about 0.5 inch by 1 inch). It conforms to the 15693 standard and has a read range of 30 centimeters. Lab ID sells the tags as inlays or in badges, smart labels or tickets. The tag and reader are available immediately. Lab ID did not disclose pricing.