Savi, ODIN Offer New Active/Passive Integrated Software Suite

By Claire Swedberg

Dugway Proving Ground is the first to use ODIN's passive RFID software with Savi's SmartChain suite to manage active and passive data on a single platform.

At the Dugway Proving Ground (DPG), located in Utah, the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) is using a new integrated passive and active RFID software platform provided by Savi, a maker of active RFID readers and tags, and ODIN, a provider of passive RFID solutions. DPG, which tests a variety of military hardware throughout the year, is utilizing the combined passive and active RFID solution to track assets used for its testing of chemical and biological agents.

Savi is now offering the same packaged system, using ODIN and Savi software, to other customers in the military, aerospace and large industrial sectors. The Savi-ODIN software solution combines Savi's SmartChain suite (which includes the firm's Site Manager, SmartChain Asset Management and Shipment Management applications) and ODIN's EasyEdge software (which acts as middleware, integrating and interpreting RFID reader data for enterprise system software).

In August 2009, Dugway Proving Ground implemented a pilot project employing Savi 433 MHz active RFID tags and readers (complying with the ISO 18000-7 standard) at its 800,000-acre desert site, to track vehicles, generators and testing equipment, says Kelly A. Sweeda, of Mellor Engineering, who serves as the RFID coordinator at DPG's operations division. At the same time, Dugway sought a system that would enable the tracking of smaller items, such as microscopes and vials, within laboratories at the same location. These assets were too small for active tags, and one alternative was passive EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags.

Dugway Proving Ground plans to eventually track approximately 45,000 assets with Savi active tags, and another 25,000 with Gen 2 passive tags and readers. Data from all of the equipment will be received, interpreted and stored on the combined Savi-ODIN platform. According to Sweeda, Dugway hopes to have about a third of the assets tagged and being tracked by the end of this year.

Today, at RFID Journal LIVE! 2010 (being held this week in Orlando, Fla.), Savi and ODIN announced that their combined solution is now commercially available from Savi. "A lot of our customers have expressed a need for a more cohesive system, which wouldn't require multiple vendor integration," says David Stephens, Savi's CEO. The new software package, he explains, will enable those companies to integrate their passive and active RFID systems faster, and with a reduced implementation cost. The platform not only captures data from both passive and active tags, as well as GPS units, but also enables users to run reports and perform research business analytics based on that information.

Stephens predicts that some companies or agencies will use the system with their existing infrastructure, to bring their active and passive RFID hardware together with the single software package, or to add passive RFID technology to their existing Savi active RFID system. Others could launch a new system utilizing both active and passive RFID with the package.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), as well as the aerospace industry and several large industrial companies, often use active RFID technology in conjunction with passive RFID systems. Pallets and boxes of goods, for instance, may have EPC Gen 2 UHF passive tags, while active tags (typically, 433 MHz active tags compliant with the ISO 18000-7 standard) may be attached to cargo containers used to transport the goods, or to large, often high-value items requiring a long read range or a very specific pinpointing of location. The hybrid software package could also be used with a shop-floor control system that employs 433 MHz active RFID tags compliant with the ISO 18000-7 standard, and the system could be integrated with an asset- or supply chain-tracking application utilizing passive EPC Gen 2 tags.

ODIN’s CEO, Patrick Sweeney, likened the package to having a Ferrari sports car and a Hummer SUV in the garage, each offering a different high-end performance.

"I think this is great for RFID," Stephens states. "The combination of Savi's management of supply chain experience with ODIN's expertise can provide customers and the market with a much better path to a return on their investment." The reason for the faster ROI, he explains, is that the ODIN-Savi system combines active and passive technologies that would work together immediately, rather than requiring costly integration services.

Savi's vision, Stephens says, is that "everything is going to be tracked automatically and wirelessly in the next three to seven years." The ODIN-Savi platform, he notes, "is one giant step toward making that a reality," by making it possible for businesses or agencies across a supply chain to link multiple RFID technologies, and thereby take full advantage of the data those systems provide. The combined solution, he says, makes the complex types of RFID implementations often seen in government installations easier and simpler to install.

Savi and ODIN are not the only companies seeking to integrate ISO 18000-7 and EPC Gen 2 RFID systems. Earlier this week, RFID hardware provider Evigia Systems unveiled its EV3-HHI-PAB, a handheld device that combines its reader module and software for active 433 MHz tags and Motorola's 9090-G EPC Gen 2 interrogator (see Evigia Announces Mobile All-in-One RFID Reader).