The changing landscape of RFID – Then and Now (with recent enabling developments)

Then: Let’s be honest – Hardware was frankly, a big drag – Readers were big, bulky, consumed a lot of power and extremely hard to deal with, and tags just did not meet production requirements (more of an art than science to get to the magical 100% read rate and the cost factor was almost always an issue in terms of justifying investment)

Now: We are starting to see the early ‘iPhones’ of Hardware making their entry into the market – Specifically we are seeing devices / tags with the following characteristics

  • Better and smaller form factors (~ 75% smaller)
  • Way less power consumption, thanks to Power over Ethernet or PoE (~50-60% lesser)
  • And a whole lot cheaper… yep, sometimes upto 40% cheaper (!)

Here’s some anecdotal data to substantiate this:

Impinj announced Speedway Revolution fixed readers; $1,385 list price for a 2-port and $1,585 list price for a 4-port {Motorola FX7400 is similar}

–Convergence Systems introduced its CS203 integrated reader/antenna; has PoE, and rated for use in extreme environments, has passed Mil Std 810 testing, and has a list price of $700.

–Lexmark introduced its RFID Gen2 UHF Option for its T654 monochrome laser printer; list price of $2,499

–UPM Raflatac introduced its Dogbone Freeze tag designed for temperatures reaching -40C

–Impinj Monza3 available in packaged format for PCB integration

Then: Wireless technology / devices were unreliable and expensive to configure in concert with RFID (i.e. product capabilities, deployment knowhow, and cost of ‘active’ tags were all issues)

Now: Wireless devices are now ubiquitous and low cost; Reliable wireless networks (specifically UWB, GPRS) that allow for RFID data to be captured within the  4 walls of your enterprise in a seamless manner (providing continuous visibility of high value assets in a specified area) are now more widely available – Some really neat technologies to look at here are Time Domain and Sandlinks which utilize UWB in neat ways to provide continuous visibility – In addition, costs associated with tags to roll out these systems now scale in volume which is critical for adoption (vs. trying to impose a goofy per tag licensing model to remunerate location software costs!)

Moreover we are starting to see mass proliferation of low-cost intelligent mobile devices that are wirelessly connected and work reliably in form factors applicable to the target work environments (ruggedized handhelds, vehicle mount computers, fixed readers etc.) – perhaps most importantly software now can take take advantage of computing resources to implement significant workflow processing on device thanks to the advent of mobile computing platforms in the form of BizTalk RFID Mobile.

 

What does all this mean in layman terms?:

For the fist time it’s possible to cost effectively address operational issues – that result in errors and decreased utilization of assets / people – by deploying systems to automatically track and report on material movement events in real time.

 

So if the above is indeed true, what is preventing end-users from taking full advantage of this technology and utilizing it to add value to our environments?

Well, there still remains (unfortunately) a number of current barriers to adoption – especially from a systems standpoint in making all the moving pieces (hardware and software) work together in concert for you – that I will talk to in our next post.

Look for my next post on this topic first thing Monday.. until then, Cheers!

/a

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5 responses to “The changing landscape of RFID – Then and Now (with recent enabling developments)

  1. Pingback: The Elephant in the room – why custom software solutions are almost always bad news for RFID « All things RTVS!

  2. Pingback: Er…Isn’t this really about “Execution”? « All things RTVS!

  3. Pingback: The Elephant in the room – why custom software solutions are almost always bad news for RFID : S3Edge

  4. Pingback: Er…Isn’t this really about “Execution”? : S3Edge

  5. Pingback: The Elephant in the room – why custom software solutions are almost always bad news for RFID : S3Edge

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