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On The Calendar - AWID Coming To An Event Near You
Tuesday, 31 May 2016 08:44


June 4 through 10, AWID will be at InfoComm 2016 in Las Vegas. InfoComm is the largest event in the United States focused on the pro-AV industry, and provides a once-a-year opportunity to see the latest audiovisual technology in action. AWID will be exhibiting June 8 through 10 in booth C9145-02.

In September, we’re heading to Orlando, Florida, for ASIS 2016. Some 20,000 security professionals will be at the 62nd Annual ASIS International Seminar, co-located with the (ISC)2 Security Congress, to find the latest innovations and solutions for data threats and security challenges. We will be presenting our solutions in booth 3364 September 12-15.

Then on to Toronto! Security Canada Central will be held October 19-20, and brings together thousands of security professionals from both government and private sectors along with the world’s leading providers of technology, products and services. You’ll find us at booth 641.

We also have a few other events in the planning stages, and we’ll be announcing those dates soon.

If you are attending any of these events, we’d love to hear from you. Just let us know which event you will be at so we can coordinate a meet-up with you. And to keep on top of new event announcements, check our events page regularly.


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AVI programs becoming more aggressive with passive UHF technology
Tuesday, 03 May 2016 09:00

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s MAP-21 program could be a treasure map of opportunity for RFID developers with creativity and patience. MAP-21 is an acronym for Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, a piece of legislation that earmarked more than $100 billion to modernize the U.S. highway system.

MAP-21 includes efforts to improve and possibly standardize toll tagging systems. Most vehicle toll tags used for turnpikes and other public highway systems today use active RFID technology, but many vehicle ID tags used for parking control and other private access are passive UHF tags. There are multiple standards, which hasn’t really standardized the environment at all, resulting in many vehicles using multiple tags.

Now there is growing interest in passive UHF RFID technology for highway tolling and other over-the-road use cases. Intelligent highway system planners are intrigued by the higher security now available in ISO-18000-6C/EPCglobal Gen 2-standard passive UHF, along with the technology’s comparatively low cost. Performance is also a big factor in the growing enthusiasm for using passive RFID for automatic vehicle identification (AVI). Active technology has traditionally been favored because of its long read range, but passive UHF can also provide the required range and reliability. We know this firsthand, because AWID is a long-time provider of passive AVI technology and we have many customers using our long-range readers and tags for access control, automated parking management, vehicle registration, asset tracking and related applications.

If you have a fleet of vehicles, need to coordinate vehicle access, yard management or parking control operations, or develop solutions for those business processes, take the time to follow MAP-21 developments and considered how low-cost, reliable long-range passive RFID might add value.

 

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Lifting the fog on fog computing, IoT and RFID
Wednesday, 16 March 2016 14:54

There are a lot of references, and hype, about the Internet of Things (IoT). Cisco has predicted there will be 20 billion connected devices, while Intel puts the number at 200 billion. In the most touted visions of IoT, items are intelligent, uniquely identified and connected to a network that can provide remote monitoring and take proactive action. Examples include the popular Nest thermostat that senses when to turn up the heat, or the proverbial smart fridge that will order milk when you’re running low – which is an application that has been talked about since the early 2000s but hasn’t driven the pen-and-paper shopping list to extinction.

You can see why there is some intersection between IoT and RFID technologies. RFID uniquely identifies items, gives them intelligence and uses readers that can be networked to share the data with systems anywhere in the world. The big difference is that each RFID tag doesn’t have its own IP address, which can serve as both the unique identifier and the network connection. RFID has much more flexible memory, so the unique ID can be serialized while also allowing other data to be encoded, and updated. Another big difference is that tags do not require their own IP connections to share data on a network, they simply have to be read, and the reader will provide the link to the Internet and beyond.

Because no direct connection is required, RFID enables the Internet of Things to include a lot more things. The Internet of Things can exist wherever you can produce an RFID read field. That brings RFID into the realm of fog computing, which is Cisco’s vision for a more refined, defined IoT. Fog is nothing new to us in Silicon Valley near San Francisco, but this fog is special. Cisco’s first principle for fog computing is that data is collected at the edge of operations.

Why does this matter? Because the IoT is real. AWID has seen many examples of companies that are collectively investing billions to develop and use IoT technologies. Significantly, the investment and interest isn’t only coming from giant tech vendors like Cisco, Intel and IBM that will push these solutions to markets. There are investments and projects happening on the demand side. Self-ordering milk isn’t the main focus either. Companies want to use IoT, RFID and fog computing to monitor and maintain rail cars, oil rigs and other remote assets, track the progress and chain-of-custody of goods in the supply chain, optimize industrial processes, and more. That’s where AWID’s embedded RFID read/write modules, antennas and full reader systems can help.

We hope this post helped lift the fog for how RFID fits into the Internet of Things. Contact us to continue the conversation.

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Embedded Selection
Thursday, 18 February 2016 09:50

Points to Consider When Selecting an Embedded RFID Reader

Choosing an RFID reader that will be used inside another device such as a kiosk, smart shelf, packaging line, etc. can be tricky. The physical and mechanical characteristics of the host device influence RFID read/write performance, and the ability to place and orient the reader and external antennas may be limited. Some of the specifications that are typically key to reader selection are not especially useful for embedded environments. Here are some points to consider when considering an embedded RFID reader. 

There is More to Successful Reading than Range – In a distribution yard, parking lot or warehouse, long read range is usually very desirable. In embedded applications the distance between the reader and the tagged object is usually consistent (such as conveyor-mounted readers that support material handling operations, or smart cabinets and tool cribs where tagged objects pass through a defined opening). The challenging part is often getting a consistent, accurate read in an environment where there may be a lot of electromechanical interference. Therefore the range of an embedded reader is less important than the shape of its read field and how easily it can be fine tuned. The reader-antenna combination is essential, so readers that offer the ability to use different antennas are valuable. AWID is one of the few companies that designs and manufacturers our own readers and antennas, because it gives us more flexibility to give each customer exactly what is needed. 

Look Beyond Basic Standards – Standards are essential, but they are not enough to ensure proper performance. For example, most UHF systems use tags and readers that comply with the ISO 18006-C/GS1 EPCglobal Gen 2 standard. Embedded readers may need to also comply with Dense Reader Mode, which is an optional component of the Gen 2 standard. Dense Reader Mode products use RF communication protocols that help maintain accurate performance and avoid interference in usage environments where multiple RFID readers are present – such as in a store or warehouse that has smart shelves.

Sometimes Intelligence is a Smart Idea – For high-volume or high-speed applications (for example packaging verification) it is often desirable to have some tag data or other data processing capability built directly into the reader. Having an intelligent reader can eliminate dependency on another processor or a network connection to complete transactions. AWID’s MPR-8018QN Smart Network Reader/Encoder is an example of areader with onboard intelligence. 

Not sure what you need? Our engineers would be happy to talk you through it. Contact us if you’d like some guidance.

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New Points of View on Where RFID is Going
Monday, 23 November 2015 09:35

Consulting and market analysis firm ChainLink Research partnered with industry association RAIN RFID to present its latest market research and points of view on the direction of the UHF RFID industry. Much of the presentation focused on tags and the retail market, but there were some nuggets of interest about other RFID use cases and how RFID readers are evolving. Here are some highlights of the presentation, along with AWID’s own commentary.

  • Embedded readers are one of the higher-growth segments of the UHF reader market – this was one of ChainLink Research’s findings, and AWID concurs. According to ChainLink, interest in Internet of Things (IoT) systems and greater automation are helping to increase demand for UHF readers that are embedded into other devices. As a leading specialist in this type of reader, we are certainly seeing increased interest and we are working with a more diverse set of clients, including kiosk and cabinet markets, to help them embed RFID into their products and services.

  • Readers are becoming more industry/application specific–ChainLink also noted that manufacturers are optimizing readers and antennas for specific use cases. Again, this is nothing new to AWID, which is one of the few manufacturers that makes both readers and antennas and engineers them to complement each other for top performance in specific environments.

  • The IoT is leading to RFID adoption and is a source of confusion – Enterprises are pursuing Internet of Things projects, which is leading to more RFID use, including more embedded applications. While ChainLink noted IoT is generally good for RFID market growth, it noted that many people are confused about what IoT encompasses and where IoT fits. This point was underscored during the Q&A section at the end of the presentation, as several attendees submitted questions asking what “IoT”refers to.

You can listen to a free replay of the presentation by registering here. Feel free to share your comments and questions about where you see RFID going in the comments section below.


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