Cover your Assets with RFID
RFID may, for the time being, be an acronym relegated to warehouses and Wal-marts, but everyday industry advances point towards its burgeoning growth and imminent breakthrough as a household name. In the industry it is said that, “if you have a problem, RFID can solve it.” Soon industry at large will catch on to the truth of this catchphrase. Just today, Trimble released news of significant enhancements to its ThingMagic Mercury6e (M6e), Mercury5e (M5e), and Mercury5e-Compact (M5e-C) embedded UHF RFID reader modules. The added functionality provides an enhanced set of tools to develop more innovative and customized RFID solutions. The company also introduced enhancements to its ThingMagic MercuryAPI, the universal application programming interface (API) for all ThingMagic fixed/finished and embedded RFID reader products. The enhancements are available through a firmware upgrade.
"As RFID solution development continues to expand, it is important that customers can take advantage of innovation that can yield real business value," said Tom Grant, general manager of Trimble's ThingMagic Division. "Our embedded reader developments put customers in a position to leverage the latest advancements in RFID reader performance and utility, allowing them to bring products to market faster and at a lower development cost."
The upgrade optimizes several RFID tag read/write operations resulting in an overall performance improvement to support a growing number of applications demanding high-performance under diverse operating conditions. The key enhancements are:
continuous read capabilities for moving-tag applications where precise tag reading in dense, fast-paced environments is required;
BlockWrite operations that significantly reduce the time to write many bytes of data to a tag with a single operation; and enhanced channel hopping resulting in improved read time.
Support for Advanced Tag Features
Custom commands provide additional anti-eavesdropping security and support for a tamper alarm, switch control, and battery status reporting. Additionally, a powerful, unique 'Write Tag EPC command' can now be applied selectively or non-selectively to all tags in the field with a single command, reducing the time needed to encode large tag populations.
Anti-counterfeiting and Data Retrieval Features
The amount of data returned from every tag in the field has been significantly extended in order to defeat counterfeiting of electronic product code (EPC) values and to allow tags to be uniquely identified without having to create unique EPC values for each tag. Already available on the M6e, these capabilities have now been extended to the ThingMagic M5e and M5e-Compact embedded modules.
A new version of the ThingMagic MercuryAPI adds Java support for M6e application development and C-API support for the M5e. With this upgrade, the MercuryAPI now provides universal Java, .NET and "C" support across the entire ThingMagic embedded RFID product line. Offering a significant advantage for solution developers, the MercuryAPI reduces time-to-market by providing customers with a common platform with which to develop highly complementary RFID-enabled solutions based on the company's broad portfolio of embedded and fixed/finished RFID reader products.
What does it all mean?
The biggest barrier to RFID adoption is language. The industry remains a subculture because it speaks only to itself. The language used to report new technological breakthroughs is dense and technical. The key takeaway is simple, however: if you have assets—any assets— your bottom line will benefit from tracking them with RFID.
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