The Christian Science Monitor has a great article on networked outdoor sensors. The article focuses on the use of sensors to measure soil moisture levels at Camalie Vineyards in California.
As the article points out, wireless sensors are increasingly being used outdoors. Common applications include keeping track of temperatures, moisture levels and other environmental factors for a variety of high value crops including fruits, nuts and nursery plants.
Addressing similar market needs, ThingMagic builds rugged RFID readers designed for use in harsh environments. Our readers are being used to monitor the moisture content in bales of hay, keep track of cars and trucks in maintenance yards, track tools at work sites, monitor temperatures in fresh produce cold chains and a wide variety of other outdoor applications.
Passive RFID is well suited for these applications: passive RFID tags are inexpensive to buy, encode and deploy; they also do not require their own source of power; RFID readers come in a variety of economical form factors, including handheld and mobile versions. This combination makes it easy to deploy the system in almost any outdoor situation.
RFID readers are also designed to be network ready and fit into existing IT infrastructures, or simply move the sensor data to PCs or Internet applications.
ThingMagic has an active sensor R&D program and is working with several partners on commercial sensor products. More on this in coming months.
IBM's new Building a Smarter Planet blog has an interesting video describing how interconnected intelligent systems are being used to build a smarter planet.
IBM is defining the smarter planet as "intelligent infrastructure for our energy grids, transportation system, food supply and healthcare networks... It is also about trillions of devices and objects connecting to the Internet and changing the way billions of people live and work.'
The video describes how RFID will be used across the food chain to insure safety and reduce waste and loss.
Today, ThingMagic and several of our business partners are working on making our global food chain more secure, safe and efficient.
One example is the cold chain, where our USB Reader is being used to read temperature sensors made by Infratab Corporation. The combination of Infratab sensors and ThingMagic readers provide producers of perishable foods and products information and insights on the quality of their cold chains.
Infratab is offering a cold chain starter kit – including the ThingMagic USB Reader - now through March.