Embedding RFID Modules with Ease

Posted by Ken Lynch on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 @ 04:10 PM

Tags: RFID, Embedded RFID, Android

ThingMagic RFID DevKitLike athletes constantly searching for the right combination of training and nutrition to make them stronger and faster, developers are always looking for new tools and techniques that make it easier to more quickly build smarter, more powerful applications. For both, it’s about maintaining that competitive edge that will set them apart from others. Developers are finding that the convergence of more efficient and advanced embeddable technology is enabling them to change the wireless industry with a new class of applications.

Embedded RFID has emerged as an extraordinary growth technology. Research shows RFID, contactless, RTLS and similar technologies are enabling a growing number of auto-ID, location, sensing, M2M and Internet of Things applications. According to VDC Research, the market for these applications could grow to over $8 billion within the next five years. And as embedded RFID module innovation continues - with more application-specific options and ease of use features making their way into products - the technology is becoming more desirable for integration.

As a manufacturer of RFID reader modules, we know the hardware is only part of the battle. Our M6e series of modules has pushed the industry standard for size and performance to a point where nearly any engineer or OEM can include RFID as a product feature. But what separates the ideal embedded RFID solution from competing options is a combination of hardware, software and development tools. The importance of having an advanced software capabilities and a robust set of design tools can’t be overstated. This is what will truly drive the growth of embedded RFID.

ThingMagic’s commitment to ease-of-use with our family of advanced RFID modules runs deeper than most. With all ThingMagic RFID modules comes a set of development tools designed to simplify the process of creating an RFID-enabled solution.  
These include the ThingMagic RFID module developer kits, our Universal Reader Assistant utility for initializing readers and selecting application-specific performance settings, and our Mercury API SDK with sample applications and source code to help developers get started demonstrating and developing RFID functionality. 

And we’re continually enhancing these tools, as the process of programming and implementation is hardly a static one. Most recently we added a set of enhancements to 


the Mercury API, including Android OS Support. According to VDC Research, nearly one million developers will be developing applications for embedded systems and M2M applications using Android by the end of 2015. Now, with a sample 

Android application and project files, developers can build ThingMagic RFID-enabled Android applications with an easy “out of the box” solution!

Embedding RFID, like integrating any technology, comes with its challenges, which is exactly the reason it’s necessary to drive down these barriers from every direction. RFID exists to simplify the data collection processes and improve business process, but if it’s not simple to implement an RFID solution, it may be hard for some to justify. It is possible to embed RFID with ease, and requires only that a developer find a partner whose offerings can turn them into a championship-level performer. 

Download our Embedded RFID Module Brochure" href="/collateral-download---thingmagic-rfid-modules/" target="_blank">> Download our Embedded RFID Module Brochure

Let us know how ThingMagic can help you embed RFID with ease!

Adding RFID to Rugged Handhelds and Tablets

Posted by Ken Lynch on Tue, Oct 15, 2013 @ 12:03 PM

Tags: Mobile Computing, Oil and Gas, RFID, Construction, RFID Handhelds

PipelineHow mobile computing devices have changed our personal lives is obvious, but enterprises and business professionals today are being similarly affected by the 24/7/365 nature of being connected. The enterprise presents its own challenges for mobility, one in particular being that there are environments mobile devices are now being used in that come with their own risks.  We’re talking about settings that can be remote, have harsh operating conditions, are security threats to sensitive information or present dangerous weather, among others things. These mobile computers could be with construction workers hanging steel beams, firefighters in remote mountains, miners miles underground or soldiers in a combat theatre. In these situations, the users need to know that these devices are rugged enough to handle extreme heat, cold, moisture and take a heavy pounding. Like the old Timex watch tagline says, these devices need to be able to “take a licking and keep on ticking.”

It should not come as a surprise that RFID is a growing customer requirement for these devices as it is for many other mobile computing solutions.

To support these requiremnts, last year, Trimble's Mobile Computing Solutions and ThingMagic divisions partnered to create an RFID Reader accessory for the Trimble Nomad handheld. The UHF RFID Reader accessory includes a mounting kit which allows users to add UHF RFID capability to their Trimble Nomad handheld computers – devices with the ruggedness and durability that have made it the handheld computer of choice for users with both physically and technically demanding tasks.  Using the Trimble Nomad with an RFID scanner, building contractors for example, can perform a variety of functions such as asset check-in, check-out, transfers and inventory validation much faster than traditional bar code scanning.  When integrated with the Trimble® AllTrak™ Asset and Tool Management System, contractors can more easily track and manage all of their jobsite assets and tools resulting in improved equipment monitoring and asset utilization.

One of our more recent opportunities in this space has been with two leading auto-ID companies, DAP Technologies and Omni-ID.  DAP and Omni-ID partnered to launch a series of mobile tablets for harsh environments that incorporate both active and passive RFID capabilities – an industry first. As a result, a single device can track and manage assets, collect information, synchronize systems, report data and receive and respond to messages. These rugged tablets include ThingMagic’s high-performance UHF RFID reader module, the Micro, for reading tag information on critical assets and equipment and transmitting that information for management and inventory purpose. The size of the Micro makes it unobtrusive for embedding in mobile devices that still require high performance.

Another industry that’s jumped at the opportunity to apply these kinds of solutions is oil and gas production. Oil and gas companies are now investing in tools that enable them to achieve the vision of the “Digital Oilfield revolution.” Simply put, the Digital Oilfield is defined by a focus on how the petroleum business can deploy information technology to support its main business drivers, namely: maximizing and discovering oil reserves, optimizing hydrocarbon production, improving safety and protecting the environment.  And of course much of this work takes place in hard-to-reach, harsh working environments.

Similar to opportunities for productivity enhancement in other industries, the key to almost all the activities associated with the Digital Oilfield is the real-time capture and analysis of data. The auto-ID functionality of today’s mobile computing devices, when coupled with their ruggedized form factor and intuitive interfaces, allows asset tracking and data collection to be a more simple and consistent process, almost becoming an afterthought when in the field. This means fewer manual processes and the opportunity to generate new data for business process improvement.

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