An Internet of Things Solution – Brought to You by Zebra’s Cloud and ThingMagic RFID

Posted by Austin Rand on Mon, Jun 09, 2014 @ 11:27 AM

Tags: RFID, Internet of Things, Connected Devices

For years, a longtime partner of ours, Zebra Technologies, has been known for bringing RFID-enabled products, from printers to handhelds, to market. Most recently, they’ve introduced a cloud-based, multi-sensor platform for connecting legacy devices with smart devices to bridge the gap between the two to help achieve the ideal of the Internet of Things. We’re happy to say that Zebra’s Internet of Things platform – Zatar – will integrate ThingMagic’s embedded RFID technology. The partnership will open connections between legacy assets and more modern devices like iBeacons, printers, handhelds and RFID readers and enable third party apps to more easily work with them over an open source API.

 

Internet-connected devices make information more available and enable companies to use that information to make decisions and take action faster, which are major value propositions of  the ecosystem of the Internet of Things. The evolution of these technologies – RFID and others – from tagging and tracking to automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) to connecting everything over the Internet has created a need for more platforms like Zatar to facilitate these connections. Internet of Things platforms facilitate this communication to fill a need in the space created by the influx of devices that has caught developers and integrators off-guard by the sheer volume points to connect with. As a result, more now than ever, there is now a need for more easy-to-use, comprehensive development platforms to speed the development of programs and integration of technologies with one another.

 

In the Internet of Things ecosystem, we’ve carved out our own space with the Mercury xPRESS platform. As the need for more RFID-base applications grows, development needs to keep pace by becoming a simpler, faster and more fluid process and less of a burden.  This is especially true for industries and organizations where RFID is starting to take hold. What Mercury xPRESS offers is a comprehensive development environment with the most advanced embedded RFID reader modules on the market paired with software and reference documentation to enable low-cost, high-performance embedded RFID solutions. Basically a complete development platform for embedding RFID.

 

In the new ecosystem of the Internet of Things, RFID is also driving value in more closed-loop environments – or Intranets of Things – for the enterprise, an area that is always exploding with new deployments. Connectivity and information-sharing need to occur in a way that differs on an industry-by-industry basis, so providing managers with a means of developing solutions without having extensive background knowledge in RFID development is valuable to them, especially as they’re able to customize solutions based on how they want the privacy and flow of information to occur. Internet of Things platforms will continue to appear in all different forms, but were seeing RFID continually be a vital addition to most solutions.

ThingMagic and Partners’ Innovations on Display at MIT Auto ID & Sensing Solutions Expo

Posted by Austin Rand on Wed, Jun 04, 2014 @ 03:43 PM

Tags: RFID, Sensors, RFID tags, MIT

Last week we had the opportunity to be back at MIT, where ThingMagic first was started, to display our latest suite of innovations alongside a number of our partners at the 5th annual Auto ID & Sensing Solutions Expo. Given the size of the show, we didn’t expect any groundbreaking announcements that would shake up the auto ID and wireless industry.  But it but was a good opportunity to connect with partners and other vendors and OEMs leading the RFID industry. It was also good to see MIT students (and perhaps the next generation of RFID professionals) roaming the expo floor as well. Among the roughly 50 exhibitors at the show, a few ThingMagic partners had interesting deployments to demo for the attendees.

Zebra

A leader in cloud printing, Zebra had a few printers displayed, including their ZD500R, which takes advantage of a ThingMagic reader module and is versatile in the applications you’ll find it in – from the manufacturing floor to tagging and tracking for retail, healthcare and government.

The Zatar platform was their main attraction, their cloud-based software service that’s meant to help feed Internet of Things solutions more easily into users’ operations. Zatar makes it easier to configure devices together for smoother connectivity and will soon be compatible with ThingMagic devices, though beta customers like American Barcode.

RF Micron

RF Micron is a newer company with beta users developing solutions that involve their sensors which can adjust to environmental conditions and will involve ThingMagic’s M6 and M6e reader modules. Their innovation will prove to be big in industries like oil and gas and other industrial settings where conditions can often affect technology’s functionality. This could range from moisture detection and knowing when water has leaked into places it is not supposed to be, to pressure detection in tire gauges that will allow us to have smarter vehicles.

Omni-ID

The newest and probably most interesting thing we saw was the Omni-ID View Tags, that use both active and passive RFID to replace paper labels in supply chain operations with an electronically re-writeable surface that’s added to RF tracking technologies. Picture a nurse wheeling a patient around a hospital, where patient information can be pushed to this device telling where exactly that patient needs to be next. Or an operator on a manufacturing plant floor walking up to a particular asset and having information pushed to this rugged handheld based on his particular role.

 

All in all, it’s good to see the variety of industries deploying ThingMagic and other RFID technology continue to grow and expand. We had the chance to catch up with one industry analyst at the show for his impression on everything being displayed and his thoughts seemed to mirror what we and other auto ID companies have been seeing and saying more and more – that connectivity across the board, not just RFID, is going to continue becoming cheaper, more fluid and more accessible; all making the Internet of Things more of a reality. And we were glad to be able to have aided in more than a few of such solutions on display at the Auto ID & Sensing Solutions Expo.

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