Best in Show Finalist – ThingMagic Mercury xPRESS Platform

Posted by Ken Lynch on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 @ 01:16 PM

Tags: RFID, Embedded RFID, Product Design

RFID Journal Best in ShowThe premier industry event for radio frequency and related connectivity and communication technologies, RFID Journal LIVE!, is here again and our RFID reader development platform for OEMs – Mercury xPRESS – has been selected as one of the ten finalists for the 2014 RFID Journal Best in Show award! The award is given to the company that exhibits the best new RFID product or service at the show. RFID Journal Founder and Editor, Mark Roberti, praised the finalists, citing the breadth and scope of the offerings as they illustrate how far companies have come in using RFID technology on a large scale.

ThingMagic introduced the Mercury xPRESS Platform earlier this year, hitting a market at just the right time. Since introducing the xPRESS Platform, we’ve seen customer interest grow quickly. Regardless of company size or embedded RFID project, developers are demanding products that will enable them to create and deploy RFID applications more quickly and easily. 

This interest stems in part from the barriers driven down by the innovative Mercury 6e Series of modules, which are supported by the platform.  These modules enable OEMs to build smaller yet more powerful devices and solutions. With the Mercury xPRESS platform, developers can now focus on designing the next generation of application-specific readers, handhelds, mobile devices and more – solutions that will bring innovation, automation and process improvement to markets that, until now, have yet to realize the true value of RFID.Mercury xPRESS Platform

The Mercury xPRESS platform includes hardware, software and reference documentation that enable more efficient development of low-cost, high-performance application-specific RFID solutions.  With the platform, developers can bring up a fully functional RFID reader in minutes and demonstrate proof of concept using sample applications from the software library almost immediately. This means rapid integration of RFID with a wider variety of products and complementary wireless communication technologies. And, to support ongoing innovation, the integrated development tools, device drivers and application software of the Mercury xPRESS Platform will be enhanced with updates that expand capabilities and enable development of a wider range of end products.

The broad range of product and solution development that is possible through the Mercury xPRESS Platform is something we’re looking forward to exploring with everyone at this year’s RFID Journal LIVE! 

When RFID Goes Global, So Do We

Posted by Ken Lynch on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

Tags: RFID, Embedded RFID, Product Design

Micro FamilyThingMagic is pleased to announce that its Micro and Micro-LTE UHF RFID modules now operate within the recently ratified 920 MHz ultra-high frequency (UHF) standard in Japan. The ratification by Japan to expand the nation’s UHF standard to 920 MHz is further proof of what we’ve seen happening for some time now – RFID is going global.  

Japan’s move to a standard that is compatible with much of the rest of the world’s radio frequency range represents a significant lowering of barriers to RFID implementation.  It will now be easier to integrate high performance RFID features into products that can change how industries in Japan operate and become more productive. The shift in Japan from a 955 MHz band to a 920 MHz band, in part, represents an opportunity for a market that was valued at just over $637 million (66.7 billion Yen) in FY2012 to grow to a projected $940 million (98.4 billion Yen) in FY2017 (according to Yano Research Institute in Japan).

For developers and OEMs using ThingMagic products, this means they can now support the Japanese market with the industry-leading products they’re already using today.  Organizations looking to deploy solutions in Japan are now able to use the ThingMagic Micro and Micro-LTE modules – known for their high performance and read distance in a form factor – in a host of markets, ranging from healthcare to retail to manufacturing and more.

At ThingMagic, we’ve developed some of the most advanced embedded RFID reader modules on the market, and now developers and OEMs are able to move forward in providing progressive solutions in Japan without limitation.

Embedded RFID and The Internet of Things

Posted by Ken Lynch on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 @ 11:57 AM

Tags: RFID, Sensors, Internet of Things, Embedded RFID, Product Design

Internet of Things

We all know our world is more connected than ever, as is evidenced by the millions of smart phones cradled in the hands of people all over the word. But beyond this, there is a vast world of connected devices that is projected to far exceed smart phones.  From toll booths and parking spots to refrigerators and thermostats, many places and common place 'things' can and will be connected. This is what the Internet of Things is all about.  

The Internet of Things has stealthily crept its way into our everyday lives, promising to create ease and efficiency in everything we do.  In the years since the term “Internet of Things” was coined at the Auto-ID Center at MIT, its definition has evolved in some interesting ways.  For example, Intel's tagline The Iternet of Things Starts with Intelligence Inside indicates their heavy focus on embedded technology. Cisco’s newly formed Internet of Things business unit has a vision to turn what were once physical products into services by enabling those products to deliver data. Their vision is broad, taking the Internet of Things a step further to The Internet of Everything. Just recently, SalesForce.com has begun defining its vision of IoT as The Internet of Customers. What ever the Internet of Things is or will eventually become, reserch firm Gartner predicts it is growing rapidly. By the year 2020, the Internet of Things market as defined by Gartner will grow to 26 billion units, representing an almost 30 fold increase from 2009.

While the Internet of Things may have expanded to inclue technologies and applications well beyond its roots in RFID, we believe RFID still plays a defining role, particularly as an embedded solution.  We’re seeing this manifested in the growth of the RFID industry, with new applications of embedded RFID increasing at a rapid pace across a variety of industries and product categories. 

To help drive this growth, ThingMagic recenlty announced the Mercury xPRESS Platform.  The Mercury xPRESS Platform is the first of its kind development platform that will make new application-specific RFID product development faster, easier and less expensive.

Leveraging over 10 years of RFID technology advancements and development expertise from ThingMagic, we expect the Mercury xPRESS platform will revolutionize the way that RFID readers and embedded solutions are brought to market, inevitably strengthening RFID’s role in the Internet of Things. 

To learn more, please attend our webinar: Innovating With Embedded RFID: Introducing ThingMagic's Mercury xPRESS Platform

Register Now!

We are excited to share the possibilities this new platform offers for designing the next generation of application-specific RFID readers, handhelds, mobile devices and more!

Image source: IEEE

Innovating with Embedded RFID

Posted by Ken Lynch on Mon, Dec 02, 2013 @ 11:29 AM

Tags: RFID, Sensors, Embedded RFID, Product Design

ThingMagic Mercury xPRESS PlatformApprehension developers may have with embedding RFID in new solutions does not come from a lack of perceived value – that value has been proven time and time again.

Like many embedded technologies however, RFID has a history of challenging complexities; often requiring a deep understanding of both RF hardware and application software development.

To answer these challenges, we’ve introduced a comprehensive platform that allows developers to build RFID-enabled solutions with the backing of over a decade of ThingMagic RFID technology expertise and resources!

The first of its kind Mercury xPRESS Platform includes hardware, software and reference documentation to enable the rapid development of low-cost, high-performance application specific RFID readers and embedded RFID solutions. By simplifying the integration of RFID into new and existing solutions, the Mercury xPRESS Platform results in unit cost savings, deployments with a stronger ROI, and an overall positive bottom line impact in many deployments.

With the platform, developers can bring up a fully functional RFID reader in minutes and testing and proof of concept using sample applications from the software library can start almost immediately. No longer do developers need to have significant RFID domain expertise. This means rapid integration of RFID with a wider variety of products and complementary wireless communication technologies. And, to support ongoing innovation, the integrated development tools, device drivers and application software of the Mercury xPRESS Platform will be enhanced with updates that expand capabilities and enable development of a wider range of end products.

Key components of the Mercury xPRESS Platform include:

  • Hardware kit with microcontroller-based motherboard, including:
    • Integrated ThingMagic UHF RFID module (Micro, Micro-LTE, or M6e)
    • USB interface
    • Ports for up to 2 additional plug-in data transport interface modules
  • MCU preloaded with sample keyboard wedge application
  • An optional Bluetooth plug-in module
  • Software toolkit and SDK
  • Reference design files including schematics, layout files, Gerber files, bill of material, component data sheets

The growth of RFID has been fueled in part by innovative hardware like our M6e series of modules, which has eroded one major barrier to RFID adoption: having a module that is small enough and powerful enough to fit in readers and other devices that are continually required to be built smaller yet still operate with high performance.

Now with the Mercury xPRESS platform from ThingMagic, developers can focus on designing the next generation of application specific readers, handhelds, mobile devices and more – solutions that could bring innovation, automation and process improvement to markets that until now have not had the resources in place to realize the true value of RFID.

Ghost in the Machine

Posted by Ken Lynch on Thu, Oct 28, 2010 @ 01:44 PM

Tags: RFID, NFC, Product Design

RFID and the "Magic" of Nearness

Touch Ghost IconIn the introductory post of our 100 Uses of RFID program, we discussed the fact that there are a growing number of innovative solutions where users and consumers can interact naturally with RFID and Sensor technology and where the technology is so integrated and transparent that it disappears into its environment.  This is also a primary theme of a blog post recently published by Touch - a research project that investigates Near Field Communication (NFC) and RFID technologies.

Using probes with LEDs that flash when an RFID tag is passed by a near-field reader, Touch conducted research to explore the visual and special aspects of RFID.  Capturing the path of the LED with long exposure photography and animation, Touch produced a compelling video that displays how the two objects are communicating with each other through the ‘magic’ of radio waves - creating an interesting ghost-like image!

Immaterials: the ghost in the field from timo on Vimeo.

Given that many aspects of RFID are fundamentally "invisible", Touch conducted their study to help them better understand the interactions that can be created with RFID and the ways it can be used inside products.  As they eloquently point out:

“…invisibility also offers opportunities: the lack of touch is an enormous usability and efficiency leap for many systems we interact with everyday (hence the success of Oyster, Suica and Octopus cards). But there is also the ‘magic’ of nearness one of the most compelling experiential aspects of RFID.”

Touch’s experiments were conducted to flesh out their own spatial and gestural models in part to help them understand the readable volume of RFID for the design of products like Sniff – an interactive child’s toy - Skål – a tabletop media player.

What experiments have you conducted to support the development of your RFID, NFC or Sensor-based products?  Feel free to share them with us and we’ll highlight them in a future 100 Uses of RFID post.

The RFID icon above is based on the shape of the "readable volume" within an RFID radio field. Created by Timo Arnall & Jack Schulze, it is licensed for use under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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