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Startup drives Active RFID adoption

Posted: 25 Sep 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Active RFID tag? UHF tag?

British startup RFTRAQ has increased production of its Active RFID tags to help advance the use of the devices and expand into new application sectors.

"We are increasing capacity at our new Guildford manufacturing site to 3 million of the active RFID tags a year and betting that this will be a catalyst for the deployment of these devices and systems in a wide range of industries", Douglas Hogg, CEO of RFTRAQ told EE Times Europe.

The privately funded company recently raised $20.25 million in equity and Hogg said about $1 million of was used for a major expansion of manufacturing capacity. He said this was necessary because active RFID tags from other suppliers "just did not meet our or our clients' requirements in terms of performance and longevity." RFTRAQ will use the tags in its own systems and sell them to other OEMs, he added.

The bulk of the funds raised wentand are goinginto product development, with a major innovation being the deployment of reusable and recyclable Active RFID-enabled aluminum "cores."

The read/write and IP addressable Active RFID tags are part of the company's range of end-to-end RFID software and hardware systems for industrial environments The tags have a much longer range of up to 400m, said to be four times the distance of comparable UHF tags.

The IP addressability of RFTRAQ's hardware, he stressed, enables remote access to individual tags and readers, enabling them to be managed and reconfigured remotely once they are deployed in the field. They all comply with, and are certified to, the recently changed European Technical Standards Institute guidelines for RFID tags.

Hogg said RFTRAQ has applied for 30 patents on its technologies and 5 of these have already been granted by patent agencies worldwide. The company's Active RFID tags can remotely or automatically change RF across all three regional (Asia, United States and Europe) UHF bands, bypassing concerns about standards and interoperability.

Hogg said there more discussion within the industry about the potential application of Active RFID than actual action, but the company is bucking this trend and boasts a customer base of blue-chip clients mostly in the printing and paper industries.

He added that that RFID has been much-debated in recent years while its commercial deployment has been relatively slow. The paper and printing sector, because of its "demanding and relentless" nature is already ahead of the curve in Active RFID adoption, and Hogg is now looking to other sectors, in addition to retail, "to go beyond the barcode legacy and experience the tangible and immediate benefits which Active RFID provides."

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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