CHICAGO—At the Frontline Solutions supply chain show here Tuesday, announcements will include a new RFID standard proposal from China, plus a new industry group dubbed the International RFID Business Association, or RFIDba. Meanwhile, dozens of IT vendors will trot out new products and partnerships around RFID.
The new RFID standard proposal will be introduced during a presentation by Edward Zeng, CEO and founder of SparkIce Inc. Earlier this year, Zeng was named a member of a Chinese RFID standards development body known as the Chinese National Auto-ID Standards Working Group.
Also at the show, members of RFIDbas executive and advisory committees will talk about their new group, envisioned as an educational forum for end users about how to successfully implement RFID technologies. Made up of both users and IT providers, RFIDba will operate through vertical industry committees, according to officials.
On the product side, introductions at Frontline this week range from RFID chips and hardware devices to middleware, RFID-enabled terminal emulation software and RFID applications.
For instance, Impinj Inc. is announcing volume production of Zuma, an RFID chip system meant to overcome some of the current roadblocks to RFID, such as security issues and inaccurate reads.
Many of Impinjs customers are taking part in Wal-Mart, Target Corp., and Department of Defense RFID trials, according to Vinay Gokhale, vice president of RFID products for Impinj.
“We compete with companies like Alien Technology and Matrix, [but] were getting out into production faster with a system thats readable at long range. It can also be written to in the field,” Gokhale said in an interview with eWEEK.com.
The chips feature very low power consumption, leaving plenty of energy available for RFID tags to “talk back” to the system, Gokhale said. Another feature, “interference rejection,” is designed to stop RFID wireless transmissions from interfering with each other, particularly in metallic and liquid environments.
For security, the chips use rewritable memory that is password-protected. “You absolutely cannot erase the tag unless you know the password,” he said.
In the application software arena, RFID retail specialist Checkpoint Systems Inc. is showing software that reflects the increasing trend toward verticalization in RFID.
Checkpoint is exhibiting applications specifically geared to the retail apparel market, seen by some analysts as one area where immediate return on investment might be possible from RFID. Some of the applications deal with RFID at the item level.
The apparel applications include, for example, real-time inventory management; a “smart POS” for speeding checkout; and an anti-theft feature. Through the anti-theft function, only items identified as “paid” can have their hard tags removed, and then leave the store without setting off an alarm.