What You Need to Know About Embedded RFID Readers

These small modules provide the performance of full-size readers and can be used to create next-generation solutions.
By Bob Violino

Zebra is making ThingMagic's embedded RFID readers part of Zebra's Zatar cloud-based platform, designed for connecting printers, beacons and other devices to the Internet so they can be managed remotely. Integrating RFID into the Zatar platform enables the connected devices to share data with any application, according to Zebra. An automobile company, for example, could equip its manufacturing tools with embedded readers and use the Zatar platform to receive real-time information from its production floors to ensure the tools are operating within compliance parameters.

ThingMagic also supplies its embedded readers to companies that make smart cabinets and display systems. Keonn Technologies, for example, uses ThingMagic embedded readers in its AdvanLook interactive displays, which can be used in retail stores to help customers get information about a variety of in-store products. Munich Sports, a Spanish footwear company that installed the system at a children's shoe store in 2014, reports that it's popular with customers, makes employees more productive and boosts the store's image for innovation.

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IDtronic integrates its embedded readers in the company's handheld computers and terminals, and in its stationary Bluebox Industrial RFID readers, designed for industrial automation or logistics applications, says Patrick Kochendörfer, a project manager at the firm. "We also have partners and customers using the embedded RFID modules to build their own RFID readers or [integrate] those modules into industrial production machines," he says.

IDtronic customers also use embedded readers for vehicle-based applications, logistics and access control. Due to nondisclosure agreements, Kochendörfer says, IDtronic can't identify customers or partners using its embedded RFID readers. But, he says, one is a company that produces forklifts and other industrial vehicles. "They took our embedded RFID reader modules and integrated them into their latest industrial terminals," he explains. "Those terminals are mounted on the vehicles to manage all vehicle settings or run their industry-specific application on it. For this company, RFID is not the key business, it is just another option to stay ahead of the competition."

Elatec RFID Systems provides embedded readers designed for integration with point-of-sale systems, to support applications such as physical access control and mobile payments, and managed print solutions for secure printing. The company does not market embedded readers to end-user companies.

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