Alien and SensThys Launch Highly Networked IoT Solution that Addresses RFID Tag Visibility at Breakthrough Cost

RFID reader and antenna device simplifies installation, resulting in reduced costs while enabling extensibility in Retail, Manufacturing and Transportation applications

Alien Technology, a leader in Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), and SensThys, an Internet of Things (IoT) and RF antenna specialist, announced a new highly networked RFID reader+antenna solution that provides industry-leading RFID tag visibility. The co-developed Alien Hydra and SensThys SensArray solution enables companies to better track, manage and secure their tagged inventory while reducing their overall solution cost by as much as 50%.

“The problem today is that RFID reader antenna don’t ‘see’ all the tagged items in a store or facility.  Adding an additional reader to solve this often breaks the ROI for companies, and adding RTLS technology to an existing reader is too expensive,” said Neil Mitchell, Senior Director of Marketing at Alien. Our new reader+antenna solution solves this problem by enabling large numbers of low-cost readers to be installed in an area to increase coverage – while minimizing cabling, installation time, programming and the overall staffing that’s needed.”

“Getting higher inventory visibility and accuracy and reducing costs are big issues, particularly in Retail, Manufacturing and Logistics, and Transportation,” said Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, a leading global research firm covering the RFID market. “These industries are at the forefront of RFID usage and being able to see all of their tagged inventory not only can make their supply chains and business more efficient and therefore more competitive, it can also help increase their sales and improve customer loyalty.”

The new solution from Alien and SensThys combines a 30dBm UHF Passive RFID reader, an 8.5dBic 10” antenna and networking with both Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+) inputs and outputs.  It can be daisy-chained into a string of collaborative or individual read points, which minimizes cabling back to the network switch and lowers installation costs.  Since it is powered by PoE+, it’s not necessary to run AC or DC cabling, and RF cables aren’t needed due to the reader’s integrated antenna. The readers are the same footprint as most 10” RFID antenna and in a similar profile (250 x 250 x 21 mm).

“These proven technologies, combined in an innovative manner, provide a much more cost-effective way of seeing all the tags in a desired area versus conventional reader solutions,” said Jo Major, CEO of SensThys.  “Adding an additional read point no longer breaks the ROI of a company’s overall RFID solution – an additional read point can be added to a problem area by simply connecting an Ethernet cable from a SensArray or Hydra located close to the new read point.”

The new Hydra and SensArray products are also designed to work seamlessly with Alien’s ALR-F800-X reader with Emissary. A single ALR-F800-X can configure a string of up to 8 Hydra or SensArray readers and the Alien ALR-F800-X2 can configure up to 16 units. This allows workflows to be visually designed without programming expertise. Workflows describe what each Hydra or SensArray in the network does and how they work together. Each reader puts out a heartbeat, allowing an ALR-F800-X to self-discover each reader and determine which Hydra or SensArray readers it will control.

Two Hydra models (Alien ALR-F3700 Series) are available:

  • The Hydra (ALR-F3720) reader has two connectors, both are Ethernet ports supporting data and PoE+ power in and out for daisy-chaining Hydra readers.
  • The Hydra+ (ALR-F3733di) reader supports three PoE+ Ethernet ports (one for data robustness or injecting more power into an existing Hydra reader chain), three SMA connectors for additional external antenna and 24V digital IO powered from the PoE+ inputs. DC power is also offered on this model.