Motorola's New RFID Handheld Aimed at Retailers

Motorola just introduced a new handheld radio-frequency identification (RFID) device for retail and health care businesses that includes a dual-axis antenna providing more extensive tag reading coverage.

The Motorola MC3090-Z significantly improves item-level RFID operations for companies that have intensive asset management and tracking tasks by using an omni-directional antenna, Chris Schaefer, director of product marketing for Motorola's RFID unit, told EnterpriseMobileToday.com.

Prior to the MC3090-Z release, enterprises were forced to choose between two types of antennas when selecting RFID devices: linear polarization for a longer read or circular polarization for wider coverage. The antenna in Motorola's new handheld combines the advantages of these two technologies into a dual-axis, orientation-insensitive antenna.

Additionally, the dual-axis antenna eliminates the need for alignment of the handheld and the tag, which improves comfort and productivity, said Schaefer. "Before, if you had a linear antenna and a tag was off-kilter, you had to wave around the reader," he said.

The gun-style MC3090-Z, which becomes available in the first quarter of next year, builds on Motorola's MC3000 family of handheld readers commonly used in industrial and warehouse business environments.

It differs, however, in that it was designed for retail and health care, or "carpeted spaces," so the form factor is lighter and more ergonomic.

"For our retail customers, the MC3090-Z addresses the growing demand for a flexible handheld solution that is easy to grip and use all day -- ultimately improving employee efficiency and performance," Mike Poldino, vice president and general manager of RFID for Motorola's enterprise mobility unit, said in a statement

And despite the more delicate design, the device can still withstand some abuse, said Schaefer. "It's still pretty rugged, though. It can survive the four-foot drop on concrete, but it's not as heavy as the standard readers, which might make a customer in, say, a clothing store, look twice if they saw an employee with one," he said.

The handheld also allows workers to find a specific item within a larger group. "It's almost like a Geiger counter, if you're looking for one coat in a huge rack of clothing, it enables you to find that one coat, by beeping as you get closer to it," said Schaefer. "This saves a lot of time because employees don't have to search through a whole heap of stuff by hand to find what they need."

The MC3090-Z also has the ability to scan bar codes, reducing the number of devices a company has to purchase and manage.

The MC3090-Z series is compatible with Microsoft Biz Talk Server 2006 R2 and supports applications written with Microsoft.NET 2.0-based APIs, allowing customers to host applications directly on the reader.

It also offers security options supported by 802.11a, b and g. Users can choose to write password-protected applications for an additional level of security.

TAGS:

retail, Enterprise, enterprise mobility, Motorola, RFID

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