Motorola Solutions Adds RFID-Enabled Knobs to Radios

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The volume knob, which can be retrofitted into the company's Mototrbo radios, enables users to conduct inventory counts of 50 radios in six seconds, instead of four minutes.
Two ofMotorola Solutions’ business divisions combined forces this year to develop anRFID-based solution known asRFIDFleet Management, for managing the locations of its Mototrbo two-way radios. The system features a volume-control knob with a built-inRFID tag, enabling users to locate Kenwood radios more efficiently than having to manually search through several models, reading serial numbers or scanning bar codes. The solution also includes MotorolaEPCGen 2ultrahigh-frequency(UHF)RFIDreaders. Software to managereaddata, as well as training, support and service, are being provided by Motorola's reseller and solution-provider partners. Beginning at the end of this month, the new knobs will be shipped to customers, upon request, as a retrofit for their existing radios.
Motorola Solutions sells its Mototrbo two-way radios to customers, such as product manufacturers, and other companies with mobile personnel. Motorola Solutions’ Mototrbo customers include organizations that rent the radios to the end users. Both types of companies can have inventories of hundreds or thousands of radios, which must be accounted for periodicallyat the end of each day, weekly or monthly, for exampleto confirm that the Kenwood walkie talkies have not gone missing, and that every user returns the correct units. WithoutRFID, each radio assigned or rented out must have itsbar codescanned or its serial number recorded in order to create a record of which radio was provided to which employee or company, and when this occurred.

With theRFIDFleet Management solution, the radio's original volume control knob (left) is replaced with anRFID-tagged version (right).
According to Carrie Angelico, Motorola Solutions’ senior channel business development manager for data-capture solutions, Mototrbo users told Motorola how exhaustive the inventory-management process could be, and the company's radio division began discussing a solution with its ownRFIDdivision. The result is a volume-control knob containing a MotorolaUHFRFIDCustomTag, made with anOmni-IDtag, encoded with a unique ID number that can be associated with the radio's own serial number in the user's software.
The solution is designed to be a retrofit option for those with Mototrbo two-way radios. Users first acquire theRFID-enabled knob as a replacement for the existing volume knob. The knob's built-inRFID tagcan then bereadvia any of Motorola Solutions’ handheld or fixed readers, including a desktopinterrogatorthat could be used for checking radios into and out of a storage area.
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