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Study Published in JAMA on RFID Interference Ignores Real-World Use Cases, According to SkyeTek

WESTMINSTER, Colo., July 14 /PRNewswire/ --

News Facts:

-- A study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical

Association (

reported that RFID systems can cause "potentially hazardous incidents

in medical devices" used in hospitals. Unfortunately, the report

ignores mainstream passive RFID readers in favor of an uncommonly

high-powered RFID reader used at an uncommonly close distance.

-- SkyeTek, Inc. (, a leading provider of passive

RFID reader technology, sees the study as making a strong case for the

upper limit of passive UHF output power (2 - 4 Watts) around medical

devices. However, it is important to note the study does not test for

today's most common passive UHF use cases which call for RFID reader

output power anywhere from 0.25 Watt to 1 Watt, the maximum allowed by

the FCC. By comparison, one of today's most popular cell phone models

emits 1.59 Watts.

-- The study also ignores the HF frequency entirely which comprises a

substantial, if not the largest, portion of passive RFID technology

used in hospitals today. The potential EMI coming from passive HF RFID

readers is significantly less than that coming from their UHF


Key Takeaways:

-- The passive UHF RFID reader used in the study is an unrepresentative

product used unconventionally.

-- Although the reader model was not specified in the study, it is most

likely the Feig ID ISC.LRMU2000 Fixed UHF Long Range Reader Unit

which has a maximum of 3 Watts of output power. The vast majority

of passive UHF RFID readers sold today are readers that emit 1 Watt

or less of output power at the antenna (i.e., not including antenna


-- The reason why the industry has standardized around 1 Watt is


-- 1 Watt is the maximum UHF RFID output power as specified by the

FCC in North America as well as several other major countries

around the world.

-- Readers capable of 1 Watt are capable of reading RFID tagged

inventory and assets several meters away -- plenty of range for

the majority of tracking applications.

-- In the event that a 3 Watt reader is necessary, the presumption is

that there is a requirement to track items well in excess of the

5m - 10m that a mainstream 1 Watt reader is capable. Yet, the study

finds the vast majority of its EMI at 0.5m or less, distances for

which a 3 Watt reader would not realistically be used.

-- The study also ignores passive HF RFID, which is a substantial, if not

the dominant, type of RFID used in hospitals.

-- HF RFID operates at 13.56 MHz, typically operates at lower power

levels than UHF, and uses the magnetic portion of the radio wave to

communicate between reader and tag.

-- These characteristics make HF much less susceptible to EMI with

adjacent devices than UHF.

-- This is the same technology used for security badge access into

offices and buildings.

Quotes from Rob Balgley, CEO of SkyeTek

-- "We feel it is important to provide clarification around the results of

this study because RFID continues to drastically improve patient care

in the healthcare industry."

-- "While the results do a good job of indicating a limit to the amount of

RF power applied around medical devices, the test did not account for

the most common uses of RFID today."

-- "On top of that, none of our experiences with readers used in hospital

deployments are near the amount of power that the readers in this study

required. If you wanted to show EMI due to passive RFID, you would go

out of your way to pick the reader that was used in the study. If you

wanted to represent the market, you would have chosen a lower powered


-- "Despite its flaws, we do see the study as a call to action for

standardization around RFID in hospitals, particularly as it relates to

power requirements. This would certainly benefit the industry in the

long run providing a commonly understood framework for how best to

employ RFID in healthcare."

For detail on other studies on RFID and its use in healthcare environments, please visit

Please contact Kristin Cronin at to arrange for further quotes regarding this study or to request an interview with a SkyeTek executive.

About SkyeTek, Inc.

SkyeTek, Inc. develops reader hardware and software that enables the pervasive adoption of RFID as intelligent networking technology. Numerous Fortune 500 and mid-market customers use SkyeTek's products in applications such as item-level inventory, product authentication, access control, and patron management. In addition to selling SkyeModule readers, SkyeTek licenses SkyeWare software that allows customers to save 40 - 70% compared to the price of common reader modules available in the market today. Based in Westminster, Colo., SkyeTek sells exclusively through OEMs, systems integrators, and distributors. For more information, visit

Tagnostic(R), ReaderWare(TM), and SkyeModule(TM), the SkyeTek logo, SkyeTek(R) and SkyeWare(TM) are trademarks or registered trademarks of SkyeTek, Inc. All rights reserved. All other trademarks or brand names are the properties of their respective holders.

SOURCE SkyeTek, Inc.
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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