Chat transcript 07/15/2005


Staff member
<bravesirrobbin> hi peter
<pmonahan> Hello
<bravesirrobbin> thanks for being our guest speaker tonight
<pmonahan> Pleasure is mine
<bravesirrobbin> I actually spoke with you via a work conversation (can't say name of company here)
<bravesirrobbin> your kids had the chicken pox at the time I believe
<pmonahan> I do remember our conversation; you're west of Atlanta, correct ?
<pmonahan> Ah yes...the Px
<bravesirrobbin> yes waaayyy west
<pmonahan> Pox
<bravesirrobbin> did you get it?
<bravesirrobbin> (chicken pox that is)
<pmonahan> No, thankfully as I have never had them
<bravesirrobbin> ah, well let me introduce you to our audience
<bravesirrobbin> this is peter monahans of Iautomate who makes the RFID products
<bravesirrobbin> initially advertised on Homeseer
<bravesirrobbin> I know Squintz is a big user of them
<bravesirrobbin> but he is here to explain to our membership these systems
<bravesirrobbin> and answer questions
<bravesirrobbin> it is a free format
<bravesirrobbin> so peter, do you want to give a short intro
<bravesirrobbin> hey e
<pmonahan> Sure
<electron> hi Peter
<pmonahan> Hello
<pmonahan> I've been invlolved with automation in one form or another for about 25 years
<pmonahan> so I'm dating myself here
<electron> lol
<pmonahan> mostly industrial automation, but I owned a local HA installation company until a couple of years ago
<pmonahan> Many large clients, sports figures, recording artists, etc.
<pmonahan> and I was a partner in when it formed six years ago
<pmonahan> I brought my industrial and HA experience to the distribution side of the business
<pmonahan> We like to call ourselves an ESD or Engineered Systems Distributor
<pmonahan> because we do a lot of design work; acting as the company behind the scenes to make projects successful
<pmonahan> So or range of experience is varied and extensive.
<electron> hi jeff
<electron> Peter;. I am not sure if this question has been asked, but are you working on supporting other software packages?
<pmonahan> We began working with RFID four years ago mostly for card access and gate control
<CFGuy> hello
<pmonahan> Yes we are
<pmonahan> we presently support HS and Crestron
<pmonahan> We will also release our own stand-alone product this year
<pmonahan> So four years ago RFID was not affordable, and frankly a year ago it was out of reach too for homeowners
<pmonahan> Then I had a selfish need to track my son after he had a swimming pool accident that nearly resulted in death
<pmonahan> I approached Wavetrend and asked if they would manufactur an RFID reader for the HA market
<pmonahan> And they jumped on board
<pmonahan> So some six months after that we released our first solution in partnership with HomeSeer
<pmonahan> Others had worked on a Solution for two years; we knocked it out and brought it to market in 6 months
<pmonahan> The HS partnership makes sense, because we could not possibly convince their user base to switch to a new product
<pmonahan> Sales have been brisk, especially in the UK and South Africa
<pmonahan> To explain why our RFID is different than what you read about in articles about WalMart, etc...
<pmonahan> Our Readers are Passive Receivers
<pmonahan> Our Tags are active transmitters; the first generation transmit at 800ms rep-rate
<pmonahan> the second generation will transmit at 400ms rep rate
<pmonahan> So...we know when a tag arrives, AND when it leaves.
<pmonahan> The technology that WalMart has made popular is a passive tag that is DEAD until a transceiver wakes it up with a Microwave Burst
<pmonahan> then it is excited and it responds back
<pmonahan> Our Tags transmit at 433 MHz
<tonyno> batteries?
<pmonahan> NOT 2.4 Ghz so we are not affected by 802.11b, etc
<pmonahan> Integral (lithium I think) battery that lasts from 3-5 years
<pmonahan> Cordless phones also affect passive tag systems
<pmonahan> Our transmit level is very weak, we use AM I think 80 micro watts
<pmonahan> so risk to living things is not a factor
<pmonahan> very low energy
<pmonahan> Not So with passive systems; they need to be blasted with Microwave
<pmonahan> Simply stated, it was un-acceptable to me to either:
<pmonahan> A. Use Microwave near kids
<pmonahan> B. Use a passive tag; because failure rate is high
<pmonahan> We would market this as a life safety system, but insurance requirements are rather steep.
<pmonahan> So that will happen in '06
<pmonahan> Communication from the PC to the first reader is RS232 at 57600 baud or 115200 baud
<pmonahan> Then the reader converts from RS-232 to RS-485 for readers 2-10
<pmonahan> so we can go quite a distance with RS-485
<Squintz> hey peter
<pmonahan> We poll at an unbelievable rate of 30ms
<Squintz> long time no see
<pmonahan> Hey Squintz
<Squintz> I was just messing with the RFID status page
<Squintz> trying to figure out how to make it look more like the HS2 pages
<pmonahan> so that's 30ms for each reader...
<pmonahan> That's a LOT of data.
<Treetop> hi all
<pmonahan> Greetings, welcome
<Treetop> hy peter
<gordon> evenin guys
<tonyno> is the rs232 protocol public?
<pmonahan> we PUMP data into the COM Port, real time ALL the time
<Treetop> Mac Daddy G in the Hoooouuuuseee!
<pmonahan> No
<tonyno> ok, that puts me out ;)
<pmonahan> Not Public
<Treetop> sry... been forcd to watch too much MTV
<gordon> ;-)
<Treetop> ;-)
<pmonahan> We do open up our objects via scripting so you can pull RFID data from the plug-in
<tonyno> i don't use hs
<Treetop> me neither
<pmonahan> Squintz just referred to the RSSI Status, a java applet that does jsut that
<electron> what is the scripting interface, COM ?
<Treetop> please say yes!...
<pmonahan> as in Microsoft COM ??
<electron> yea
<electron> sorry for the confusion
<electron> hey TCassio!
<TCassio> Hey Guys
<pmonahan> vbScript I think
<Treetop> hi TC, JW...
<joeW> Hey
<pmonahan> we abandoned MSFT COM in lieu of a 3rd Party Port Controller as it was too slow for our needs
<pmonahan> Our data pump was too much for MSFT to handle
<tonyno> well, tree, i spose we could get the hardware and figure out the data protocol
<Treetop> you first ;)
<Treetop> lol
<tonyno> lol. $377?
<Treetop> Im just happy its actually happening NOW...
<tonyno> is that the lowest-price starter kit?
<Treetop> even though I cant utilize it, yet....
<Treetop> And Im even happier that Pmonahan is here to discuss it.
<pmonahan> So now that Crestron is complete, we are focusing on our hardware controller and we will make the data stream public on that.
<tonyno> great
<Treetop> ding dong....
<GuyLavoie> hi to all
<Treetop> Guy is here!
<pmonahan> What you must understand is that we have commercial applications where 20-30 readers are installed
<Treetop> wow
<GuyLavoie> hi treetop
<Treetop> hi guy
<pmonahan> For Automobile, asset, personnel tracking, and Card Access
<bravesirrobbin> Peter, I do have a question
<pmonahan> we work across several platforms
<pmonahan> Go ahead
<bravesirrobbin> What is the distance resolution you can get with your readers
<bravesirrobbin> for instance
<bravesirrobbin> you mentioned a mail box application
<bravesirrobbin> you can discern the movement of a mailbox cover?
<pmonahan> Yes
<pmonahan> with a T800-MS motion tag
<bravesirrobbin> so say over 50 ft, what resolution could you get
<pmonahan> it has an embedded vibration sensor
<pmonahan> Good question
<bravesirrobbin> oh
<bravesirrobbin> so its the vibration and not the "movement" of the distance
<pmonahan> I would dedicate an outdoor reader/antenna to use for car, mailbox, trash can and maybe even dog
<bravesirrobbin> I was thinking you could tell that the mail box had 'moved' because its "distance' from the reader changed
<pmonahan> no it is vibration
<gordon> I think many of us are interested in whether RFID can be used in a personnel room-to-room use inside a home. Is there an application for this? Sorry if this has alreayd been asked...
<pmonahan> Well I will answer that, but I'll finish mailbox question
<gordon> tnx
<pmonahan> So you have a reader mounted in garage, with a (cheap) external antenna.
<pmonahan> That will pick up cars, kids arriving home, tractor, trash cans, Mail-box, Mother in Law...etc
<pmonahan> That readers range will be about 400 Feet
<pmonahan> because it is outdoors
<pmonahan> then you use secondary readers indoors
<pmonahan> and you can install multiple readers indoors
<pmonahan> we have three new antennas that are in final testing that will allow near field detection say for a 10 x 12 room
<pmonahan> to give you more localized coverage
<pmonahan> I use my tags from room to room at the present time
<pmonahan> for lights, temperature, music
<pmonahan> mostly to track Kyle, my (now) 4 year old
<pmonahan> I get Voice Announcments when he is out of range
<Squintz> peter the plugin works great for me in HS2
<pmonahan> The motion tags are adjustable sensitivity
<pmonahan> Cool
<pmonahan> I am installing HS2 on a new PC this weekend myself
<Squintz> anyone want to say hi via HS2
<Squintz> guest guest
<pmonahan> As you rotate the motion tags in increments of 90 degrees, it changes the sensitivity
<pmonahan> have you guys seen out RFID RSSI display ?
<Squintz> its available on my page
<Squintz> you can see it in action
<Squintz> whats the login peter
<tonyno> hehe
<Squintz> guest didnt work for me
<pmonahan> use:
<pmonahan> cocoon
<pmonahan> tech
<tonyno> squintz: the rfid statues uses a local ip
<pmonahan> hope you don't kill my server, it's a pig
<tonyno> status
<gordon> class not found, pmonahan.
<Squintz> what do you mean tony
<Squintz> oh
<pmonahan> might be way too busy
<gordon> k, will try again later.
<pmonahan> should run fine
<tonyno> i got it peter
<pmonahan> it displays grapically the signal strength of each tag
<CFGuy> the touchpad version.
<CFGuy> guest and guest
<pmonahan> So I promised a couple of tidbits tonight...
<Squintz> looks good cf
<pmonahan> I'll start with boring:
<pmonahan> We have new power supply that will allow implemtation of local reader power so all that is daisy chained is RS-485
<electron> that is great
<pmonahan> that s remarkable because in commercial installations CAT5 limits you to 1 Amp of power
<pmonahan> CAT5 can't handle large installs....
<pmonahan> 10 readers MAx
<pmonahan> that is why we limit HS to 10 readers
<pmonahan> UL Rating of Power Supply and CAT5
<pmonahan> OK, tidbit #2
<pmonahan> A dual purpose tag that is 433MHz AND......
<pmonahan> GPS
<tonyno> interesting
<Squintz> now thats cool
<Squintz> hows the GPS work?
<pmonahan> I can't say more because of NDA but we WILL have a dual Mode tag by end of year
<Squintz> But the data will be available when in range via HS
<Squintz> ?
<pmonahan> So if you really want to know where your teens car goes after it leaves the house....
<Squintz> cool
<pmonahan> Yes
<Squintz> that i will be interested in
<tonyno> does it record data?
<bravesirrobbin> GPS can pick up an RFID tag then?
<bravesirrobbin> or am I not seeing this correctly?
<pmonahan> In addition, we are close to having our swimming pool tag ready; it is both pressure sensitive and water sensitive
<pmonahan> will send a high energy burst when wet and submerged
<pmonahan> I am limited in what I can discuss about GPS
<pmonahan> Our software will be marketed under the name Tag Sentry
<electron> what about using TV-GPS, is that something you are considering
<Squintz> Software...Marketed... Did i miss something?
<pmonahan> No we will use 433 MHZ with our readers and GPS
<electron> so the tag will record GPS data every x seconds and store that data?
<pmonahan> Squintz, we are developing a hardware controller
<pmonahan> and Software to support large scale installations
<pmonahan> Mostly for commercial and government applications
<Squintz> OK
<pmonahan> I can't comment on the GPS, sorry
<Squintz> Let me know what you have in mind for the goverment because i work for the DoD
<pmonahan> ok
<pmonahan> In a perefect world we can tell you when a tank is in a warehouse, when it has been moved, where it was moved to
<pmonahan> and
<pmonahan> who's driving it ;-)
<gordon> hehe, one step ahead of LoJack!
<Squintz> Who may be a thing of their interest and When
<Squintz> We use gps for where
<pmonahan> correct
<Squintz> and onboard recording for how long and far
<pmonahan> we'll be able to do both
<pmonahan> local and GPS
<pmonahan> and marry the data in one or more GUI's/database
<pmonahan> Listen, I have to run, it's my weekend with kids and I promised a game of checkers...any other questions ??
<GuyLavoie> so you'll have both absolute and relative positioning...
<gordon> this is all available now, so you expect to be able to bring this to market at reduced costs?
<Squintz> thanks for stoping by peter
<Squintz> e-mail me when you want me to try some more RFID tags for you :)
<tonyno> is 377 the lowest priced starter kit?
<pmonahan> yes, assumes you have HS already or Crestron
<pmonahan> Oh...
<pmonahan> we have a temperature tag too
<tonyno> cooler still
<pmonahan> Squintz, maybe you can test that
<tonyno> no pun intended ;)
<pmonahan> Yes, we hope to have the reader price down to 249.00 within 12 months
<pmonahan> presently 299.00
<Squintz> Go play with your kids
<Tree_away> nite all... gotta run
<pmonahan> Once you install the starter kit, the tags at about $20.00 each are a steal...
<tonyno> night tree
<electron> nite Tree
<pmonahan> when you consider everyhting you can do with them
<gordon> I can buy a GPS system used to track vehicles now for $295 ea. Data is transfered by plugging the unit into a PC, but there are more expensive models that allow proximity data transfers.
<gordon> so I'm hoping the RFID systems will be quite a bit cheaper for the same capabilities.
<pmonahan> If that's important to you in it's present form you should use it
<pmonahan> but I think we will be
<pmonahan> very competitive
<pmonahan> Send me a private message if you have any more questions
<gordon> thanks peter!
<pmonahan> Going to play checkers
<Squintz> later
<pmonahan> Be Well All
<bravesirrobbin> thanks aagin peter
<pmonahan> Thanks for the soapbox opp
<GuyLavoie> bye
<bravesirrobbin> appreciate your time here