Radio frequency identification (RFID or 'smart-ID') technology is no longer the preserve of large manufacturers and retailers with a new desktop RFID printer/encoder launched this week by Zebra Technologies, a global leader in on-demand printing and specialty label printing solutions for business improvement.

Having led the industry by launching the first RFID printer/encoder desktop printer to market nearly four years ago, Zebra now steps up its RFID portfolio with the new 13.56 MHz R2844-Z model. The printer combines a compact footprint with all the support and connectivity features of Zebra's industrial-sized printers, opening up RFID technology to SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) as well as other organisations where space-efficient, low-volume applications are required.

Example applications for the new R2844-Z include:

- libraries and video rental outlets - automating the issue and return process, security tagging

- healthcare and pharmaceutical - encoding information onto patient wristbands and prescription medicines

- courier services - parcel tracking and encoding delivery details

- leisure and entertainment industry - visitor wristbands, e.g. to pre-pay for rides at amusement parks or at concerts, ski passes, etc

Rod Rodericks, managing director for Zebra EMEA, comments: "The majority of RFID technology has been developed with large retailers and manufacturers - such as Wal-Mart and Gillette - in mind. However, there is huge business potential for 'smart' applications in the smaller and mid-sized business environment. By combining our RFID expertise with the desktop designs Zebra has been providing for many years, we are able to offer the wider business market a high performance but affordable RFID solution."

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