RFID Sector Still Attracting Investments and Diverse Projects


In spite of disillusionment about the RFID sector over the past couple of years (mostly by those who were swept up in the earlier wave of hype), the RFID Market is still receiving investments, such as the recent $12M funding received by TAGSYS and $11M to Alien Technology just this month. This is a sign of confidence and continued, steady growth in RFID applications and implementations.


RFID Investments and Acquisitions Active Recently

TAGSYS–who focuses on item-level tagging primarily in pharmaceuticals, fashion apparel, and libraries–announced on March 16th that they had secured an 8 million euro ($12 million USD) investment. This follows on the heels of a number of recent investments in RFID firms:

· $11M new round of investment (March 3rd, 2010) in Alien Technology, makers of passive UHF RFID tags and readers

· $70M acquisition (March 5th, 2010) of SIRIT Technologies by Federal Signal. SIRIT built up a portfolio of products, largely through acquisitions, in the areas of Tolling, Electronic Vehicle Registration, Parking and Access Control, Asset Management, Cashless Payments and Supply Chain Systems

· I.D. Systems Acquired Asset Intelligence, LLC from General Electric Co. for $15 million in cash in January

· Pharos Capital Group acquired Rush Tracking, one of the top independent RFID system integrators, for an undisclosed amount

· $8M investment last fall in Intelleflex, maker of Battery Assisted Passive RFID tags and readers

The closing of these deals in today’s difficult capital environment shows that investors believe there is a good future in this sector, especially for specific companies addressing specific high-value problems.

RFID Projects in Diverse Sectors

The wide range of new projects continues to demonstrate that RFID is a versatile, underlying enabling technology that can solve a broad variety of problems across virtually all industries:

· Florida Hospital wirelessly tracks the temperatures of 170 refrigeration units in seven campuses using AeroScout’s WiFi RFID tags and software.

· Royal Freight tracks location and security status (e.g. door opened) of its trailers using VeriWise technology from I.D. Systems.

· Airbus will use a real-time locating system (RTLS) from Ubisense to track the location of large components and assemblies for the A380 as they move through the manufacturing process.

· USDA recently approved the first UHF tag for use in tracking livestock. The tags are from Eriginate, owned by animal-tracking technology firm HerdStar.LF and HF tags, such as those from Digital Angel, NXP Semiconductors, and others, have been used for years in tracking livestock.

· O2, a U.K.-based provider of mobile services to consumers and businesses, uses NFC (Near-Field Communications) tags from Reslink in the homes of elderly or disabled patient’s, allowing home health care workers to read the patient records and required care using a Nokia NFC-enabled cell phone. Patients can use NFC cell phones to view their care worker’s next visit or next medical appointment. Alert tags in the home can allow the patient to get help in an emergency. Tagged medicine bottles identify prescription details and tagged equipment allows the patient to request repair service.

· Airbus will use high-memory passive tags (from Tego and MAINtag) in their service and repair operations to store cradle-to-grave data (e.g. manufacturing, maintenance, and repair) on each of the c. 3,000 major repairable components on the plane.

These illustrate only a very small portion of the tremendous diversity of projects being done. RFID is not just about tracking cases and pallets (though that’s important), but is an enabling technology which, like the internet, can be used for a virtually infinite variety of applications.

To view other articles from this issue of the brief, click here.

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