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  - Nov. 23, 2010 -  

RFID News of the Week for Nov. 23, 2010

 
 

New Passive Tag System for Cold Chain Monitoring; Alien Tries New CEO; ABI Predicts 16% Jump in RFID Spend for 2011

 
 

 

SCDigest Editorial Staff

SCDigest Says:
The breakthrough comes from a new generation of both portable and fixed RFID readers that enable them to effectively read the RFID data, including a temperature log, using EPC-compliant passive tags from a distance of 100 meters in free space.

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New RFID and Sensor System for Tracking Cold Chain Tempatures

RFID solution provider Intelleflex announced this week a new solution that combines RFID with sensor technology to track actual temperatures that products in the Cold Chain, such as produce and pharmaceuticals, actually experience as they move to market.

The company press releases says that "By providing in-transit visibility of cold-chain product temperature data at the package level, Intelleflex allows producers, shippers, distributors and retailers to monitor product freshness and quality, on-demand, on fully loaded pallets or totes, delivering the ability to save billions of dollars of annual losses by avoiding product waste."

The company says the breakthrough comes from a new generation of both portable and fixed RFID readers that enable them to effectively read the RFID data, including a temperature log, using EPC-compliant passive tags from a distance of 100 meters in free space - a substantial increase in distance over existing technologies. That will also provide a much less expensive solution than the active tags often used for Cold Chain applications. Intelleflex says its solution can also read well through a variety of packaging materials.

The temperature log is stored in the tag's on-board memory.

The solution has been proven in at least two real-world applications.

“Clifford Produce Sales is excited to be the first ever produce grower and shipper to utilize the new technology offered by Intelleflex and its solution partners,” said Mike Glass, Sales Manager, Clifford Produce Sales. “This new technology gives us the capability to have real-time inventory visibility within our facility, on-demand, combining that information with overall traceability and quality management. Our plans are to continue working with Intelleflex to empower us to manage our inventory on a First Expiring First Out, versus First In First Out, basis. We will continue to integrate cutting-edge and cost-effective technology in our facilities and throughout the supply chain, which will enhance food safety and food quality, reduce shrink, and improve operational efficiencies and grower profits.”

 

Alien Technology Tries New CEO

Once high-flying RFID tag and reader provider Alien Technology, which saw its fortunes and planned IPO fade in the mid-2000s as Wal-Mart RFID program went nowhere and there was little actionin the consumer goods to retail supply chain overall until just recently, this week announced it was changing its leadership by appointing Peter Green as its new CEO.

The news must have been sudden, as the Alien web site still lists George W. Everhart as its CEO as of the time this article is being written. Everhart had been CEO since January, 2007, replacing Stavro Prodromou after the IPO and business turmoil of the mid-2000s.


Green has senior management experience at large companies including Intel, Texas Instruments and ON Semiconductor, with CEO experience at start-ups Imara Battery and Advent Solar.

The sense from some is that Alien had not positioned itself well for what finally appear to be better days ahead in some segments of the retail market, notably apparel, and the overall UHF RFID market.

The company, originally founded in 1994, received more than $200 million in venture funding by the time of the RFID Wal-Mart mania.

Some sources list current sales of about $20 million.

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ABI Sees RFID Growth of 16% for 2011

As we've noted many times before, it is always wise to take market sizing and growth projections from analyst firms with more than a few grains of salt, as methodologies and what exactly is in the numbers can vary dramatically from company to company.

That said, the analysts at ABI Research project total growth of RFID sales in 2011 of about 16%, including hardware, software and services, to $5.3 bllion, up from $4.6 billion in 2010. Both numbers would jump by about a billion dollars if RFID system sales associated with automobiole immobilization were included.

The big driver of the increase is what ABI projects as massive growth in UHF tags, driven by strong growth in retail apparel item-level tagging and asset management applications. It estimates cummulative average growth (CAGR) of 74% from 2010 t0 2014.

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