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RFID Alert!

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Gen II on target for Q III

Bob Trebilcock, Editor at Large

Modern Materials Handling April 19, 2005


Document traduit de l'Internet rapide: Franéais.

To read the press releases from companies touting RFID solutions utilizing the Gen II specification, one might think new products are about to hit distributor's shelves.

In reality, a great deal of progress has been made but thereés still a lot of work to be done before Gen II products will be ready for prime time.

In all likelihood, interoperable solutions in production quantities and qualities will be available in Q III, with several vendors citing Q IV as a more likely timetable.

Thatés the consensus of industry leaders contacted by RFID Alert, including Texas Instruments (888-937-6536), Philips Semiconductors (800-447-1500), Alien Technology (408-782-3910), Intermec (800-347-2636), Symbol Technologies (866-416-8545), Zebra Technologies (847-634 6700), Printronix (800-826-3874) and EPCglobal US (609-620-0200).

éMost companies are targeting the third quarter of this year for production units,é says Tony Sabetti, retail supply chain director for RFID systems, Texas Instruments. éThatés when customers can expect to have product that would be production ready.é

Once chips are available in production quantities, printer and reader providers can finalize the specifications on their products and have them certified for interoperability.

The chipmakers say they are sharing software and emulators now so that hardware manufacturers can jump start testing on their equipment. Once production examples are available later this summer, EPCglobal US will launch a formal Gen II interoperability certification program.

Finally, companies already using printers and readers from vendors like Symbol, Intermec, Alien, Zebra, Printronix and others will need to upgrade their equipment to work with the new specs. Whether that can be done with a firmware or software upgrade or will require a module replacement will probably depend on when the equipment was purchased.

For instance, printers purchased from Zebra since the end of December 2004 were designed with a multi-protocol platform that will accept a firmware upgrade, according to Matt Ream, Zebraés senior manager for RFID systems. On the other hand, printers released earlier in 2004 will require a module swap.

As to the cost of the new Gen II tags, Philips Semiconductors says it expects to price its chips at 10 cents each for low volumes and 5 cents each for quantities of 2 billion. Chips then have to be turned into tags that can be applied to cartons and pallets at an additional cost.

When Gen II products will be available may not be the most important factor, according to Tom Pound, vice president of corporate development and product strategy for Alien Technology.

Pound suggests users watch for two more important milestones. The first is the Gen II permitted date. Thatés the date when Wal-Mart, Target and the Department of Defense formally accept Gen II tags in their supply chains.

After that will be the Gen II mandatory date, which Pound estimates will follow the permitted date by 12 to 18 months.

Using those dates, end users are likely to have until late 2007 before they have to shift to the new specification.

éThere will be a lot of excitement about getting Gen II going,é says Pound. éBut there will still be a transition involved in finding whether it meets a userés performance requirements, whether it works with their products and whether it meets their economics.é


Liens sites

Voir aussi le site:

Articles en franéais: 2005 sera l'année des tests et des pilotes pour la RFID en Europe  L'essor devrait s'accentuer en 2005 du fait de la création, en fin d'année derniére, du nouveau standard de communication RFID, EPC Generation 2, unifiant les différentes technologies existantes (lire l'article du 21/12/2004 La RFID passe é la vitesse supérieure


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