Wireless regulatory experience gives Zebra Technologies RFID a global edge

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Zebra announces widely available RFID printer/encoders, in 39 countries on five continents

Zebra Technologies, the provider of on-demand global printing solutions, announced that its UHF RFID printer/encoders are now available for sale in 39 countries on five continents worldwide - more than any other brand. Zebra recently received regulatory approval from Taiwan and South Korea for its R4Mplus model. Additional approvals are pending in several more countries, which will bring Zebras RFID printer/encoders to customers in most major markets globally.

UHF RFID regulations are not uniform around the world, giving those with local market expertise a decided edge. Zebras complete line of UHF RFID printer/encoders offers support for the latest EPC Gen2, EPC Class 1, and other prominent RFID protocols, in addition to the unique frequency bands, output power and other localised requirements.

Zebra has a significant advantage in gaining regulatory approval for its RFID products, according to Bob Cornick, the companys vice-president and general manager for RFID. Zebra manufactures a full line of thermal printers and supplies, including mobile and wireless products. Our vast experience with mobile and wireless standards around the world gives us extensive insight and knowledge of local regulations and approval processes, he explained. While others are scrambling to identify the government regulations in each market, we have been focused on localising our RFID products and obtaining the necessary legal approvals. Our customers around the world appreciate the added value of working with an experienced, global company like Zebra.

The company also leads in enabling its RFID customers to quickly and easily upgrade to the latest UHF standards. Using software-defined radio architecture, Zebra has built-in flexibility for future protocols.

So far, all of the Gen2 chips are compatible with a single protocol type. However, future versions may add enhancements which could require updated reader firmware, said Cornick. Last year we demonstrated how easily Zebras RFID printers can be updated, using a simple firmware download off the Internet, to accommodate new protocols, even to printers that had been purchased in late 2004. That is an unmatched level of investment protection, he added.

The US Department of Defence, Wal-Mart and other organisations are migrating to Gen 2 tagging requirements because they have significant performance advantages over previous-generation EPC technology. Gen 2 chips can be used around the world, have significantly faster read rates, can offer more memory and are rewritable.

An industry pioneer, Zebra first made its name helping customers harness the power of barcodes, and now has the largest customer base of both high frequency and EPC ultra- high frequency (UHF) printers in every product category and geographic region. Equally important, Zebra offers smart labels and ribbons that are performance-matched to its RFID printer/encoders for optimal results.

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