Texas Instruments Teams Up with Leading Reader and Printer Partners for EPC Gen 2 Interoperability

Texas Instruments Incorporated today announced broad industry support for its Electronic Product Code (EPC) Gen 2 technology through its collaboration with 12 leading printer and reader manufacturers: Avery Dennison, AWID, Datamax Corporation, FEIG, Paxar, Printronix, SATO, Sirit Inc., SAMSys, ThingMagic, WJ Communications, and Zebra Technologies Corporation. TI is working with this alliance to ensure interoperability within the EPC Gen 2 radio frequency identification (RFID) infrastructure and drive accelerated adoption of EPC Generation 2 compliant solutions in the global retail supply chain. All of the companies are committed to providing products based on the EPC Gen 2 standard, and are working in close collaboration with TI to bring to market a wide range of interoperable solutions for encoders, readers, printers, and hardware devices that support TIs EPC Gen 2 products which are planned for volume production beginning in 3Q 2005.

TI is proud to continue its collaboration with leading global manufacturers of hardware devices with a common goal of delivering interoperable, reliable and scalable solutions to achieve the promise of the Generation 2 standard for mass adoption in the retail supply chain, said Tony Sabetti, UHF/Retail Supply Chain director, Texas Instruments RFid Systems.

The UHF Gen 2 protocol is one of the most significant developments for RFID in the value chain. For multi-national companies such as Kimberly-Clark it will allow us to deploy a common technology platform across all of our businesses. Even if your business is more local in nature, you will realize the benefits from improved performance interoperability, and scalability. K-C is encouraged and pleased with the efforts of Texas Instruments and collaboration of others as they work together to deliver solutions to help drive RFID adoption, said Michael OShea, director of Corporate Auto-ID/RFID Strategies and Technology, Kimberly-Clark Corporation.

The EPC Gen 2 standard is widely supported by users and manufacturers within the RFID industry and will facilitate the widespread deployment of EPC RFID technology in the retail supply chain. In 2004, TI and other major RFID suppliers worked to define this next generation standard which was ratified by EPCglobal in December. EPC Gen 2 has several advantages over the first-generation EPC Class 0 and Class 1 standards including global interoperability, the ability to optimise performance in different global regulatory environments, read/write field programmability, faster tag read/write rates, the ability to operate in dense reader environments, and migration to future EPC classes.

"Achieving the highest level of Gen 2 interoperability is central to the rapid deployment of Gen 2 solutions," continued Sabetti. "The collective focus and work toward interoperability by Texas Instruments and of all the printer/reader companies we're pleased to be working with, assures the market that their commitment to Gen 2 is well founded."

The expectations of a rapidly growing market are fuelling TIs investment in interoperability. TI and its printer/reader partners are dedicated to working together to bring customers a reliable, cost effective technology. Leading manufacturers are committed to TIs Gen 2 interoperability strategy:

AWID: TI's a large global RFID tag manufacturer with decades of experience and extensive RFID resources, and is bringing these capabilities to its Gen 2 effort in 2005, said Jeff Jacobsen, president of AWID. We offer a complete line of RFID readers with demonstrated EPC Gen2 read / write capability, and as a strategic reader supplier of TI EPC Gen2 tags, we are optimising reader performance to provide TI customers with superior, low cost Gen2 products today."

Datamax Corporation: "Datamax is excited and proud to work with an industry leader like Texas Instruments. Datamax believes that all in the RFID industry have a common responsibility to ensure interoperability of RFID components, ultimately making the users' implementation as simple as possible. This will help drive the adoption of RFID across the retail and other supply chains, helping drive down costs and increase efficiencies to never before seen levels, a good thing for all involved."

PAXAR: "Paxar is pleased to be working with Texas Instruments to ensure that the promise of open and interoperable Gen 2 systems will soon be a reality for RFID users," said Rick Bauer, Paxar's senior director, RFID Technical Research. "We expect to be one of the earliest providers of Gen 2 capable printer/ encoders and smart labels. Our testing has shown that the enhancements inherent in Gen 2 chips will provide significantly enhanced system performance for our customers."

PRINTRONIX: According to Andy Chapman, senior vice president, engineering and product marketing, and chief technology officer, Printronix: "Printronix is a leader in EPC RFID encoding technology and the manufacturer of the world's most widely distributed UHF printer globally. As such, we are committed to working with other industry leaders, such as TI, to provide EPC Gen 2 support quickly. Since entering the RFID market in September 2003, our mission has been to fast track RFID implementation. Our collaboration with TI will help accelerate adoption of EPC Gen 2-compliant printing solutions among the global retail supply chain."

SAMSys Technologies: "We continue to expand our RFID reader product line to support the open standard initiatives of EPCGlobal Inc and ISO. We are delighted to be working in close collaboration with TI to help commercialise the new Gen 2 tag protocol standard so that end users can benefit from the inherent advantages of the Gen 2 protocol"; said Cliff Horwitz, chairman, president and CEO of SAMSys Technologies.

SATO America: TI's leadership position in the development of EPC Gen 2 technology is further stimulating the adoption of RFID technology, and accelerating SATOs development of EPC Gen 2 RFID Solutions to meet the demands of our customers, said Jan Svoboda, RFID Business Unit manager, SATO America.

Sirit Inc.: "Sirit and Texas Instruments have enjoyed a prosperous relationship for many years, and Sirit is very pleased to be one of the first RFID reader companies to receive the Gen 2 emulator from Texas Instruments," said Bill Staudt, president and CEO, Sirit Inc. "It continues to be imperative for suppliers of tags and readers to work closely together to meet the growing needs and demands of the market. With the Gen 2 emulator in hand, Sirit will be able to engineer new, and retro-engineer our existing products to perform to the new standard, and we anticipate offering Gen 2 compliant solutions across our entire offering as the rollout of the Gen 2 tags begins early this summer."

ThingMagic: "ThingMagic's Mercury4 readers are hardware compatible with native Generation 2 now," said Tom Grant, ThingMagic chairman and CEO. "A simple software upgrade provides full Generation 2 compatibility. Working with TI's emulator is one important step that helps ensure ThingMagic readers are ready before Generation 2 tags are available, a key step in ensuring infrastructure readiness for mass adoption of interoperable Generation 2 products."

WJ Communications: WJ Communications is pleased to be a part of the early team receiving a Gen 2 tag emulator from TI and to be working with TI to ensure interoperability and early availability of Gen 2 products," said Michael Farese, WJ Communications president and CEO. "WJ's RFID engines enable major OEMs to provide multi-protocol RFID readers that support EPC standards. We believe that this program will benefit our customers and foster Gen 2 adoption by the industry."

Zebra Technologies Corporation: "Zebra and Texas Instruments have been closely aligned on RFID technology advancement since the late 1990s, when we collaborated on developing passive UHF RFID technology for supply chain logistics applications, culminating in the release of the first commercially available printer/encoder, Zebra's Model R-140. Today we're pleased to announce continuation of that technology partnership, as we collaborate and jointly progress to the accelerated implementation of Gen2 technology," said Bob Cornick, Zebra VP/GM of RFID.

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