Texas Instruments drives the RFID message home

Texas Instruments (TI) is the worlds
largest integrated manufacturer of
radio frequency identification (RFID)
transponders and reader systems.
TI is viewed as a visionary leader
and is at the forefront of establishing
new markets and international standards
for RFID applications. Julie England,
general manager (pictured left),
Texas Instruments radio frequency
identification (RFID) Systems group
discusses the European scene
with IT Reseller.




Q: What is TI RFid's route to market?

A: Texas Instruments (TI) addresses a number of markets that have each adopted RFID in their specific ways such as the retail supply chain, contactless commerce and authentication for products such as pharmaceuticals. TI therefore does not have a single channel for its RFID products but has multiple channels including system integrators, OEMs, label manufacturers, companies providing plastic and cardboard packages, classical distributor and direct sales.

With regard to the supply chain application specifically, TI has just announced that it is shipping its new EPC Gen 2 silicon, which employs the most advanced design available. We are offering our silicon in both chip and strap format for inlay manufacturers, label converters and packaging manufacturers who supply RFID tags to consumer goods manufacturers and retailers. TI is working with the leading reader and printer manufacturers to ensure interoperability of Gen 2 technology and is driving the entire tag value chain which includes working with the critical systems integrators and software solution providers. In Q3 2005, TI announced two label converter customers Moore Wallace and Lowry. TI is the primary supplier of EPC Gen 2 technology for these companies who are producing Gen 2 labels.

Q: How do you view the current state of the European market for your technology?

A: The European market has long been a strong region for TI's RFID business. Indeed, we could say that Europe led the way in the early days of our business with many applications stretching back to the early 1990s. One example of this success includes supply chain logistics with the UK company Marks & Spencer, which uses TI tags on more than five million food trays. Additionally, ski-ticketing continues to grow year upon year, and the asset tracking business for libraries, automotive, livestock and waste management industries remains a viable market.

Q: What are your ambitions for TI RFid in the European market?

A: TI has dedicated sales and customer support staff in the UK, Germany, Benelux and France as well as supporting customers in other countries through distributor relationships. We continue to drive for growth in our key market segments including retail supply chain where we have just announced our EPC Gen 2 chip and strap that will be targeted toward inlay, label and packaging manufacturers.

TI also works with its channel partners such as inlay manufacturers and label converters to help customers overcome the technical hurdles that are involved with compliance to certain regulatory requirements in Europe. TI is involved in several industry activities including Metros Future Store Initiative, Tesco, and EPCglobal working groups to facilitate a practical implementation of UHF technology for companies with UHF RFID systems.

Q: Do you need to expand your current channels? If so, what kinds of partners are you looking for and how will you support them?

A: As suppliers to consumer product goods (CPG) manufacturers and the CPGs themselves transition to the EPC Gen 2 global standard, they will accelerate their pilots and roll-outs. CPGs and retailers will experience a better exchange of information and improved insight into the location and status of products in the supply chain as they exchange data within the EPCglobal network. This in turn will enable manufacturers to enhance their level of service to retailers, while also increasing the availability of products for consumers. The proven value of RFID in the supply chain will drive the business case for item level tagging.

To enable this, TI is always looking to improve its channels, to expand its reach and to provide world class support to customers. To do this, we are constantly looking for and developing good quality partners. Support is provided from the local offices or distributors and is backed up by a central support function and a highly regarded training staff as well as our European Product Information Centre which handles new enquiries.

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