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RFID manufacturers and suppliers

In your opinion, who are the leading manufacturers of RFID technology today? Also, who are the major suppliers of RFID tags and readers to Wal-Mart?
RFID technology has been around for a while, so there are lots of vendors and technology providers worldwide. So, in an effort to be brief, let's just focus this reply on U.S.-based providers of RFID technologies and systems (noted below). This list, by the way, is based on market perception and awareness, and not necessarily hard market statistics and segment shares. A number of computer and electronics companies have recognized the potential of RFID, and are setting their sites on the market. These companies include: Texas Instruments (chips), SAP (software), Sun Microsystems (software), TrenStar (software, asset management), Philips Semiconductor (chips), SAMSys (readers), and Applied Wireless Identification (handheld scanners and readers).

The Wal-Mart application, which may very well be the largest commercial deployment of RFID tagging to date, is still its initial planning stages -- although the company has staged a few tests with IBM Global Services. In November, the company staged a formal 'coming out party' for its proposed specifications -- which includes a very large storage area on each RFID tag.

Basically, Wal-Mart plans to use the standardized Electronic Product Code (EPC) to track pallets and cases. RFID vendors have been informed of the company's plans and goals, including plans to use tags that operate in the UHF spectrum (868 MHz to 956 MHz). Wal-Mart is already using a limited trial version of its RFID system to track pallets and cases from two suppliers coming into one of its distribution centers. Plans are to quickly expand this trial to 12 supplies, and then roll RFID out across the U.S. by year-end 2005.

At the moment, Wal-Mart is reviewing proposals from a variety of RFID vendors worldwide -- although the smart money is betting on U.S. firms winning the business.

RFID companies:

Zebra Technologies International, LLC
333 Corporate Woods Parkway
Vernon Hills, Illinois 60061.3109 USA

WhereNet, Inc.
2858 De La Cruz Blvd.
Santa Clara, CA 95050

Impinj, Inc.
Evanston Building
501 N. 34th Street, Suite 100
Seattle, WA 98103

OATSystems, Inc.
125 Walnut St, Floor 2
Watertown MA 02472

Alien Technology
18220 Butterfield Blvd.
Morgan Hill, CA 95037

Intermec Corporate Headquarters
6001 36th Avenue West
Everett, WA 98203-9280
Telephone: (425) 348-2600
Fax: (425) 355-9551

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