Archive for January, 2009

TI re-org ships most RFID ops to Germany; England out as RFID VP

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Texas Instruments’ Dallas RFID operation is the latest victim of the recession. TI announced on Monday that it is reducing its work force by 12 percent, or 3,400 employees. Included in that group are nearly all of the RFID employees in Dallas. Julie England, a VP at TI and the general manager of the RFID Systems Division, accepted early retirement on Tuesday. At one time, she oversaw about 200 employees.

 

The TI news appears to be the biggest ax to fall yet on the RFID sector, as the technology industry battles the downtrodden economy. The RFID sector has seemingly held up fairly well during the downturn, in part because of the benefits that companies like retailers have to gain by deploying the technology, especially during lean times. Asset tracking in the financial industry is another hot application.

 

A note published by ABI Research says that TI has realigned its RFID IC operations into its existing Advanced Embedded Control (AEC) unit. The AEC unit is a part of TI’s Embedded Processing group. Contrary to earlier reports, TI is not shuttering its entire RFID IC business. However, RFID will now be supported by a much smaller team that will operate primarily from Freising, Germany.

“TI took a hard look at its RFID business and decided that some changes – in the form of a strategic reset – were in order,” says Michael Liard, ABI Research’s RFID Practice Director. “Primary reasons for the reset include a reaction to current economic conditions, increasing TI’s platform and product synergy, and focusing efforts on catalog expansion.
 
“The company has also ceased research and development efforts in e-ID/e-government markets such as e-passports. However, TI will continue to compete in its traditional core RFID IC markets such as automotive, animal ID, and contactless cards,” he says.

 

RFID takes center stage during tonight’s FedEx BCS bowl game

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

OK, so it’s the eighth day of January and we still haven’t crowned a national champion for college football. Does anyone really care anymore? Well, tonight’s FedEx BCS national championship game between Florida and Oklahoma just took on added meaning. During the halftime show, Ford will demonstrate how Tool Link helps contractors track tools aboard 2009 Ford F-150, F-Series Super Duty pickups and E-Series vans, via Ford’s new dashboard display, DeWALT’s Tool Link system and rugged RFID tags, and ThingMagic’s Mercury5e embedded readers and customized antennas. How cool is that?

 

“Ideally, consumer level RFID applications are invisible, helping people with a task while the technology is simple to use and unobtrusive.  Tool Link is an excellent example of this – after tagging important and valuable tools, contractors get a dashboard inventory of what’s aboard simply by turning on the ignition,” said Ravi Pappu, ThingMagic co-founder and head of ThingMagic’s Advanced Development Group. “It’s this ease of use and hidden complexity that makes Tool Link ideal for exposure on national TV, to visually demonstrate an interesting and helpful RFID consumer application for asset tracking.”