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IBM Expands RFID Services

Big Blue is launching RFID-deployment services aimed at six additional industry sectors, as well as an offering specifically for midsize companies.
By Jonathan Collins
Sep 14, 2004One year after IBM launched its first RFID services focused on specific industry sectors (see IBM Introduces New RFID Services), the company is announcing today additional offerings at the Frontline Solutions Conference and Exposition trade show in Chicago.
Faye Holland

IBM's three-tiered service offerings have now been packaged for the following industries: automotive; aerospace and defense; manufacturing; chemicals and petroleum; forest and paper; and electronics.

IBM's first offering was aimed at retailers and manufacturers of consumer packaged goods. Experience the company has since acquired in other industry verticals over the past year allowed it to expand its service offerings to include these additional six sectors.

"Over the past 12 months we have developed a strong RFID solution and framework by understanding the RFID pain points for our customers, testing systems, seeing what works and refining that framework for a number of industries," says Faye Holland, worldwide RFID leader for IBM Global Services. Holland maintains that companies in a range of industries are looking to deploy RFID systems not just to meet mandates but also to improve their own internal operations.

"IBM's industrial customers are using RFID to cut costs and time to market on the plant floor, in warehouses and transportation," Holland says.

IBM's offerings are split into three phases. The first includes consulting and development of the business case for RFID deployment, with IBM typically charging about $200,000 for the service. Phase two involves deploying a 12-week pilot, which can cost around $500,000 on average. The final phase is the full rollout of the RFID system. Pricing at this third stage depends on the size and scale of any deployment.

IBM is also launching services specifically tailored to midsize businesses—a market the company believes has obvious potential. "Eighty-five percent of the companies that have to comply with mandates from Wal-Mart and the DOD are in the mid-market," says Holland. IBM's RFID offerings for the mid-market include a RFID system development workshop, site survey, pilot and testing services.

For all of its RFID services, IBM says that testing for each client’s RFID implementation is carried out both at the client's site and at IBM's RFID test centers, located at in Gaithersburg, Md., Kanagawa, Japan and La Gaude, France.

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