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HP, Philips Partner on Gen 2 Services

The two early adopters will use their RFID and EPC Gen 2 knowledge to help drive Gen 2 adoption for consumer goods, pharmaceutical and technology companies.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Sep 13, 2005Hewlett Packard (HP) and Philips Electronics are partnering to help companies drive adoption of EPC Gen 2 RFID systems and migrate from those relying on earlier EPC standards. HP will provide the systems integration and business process design services needed to deploy a Gen 2 system, using tags containing Philips' Gen 2 chips in these deployments.

HP began offering RFID systems integration and related services to CPG suppliers and retailers last year, using as a foundation what it learned deploying RFID within its own operations (see HP Debuts RFID Services). Similarly, as the basis for its Gen 2 integration services, HP says it will use what it is currently learning from its own testing and deployment of Gen 2 technology in its Sao Paolo facility, where the firm develops new products. Within its own operations, HP is migrating from EPC tags that use Philips UCODE EPC 1.19 technology to those with Philips Gen 2 chips, starting in Sao Paolo.

HP's Frank Lanza
Frank Lanza, worldwide director of RFID for Hewlett Packard's Business & IT Services division, says HP and Philips are working together to bundle Gen 2 hardware and software packages for customers so the RFID infrastructure they deploy is pretested and sound. In its Sao Paolo facility for the past three months, Lanza explains, HP has been testing Gen 2 products from various vendors.

Once this work is complete, which Lanza estimates will take approximately one more month, HP will establish Gen 2 education and integration services at HP's six centers of excellence around the world. Within these centers, where HP showcases RFID and other technologies, customers will be able to learn about Gen 2 technology and talk to HP Services personnel about how it could benefit their business.

The Gen 2 integration work HP and Philips will provide will focus on global interoperability for companies that want to deploy Gen 2 systems across their international facilities or partners.

Michael Cernusca, Philips
Michael Cernusca, manager of Philips Semiconductors' RFID product team, says this partnership with HP represented a logical next step for Philips in terms of helping bring Gen 2 products to market. Earlier this year, Philips worked with Texas Instruments (TI) to conduct Gen 2 interoperability tests of RFID tags made with the two companies' chips, as well as tags made with other manufacturers' chips, to accelerate the certification and acceptance of these Gen 2 products into the market (see Philips, TI Testing Gen 2 Products).

"We'll now be working with HP to create a smooth migration path from previous technology to Gen 2," Cernusca says, adding that Philips will provide HP with technical expertise regarding Gen 2 functionality and also share its knowledge of RFID systems gleaned from its internal operations. (Philips uses a high-frequency 13.56 MHz system within its own supply chain.)

According to Lanza, a major part of this transition will be upgrading individual or networked RFID interrogators to read and encode Gen 2 tags— or, in some cases, replacing the current readers with new Gen 2-ready versions.

Both HP and Philips say this joint effort is focused on the specific business needs of the CPG, retail, high-tech and pharmaceutical industries. The firms have been working together for the past two months to develop the partnership and will next focus on building a customer base.
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