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Zebra Buys Navis, Proveo

The company plans to integrate Navis, Proveo and WhereNet into one business unit that provides software, hardware and services for identifying, locating and managing assets, cargo and inventory.
By Beth Bacheldor
Oct 16, 2007Zebra Technologies is continuing efforts to expand its RFID footprint. To that end, the company has announced plans to acquire Navis, which makes software designed to help companies manage logistics, assets, inventory and cargo across the supply chain; and Proveo, which produces a hardware and software system designed primarily to help airports track vehicles and other ground-support equipment in real time. Zebra has agreed to acquire all shares of Navis for approximately $145 million in cash, and all outstanding shares of Proveo for $16.3 million in cash.

Based in Vernon Hills, Ill., Zebra has long been a manufacturer of printer solutions. Several years ago, the firm began offering printer-encoders for passive RFID labels. More recently, the firm has set its sights on becoming a provider of end-to-end solutions—hardware, software and services—that help customers identify, locate and track assets as they traverse the supply chain. In accordance with that plan, in early 2007 Zebra acquired WhereNet, a maker of real-time location systems (RTLS) utilizing active RFID tags (see Zebra Buys WhereNet).

Navis' software suite includes Navis Edge Manager, a middleware product that collects and manages data culled from RFID and other technologies. Navis Edge Manager passes this information to other Navis applications, such as SPARCS (a core planning and control system for cargo terminals), Express (a system for managing bookings, billing and other transactions) and WebAccess (a Web-based software portal used to check the status of cargo containers, as well as book delivery and pickup appointments).

Navis' customers include numerous marine terminals. The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), for instance, is leveraging RFID to track shipments being brought in and out of the Port of Savannah, and is using Navis Edge Manager and other Navis applications to turn the resultant data into intelligence about the port's operations (see Georgia Ports Authority Hopes RFID Will Boost Efficiency, Throughput).

Proveo, located in Crailsheim, Germany, sells RTLS hardware and software complementary to Zebra's WhereNet product line. Incorporating GPS, GPRS and Wi-Fi technologies, Proveo's system is designed to help track assets over airports or other large areas. The company's products are currently installed at airports in Frankfurt, Munich, London, Singapore, Dubai and other cities.

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