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A Conversation With NXP's Tony Sabetti and Steve Owen

Two of the RFID chipmaker's top executives talk about the RFID market, chip security and NFC phone applications.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
RFID Journal: What are you seeing in terms of UHF chips? Is that side of your business changing?

Sabetti: It's the same old story, because track and trace continues to be interesting in retail environments, where you have high-value goods such as fashion, footwear and media [movies and music]. We are starting to see some customization applied to those applications, such as combining RFID with EAS [electronic article surveillance] functionality, [for anti-theft applications]. And in the perishable foods space, we are seeing a lot of interest in sensor integration, and also in high-memory solutions as well.

RFID Journal: How does that inform your product development cycle, as well as what functionality you cook into the chips you create?

Sabetti: We see our UHF family having a broader and broader feature set all the time. I think we will still have simple [low-memory, basic Gen 2] tags that will remain interesting to the DOD or Wal-Mart, but some of the higher-function tags might appeal to some of the smaller players.

RFID Journal: Is there increasing demand for high-memory chips for passive UHF tags? The growth seems to still be in simple UHF tags.

Sabetti: At the moment, we have a lot of irons in the fire, but many are under NDAs. I can tell you that we have two or three projects that are active at any one time in North America, where end users are asking us to add functionality into the chips. So while I would agree with you that there is a lot of interest in just plain 96-bit EPC tags, there are a growing number of customers who want more and more functionality.

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