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P&G Heats Up RFID Application Space

Procter & Gamble together with Silicon Valley-based RFID application provider T3Ci yesterday announced a multi-year agreement to "collaboratively identify and build high value RFID applications designed to leverage the EPCglobal RFID standards."
May 18, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

May 18, 2005—Consumer goods giant and RFID early adopter Procter & Gamble together with Silicon Valley-based RFID application provider T3Ci yesterday announced a multi-year agreement to "collaboratively identify and build high value RFID applications designed to leverage the EPCglobal RFID standards." The companies are casting their net wide, aiming to develop a number of applications that target a range of opportunities in the nascent RFID data and analytics market. P&G and T3Ci have worked together for the past year, and in addition to the development agreement, P&G's director of IT and head of RFID systems Steve Rehling will join T3Ci's customer advisory board.

Founded in 2003, T3Ci received $9.4 million in Series A funding last October from venture capital firms Venrock Associates, Red Rock Ventures, and SAP Ventures, the latter of which was a founding member of the AutoID Center. Venture capitalist Jeff Nolan, general manager at SAP Ventures, was attracted to the company because he saw that it was building products focused on RFID-enabled supply chain visibility to save money and make an enterprise more competitive. He felt that merely providing supply chain visibility was not enough; that visibility had to be leveraged to produce value. An excerpt from a post to his blog yesterday is illuminating:

"A lot of the RFID deals I looked at were trying to do track-and-trace of assets using this new tagging technology (which ironically wasn't new at all). In the presentations I would rhetorically ask myself the question "big whoop, these guys are building some new feature on a logistics or warehouse app, but what problem are they really solving?". The math didn't add up in most cases, they are expecting customers to spend big $$ on tags, readers, and software only to end up with better visibility and the hope that someone will figure out what to do with that visibility to get some money back."

"Some money back" is precisely what the up-and-coming RFID application space needs to offer. As RFID Update has noted recently, the focus in 2005 is increasingly away from RFID hardware, standards, and physics, and more towards the software layer of the RFID ecosystem, where value-adding applications will be built on top of the new hardware infrastructure. It is at this application layer that RFID's potential to deliver new and better business processes (read: ROI) will be realized. The P&G-T3Ci deal is evidence that the RFID application space is starting to pick up.

Read the P&G-T3Ci announcement
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