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Alien Looks to Channel, Non-Mandate RFID Adoption

Alien this week announced two RFID deployments that vice president of marketing and industry relations Ronny Haraldsvik believes testify to positive trends for the company and RFID industry overall. RFID Update spoke with Haraldsvik about the deployments, Alien's channel partners, and the growth in non-mandate adoption of RFID.
Jun 07, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

June 7, 2007—Alien Technology this week announced two RFID deployments that vice president of marketing and industry relations Ronny Haraldsvik believes testify to positive trends for the company and the RFID industry overall. RFID Update spoke with Haraldsvik about the deployments, Alien's channel partners, and the growing excitement around non-mandate adoption of RFID.

The first deployment is vehicle tracking in the municipality of Pendik in Istanbul, Turkey. Working with local RFID solutions provider STS Technology, Alien installed Gen2 Squiggle tags in the windows of employee and company vehicles. Fixed readers were mounted at the entry and exit points of five parking lots. The solution serves for standard vehicle access control as well as locationing; the municipality can now identify the lot location of its vehicles in real time based on the exit and entry data from the lot readers.

The installation is considered very successful, and Alien's partner STS is now involved in another half-dozen similar pilots for municipalities and universities around Turkey.

Alien's Haraldsvik explained that STS is an example of the success his company has had fostering a robust channel throughout the world. "This demonstrates the perfect synergy between Alien and its channel," said Haraldsvik. He contrasted Alien's channel approach to that of other RFID vendors. "Other companies have a direct selling focus. We set out to foster our channel and grow it, and that continues to be our focus."

Another benefit to Alien's channel that Haraldsvik highlighted was the increased diversity of RFID applications that are explored, most of which can be implemented with a standard tag-reader solution and do not require special customization. "Our partners take our existing tag-reader solutions, identify local opportunities, and run with it," he said. "We're starting to see some unique requests, but still, eight out of ten times those ideas simply require the standard reader-tag solution."

He did note, however, that Alien is also interested in certain opportunities that require more customization. "We are looking to expand the portfolio of tags that we currently support to address some segments that are small now but have great growth potential."

The second deployment announced this week is in Portugal for leading European door manufacturer Vicaima. There Alien also worked with a local integrator, called Creative Systems. It is a work-in-process tracking deployment in which Vicaima tags wooden doors as they travel through the stages of production. It has resulted in a double win for the efficiency of Vicaima operations: increased automation and decreased tracking errors. The company is so pleased that it plans to deploy RFID company-wide, across all its manufacturing facilities throughout Europe. "This is a multimillion tag deployment," noted Haraldsvik.

"The future is looking a lot brighter right now than it was a year ago. Overall," he said, "we are starting to see a real positive trend in non-compliance opportunities to lead us into the fall timeframe."
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