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Startup Offers "Universal Tag" for Metals and Liquids

Silicon Valley-based Omni-ID officially launched at the end of last month and appointed a new CEO in Thomas Pavela to lead it from nascent startup to aggressive competitor in the RFID market. RFID Update spoke with Pavela about the company's high-performance RFID tags and its plans for the near term.
Feb 20, 2008This article was originally published by RFID Update.

February 20, 2008—A Silicon Valley-based company Omni-ID officially launched at the end of last month and appointed a new CEO in Thomas Pavela to lead it from nascent startup to aggressive competitor in the RFID market. RFID Update spoke with Pavela about the company, its products, and its plans for the near term.

Based in Menlo Park, California, Omni-ID produces fully converted, ready-to-use RFID tags specially designed to perform well around liquids and metals. While an increasing number of tags have been introduced on the market that make the same claim, Pavela emphasized a key differentiator of Omni-ID's tags: they perform well when not around liquids and metals as well.

He explained that competing tags employ techniques like spacers and special tuning to enable performance around RF-unfriendly material, but such tweaks have the side effect of compromising performance when the tags are in normal, RF-friendly environments. "We work well both on metal and off metal," he said. That means, according to Pavela, that end users can deploy Omni-ID tags and not have to worry about the environment or conditions to which they might be exposed. "It is the only truly universal tag for all materials."

The company's portfolio includes three tag products, all Gen2-based. The tags use silicon chips from both Alien and Impinj. Pricing varies widely based on volume and tag model, from $1.50 to $3 per tag.

Omni-ID is primarily targeting the IT market, and in particular asset tracking for data centers. "One of the fastest ways we can grow this company is in the IT area," commented Pavela. Data center assets are high risk and high value, so clients can justify the tag cost to enable better tracking, security, and asset utilization. He cited IBM, GE Healthcare, Wells Fargo, and Alcatel-Lucent as some of the marquee names for whom Omni-ID has provided tags. The company has also seen demand from the industrial sector, including individual ham-tagging for a Spanish ham producer and car part bin-tracking for Honda.

In the year ahead, Pavela intends to establish a stronger presence for the company externally, and to build out the team internally. A chief technology officer and vice president of business development were recently hired, and a worldwide vice president of sales will likely come on board soon. Pavela intends to market Omni-ID more aggressively as well, including reaching out to prospective partners. He envisions Omni-ID tags being sold by system integrators as part of a larger solution, rather than the company selling direct to end users.
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