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Goliath Offers an RTLS Solution Priced for David

Goliath Solutions, the provider of RFID-based promotion-tracking solutions, will soon offer an RTLS solution based on the technology it has developed as part of its core offering. The company believes it can offer the solution at a very competitive price point, and address what has been an underserved segment of the RTLS market.
Jun 11, 2008This article was originally published by RFID Update.

June 11, 2008—Goliath Solutions, the Deerfield, Illinois, provider of RFID-based promotion- and display-tracking solutions for retailers and CPG manufacturers, will soon offer a real-time location system (RTLS) solution based on the technology it has developed as part of its core offering. The company believes it can offer the solution at a very competitive price point, and thereby address what has been an underserved segment of the RTLS market.

The solution is based on semi-passive UHF technology, which is considerably cheaper than active technology but more powerful than purely passive technology due to on-board tag batteries which can propel the signal greater distances. RFID readers and reader antennas -- up to 16 per reader -- are positioned around the premises where the tracked objects will be tracked.

The solution is entirely proprietary; Goliath designed it to suit its own display-tracking application because off-the-shelf products did not pass muster, explained president of research and development Gary Overhultz. "Our engineering team has designed it for us, and contract manufacturers produce it for us," he said. "It is almost all independent of a major commercial producer."

Where the solution really shines, according to Goliath, is price. The tags cost roughly $2 a piece, while the readers are under $500, the receive antennas under $30, and the transmit antennas under $50. "We're coming to market with a solution that is just so much less expensive than what is available out there," CEO Bob Michelson told RFID Update.

"We believe there is a void in the market, from the supply side, that has prevented a variety of RTLS applications from being actualized," commented Overhultz. Goliath believes its solution fills that void, enabling RTLS for applications that would be too costly with the market's existing solutions. Michelson pointed to healthcare, manufacturing, and retail as verticals with such applications. Overhultz added that the technology is best suited to environments where there is a lot of free space, like a large open warehouse or a grocery store, rather than more densely-packed environments.

Interestingly, Goliath did not deliberately set out to develop a commercializable RTLS solution. Rather, the company realized that the technology it designed for its own promotions-tracking solution could likely be used in other applications, and for a lower cost than existing RTLS systems. Overhultz explained, "We said to ourselves, 'We have one of the longest range semi-passive systems that's available today, and it happens to be relatively inexpensive.'" Michelson added, "We decided to take this kernel of technology that we built, and offer it to foster a whole sector of the market that couldn't otherwise afford RTLS."

Goliath will not "product-ize" the technology, nor will the company brand it. Instead, it will offer the solution to system integrators and resellers, who will be the ones to actually sell and deploy it for end users. "Let me be clear: we are not getting into the RTLS business. It's not a business we want to be in," insisted Michelson. "We are a marketing and analytics company focused on the CPG marketplace, and we intend to stick to our knitting.

"But, we think we have something special in our technology that we want to allow others to take advantage of."

Recall that Goliath first made a splash in 2005 when US pharmacy chain Walgreens announced it would deploy the company's technology across its 5,000+ locations (see Walgreens Deal Spells Promotions-Tracking Boon). RFID-based promotions tracking subsequently became a hot application within retail, with the likes of Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark proclaiming the benefits. In April of this year the company announced $27 million in funding (see RFID Promotions Tracking Provider Gets $27M Funding).
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