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Motorola Tops Newest RFID Reader Vendor Rankings
Analyst firm ABI Research produced its first ranking of passive UHF RFID reader vendors. Motorola was the overall highest-rated manufacturer, with Impinj leading in innovation and Alien Technology taking the top spot for implementations. ABI said it was impressed with the strength, depth and innovation evident in the product category.
Jul 23, 2008—This article was originally published by RFID Update.
July 23, 2008—Confused which passive UHF reader vendor would best meet your needs? Well, you should be. A new analysis by ABI Research that was designed to rank reader vendors found one company is the leader in innovation, another in implementations, and the overall top-ranked company led in neither.
"The results are quite interesting," research director Michael Liard of Oyster Bay, New York-based ABI Research told RFID Update. "The passive UHF product segment is more robust and exciting than at any other time. There is ample opportunity for someone else to capture the number-one position the next time we do this matrix."
ABI Research announced its inaugural Passive UHF Reader Vendor Matrix this week. ABI assigned scores to vendors for a variety of factors related to product innovation and implementations. Motorola topped the matrix, based on consistently good scores in multiple categories. Alien Technology was identified as the leader in implementations and rated second overall, while Impinj received the top rank for product innovation and was rated third. Intermec took the fourth overall ranking. Companies that only offer readers based on OEM modules manufactured by other firms were ineligible. In total fifteen vendors were evaluated for the rankings: Alien, CAEN, EB, FEIG, Kenetics Group, Impinj, Intelleflex, Intermec, Motorola, Omron, Siemens, Sirit, SkyeTek, and TAGSYS.
Innovation ratings considered each vendor's history of delivering innovative products, the breadth of its product line, and other factors. Implementation ratings are based on market share, number of markets served, distribution channels, and the activity and consistency vendors demonstrate in the industry.
"The race among the top five or six companies for the overall top position was very close, especially among the top three," Liard said.
Notably, ABI did not conduct performance testing as part of its evaluations. The idea behind the rankings was to capture market leadership, rather than do rigorous technical benchmarking.
Low ratings therefore do not necessarily mean poor-performing products. For example, a company might not score well on innovation if it only produces one product form factor, such as a fixed-position reader, even if the product works very well. The matrix favors companies with broad product lines and distribution channels. However, Liard was impressed by many of the smaller and niche-oriented UHF reader manufacturers.
"There is a lot of innovation happening, and it is global," Liard said. "We're not talking about just a handful of companies making UHF readers anymore, and the market is no longer North America-centric. There are innovative products coming from companies in Europe and Asia Pacific."
ABI plans to update the UHF reader vendor matrix at least annually. It plans to release similar rankings for RFID printer/encoder manufacturers in September, followed by matrices for makers of specialty tags and active tags. The firm previously released a vendor matrix for UHF and HF tag vendors (see ABI Research Ranks Top RFID Tag Producers).
Separately, the European EPC Competence Centre and ODIN technologies each released their own tag benchmarking studies this year based on scientific performance testing (see Report Reveals RFID Performance on Different Surfaces and 'Myth Busted' -- Tests Find RFID Works Well on Metals, respectively).
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