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Savi Celebrates, Innovates with New RFID Products

Savi celebrated 20 years as an RFID solutions provider by introducing three new products that enhance the company's ability to provide global tracking and visibility. This article introduces the new products and Savi's perspective on how markets are changing.
Jun 15, 2009This article was originally published by RFID Update.

June 15, 2009—Savi Technology celebrated its 20th year in the RFID industry last week by introducing its next-generation products. The company announced its first real-time locating system (RTLS) for yards and large facilities, a combination active RFID and satellite communication tag for global tracking, and version 6.0 of its SmartChain software, which includes major updates to improve integration.

For much of its history Savi was focused on military supply chain automation before branching out to ports and multimodal logistics automation. The new releases enhance the company's capabilities and particularly strengthen its ability to compete for RTLS opportunities.

"The Savi RTLS solution adds a further dimension to our growing portfolio of interoperable solutions that identify, track and manage assets, whether in-transit across the supply chain or at rest at a precise location," Steve Farrell, Savi's vice president of hardware engineering said in the announcement. The company said the RTLS system is suited for heavy manufacturing, government supply depots, job shops, refineries, hospitals, outdoor storage yards and other operations.

Unlike traditional RTLS systems, Savi's features "Location Markers" that serve as reference points. The markers are about the size of a hockey puck and can run on long-life (more than five years) batteries or plug into an electrical outlet. Tags communicate with the markers, and the associated tag ID and location data are reported to system software. By using this method, the system can determine tag locations without having to cover the entire area with readers.

"This isn't a departure for us. There were already location capabilities within our systems, but this improves upon it and makes it easier and less expensive to install RTLS," Savi Technology CEO David Stephens told RFID Update.

Savi enhanced its logistics tracking capabilities with the new ST-694 Global Tag. It performs as an active RFID tag when it is in a reader coverage area, but switches to satellite communication when readers aren't available. Savi co-developed and trialed the tag with Numerex, which develops machine-to-machine (M2M) communication technology. The integrated M2M capabilities simplify communication and integration with the satellite network. Savi plans to standardize the tag according to the ISO 18000-7 specification (see DASH7 Alliance Forms to Advance Active RFID Standard for more information about the standard and development efforts).

The new tag and RTLS system are both compatible with Savi's new SmartChain 6.0 software, which updates the company's platform product for integrating multiple tracking technologies for monitoring assets. The new version was built with Web 2.0 tools and a service-oriented architecture (SOA) framework.

"We're trying to build on the basic capabilities that we've been providing for 20 years," said Stephens. "The market has traditionally been around the DoD, but in the last several years it has grown in many other areas."

The reach of Savi's tracking capabilities and the markets for them have evolved tremendously in the past 20 years, but where they will be 20 years from now are beyond even Stephens' visibility.

"I don't have a crystal ball on where it is all going. The vision we painted that every global asset will be tracked wirelessly, I do think we are starting to see coming. The development of DASH7 [ISO 18000-7] technology will be a big driver. As we standardize more technology and get more interoperability, new players will get involved and bring a lot of interesting ideas."
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