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At TAITRONICS 2011, Vendors Present a Variety of New RFID Products

The 37th annual Taiwanese electronics show included about 25 RFID companies selling hardware and software solutions for Asia and the rest of the world.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 13, 2011Five years after radio frequency identification was first introduced into the Taipei International Electronics (TAITRONICS) exhibition, the technology is now on display in a widening variety of applications, despite the industry's overall setbacks, such as a reduction in government funding that has whittled the number of RFID participants. Approximately 25 RFID companies exhibited their technologies this week at the event (last year, TAITRONICS reports, the number of RFID firms exhibiting at the show was 34—and in 2008, it was 50 [see Taiwan RFID Technology, Applications Showcased at International Exhibit]), featuring RFID hardware and software solutions commercially now available, as well as some technology still under development. The exhibiting companies—most of which were Taiwanese—reported a favorable amount of interest from end users passing through the electronics conference's RFID section. Some exhibitors, however, claim that those interested in purchasing RFID-based solutions were smaller in number than at previous events.

In recent years, the annual TAITRONICS show has focused on electronic components, test and measurement equipment, LED lighting, computer processing technology and RFID. Overall attendance at this year's exhibition was up slightly from the previous year, says Patty Lin, TAITRONICS' publicity manager, though the number of RFID exhibitors was down. There are no statistics indicating how many visitors attended to learn about RFID, she says, noting that in general, "We received positive feedback from the visitors, and the attendees have grown 4 percent comparing with previous year." The majority of international attendees, she adds, came from Japan, China, the United States, Korea and Hong Kong.

At TAITRONICS 2011, the AptObject team shows off its AptBee environmental and energy-management sensor system.

Some diminishing presence in radio frequency identification, Lin says, may be the result of reduced governmental funding for RFID programs. While the Taiwanese government was funding the technology's development for city projects five years ago, according to a spokesperson at the Industrial Technology Research Institute of Taiwan (ITRI), a nonprofit research institute that exhibited at the TAITRONICS event, there is currently less funding available from the government, since the nation's Ministry of Economic Affairs cut the funding program that it had established for RFID five years ago. What's more, she adds, companies are now more dependent on commercial customers for their technology—software, labels, printers and readers.

At this year's show, businesses exhibited a variety of RFID products that, in some cases, were already commercially available, and, in others, were still in the development phase.

Automatic-identification company Champtek displayed its multimedia Scan Kiosk SK50, a price checker and customer information terminal designed for use in retail locations. The device includes a bar-code scanner to check the pricing of merchandise, as well as a Near Field Communication (NFC) reader to interrogate membership or gift cards (or, in the future, an NFC-enabled cell phone), in order to determine a customer's balance.

Syris Technology Corp. demonstrated its Xtive SYTAZG245-NW wristband, which can be used to ensure a match between a parent and an infant at a hospital, with a built-in temperature sensor to track the baby's temperature. The wristband's 2.45 GHz active tag employs a proprietary air-interface protocol.

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