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Tyco Retail Solutions Acquires Creativesystems

The companies expect Tyco's global reach and Creativesystems' nimble customization abilities in RFID integration will meet the needs of a retail market hungry for inventory tracking, security and business-analysis functions.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 12, 2015

Tyco Retail Solutions, a Boca Raton, Fla., company owned by global security technologies firm Tyco, has acquired Creativesystems, a European RFID solutions provider based in Portugal. The acquisition, the terms of which have not been disclosed, will allow the two businesses to combine their RFID-based inventory-management solutions for a large customer base in Europe and globally. With the acquisition, Creativesystems will bring its ability to customize RFID solutions for retailers to Tyco's larger enterprise customer base.

Tyco Retails Solutions offers Sensormatic electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems, including some that employ RFID, as well as its RFID-based inventory-management systems consisting of its TrueVue software, following the company's 2008 acquisition of Vue Technology (see Tyco's Sensormatic Division Buys Vue Technology). The firm operates in more than 70 countries and has EAS—and, in some cases, RFID—technology in place at approximately 80 percent of the world's top 200 retailers.

Tyco Retail Solutions' Nancy Chisholm
The company's recent focus has been on offering a more diverse set of intelligent, data-driven solutions than it has in the past—evolving beyond simply EAS security or RFID inventory management. For example, Tyco Retails Solutions has begun offering solutions that provide other functions, such as tracking or managing things like internal theft, customer service, in-store customer traffic, vendor fraud, labor productivity, out-of-stocks, item location and merchandise replenishment. RFID—by providing data that enables the locating of a product and the pinpointing of where it has been—allows many of these functions, in some cases combined with other security technologies.

Creativesystems is a much smaller company that offers RFID software and integrated solutions for multiple markets, including retail, logistics and manufacturing. For Tyco Retail Solutions, Creativesystems' strength lies in its ability to easily customize solutions for an individual user, whether a small boutique or a large retailer, as well as innovate new solutions that could be scaled up on the TrueVue platform. In 2010, for example, it codeveloped a separate company known as Surfaceslab that makes RFID-enabled floors or shelves on which shoes or other items could be placed and read within a store (see Fly London Uses RFID to Manage Inventory, and Take Customers Around the World).

"We see more retailers ready to adopt [item-level RFID inventory solutions], and more advanced retail use cases being deployed," says Nancy Chisholm, Tyco Retail Solutions' president. The acquisition is part of Tyco Retail Solutions' drive to scale its inventory-visibility solutions throughout Europe, she says. "Creativesystems offers strong technical and customer-facing professional services. The acquisition will enable us to accelerate RFID-based inventory-visibility growth with European and global retailers." What's more, Chisholm notes, the addition of Creativesystems will enhance the Tyco's core software platform development capability.

Creativesystems began planning the acquisition with Tyco Retail Solutions several months ago, according to João Vilaça, Creativesystems' CEO. He says the deal will bolster his company's ability to sell solutions on a global scale, and to grow its solution offerings for customers in Europe and elsewhere. The firm will continue to operate its headquarters in the Portuguese city of São João da Madeira, as well as at its other locations throughout Europe, the Middle East, the United States and Brazil. In addition, he says, the firm will continue offering manufacturing and logistics solutions.

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