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Kathrein Group Acquires NoFilis

The acquisition will allow the two companies to sell complete turnkey solutions combining Kathrein's RFID readers and antennas with noFilis' CrossTalk software.
By Claire Swedberg
May 04, 2016

Kathrein Group, a provider of telecommunication and RFID hardware, has acquired automatic identification software company NoFilis. Kathrein's RFID division—Kathrein RFID—already sells ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) readers and reader antennas to the automotive, industrial and logistics sectors, as well as other markets. During the months following the acquisition, which took place on May 1, Kathrein RFID and noFilis will each continue to sell their technology independently, while both companies will also provide full turnkey solutions consisting of Kathrein's hardware and noFilis' CrossTalk software.

Kathrein RFID develops and manufactures UHF stationary readers, UHF and bar-code handheld devices, reader modules and reader antennas. The company often customizes these devices for specific use cases, and also provides a software tool featuring 3D simulation of antennas, transponders and applications. The software can simulate and display the RFID radiation field of complete RFID application scenarios, such as four RFID antennas in a specific gate environment interacting with a driving forklift vehicle.

Parent company Kathrein Group has been offering radio antennas and other communication products for nearly a century, according to Thomas Brunner, Kathrein RFID's business unit head. In 2007, he says, the firm opened its Kathrein RFID division, which is focused on passive UHF RFID technology for the industrial market. Kathrein has approximately 7,700 employees, including 170 who work for its RFID division.

NoFilis launched in 2005 as an RFID software provider, initially providing a solution for Metro Group's early RFID testing efforts, to help the retailer manage data collected from the multiple makes and models of readers it was testing. The device-management system that noFilis developed for Metro eventually led to the creation of its CrossTalk software (see To Future-Proof Its Future Store, Metro Group Opted for EPCglobal Standards).

Because Kathrein RFID focused solely on hardware, it began partnering with noFilis—a company in the same region of Germany, near Munich—in 2008. The two companies developed what they call "intelligent reader solutions," using CrossTalk software to provide read data management on each individual Kathrein reader, instead of employing a separate appliance that would otherwise need to manage the data coming from a multitude of readers, as well as filtering and interpreting that information before forwarding it to software residing on a user's back-end server. With the CrossTalk software and Kathrein reader, the companies report, much of that filtering and other data management is performed on the reader itself.

The companies continued to partner to create a variety of customized solutions for customers, many of whom were interested in full solutions that could be provided as a single turnkey product.

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