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RFID Technology Companies Team for Product Development

Global RF and satellite product manufacturer MTI is teaming with California startup SensThys to provide RFID solutions using products built at MTI's facilities with hardware from both companies.
By Claire Swedberg

One basis for the product development has been to incorporate multiple sensor technologies into a single product. "We saw RFID as being the center of the sensor technologies," Major says, "but we also saw a lot of other sensors out there—and being able to handle them together gracefully was key." The new products slated to be announced at LIVE! offer greater performance than traditional RFID readers tested to date, the companies report, and will provide improvements in networking, power management and durability.

The two companies have been working together for about nine months, and prototypes of the products have been in the hands of some customers for beta testing for the past few months. Those businesses have asked to remain unnamed. Going forward, SensThys and MTI intend to continue collaborating on product development and cost-sharing, while testing and production is taking place at MTI's facilities.

MTI's Darryn Prince
For MTI, Prince says, SensThys brings an understanding at the solutions level, including software and a broad range of sensor technologies. The company also plans to take advantage of SensThys's expertise in optimizing software, firmware, "and its small but powerful sales and marketing team," he adds. With the partnership, Prince explains, "We see lot of things MTI didn't have," such as the development of full solutions, which will be linked to MTI's "best-in-class ability to make RF hardware in high volumes cost-effectively."

Customers using RFID have faced a variety of obstacles throughout the years, Major says. These include the cost and difficulty of installation, as well as the need for products that would be aesthetically acceptable for the location at which they are being used. The companies that have been testing the technology, or that are preparing to order the new products, are in the hospitality, manufacturing, retail and race-timing markets, he adds.

"We want to offer the best damn reader out there," says Neil Mitchell, SenThys's sales and marketing VP. "That's what we've been focusing on."

MTI believes the new products will remove some obstacles that the RFID industry and its users have previously face, Prince says. "There are problems solved here that will knock down some of those barriers," he states. So far, Prince reports, feedback from companies testing the technology has been good. "Customers are very excited to have these products."

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