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RFID News Roundup

ThingMagic receives $5 million, closes first funding round; report says retailer RFID spending passed $400 million; Intermec operating new service center in Shanghai; CompTIA announces RFID+ certification beta exam.
By Andrew Price
Oct 21, 2005The following are news announcements made during the week of Oct 17.

ThingMagic Receives $5 Million, Closes First Funding Round
ThingMagic a developer of RFID sensing and embedded computing technologies, and maker of the Mercury4 RFID interrogator (reader), has closed its first round of funding with a $5 million investment from The Tudor Group, an investment-management firm based in Greenwich, Conn. ThingMagic opened this first funding round with $10 million from Exxel Group, Inventec Appliances, Morningside Technology Ventures Ltd. and Top Line Growth Capital, as was announced in September (see ThingMagic's First Funding Round Yields $10 Million). ThingMagic says it will use the aggregate $15 million to expand its technology development, as well as its strategic and organizational growth. The firm's ongoing operations will continue to be funded by revenues and profits.

Report Says Retailer RFID Spending Passed $400 Million
A new report by research and consulting company Frost & Sullivan says revenue in the RFID retail market totaled $400.2 million in 2004, projecting that it will reach $4,169.7 million by 2011. The study, called “World Retail RFID Markets—A Retailer Perspective”, considers retailer spending on RFID hardware, software, middleware, services and consulting. In researching the study, Frost & Sullivan interviewed vice presidents, global RFID practice directors and RFID division heads at a number of global RFID vendors. According to the consulting firm, the report analyzes the potential of RFID technology in the retail space, looking at market trends and opportunities, and providing analysis of market share, forecasts, drivers, restraints and revenues. It finds that retailers want RFID hardware and software that is easy to deploy and integrate with legacy systems, and that they seek vendors able to provide a favorable cost-benefit proposal. The level of investments required, however, means only the biggest retailers (typically $5 billion and above in revenues) can test or deploy RFID in their stores and distribution centers at this time, the firm notes. The report is available from Frost & Sullivan for $3,000 or as part of a subscription plan. Frost & Sullivan is also conducting a separate study, due out later this year, regarding RFID in retail from a retail supplier's perspective. For more information, contact Tori Foster at tori.foster@frost.com.

Intermec Operating New Service Center in Shanghai
Intermec Technologies, the Everett, Wash., maker of hardware for RFID and other auto-ID technologies, has opened a service center in Shanghai, China, to provide local language support and repair services for Intermec handheld devices, printers and other products. Opened earlier this year, the center enables Intermec customers in Shanghai and other parts of China to have goods repaired more quickly, reducing repair turnaround time from six weeks to just days, according to Intermec—and at less cost by eliminating customs fees required to ship products in and out of China. Many companies using the center are multinational firms with U.S. headquarters—and while most currently use Intermec goods for closed-loop auto-ID applications, U.S. companies moving RFID tagging operations to their Chinese manufacturing facilities will also likely use the service center, says Mike Wills, Intermec's vice president and general manager for RFID. Intermec maintains an inventory of parts and components needed for repair in the 10,000-square-foot-facility, which employees approximately 15 Chinese-speaking staff, hired locally.

CompTIA Announces RFID+ Certification Beta
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) has announced that the beta exam for its new CompTIA RFID+ certification, a vendor-neutral professional credential to validate knowledge and skill in working with RFID technology, will be available starting Oct. 31, at any Thomson Prometric or Pearson VUE testing center worldwide, located in most major cities. The exam is intended for individuals with foundational knowledge of RFID technology, as well as six to 24 months' experience in the RFID industry. Anyone who passes the beta exam will be certified as a CompTIA RFID+ professional. The test covers topics related to the installation, configuration and maintenance of RFID hardware and device software. Complete beta exam objectives are available at CompTIA’s Web site. The certification is being developed with help from more than 20 industry organizations, including RFID Journal. CompTIA expects to offer the beta version of the exam for only a month or two, just until it gets a statistically significant sample size. A $75 fee for the beta version covers delivery and publication costs. When the permanent exam becomes available in early 2006, the fee will rise to $225. Registration for the CompTIA RFID+ beta exam is available at www.comptia.org.
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