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New Pricing Model Offers Rent-to-Own RTLS Systems

Parco Merged Media announced its "Pennies Per Day Tag System Bundles," which lets organization rent RTLS systems -- complete with tags, readers and application software -- for one to five years. The program reduces the initial cost required to implement RTLS, and credits rental payments toward system purchases if customers decide to buy.
Jan 04, 2008This article was originally published by RFID Update.

January 4, 2008—Organizations can reduce their up-front cost and investment risk for real-time location system (RTLS) deployments through a new systems rental program from Parco Merged Media of Portland, Maine. The program lets customers rent RTLS tags, readers, and application software with no long-term installation or purchase commitments.

"There's a huge penalty to buying a system up front and not knowing if it will work well," Parco president and CEO Scott Cohen told RFID Update. "A lot of companies decide to buy a pilot system to see how it works out. They end up spending $20,000 to $100,000 on something that will only work in a small area of their campus. If they decide to expand, they end up spending a lot more time and money on the implementation. We decided if a company is willing to spend $20,000 or $30,000 on a pilot, why not let them spend that and get a whole system? And if they don't like it, they can get rid of it, without losing a major investment."

The Parco program requires customers to rent the system for at least a year, and five years is standard. Money paid to rent can be applied in full to purchase the system at any time. Pricing is based on the number of tags deployed, although that price also covers readers, software, and implementation services. Prices range from eight to 14 cents per tag, per day. A 1,000-tag system, for example, would cost $21,900 per year to rent.

"We just quoted a system that would cost about $3 million to buy, but will rent for less than half a million per year. The customer is very excited about our program," said Cohen.

Parco offers its Précis RTLS system for rental, which includes ultra-wideband (UWB) RTLS tags from Time Domain and Parco's own readers and antennas. UWB is a sensitive form of RTLS that typically provides location accuracy to within a meter -- even a foot or less in some cases -- in indoor or outdoor environments (see UWB Finding a Place in the RTLS Market for more background).

The rental system also includes a choice of application software from six Parco partners: American Biomedical Group, BeanCounter Europe, Phoenix Data Systems, Skyline Connections, SYMX Technologies, and Sysgen. The partners produce asset management and tracking software for a variety of industries, including healthcare and industrial. Other partners will make their software available soon, according to Cohen.

The flexible terms and reduction in required up-front investment could help spur RTLS adoption, which is already growing rapidly (see Top 10 RFID Developments of 2007, Part 1 and RFID & RTLS Sees $433M Invested Over Last 18 Months for more perspective on the market).

See Parco's announcement
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