Jun 28, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.
June 28, 2005—Announcements about GEN 2 developments came from two major RFID manufacturers this week: RFID tag manufacturer UPM Rafsec of Finland, and Texas Instruments of Dallas, Texas. At the Smart Labels USA conference this week in Baltimore, UPM Rafsec is introducing what it is calling the "world's first global GEN 2 tag portfolio" in reference to the Rafsec OneTenna technology that allows a single antenna design to work around the world. OneTenna will prevent the need to produce multiple antenna designs for different regions of the world. The technology's more efficient design and production process, according to Rafsec, will also allow the company to increase availability. The company's new factory in Fletcher, North Carolina, will also help availability when it opens towards the end of this year.
Texas Instruments yesterday announced the shipment of GEN 2 inlays and straps to label converter and printer companies, which take raw RFID chips and embed them in plastic, adhesive, or casing to make them useful as finished tags. The company expects to begin producing millions of GEN 2 inlays next month. TI, long a major player in RFID, has been a particularly visible and active presence in the industry in 2005. Through its role in EPCglobal and as a giant chip manufacturer, it has been leading GEN 2 interoperability efforts in recent months. (Naturally, given its eagerness to foster, then capitalize, on GEN 2 demand.)
Given the recent cooling of RFID hype, GEN 2 developments are welcome news indeed. Conventional wisdom says that the new standards will bring increased functionality and better interoperability to the RFID market, spurring adoption for its own sake. Considering also that many companies are not willing to buy existing RFID equipment given that it will be obsolesced by the introduction of new GEN 2 products later this year, meaningful GEN 2 progress could offer a one-two punch stimulus towards the end of the year. As ABI Research's Director of RFID and Ubiquitous Networks Erik Michielsen said, "As reliable Gen 2 products reach the market, resellers, integrators, and end-users see less uncertainty and more reason to allocate additional financial and human resources to RFID supply chain deployments."