HID Global Acquires Invengo’s Textile Services Division

By Claire Swedberg

The acquisition brings Invengo's tags, readers and software to HID's expanding RFID portfolio, enabling healthcare and hospitality companies to better manage the flow of linens and uniforms as they are used, cleaned and repaired.

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HID Global has acquired the  Invengo Textile Services division from  Invengo Information Technology, bringing RFID-enabled linen and laundry management into its expanding portfolio of radio frequency identification products. The acquisition is aimed at extending HID’s family of products to meet what it views as an escalating demand for textile-based RFID. The technology offers loss-prevention capabilities, high-value analytics and real-time inventory visibility to increase efficiency in commercial laundry management, according to Richard Aufreiter, HID’s VP of identification technologies product marketing.

HID Global is a Texas-based secure identity technology company under the umbrella of Swedish firm  ASSA ABLOY. Formed in 1991 to develop RFID technologies, HID has been expanding with numerous acquisitions (see  Acquisition Brings Mobile UHF Reading to HID Global). At present, the company provides RFID at multiple frequencies, as well as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Near Field Communications (NFC) technology for access control, citizen identification, extended access and identity management.

Invengo is a Singapore-based RFID technology and solutions provider. Its Textile Services brand, based in France, provides full solutions for linen management in the hospitality and healthcare sectors. These includes software, tags and readers to identify and manage when commercial linens and uniforms are used by hospitals, extended living facilities and hotels, as well as when they are washed, maintained and then returned for re-use.

HID already provides UHF, HF and LF RFID tags to the laundry and textiles industry. The Invengo Textile Services acquisition, Aufreiter says, makes HID a full solution enabler by adding Invengo’s laundry-optimized LinTRAK tags, reading hardware and ACUITY linen-management software to the portfolio. The LinTRAK tags, introduced in 2017, can be sewn into or adhered onto linens and other textiles, the company reports, and are designed to withstand hundreds of wash cycles. The readers include cabin or tabletop fixed models and handheld versions for interrogating UHF and HF tags. ACUITY, also released in 2017, is a cloud-based linen inventory-management system.

Richard Aufreiter

The acquisition, announced earlier this month, is well timed, according to the companies, as the linen-management market is expected to grow. HID cites an anticipated expansion rate for commercial laundry technologies of 12.9 percent by 2025, as predicted by analyst firm  MarketsandMarkets. “This growth is driven by the expanding hospitality market,” Aufreiter says, “and by healthcare facilities requiring the management of everything from bedsheets to medical staff uniforms.”

While the hospitality industry experienced a temporary decline during the past year, Aufreiter explains, “COVID-19 has led to a steep rise in the demand for clean and sanitized textiles, driving significant growth in the commercial laundry business worldwide.” Unlike many RFID use cases in other industries that are still fragmented, he says, laundry management could be considered a mature RFID market, “where solutions can be replicated with little to no modifications around the world, thus driving high-volume and stable demand.”

With the acquisition, Invengo Textile Services is now HID Textile Services, while Invengo Information Technology will remain an independent company unrelated to HID Global. Invengo Textile Services’ products are being rebranded and sold under the HID brand, Aufreiter reports, and the RFID tag portfolio of HID Textile Services will extend the existing offerings of HID’s RFID tags. The new Textile Services group and HID’s own tag manufacturing site in Malaysia, he says, will drive significant synergies in terms of R&D, production and supply chain.

HID and Invengo have been sharing synergies in the tag manufacturing area for several years, says Richard Bailly, formerly Invengo’s president and now the VP of HID Textile Services. “[Invengo’s] expertise in RFID UHF tag design,” he states, “combined with HID Global’s manufacturing capabilities, sets forth a natural connection.” Both companies share a strategic vision to meet market demand with full vertical solutions, Bailly explains, that can be integrated into existing linen-management processes. Existing and potential new customers of HID’s laundry tags, Aufreiter adds, will “now benefit from a full solution offering provided by a single source, which simplifies purchasing and integration processes.”

Richard Bailly

Invengo Textile Services has seen recent growth in linen-management technology demand, even as the pandemic has impacted the laundry industry. For instance, Bailly says, while the hospitality and commercial laundry markets experienced delays in some deployment projects, “The volume of our RFID tags sold in 2020 remained unchanged compared to the previous year, which demonstrates once more the growing interest of the textile services ecosystem for [our portfolio] and RFID technology in general.” In the long term, he adds, the demand for improved management of clean and sanitized textiles opens new opportunities in healthcare and industrial applications.

“Once the COVID-19 situation is settled,” Bailly predicts, “we expect the hospitality industry to recover and bounce back with even more digitalization opportunities for our linen-management business.” He foresees an increased demand for digitalized processes, loss-prevention capabilities, high-value analytics and real-time inventory visibility. “Furthermore, we expect a strong demand for industrial uniform and scrubs management, an area in which we are centering our developments.”

According to Aufreiter, the combined volume, engineering and manufacturing footprint, especially for UHF RFID laundry tags, will support growth. Both firms, he notes, share a cultural fit and mindset. The companies anticipate that existing Invengo customers may benefit from HID’s global footprint and the fact that HID Textile Services has become part of ASSA ABLOY. “The combination of Textile Services and HID tag engineering gives customers a larger tag and reader portfolio to choose from,” Bailly states, “and ultimately let them earn benefits from combined production and supply chain efficiencies.” For now, management at Invengo Textile Services will remain with the HID Textile Services division.

“With the support of HID Global,” Bailly reports, “we are continuing our development work in terms of RFID components and cloud platform services to accelerate the deployment of our vertical solution enablement.” In addition to adding new functionalities to the ACUITY linen-management platform, such as delivery and invoicing modules, the company plans to expand to the management of uniforms and workwear. To that end, HID Textile Services’ future developments will focus on usage-value-driven services for commercial laundries and their customers in hospitality, healthcare and other industries.