HID Global Expands Footprint with Vizinex RFID Purchase

The company's latest acquisition brings healthcare and medical equipment management to its product and solution portfolio.
Published: June 10, 2022

Growing its presence across a variety of markets, HID Global has acquired Pennsylvania technology company Vizinez RFID. With this acquisition, HID aims to better serve the healthcare and IT sectors, along with other markets that use RFID technology to improve tracking, security and authentication, as well as to create better efficiencies within its operations.

The company's latest acquisition brings healthcare and medical equipment management to its product and solution portfolio.

The company’s latest acquisition brings healthcare and medical equipment management to its product and solution portfolio.

HID Global has been growing through nearly a dozen company purchases completed within the past five years. The firm has a presence in dozens of industries, including manufacturing, oil and gas, textiles management, animal identification, waste management, healthcare, event ticketing and access control. The Vizinex business will be part of HID’s Identification Technology (IDT) business area. The acquisition, HID reports, will extend the IDT’s reach into data centers and other sectors, while expanding its footprint in North America. Vizinex, launched in 2012, will continue to operate out of its Bethlehem office.

Most recently, HID purchased Technology Solutions UK (TSL) and Omni-ID for long-range RFID solutions in oil and gas (see Acquisition of Omni-ID Expands HID’s Geographic RFID and IoT Presence), as well as several companies offering textile-management technologies (see HID Expands Textile Solutions Offering with InvoTech Acquisition and HID Global Acquires Invengo’s Textile Services Division). By bringing Vizinex RFID under its umbrella, HID intends to increase its presence in multiple markets, as well as offer custom industrial solutions, says John Sailer, HID’s VP of revenue and strategy.

HID is owned by Assa Abloy. Based in Austin, Texas, the company employs 4,500 workers worldwide, and its customers are located throughout more than a hundred countries. Through its acquisitions, HID is expanding from RFID tag sales to readers, antennas and software platforms, enabling it to provide solutions ranging from asset management and inventory tracking to conditions monitoring. Vizinex will now operate as part of HID’s IDT business area.

$10 Billion RFID Market Has Room for Growth

HID Global has a vision of an RFID industry serving considerably more industries than those already using the technology. While RFID has been cited as a $10 billion market based on annual tag, reader and software sales, Sailer calls that an underestimation of the level of RFID adoption that may be ahead. However, he notes, growth has varied across different sectors.

John Sailer

John Sailer

“It’s a fragmented market,” Sailer says, with a wide variety of specialty solution providers and hardware manufacturers, while HID has a strategy aimed at fostering adoption across an ever-widening range of sectors. Already, he reports, RFID adoptions are coming from an increasingly broad set of industries. He points to consumer products companies deploying the technology to ensure different products recognize each other, along with robotics used to enable efficient and customized manufacturing.

Vizinex makes RFID solutions commonly used for medical devices, instrument kitting, data center and video rental equipment, yard management, oil and gas applications, and weapons tracking. Its specialty on-metal or multi-surface hard-tag products are often deployed in rugged environments, according to Ken Horton, an HID consultant and Vizinex RFID’s former CEO and co-founder.

The hard tags include a printed circuit board (PCB) that creates a spacer to lift the RFID antenna off the surface to which a label is attached, such as metal. The PCB design ensures that the labels can be designed and built in a relatively short span of time, Horton says, with the prototyping process usually accomplished within two weeks. “That way,” he states, “we provide very quick customization for our customers.” The company offers its ViziCore platform to help users identify application-specific RFID devices.

Medical Instruments, Data Center Asset Management

The medical device and healthcare markets utilize Vizinex products for applications such as managing high-value medical supplies. Robotic surgical machinery operators employ UHF RFID readers to automate the counting of instruments in surgical procedures. And medical devices use Vizinex tags to identify which unit is attached to a given RFID-enabled device, such as a robotic surgical tool.

A unit that touches a patient, for example—a scalpel, a cauterizing device or a clamp—could have a Vizinex tag applied to it. An RFID reader built into the machinery that operates that unit could capture the unique ID number encoded on the tag. By identifying that unit automatically, the parent device can adjust its calibration accordingly. The system can also track the usage history of a piece of equipment and ensure it is discarded or inspected after a maximum number of uses. The technology knows when the item was used, and by whom, creating a traceable trail of patient use.

RFID for Data Centers and Video Equipment

In addition, Vizinex’s hard tags can track surgical tools and joint replacement kits; how those tools are used, sterilized and reused; and which implants were provided to specific patients. In data centers, meanwhile, the company’s products are being used to locate servers within large facilities.

Ken Horton

Ken Horton

The PCB platform products are also used by rental equipment companies to track filming equipment provided to studio or filming locations. By utilizing a handheld reader to track when equipment is loaded for a specific project, as well as when it is returned, companies can reduce the chances of high-value assets ending up missing—but in the event that they do, workers can easily determine where the loss took place.

Vizinex has been growing year over year, Horton says. “We’ve been able to handle the growth,” he reports. Going forward, however, “We can benefit from the resources that HID Global offers to continue to scale.” The anticipated growth, Horton adds, will take place with existing customers and others around the world.

According to Sailer, HID’s acquisition of Vizinex potentially offers access to a wider set of customers, and HID has buying clout for raw materials, such as integrated circuits used in RFID products. That access to chips can be critical, he says. “For a lot of our customers,” Sailer states, “if they don’t get products, their manufacturing stops, so they have to think hard about who they source product from.”

Areas in which Sailer sees future RFID growth include medical devices, consumable goods used in consumer products (such as tagged coffee filters that can be recognized by a coffee machine) and logistics. “The industry is priming to grow,” he notes, “and we intend to continue to grow with it” by partnering with like-minded technology firms.

Key Takeaways

  • With its latest acquisition, HID Global’s IDT division is expanding into new markets, including healthcare.
  • Vizinex RFID intends to expand its own growth by leveraging the resources offered by HID and Assa Abloy.