Seven Companies Sign Up for Savi IP License

By Claire Swedberg

These firms now have the right to manufacture and sell 433 MHz active RFID tags and interrogators compliant with the ISO 18000-7 standard.

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Seven companies have signed up for Savi Technology‘s Quick Start intellectual property (IP) licensing program, granting them the right to manufacture and sell 433 MHz active RFID tags and interrogators compliant with the ISO 18000-7 standard. ISO 18000-7 is based on technology patented by Savi.

These seven companies, mostly commercial rather than defense contractors, can now begin offering 433 MHz products compliant with ISO 18000-7.


Tony Moroyan

Last summer, Savi, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, offered its Quick Start program on a reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) basis. The program was initiated to enable RFID companies to license certain technologies required to comply with the standard (see Savi Announces IP Licensing Program for Active RFID Tags). Quick Start, which offered lower fees for signing up, expired Dec. 31, 2006.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” says Bob Kramer, Savi Technology’s chief executive officer, regarding the number of companies that joined. “I think it further amplified the reason why we did this.” That reason, he says, is the growing market for 433 MHz active RFID technology, and the need for more vendors to participate in its growth.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the biggest user of 433 MHz tags and readers, stands poised to gain from any proliferation of vendors providing hardware based on the 18000-7 standard. However, ports and shipping terminals also use the active RFID tags and readers. Moreover, the fact that many of the joining companies have commercial interests underscores active RFID’s desirability in the commercial market as well, says Kramer.

The seven companies to join are Apogee Total Solutions, Convergence Systems, Evigia Systems, Graphics Industries), Hi-G Tek, Identec Solutions and Impeva Labs.

“These companies may be a little more forward-thinking when it comes to the value of standardization and the way it can be used,” Kramer says. “They see the world through the same lens that we do.” Once companies have the IP, he explains, they can immediately incorporate 18000-7 standard technology into their products. Whether they will do so immediately, however, is not as clear. “There can be some time phasing it in,” Kramer says.

Impeva Labs, which makes cargo container tracking devices that monitor moving assets for both the government and commercial interests, may wait to implement the standard. Tony Moroyan, president and CEO of Impeva Labs, says his company will not add 18000-7-based capabilities to its devices right away. The reason Impeva signed up for Savi’s Quick Start program, he says, was to be better prepared when the standard becomes more commonly used.

“We will see how things will come to play in the market,” Moroyan says. “This is still an emerging market. We wanted to make sure we have it in our portfolio as a means to expand.” He estimates his company’s devices may be enabled for 433 MHz RFID in 2008 or 2009. In the meantime, Savi will continue to offer a license to use its IP, but without the discount of the Quick Start program.