Matrics Buy Puts Symbol Firmly Into RFID Space


With its acquisition of Matrics last week, Symbol Technologies aims to move beyond handheld bar-code devices and into more sophisticated RFID supply chain solutions.

RFID, or radio freque-ncy identification management, is an advanced capture technology for electronic tags that can hold more information than bar codes.

 
>> '[The acquisition is] significant because clients are asking for [RFID solutions].'
-- Larry Trainer, vice president of engineering, Eleven Technology

 

Matrics' product line includes RFID systems such as multiprotocol-fixed readers, readers for embedded applications such as RFID printers and handhelds and antennas for RFID tag reading. The Rockville, Md.-based company's RFID readers are typically used for supply chain management and location management.

Larry Trainer, vice president of engineering at Eleven Technology, a Cambridge, Mass.-based mobile solution provider, said Symbol's deal to acquire Matrics comes as welcome news.

"It's significant because clients are asking for [RFID solutions]," Trainer said. "Symbol hasn't been as aggressive in that area, but I love their products."

Eleven Technology is just getting started in RFID technology, but the company"which focuses on the consumer packaged goods market"hopes to fold it into its business by the beginning of 2005, Trainer added.

Holtsville, N.Y.-based Symbol said it expects the $230 million Matrics deal to close by the end of the third quarter.

If the acquisition is approved, Symbol's RFID business likely would focus on the readers' space, but the company also would sell tags, according to Symbol President and CEO Bill Nuti and other company executives.

In addition, Symbol is working on a new manufacturing process called parallel integrated circuit assembly, or PICA, that stands to greatly reduce the cost of producing RFID tags, which currently run at about 20 cents a piece.