CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ThingMagic, Inc., a leading developer of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, today announced its 10th anniversary with a celebration of its achievements and by gathering predictions from several industry leaders about the next 10 years of RFID and the impact it will have on business and society.
The Original ‘Internet of Things’ Vision
ThingMagic was founded in September 2000 in a garage in Somerville, Massachusetts by five MIT alumni – Yael Maguire, Ravi Pappu, Bernd Schoner, Remi Post and Matt Reynolds – on the strong belief in the “Internet of Things,” and a vision for the company to add magic to everyday objects. In 2001, ThingMagic delivered a prototype called the Mercury1, which was the first RFID reader to show interoperability in the Electronic Product Code (EPC) standard. At the same time, it pioneered the use of a software-defined radio in RFID, which would be an important foundation to its future products.
In 2003, ThingMagic announced a collaboration with Intel to develop RFID readers using Intel's XScale family of network processors. This was an important step towards being able to deliver RFID readers that would be inexpensive to make in large volumes. It delivered its first Intel-based product, the Mercury4, in 2004. In 2005, ThingMagic proved the power of its advanced software defined radio technology by supporting the new EPC Global Gen 2 standard immediately through a simple software upgrade (while all other RFID readers became obsolete or needed hardware changes). The company advanced its technology further with the introduction of the Mercury5 in 2006, which demonstrated the fastest RFID tag read rates in very dense deployments.
In 2007, ThingMagic introduced the Mercury5e, the first full-power embedded RFID module. This represented a shift in product strategy based on the company’s vision that UHF RFID was destined to be an enabling technology used to enhance products and services across a broad set of industrial, commercial and consumer markets. The realization of that vision is evident in the adoption of ThingMagic’s family of embeddable RFID modules; devices that today are incorporated into a great number of handhelds, mobile and stationary printers, vehicles, manufacturing and inventory automation solutions, and many other products.
ThingMagic’s product roadmap and development effort has been consistent to that vision ever since. For example, in 2009, the company introduced embedded reader module accessories and new API to support rapid development of RFID solutions and a quicker path to ROI for its customers. And this year, the company announced the Mercury6e, the world’s smallest, greater than 1 Watt, four-port embedded RFID module, delivering market-leading performance and significant time-to-market advantages to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), value added resellers (VARs), and solution providers.
The Vision is Becoming Reality
“As we reflect on the significant advances in RFID and sensing technology over the last decade, we at ThingMagic are equally excited about what the next decade holds,” said Tom Grant, ThingMagic chairman and CEO. “The dedication of the ThingMagic founders, management and employees has allowed us to become a trusted, stable provider of enabling technology to customers around the world. I believe that we are at the beginning of a wave of adoption of RFID in general and UHF RFID, in particular. The upside is incredible and spans all markets.”
In addition to using its anniversary to highlight its place in the history of the RFID market, the company also marked the halfway point of its 100 uses of RFID campaign, which showcases the “now” in RFID. On July 19, the company began highlighting different RFID applications on its blog, a dedicated page on its Web site, and through Twitter using the hashtag #RFID100 to demonstrate how the broad adoption of all types of RFID is driving the next revolution in wireless and mobility.
Predictions for the Next 10 Years
As part of its anniversary celebration, ThingMagic invited industry technologists, thought leaders and influencers, and company representatives to share their predictions. The following represent an insightful set of viewpoints for what to expect in the next 10 years in the RFID market.
“Passive sensing (RFIDS) and computation (CRFID) will make big leaps
forward in the next decade. Building on platforms like the WISP, we can
expect to see a proliferation of purpose-built systems where passive
sensing and computation are integral to the operation of the system.”
-- Ravi Pappu, Co-Founder and VP, Advanced Development, ThingMagic
“What started as an inventory control idea is now poised to transform
the world of human interactions in the real world. We envision a
built space that knows who is in it, that connects people to each other
and their work, and where a visitor can become an instant member of the
community. The larger trend is a notion of moving ‘Back to
reality’ where place matters, particularly social places such as cities,
buildings, homes, cars, businesses and campuses. RFID will be an
important means to open those doors.”
-- Andy Lippman, Associate Director, MIT Media Lab
“Our interactions with the Internet are beginning to change how we
see the physical world and our expectations of how it should respond to
us. As the ways in which we share, consume and catalog information in
the virtual world continue to grow and change over the next decade, we
will start to see how malleable the physical world can become in
response to these interaction metaphors to which we have now grown
accustomed. RFID, ubiquitous sensor/display technologies and the
computing engines behind the scenes will be crucial to these new means
of interaction in the physical world.”
-- Yael Maguire, Co-Founder and CTO ThingMagic
“RFID will be embedded in more products and devices, from automobiles
to vending machines, making them more functional and responsive to the
people using them or environment around them.”
-- Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
"When we started ThingMagic 10 years ago, common sense suggested that
it would take a long time for UHF RFID to be adopted. After all, it took
25 years for the barcode to become widely used! Young and inexperienced
as we were, we thought we could do it much faster.... just to get
surprised by the burst of the RFID mini bubble 5 years later. Today, I
do believe that we have a real shot at beating the barcode adoption time
by a factor of two. Given the recent and significant uptick in demand
for readers, I predict that in a couple of years there will be tags and
readers all around us and that people will not be able to imagine what
life was like without this technology."
-- Bernd Schoner, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, ThingMagic
“A UHF RFID reader using low-power ICs will make UHF readers in
hand-held devices much more viable (the reader will be the size of
surface-mount tag ICs today).”
--Dan Ratner, Director of Product Management, ThingMagic
“We will experience a 3x improvement in tag operational range. Three
actions will contribute: 1) Continued reduction in required tag wake up
power; 2) Increased complexity of RF processing on tag chip to make back
scatter more detectable; 3) Improved phase noise of readers to reduce
backscatter band interference.”
-- John Carrick, Principal Engineer, ThingMagic
“I am most excited about the further use of RFID in consumer-facing
applications, enabled by using RFID in solutions that will directly
impact the consumer and their lives - mobile phones, kiosks,
vending machines, vehicles, item-level in retail and more. The
application possibilities are truly limitless with RFID and can extend
beyond commonly used electronic toll tags, key fobs (for automobile
immobilization/entry), contactless credits and such, to new and exciting
applications that showcase how RFID can improve the customer experience,
automate transactions, and impact our lives outside the workplace where
employee ID, supply chain management, asset tagging, and more are
supported by RFID. Watching how RFID impacts the way we shop,
interact with machines, and automates our lives is highly interesting,
compelling, and part of the future of the technology.”
-- Michael Liard, Practice Director RFID, ABI Research
About ThingMagic, Inc.
ThingMagic is a leading developer of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, with broad experience in applying RFID in a wide range of industrial and consumer applications. ThingMagic's customers include some of the world's largest retailers, consumer companies, automotive firms, manufacturers and industrial automation firms. ThingMagic products include fixed and integrated RFID readers and antennas, embedded and OEM RFID technology, and professional services to facilitate the integration of RFID into a wide range of industrial and consumer products. ThingMagic is “The Engine in RFID™.” http://www.thingmagic.com.