Grintek Telecom partners with iPico

JOHANNESBURG (03/17/2004) - ICT specialist Grintek Telecom, a business unit of Grintek Group, and IP and innovation company iPico Holdings, an identification and authentication products and solutions company, have signed a partnership agreement, whereby Grintek Telecom will supply iPico's solutions to the South Africa market.

Grintek Telecom will also provide the integration, support and implementation skills to customize the solution to suit the client's requirements and applications.

IPico aims to create, develop and commercialize intellectual property for the identification and authentication markets providing radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions to optimize the management of goods and people within the logistic supply chain.

Says Phumlani Moholi, MD at Grintek Telecom: "This agreement will allow Grintek Telecom to penetrate the supply chain and retail markets with the RF identification solution. We will also provide the benefit of our specialist skills and integration capabilities that allow us to 'tailor' the solution according to the customer's requirements."

The solution is a new generation RF identification system that uses ultra high frequency (UHF), which allows for a longer range of RF identification to be achieved. The solution consists of passive tags that contain the smallest of RF chips with a size of 0.3 square millimeters.

RFID readers are strategically positioned to identify tags that pass through their field of radiation, and can detect tags at distances of up to 10 meters. The readers feature a robust anti-collision protocol, which means that a reader can detect many tags without RF collision cancelling out the reading. Software enables the data to be collected, and part of Grintek Telecom's role is to customize the software and integrate or manipulate the information into other systems.

Says Alwyn Hoffman, CIO at iPico: "The advantage of such an application is that it provides an effective means to track stock items in the supply chain environment, at a low cost to the organization. Passive tags are a lot less costly than active tags, which require an on-board battery to provide power. This allows an organization an alternative to bar-code technology to monitor and track stock of many items, making it an affordable solution, and improving logistical efficiencies in the supply chain."

"An opportunity that the identification solution provides is to extend itself to innovative applications in the retail domain. International retailers such as Marks and Spencer (Group plc) are currently experiencing very positive feedback in practical pilots where the solution is evaluated for one-on-one marketing activities. The tags are able to feed back information via software that allows retailers to establish buying trends and patterns. The inclusion of consoles in retail stores allows the display of item data and special offers to shoppers in order to positively influence the behavior of the individual buyer."

Future developments include temperature sensors on the tags, which will provide an entry into the cold chain market too.

Grintek Telecom has completed the necessary sales and technical training and is certified to supply, install and support the solution.

Muller concludes, "This partnership will provide both companies with opportunities to extend our respective business markets. Grintek Telecom is entrenched in the ICT market, and this move will propel us into new markets, such as supply chain and retail, with innovative technology and developments."

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