Companies to Promote Dallas Area as 'RFID Hub'

Nov. 10--Over the last few years, the Dallas area has earned an unofficial reputation as a national center for the development of the wireless technology known as RFID.

Tonight, a collection of local RFID firms will make it official.

Dozens of radio frequency identification companies will gather in Richardson to formally unveil their slogan for the region: Dallas The RFID Hub.

"Dallas has the opportunity to be a major world player in RFID," said Allan Griebenow, president and chief executive officer at Carrollton-based Axcess Inc.

Mr. Griebenow is one of the chairs of the RFID group at the Metroplex Technology Business Council.

There are 121 Dallas-Fort Worth area companies working with RFID, according to the University of North Texas.

That includes giant firms such as Texas Instruments Inc. and smaller companies like Axcess, which has about 20 employees.

Frank Baitman, director of the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, Calif., will be the keynote speaker at the event.

He said cities that can accumulate multiple companies with broad-ranging expertise in a particular technology are more attractive to talented workers.

"If TI were the company for RFID, very few people would actually move to Dallas, unless TI made them a great offer," Mr. Baitman said. "But you can take a much bigger risk if you know there are 20 or 30 companies in the region."

The number of companies in the area also allows different firms to focus on different aspects of RFID.

Axcess, for example, targets active RFID, which is based on chips that include a battery for constant transmission over a longer range than passive tags.

The passive tags are postage stamp-thin chips popularized by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for tracking products including Pampers and potatoes from supplier to warehouse to store floor.

Much of Wal-Mart's RFID pilot programs have been done in the Dallas area.

Dean Frew, chief executive officer of Carrollton-based Xterprise Inc., which helps companies install radio frequency systems, said that areas such as Boston and Silicon Valley have focused on particular elements of RFID.

"But nothing like where you have semiconductors, software solutions, active tags, passive tags, the whole spectrum like you do in the D-FW area," he said.