ThingMagic-Trimble Deal a “Desired Outcome,” and a Next Stage for RFID and GPS Technologies

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global positioning technologies and products. Kliem says that RFID “will play a big role, integrated in our offerings.” In fact, Trimble has worked with ThingMagic since 2008, Kliem says. From what I gather, one of Trimble’s big applications is to help telecom companies like AT&T or Comcast track and position their service fleets so the right crew goes to the right place to help customers with problems. RFID technology can help workers in the field keep track of their tools and equipment in their vans or trucks (much like ThingMagic’s partnership with Ford). So look for more ways that RFID could get integrated into global positioning systems, or provide complementary services.

From ThingMagic’s perspective, combining RFID with Wi-Fi, GPS, and other location-based technologies is all consistent with its vision of an “Internet of things,” where people can get information about real-world objects around them in their office, home, car, or on the street. That’s what the company’s founders (MIT Media Lab alums including chief technology officer Yael Maguire and head of product development Ravi Pappu) have been talking about since the early 2000s. Speaking of which, what will the founders do next—will they stay with Trimble, at least for a while?

“Their futures depend on their choices,” Grant says. “At this point, their roles will continue as they are. There will be more announcements on that in the next few days.”

I asked Grant for some more perspective on what the deal means for the future of ThingMagic and RFID technology. “It’s been a great year. We want to build on that,” Grant says. “We want to have the mindset of continuing to invest in R&D and continuing to drive into other markets. We need to make sure we have the resources to go after it. I like to say we brought a billion-dollar company into the RFID industry.”

“This is a key inflection point for us as a company, and as an industry,” he says. “This is the best place for us to move to the next stage.”

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